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It takes a little while for this walk to really inspire, but when it does, outstanding views over the Derwent Valley make the effort of climbing Ember Lane well worthwhile.


The Heights of Abraham is well worth a visit and walkers are allowed to leave their walk to seek refreshment and at the same time enjoy views second to none in Derbyshire. If they want to extend their stay, however, they must pay for admission.  In the summer, cable cars glide back and forth from Matlock Bath, taking visitors to the top of the pleasure grounds that have been in use since the 1780s.


Across the valley is the spectacular High Tor, and behind that the village of Starkholmes. Distant glimpses can be had of Riber Castle, built by John Smedley as his retirement home, which until recently housed a wildlife sanctuary.


The return journey is along the Limestone Way, before heading for Town Head and then turning off Bonsall’s main street up Stepping Lane. From this point, a gentle perambulation around the outskirts of the village is undertaken to enjoy the many fine views.





Length:   5.5 miles.


Start/finish:   Park by the roadside at the bottom of The Dale, opposite the recreation ground.


 Location:   Off A5012, Cromford to Buxton road. 


 Terrain:   Some moderately steep sections, but nothing too strenuous.




1.      By The Fountain, go through a stile to enter the Children’s Playground and ascend a flight of steps on the left towards the Churchyard.


2.       Keeping the church on your left and the school on the right, walk to the road, here you turn left and then in a few yards right into Ember Lane.


3.      Continue up the lane and immediately after passing Ember Farm, turn sharp left into an area of woodland. Follow a clear path that eventually passes behind the Abraham’s Heights attraction and go over a wall stile. 


4.      Follow the signed path diagonally to a stile at the bottom of the field. Angle to the left across the next field, going between two gateposts, into a field with a large collection of thorn bushes.


5.      Walk to within 50 yards of the bottom left hand corner of the field and turn left through a stile.


6.      Keeping the field boundary close on your right, pass Masson Farm and follow the narrow path round the farm.


7.      Continue along a clear path through an area of woodland before swinging to the left and following a high wall round, leading to the entrance of Cliffe House and cottages. Here you turn left and walk down the road.


8.      Immediately after passing St John’s Chapel, turn onto the path above the road through an area of woodland.


9.      After leaving the woodland, follow a grass track round a hollow in the field, before returning to a wall on the right. Continue alongside the wall and then cross two stiles into the field opposite.


10.    Angle to the left along a path marked by edging stones to a gap in the hedge, maintain the same direction in the next field, before turning sharp left in the third field by the footpath marker post and walking to the top of the field.


11.   Go over an access road and carry straight on for a few yards to reach a stile and cross the corner of a field to a gateway opposite.


12.    The path continues straight ahead along a clearly marked route, climbing up through a series of fields to cross a farm road to the right of Masson Lees Farm.


13.   Go diagonally right through a small field and in the next continue alongside the hedge on the right to a lane, where you turn right and then in a few yards left, by ‘Geoff’s Seat’.


14.  Angle to the right across the first field and after going over a stile, keep close to the wall on the right in the second. Go over the next stile you come to, cross the corner of a field and reach an access road.


15.    After crossing the road continue straight on over the next field, until after passing a barn the path bends to the right to a stile in the hedge. Here you turn left and follow the track round as it gently descends.


16.    At a fork in the track keep descending to the right and continue to maintain the same downward direction. An access road to some houses is reached and shortly after that, you turn left onto the road through the village.


17.    Turn right between the houses opposite Bonsall Cross and head up Stepping Lane, a narrow track with many steps. At the top, cross a small field to a stile 20 yards from the left hand corner.


18.    You now continue along an easy to follow route through a series of walled paths and small fields to enter Bell Lane. Carry straight on at a ‘T’ junction of roads passing the Post Office and Hollies Farm Plant Centre.


19.    After passing Brumlea Farm, the road swings to the left and just round the corner, turn left through a stile by a footpath sign, and descend a small valley through three fields.


20.    At the bottom of the valley go down the road and then turn sharp left down The Dale, opposite Bonsall Wesleyan Reform Chapel; passing the Barley Mow on the way back to the starting point.  





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Mining Museum and Temple Mine (Tel 01629 583834) where you get a very realistic impression of what the conditions used to be like for men who worked underground. After completing your absorbing tour of the museum, you can visit Temple Mine that has been worked since 1922. The museum is open daily throughout the year. Temple Mine is open on a reduced basis in the winter


The Heights of Abraham (Tel 01629 582365) where you can take a spectacular journey by cable car to explore two show caverns, follow woodland trails and enjoy the magnificent view from the Treetops café and restaurant. Please telephone for opening details or visit website.


Arkwright’s Cromford Mill the world’s first successful water powered cotton-spinning mill. It is now a world heritage site and guided tours are available. There is a whole food restaurant, a number of shops and free car park. A not to be missed attraction, along with Masson Mill situated about a quarter of a mile away on the A6 that has been converted into a shopping village and working textile museum. Open daily (Cromford Mill tel 01629 823256, Masson Mill tel 01629 760208). 



Barley Mow, Bonsall (Tel. 01629 825685) this friendly little pub is well worth going out of the way to visit. It is full of interest and provides excellent food at reasonable cost. Open all day at weekends but only in the evenings during the week. Meals available in the evenings every day. At  the weekends and on Bank Holidays lunch time meals are also served. Closed all day Mondays.


Treetops Café (Tel. 01629 582365) set in a superb location at the Heights of Abraham, looking down on the Derwent Valley. Walkers may use the café, but if it is their intention to explore the country park and caverns, they must pay the entrance charge. Identical opening times to those of the park.





Provides a wide range of features  with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.


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A map has been created by the people of Bonsall, highlighting the topography of the parish, its geology and natural history, architecture and its past as a lead mining village. Present day facilities are also listed, representing an excellent purchase for the interested visitor.  Limited stocks are still available at bookshops in the locality.




The ancient former lead mining village of Bonsall was once described by the Daily Mail as ‘the healthiest village in England’, because of the long life spans of its inhabitants who were kept fit by climbing its long streets. From The Pig of Lead to the upper end of the village it is a climb of 450 feet. The Pig of Lead public house at the foot of the Via Gellia valley closed a few years ago and is now a private house. 

Little groups of cottages huddled together on odd plots of land along winding streets add to the charm of this attractive scattered village. The only well known architect to have contributed to Bonsall was Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who designed Liverpool Cathedral, Battersea power Station, Waterloo Bridge and the telephone kiosk outside the Barley Mow – now a listed building!

At the centre of the village is an interesting group of stone houses and the King’s Head a delightful 17th century inn, which surround a much-photographed market cross with a slender circular shaft topped by a ball and surmounted by 13 steps.


Bonsall Feature




Bonsall Well Dressings

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