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Breathtaking views are to be found on this splendid walk which visits the ancient villages of Carsington and Brassington, once the homes of very active lead mining communities.

On the moorland route between the two villages there is plenty of evidence of the efforts of miners to extract lead from underneath the earth. At Nickalum Mine in particular, spoil heaps long since grassed over, are to be seen in plentiful supply.

The Tudor House, built in 1615, is probably Brassington’s oldest house. At one time it housed paupers for the Ashbourne Poor Law Union; seventy–seven names were recorded at one stage. The men were provided with work, breaking stone in to specific sizes at the rear of the house.

There were people living in the area in pre–historic times. Remains of Bronze and Iron Age man have been found at Harborough Rocks, which are near The High Peak Trail, a converted railway line.



Length:     5 miles.

Start/Finish:     Carsington Water Sheepwash Car Park.

Location:     Off B5035 Wirksworth to Ashbourne road.

Terrain:     Steady ascents and one particularly steep descent.



1.      1.     Leave the car park at the top right-hand edge and walk along the path towards the bird hide. Ignore the next sign for the bird hide and carry straight on to reach the B5035.

2.     Cross the road and walk up the track in front of you, keeping straight on before descending and bearing to the left by the school.


3.     Walk up the lane passed the village green to the road, continue straight ahead, and where the road swings left, go up the lane marked ‘No through road.’


4.     The lane eventually turns into a track curving to the right up to a gate and stile, after which you leave the track to climb a path through a narrow ‘V’ shaped limestone cutting to the top of the hill.


5.     Continue through the footings of an old wall on the left by a redundant stile and then through a gap in the wall ahead. You now descend across two stiled fields, aiming about 50 yards to the left of a stone barn.


6.     Go over a rough track and follow the winding path up the hill towards the remains of Nickalum Mine before taking the waymarked sign to the left round the old workings, and then bear right through a cutting.


7.     The path now descends steadily to a stile near a thorn tree and then follows the wall on the left until another stile is reached.


8.     Go over the stile and down the field. At the next stile, turn right before going through two more fields to reach the main road by a farm access into Brassington.


9.     Turn left, and within a few yards, right up Miners Hill and then take the first right turn.


10.    Go left at the ‘T’ junction and at the edge of the village take the ‘No through road’ sign on the right.


11.    When the road ends, go left by a gate and follow the path round some old lead mine workings and then, keeping close to the wall on the right, proceed to Manystones Lane and turn right.


12.    Just past some factory buildings take the footpath on the left to reach The High Peak Trail – take a detour here by turning left to visit Harborough Rocks before retracing your steps and continuing along the trail in an easterly direction.


13.    Close to a gate across the track cross the stile to the right by Viaton Works, going over a short field to the road and another stile onto Carsington Pasture.


14.    Follow the path alongside the wall onto the top of the pasture, before leaving the wall and descending steeply to the right to a small waymarked gate into a back garden.


15.    Go down a flight of steps and a lane and turn left, from where you can easily retrace your steps back to the start of the walk.


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Carsington Water Visitor Centre, (Tel. 01629 540696) a great place just to relax by the water’s edge, but do leave time to look round the Visitor centre with its attractive shops and display areas. The more adventurous can hire a sailing dinghy, or a mountain bike. Alternatively, if you have plenty of energy left, why not walk the seven miles or so round the reservoir? Open daily all year.

Wirksworth Heritage Centre, (Tel. 01629 875225) where the ‘Wirksworth Story’ is told, taking you on a fascinating journey through time on three floors of the centre. The special displays are excellent and for something different you can always try a computer game. For further information see the special feature

North End Mills, (Tel. 01629 824731) one of the largest factory shops in the country which sells clothes. Visitors to the Mills can still see hosiery being made, have a coffee and admire the display of old photographs of Wirksworth. Open 7 days a week.  



Miners Arms (Tel. 01629 540207) a popular pub for lead miners in the 1700s. This cosy little pub serves good homemade food daily throughout the summer and at lunchtime and in the evenings during the winter (except Sunday and Monday evenings). Outside there is a beer garden and mini-adventure playground.

Carsington Water Tea Rooms (Tel. 01629 540363) there is a restaurant and tea rooms on the first floor of the visitor centre and an outdoor food facility in the Courtyard. Open daily all year.




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 special new sub-section has been added to this website, based on the Discover Derby Supplement, published by the Derby Evening Telegraph during March 2005. The most recent additions are:

 Click below for details.

Discover Derby


The picture postcard village of Carsington and its equally attractive neighbour, Hopton, are inseparably linked. They lie in a wooded valley with Carsington Pasture rising steeply to one thousand feet to the west, behind a row of attractive little cottages that line the roadside.

 Both villages share the same church and school. The houses in each village almost overlap on the shared narrow road, and they are both in the same parish.  

The Gell family who lived at Hopton Hall for nearly 500 years were the dominating influence in the area, before it was sold in 1989. The Hall hides behind a red brick crinkle-crankle wall on the eastern side of Hopton.

Carsington and Hopton Feature


Hopton Hall Snowdrops

Carsington Church and Flower Festival


All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.