Quiet lanes, field and woodland paths lead to the impressive ruins of Wingfield Manor. The walk then returns through lovely countryside to one of Derbyshire’s most famous viewpoints at Crich Stand.
Shortly after leaving Crich, you cross a lane leading to Hilts Quarry. This was once the route of an old railway, built over 200 years, ago to carry limestone down to the kilns at Bull Bridge. Brunton’s locomotive, in the 19th century, must have caused a lot of interest with its grasshopper legs as it towed wagons along at a speed of less than three miles an hour.
Sitting on a hilltop are the ruins of Wingfield Manor, built in the reign of King Henry VI, where Mary Queen of Scots, was once a captive. It is now in the hands of English Heritage and well worth a visit.
A meandering path across fields and past farms takes you to the edge of Crich before turning northwards to visit Crich Stand.
Crich Stand is a 60-foot memorial to the Sherwood Foresters killed in two world wars and provides a fantastic viewpoint. The quarry below is home to the National Tramway Museum.
Length: 6 miles.
Start/Finish: Crich Market Place.
Location: Turn off A6 at the bridge over the Derwent at Whatstandwell onto the B5035.
Terrain: Rolling countryside. Can be muddy in places.
1. From Crich Market Place, follow the Tramway sign and just passed the Post Office turn right down School Lane and walk to the end of the lane to a stile leading down a narrow field to an access road.
2. Cross the road to two metal gates and stiles, make sure you take the stile on the right. Turn left and go through an enclosure where the railway line used to operate. Pass through a squeezer stile in about 25 yards into a field. (Note: If this area is muddy/overgrown skirt, round it and use one of the other gaps in the hedge into the field.)
3. Turn right down the field keeping close to the hedge on your right and go through a gap on the left at the bottom. In the next field, follow the hedge on the left to a stile at the far end. Turn right onto a track and within a few yards left along Dimple Lane.
4. After a short distance turn left again up a rough lane, by the last of a small group of houses.
5. Walk up the lane and opposite the last house, take the stile on the right and climb gently up two fields to enter the bottom corner of a wood.
6. Keep to the path on the left through the wood leaving by a stile and turning sharp left to go through another stile by a gate. Turn right immediately and follow the wall that curves round the hillside to a stile.
7. Turn right to join a track that winds down to the road at Wingfield Park. Here you turn left and follow the road round to a ‘T’ junction where you turn left again.
8. Walk a short distance along the road before turning right through a stile beside the garden wall of the first house you come to on the right
9. Keep straight on up the hillside with the hedge on the your left eventually joining a cart track. Where this goes into a farmyard pass through a gate straight ahead and continue through a gateway to the right of the farm passed Wingfield Manor.
10. Descend the grassy track, which curves to the left and climbs up to the road at South Wingfield.
11. Turn left down the B5035 and just before the bridge go through a stile by a gateway on the right Follow the hedge on the left across a field to go over another stile.
12. Bear left in the next field to cross a brook and stile. Then keeping close to the hedge on the left walk up three long fields and at the top of the third field go over a stile in the top corner.
13. Angle to the left across the corner of a field and then cross two further fields using an electricity pole as a guide to reach a wall on the far side. Here you turn right and after 60 yards take the stile on your left.
14. Cross a short field aiming for a gap on the right, in the next field keep straight on close to the hedge on the left. Go through a stile on the left and keeping close to the field boundary pass Rough Farm on the right to reach a stile at the top of the hill.
15. Turn left down a farm access road, in a few yards take the stile on the right and follow the path straight on leading to the B5035. Cross the road and descend a short field track before crossing the next two fields close to the hedge on the right.
16. Half way across the next field, by a footpath sign, turn right and then immediately left to follow the hedge along to another footpath sign that transfers you back again to the other side of the fence. Now continue with the hedge on the right again before crossing a stream and walking up a short field to a farm access road.
17. Take the sign opposite ‘Crich Cross’ and walk alongside the hedge up the field. Where the hedge ends cross the field to the right and aim for the top corner in the next field to reach the B5035.
18. Turn left up the road and then right by what used to be a petrol filling station. Go through a stile and along a track into a field. Continue close to the wall behind a row of houses and the church, over an access road through a cemetery to a footpath junction.
19. Here you keep straight on through three small fields with the wall on your left and Crich Stand clearly visible to the front. On reaching the road turn right and walk carefully round to the access road to the Stand.
20. Retrace your steps, and follow the road round to the left and back to the centre of the village.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Crich Tramway Village (Tel. 01773 852565) boasts a large array of vintage trams from all over the world. Unlimited rides through a period street to stunning views over the Derwent Valley. For further information see the special feature
Wingfield Manor (Tel. 01246 857436) impressive ruins of a huge country mansion where Mary Queen of Scots was once imprisoned. It is now under the care of English Heritage. For further information website: www.english-heritage.org.uk Only roadside parking is available, in a lay-by 150 yards from the entrance to the path to Wingfield Manor.
Shipley Country Park (Tel 01773 719961) contains over 600 acres of attractive parkland with lakes, woodlands and miles of footpaths and bridleways. There is a Visitor Centre with a countryside gift shop and café.
The Black Swan (Tel 01773 852026) the building dates from the 17th century and is supposedly haunted. The hallway contains a collection of ‘Peak Practice’ pictures. Food served at lunchtime and in the evenings daily
Crich Tea Rooms and Gallery (Tel 01773 852751) situated close to the Tramway this pleasant little tearoom, gallery and gift shop, serves home cooked food, homemade soup and cakes. Open from Thursday to Sunday and Bank holidays.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
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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Crich, a town no longer, is a large sprawling village lying in a sheltered position in a hollow, on a hillside high up above the Derwent Valley.
It is a fascinating, if unusual village. It has a lighthouse, yet is situated in the middle of England, and trams still clank along in a worked-out quarry, far away from the cities they used to serve.
The famous railway engineer, George Stephenson who designed the ‘Rocket’, built the Crich Mineral Railway in 1837, to carry limestone from Cliff Quarry to a battery of limekilns at Ambergate.
It was a distance of about two and a half miles. For the major part of the route from the quarry, the line ran along the ridge, before descending ‘The Steep’ to reach its destination.
A weighbridge and braking scheme operated the system, when as trucks loaded with limestone descended, empty trucks at the other end of the cable ascended.
When the quarry was exhausted, it was converted into a tramway museum. Now known as Crich Tramway Village, it has been an important tourist attraction in Derbyshire for over 40 years.
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