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The discovery of Dale Abbey in its peaceful and secluded setting comes as a complete surprise to most visitors, close as it is to a densely populated area. So too will this delightful and relaxing walk.

A short diversion near the start of the walk to visit the Hermit’s Cave will be well rewarded. In springtime the flora of the wood is covered with a carpet of blue anemones and yellow archangel.

Soon after leaving the village behind and crossing the A6096 the walk leads down the drive to Locko Park. One of Derbyshire’s lesser known houses, it was built in the late 1720s and has been the ancestral home of the Drury–Lowe family since 1747. In August each year it hosts the Novice and Intermediate Horse Trial Championships of Great Britain, in which Princess Anne and many other well known riders have participated.

The remainder of the walk takes you through pleasant undulating farming countryside where a wide variety of hedgerows provide homes for wild life. 



Length: 5 miles.

Start/finish: Park in the main village street.

Location: Off the A6096 Spondon to Ilkeston road.

Terrain: Easy walking but can be rather muddy in places.



1.    Go down the main street bearing left by a small green to follow a winding lane past the church.

2.    It is worth taking a detour at this point by following the path round to the left leading into Hermit’s Wood, where after a short distance The Hermit’s Cave can be visited by taking a right turn.

3.   Retrace your steps back to the farm by the church and follow the path to the left, signed ‘Bridleway– Dunnshill’.

4.    Continue along the path into a wood, all the time keeping close to the hedge on the right.

5.    On leaving the wood the path continues close to the hedge before crossing a stile to the right alongside a gate, a few yards past Columbine Farm.

6.    Go down the farm lane until it swings to the right just after a cattle grid where you follow the path to the left through bushes to the road.

7.    Cross the road and ascend the grass bank to follow the bridleway through Locko Park.

8.    On coming to a ‘T’ junction of roads, with the lake on the left, turn sharp right through a kissing gate and aiming for close to the left hand side of the wood opposite, cross the field to a stile into the wood.

9.    Follow a fenced path through the wood into a field, walk straight across the field to go over a stile in the top corner.

10.   Bearing slightly to the right cross the field and go over a stile in the far corner, and do the same in the next field which takes you to the opposite side of the fence.

11.   Keeping close to the fence on your left walk to the corner of the field and go through the farm gateway and immediately turn right through a hand gate to continue your walk on the other side of the hedge of the field you have just left.

12.   Keeping the hedge on your right, continue through two fields before bending to the left to cross a stile on the right in about 40 yards and then over another stile to bring you back to the hedge you had been following.

13.   The path soon becomes a distinct track passing Hollies Farm on the right with farm buildings on the left down a tarmac drive to the main road.

14.   Go left for 100 yards and then right at a footpath sign and walk down the field to join a cart track, continuing through a stile by a gate with a hedge on the left to a stile.

15.   Cross the next field to a stile in the bottom right hand corner and then continue along the bank side to a stile on the right before descending to a lane leading back to the start of the walk.


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The Bottle Kiln (Tel 0115 9329442) an art gallery, craft and gift shops, tea rooms and a beautiful Japanese Garden await at this restored site at West Hallam. Open all day Tuesday to Sunday throughout the year.

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 cafe.

Erewash Museum (Tel 01159 071141) at Ilkeston, containing artefacts that cover a period of over 10,000 years are displayed in this splendid little museum. Displays are changed regularly and every effort is made to ensure children as well as adults enjoy their visit. Please telephone for details or visit website.


The Carpenters Arms (Tel. 0115 9325277) an attractive ivy clad pub at the top of the village the front dating back to 1880, but other parts are nearly another 200 years older. Food is available lunch time and evening. Ample seating outside and a well equipped children’s play area.

The Bottle Kiln Cafe (Tel 0115 9329442) an art gallery, craft and gift shops, tea rooms and a beautiful Japanese Garden await at this restored site at West Hallam. Open all day Tuesday to Sunday throughout the 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:

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A more peaceful and pleasant spot than Dale Abbey is hard to find in the whole of Derbyshire.

The story of Dale Abbey, or Depedale as it was originally known, begins when a Derby baker had a dream -- the Virgin Mary appeared and told him to go to Depedale, to live a life of solitude and prayer. At that time it was a wild and marshy place and the hermit carved out a home and chapel in a sandstone cliff.

Hermit’s Wood is an ancient woodland and probably formed part of the original forest that once covered this area. It contains many fine beech and oak trees. Abundant wildlife and over 60 species of flowering plants have been recorded.

The Hermit’s Cave is now designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and it is worth taking a good look at the view from this point. On the hill to the north can be seen the Cat and Fiddle Windmill, the only one of its kind left in Derbyshire.


Dale Abbey Feature


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