A medieval hermit’s cave, an unusual rock formation known as Robin Hood’s Stride and a stone circle wait on this popular walk from the old lead mining village of Elton.
When you walk down Dudwood Lane it is worth recollecting that this route was probably used by travellers long before the Romans came. It follows the line of the ancient Portway, which ran the length of the county.
As you begin to climb, the curious mass of rocks with twin pinnacles known as Robin Hood’s Stride are on your left. It is often referred to as Mock Beggar’s Hall, because the outline of the rocks at a distance resembles a large house with twin turrets. On the right are Cratcliffe Rocks and carved into a small cave, where a hermit used to live, is a crucifix.
A short distance further on, facing Harthill Moor Farm across the moor, are four great standing stones, all that is left of a circle of eleven. The others have disappeared for use as gateposts and stone wall construction.
The walk continues through woods and farmland and, as you return, provides good views of the exposed position in which Elton is situated.
Length: 4 miles.
Start/Finish: Elton Church.
Location: Off B5056 Ashbourne to Bakewell road.
Terrain: Only gentle gradients. Possible muddy patches.
1. Walk from the church along the main street towards the B5056 and turn left at a stile just beyond the edge of the village, to cross the corner of a field and a farm access road.
2. Continue to angle to the left as you cross the next field, to reach a stile into Dudwood Lane.
3. Walk down to the bottom of the lane, and cross over the stile opposite and walk up the drive towards Cratcliffe Cottage, bearing left by a wall after going through an open gateway.
4. Go through the cutting between Robin Hood’s Stride and an area of woodland on the right. To make a detour to visit the Hermit’s Cave turn right at the footpath sign and then return to the same point to continue the walk.
5. Just before reaching a five bar gate take the stile on the left and then within a few yards go over another stile on the right.
6. Cross two small fields diagonally to the left to reach a quiet country road opposite Harthill Moor Farm.
7. Turn right down the road and, as it begins to drop more steeply, take the footpath on the left into a wood.
8. Leave the wood across a corner of a field to a gate stile on the right, turn sharp left and follow a cow track until its begins to bear left, where you keep straight on to a wall stile in front of you.
9. Continue climbing uphill to walk alongside Tomlinson Wood, until you reach a finger post sign directing you to the right over a stile and straight up a long field to reach the access road to Cliff Farm.
10. Cross the stile opposite on the far side of the access road and angle slightly to the left to a stile, and follow a clear path down the hill to reach a road.
11. Go straight across the road to a squeezer stile to follow a footpath sign marked ‘Elton’. Aim a little to the right at first along a clear path, that straightens out on its way to the bottom of the valley.
12. The path then climbs up the other side of the valley with a thorn hedge on the left, before turning left at the top of the field, and going through a stile and turning right back to Elton Church.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Magpie Lead Mine (Tel. 01629 583834) leased to the Peak District Mines Society, the surface remains are one of the best examples in Britain of a 19th century lead mine with impressive mine buildings and winding gear. Ring for opening details.
Arbor Low Stone Circle, is a huge stone circle surrounded by a grassy bank and a ditch near to Youlgreave. No one knows if the stones originally stood upright.
The Old Market Hall at Winster dates back to the 17th century when the village was granted the right to hold a market. It became the first National Trust property in Derbyshire and the Peak District in 1906 and it is now used as an exhibition and information centre. For further information website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
The Miners Standard (Tel. 01629 650279) 17th century oak beamed pub full of interest and character. The name is derived from the dish that local lead miners used for measuring ore – the miners standard! A small sign inside proclaims ‘pub of the year 1653’, the year that it was built. There is beer garden and children’s play area. The restaurant is being refurbished. Bar snacks are available daily at lunchtime throughout the year, also in the evenings every day in summer, but check for availability in winter.
Elton Tea Rooms (Tel. 01629 650217) are a popular haunt for cyclists and ramblers. Full of character with old advertising signs adorning the walls, a grandfather clock in the corner and a National Cash Register to record sales. A wide range of healthy homemade meals and snacks are available. Open Sundays only, please check for details.
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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Elton is an unspoilt village, very popular with walkers and cyclists, who enjoy the beautiful countryside. There are also a few surprises nearby with a hermit’s cave and a very strange rock formation where Druids may once have worshipped.
Almost every reference you read about Elton, tells you at an early stage that it is a cold place. This might seem a little unfair for somewhere close to the southern edge of the Peak District.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.