After leaving the village the walk descends gently to Beresford Dale. The River Dove meanders slowly through a beautiful wooded dale, over a succession of tiny weirs. Along this stretch of the river is the Pike Pool, named after the pinnacle of limestone rock rising from the water, where Charles Cotton and Izaak Walton used to fish.
Once across the water meadow, Wolfscote Dale is entered, which becomes progressively more spectacular, as you walk, with the sides of the dale rising almost vertically. Biggin Dale, in stark contrast, is dry except in wet weather.
Wild flowers grow in profusion during the summer in the dale, attracting large numbers of butterflies and other insects. Part of the dale is designated as a National Nature Reserve, under the care of English Nature. The return journey is mainly along walled tracks with excellent views of the surrounding countryside as Hartington is approached.
Length: 6 miles.
Start/finish: Hartington Village Car Park.
Location: On the B5054 about two miles to the west of the A515 Ashbourne to Buxton road.
Terrain: Mostly flat, with one steady climb through a deeply rutted rock strewn area.
1. Cross the road from the car park and head for the public toilets. Go up the steps on the left of the toilet and through the gate, turn right to follow the surfaced path across the field.
2. Go over two stiles, on either side of a stony lane, and along a well trodden path through two further fields.
3. On entering the next field, aim to the left of a small tree, the path then drops gently down to a stile into an area of woodland alongside the River Dove.
4. Follow the track through the wood, crossing a bridge to the other side of the river, just ahead is the Pike Pool and to the right the door leading to the fishing lodge.
5. Continue your walk along the riverside before crossing the next bridge, and walking straight across the water meadow to the stile in the far corner near to the river.
6. Cross two stiles and with the river on the right start your walk down Wolfscote Dale.
7. Continue along the side of the river before turning left, as a wall crosses your path, into a side valley. This is Biggin Dale, it is normally a dry valley except after very heavy rainfall.
8. Keeping the wall on your right walk up the rough stony path, eventually going through a gate into a National Nature Reserve looked after by English Nature.
9. Now with the wall on the left, continue until a ‘Bridleway to Hartington’ sign is reached by a dew pond where you turn left as indicated by the sign.
10. After about 200 yards go left by a sign to ascend a short slope to a stile leading onto a narrow walled track which gradually widens as the walk continues.
11. On reaching a triangle of grass where a number of lanes meet, carry straight on for 200 yards before taking a wall stile on the right and angling across two fields. At the top right hand corner of the second field continue along a walled track.
12. The track gently loses height before arriving at a road opposite to Hartington Hall. Turn left towards the village and at the bottom of the hill, follow the road round to the left to the starting point of the walk.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Manifold Valley Visitor Centre (Tel. 01298 84679) housed in the old Hulme End Station, where information displays outline the history of the railway, the industries and local community. Precise opening dates for 2004 are not currently available. Leek Tourist Information Office (Tel. 01538 483741) will be able to supply further details.
Thor’s Cave rises 350 feet above the river in the Manifold Valley, its 60 feet entrance is imposing but the cave inside is comparatively small. The railway track that once ran through the valley has been converted for the use of walkers and cyclists.
Longnor Craft Centre (Tel. 01298 83587) the home of Fox Country Furniture. Apart from furniture, exhibits of the work of local craftspeople and artists are also displayed. The café is open seven days a week from mid-February selling home baked produce. Weekends only from late December.
The Devonshire Arms (Tel. 01298 84232) you can still see the blocked up archway used for horse drawn carriages when it was a coaching inn. Today it is a popular family pub with meals available at lunchtime and in the evening. A very pleasant place to sit outside and watch the world go by.
Beresford Tea Rooms (Tel. 01298 84418) Open seven days a week from Easter, this busy little café provides a good selection of light meals and teas. It also houses the village Post Office.
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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The picturesque village of Hartington with its spacious market place, village green, its delightful duck pond and limestone houses, which sparkle in the bright sunlight, make it one of the major tourist centres in the Peak.
Hartington’s main industry apart from tourism is cheese making. The cheese factory, opened in the 1870s, is the only survivor of seven that at one time operated in the area.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.