A glorious walk with magnificent views and a possible visit to the Heights of Abraham. Climbing up from Matlock the walk soon reaches the unusually designed St John’s Chapel, commissioned as a private chapel by a local landowner after a row with the Rector of Matlock. After a further climb through woodland and open fields the Victoria Prospect Tower is seen on the left.
The path goes past the side entrance of the Heights of Abraham, where refreshments may be obtained. If you have time it is well worth paying the entrance fee to enjoy to the full the attractions of this unique site, including a cable car ride.
The hillside hereabouts is riddled with mine shafts, a reminder of the days when lead mining prospered in this area. After passing through an attractive area of woodland above Matlock Bath the route descends to the ancient lead mining village of Bonsall. The return journey follows the Limestone Way and after a steady climb provides wonderful views over Matlock as it gradually descends to the start of the walk.
Start/finish: Car park on the west side of Matlock Bridge over the River Derwent.
Location: On the A6 Derby to Buxton road.
Terrain: Hilly and can be wet and slippery underfoot.
1. Return to the A6 and turn sharp right towards Snitterton. After passing the bank premises go left to follow the Limestone Way sign up a flight of steps into a field.
2. Part way up the field at a signpost take the path to the left signed ‘Derwent Valley Walk’ and go through a stile and across a short field.
3. Head for the top right hand corner of the next field and go over two stiles to follow the path alongside the wall on the left.
4. The path bends first right and then left before returning to the side of the wall as it leads down to St John’s Road.
5. Continue up the road past St John’s Chapel, turning sharp right by the entrance to Cliffe House up a narrow tree lined path beside a high wall.
6. The path bends to the left emerging from the trees in a field by Masson Farm and continues across the field and over a stile before following a signed path uphill over a further stile along an obvious path that begins to angle more sharply to the left.
7. On reaching a side entrance to the Heights of Abraham walk by the wall for a few yards to take a signed path to the left.
8. Cross over a service road following the path through thick woodland turning right on leaving the wood past Ember Farm to walk down the lane into Bonsall.
9. Turn right and within a few yards go through the lych gate and keep left through the churchyard before descending a flight of steps down to the road through the village.
10. Go to the left down the road for a few yards and then turn right up The Dale. In about 100 yards take the path to the right leading up the hillside. At the top turn left down the short slope to the Barley Mow and then retrace your steps and go to the left down a track by the first house.
11. Cross two fields angling to the left to reach the far corner in the second field where you turn right over two stiles to follow a surfaced path (re-surfaced by German prisoners of war in the 1940s) down to the road through the village by ‘The Cross’.
12. Go over the road to the starting point of the Limestone Way, which is clearly signed, and follow the walk up an enclosed path which bends sharply to the left and then right eventually arriving at a ’T’ junction of paths where you head uphill.
13. Continue straight on at a stile by a gate, but at the next gate take the stile on the right and angle across an open field to the left to walk alongside the wall opposite to a stile into a lane.
14. Cross the lane and walk a short distance to a stile on the right. After crossing the stile keep close to the wall on the left drop downhill to go through a swing gate into a lane.
15. Turn right up the lane and after 30 yards go over a stile on the left to another stile in the bottom left hand corner, through a small field and over the farm lane.
16. Walk down the next field close to the boundary going to the left at a waymarker and then straight on along a clear path.
17. With Masson Mount House on the left, go through a small field and some bushes to cross a private road taking the stile opposite down the field to rejoin the path used at the beginning of the walk and return to the start.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
The Heights of Abraham: (Tel. 01629 582365) take a spectacular journey by cable car to explore two show caverns, follow woodland trails.
Enjoy the magnificent view from the Treetops café and restaurant. Children’s play area. For further information website: www.heights-of-abraham.co.uk
Gulliver’s Kingdom: (Tel. 01925 444888) popular theme park for younger children in a glorious setting. Telephone for more information.
Peak Rail: (Tel. 01629 580381) preserved railway operating steam trips from Matlock Riverside Station to Rowsley South throughout the year. Please ring for details.
Barley Mow, Bonsall (Tel. 01629 825685) this friendly little pub is well worth going out of the way to visit. It is full of interest and provides excellent food at reasonable cost.
Open all day at weekends but only in the evenings during the week. Meals available in the evenings during the week and at lunch time and in the evenings at weekends.
Regent House Tea Rooms (Tel.01629 583660) stock a selection of speciality teas and coffees and provide a good range of hot and cold meals in pleasant surroundings. Open seven days a week.
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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Scenically Matlock, or ‘The Matlocks’ as they should more correctly be called, is the most attractive town in Derbyshire.
Much of it lies in a deep gorge with dramatic scenery in all directions, along which rushes the busy A6 with the River Derwent never far away. The railway is left to tunnel through the sheer limestone cliffs.
There are caves to explore and lovely riverside walks to enjoy, but the highlight of the year is the Venetian Nights illuminations, when decorated boats amid a myriad of bright lights ply their way slowly up and down the river.
The development of Matlock owed much to the fact that it was on the main railway line between London and Manchester.
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