MIDDLETON BY WIRKSWORTH WALK
Splendid views and fascinating places to visit, this walk reveals much of the heritage of the area and the industrial landscape.
After the climb up over Middleton Moor, the former High Peak Railway Station at Middleton is reached. The Engine House contains a beam engine once used to raise and lower waggons up the incline. The shop is well worth investigation and you can hire a bicycle here for exploration of the trail.
The trail descends steadily before levelling out and passing the National Stone Centre and then Steeple Grange Light Railway to Black Rocks. The latter has been a tourist destination for hundreds of years as revealed by some of the graffiti chiselled into the rock.
There are two waymarked trails around Black Rocks that start at the gate from the car park, which you can easily follow if you have time. Some of the views are outstanding, none more so than from the trig point on Barrel Edge.
The return journey to Middleton takes you through an area where lead mining once flourished and past a nature reserve.
Length: 3.5 miles with a possible extension at Black Rocks.
Start/Finish: Upper part of Main Street in Middleton, or at Middleton Top (Point 5).
Location: On the 5023 that links Wirksworth and the A5012, which runs from Cromford to Newhaven.
Terrain: A short steep climb onto Middleton Moor is followed by an easy descent of the High Peak Trail. A section of the return journey is through a former lead mining area, where it is dangerous to stray from the path.
1. Walk down the main street and opposite Chapel Street turn right to climb steeply up Sandy Hill for 50 yards, until, where the path levels out, you turn sharp right, in front of a house named ‘Hillcrest’.
2. Continue along the tarmac access road for a few yards and carry straight on when it turns into a rough track.
3. On reaching a metal gate turn left as indicated by a yellow waymarker. Follow an obvious path up the hillside with the fence on your right.
4. At a ‘T’ junction go left, then right in about 50 yards past an old quarry, at the end of which you turn left at a stile into a moorland field.
5. Continue straight on along a discernable path that soon leads you down to Middleton Top, where you turn left and join the High Peak Trail.
6. Follow the trail for about one and a half miles, crossing the Wirksworth to Cromford road and another minor road before leaving at the top end of Black Rocks Car Park (at this point you will see an information board on the right hand side of the trail giving details of walks round Black Rocks).
7. Continue straight through the car park and on reaching the exit, turn left along the road for 20 yards before crossing a grassy area to a stile in the left hand corner.
8. Walk down the road towards Cromford for a few yards, before crossing and entering the yard of a wholesaler.
9. Go across the yard to join a rough cart track on the opposite side that leads into and across a field to a stile, then cross a track and a further stile.
10. Continue forward along a discernable path that winds up the field to a kissing gate stile, from where Middleton can be seen in the distance.
11. In the next field keep close to the fence on the left, and go through a stile in the corner of the field by a Nature Reserve Information Board.
12. Do not take the path through Middleton Sports Field, but cross a rough track and turn right along the side of the fence for a few yards. The path soon swings to the left to reach a stile between high bushes.
13. Follow a distinct path down a narrow field to a stile at the bottom. Continue across the next field with the fence close on your left, to join a track that soon widens out and bends to the right.
14. At the end of the track, turn left into Chapel Street and then within 20 yards right into the main street and the start of the walk.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE AREA
The National Stone Centre (Tel. 01629 824833) tells the story of stone, its geological and industrial history. The exhibition inside shows how advanced technology makes use of stone in an incredible number of ways. Outside the visitor centre, the quarry trail takes you back over three hundred million years. Open all year seven days a week.
Steeple Grange Light Railway (Tel. 01246 205542 during running times 07769 802587) is an 18 inch gauge line built on the trackbed of the CHPR now the High Peak Trail. It provides a scenic ride of approximately 20 minutes. The surrounding area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Please telephone for details.
Middleton Top (Tel. 01629 823204) the visitor centre tells the story of the Cromford and High Peak Railway and provides information, maps, walk leaflets, books, gifts and refreshments. There is a car park, toilets, cycle hire centre, engine house and picnic site. For full opening details please ring or visit website.
Middleton Top Visitor Centre (Tel. 01629 823204) light refreshments available, picnic lawn outside and picnic tables located at convenient points on the High Peak Trail. The centre is open at weekends during the winter and then daily from14 April to 16 September. Also open for half term – ring for details.
Carsington Water Tea Rooms (Tel. 01629 540363) there is a restaurant and tea rooms on the first floor of the visitor centre. There is also an outdoor food facility in the Courtyard. Open daily all year.
The Rising Sun, Middleton (Tel. 01629 822420) walkers and cyclists are very welcome at this popular pub within easy reach of the High Peak Trail. Open daily. Meals served at lunchtime throughout the year and in the evenings apart from Thursdays and Sundays (meals are served on Sunday evenings in the summer). There is a beer garden and a secure lock up for cycles. Boules played.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
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A rugged village full of character, once a lead-mining stronghold which turned to quarrying towards the end of the nineteenth century.
It is bigger than it first appears, with streets leading off the main street to houses that seem to hide away in ‘nooks and crannies’ on the steeply rising hillside. The views at the top of Middleton over the Via Gellia are outstanding and were described by D H Lawrence, who lived in the village for a short time, and wrote: ‘From the height it is very beautiful’.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.