Dovedale Stepping Stones

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Splendid views and regular reminders of the terrible hardships endured by the neighbouring village of Eyam, make this a very special walk.


The first part of the walk leads you down to the River Derwent for a short stroll along the riverbank, before turning west at Froggatt Bridge and climbing steadily up towards Eyam.


After walking through an area of woodland the path begins to descend, and the Riley Graves are passed. Enclosed by a protective stone wall in the middle of a field, seven members of the Hancock family are buried. All of them died from the plague within a week of one another and were buried by the mother, the sole survivor.


On reaching Eyam, the Lydgate Graves provide another reminder of the horrific death toll inflicted by the plague.


Soon after leaving Eyam, the walk crosses an area of moorland with excellent views of Stoney Middleton lying in the valley below. At this point, look out for the Boundary Stone, where during the plague the people of Eyam collected food left by the villagers from Stoney Middleton. Coins soaked in vinegar were placed in the holes in the stone, in payment.    



Length:   4.25 miles.


Start/finish:   Lay by on A623 on the western side of the village.


Location:   On A623 Baslow to Chapel en le Frith road.


Terrain:   Long steady climb up from the River Derwent and a short steep descent from Eyam.



1.      Walk back into the village from the car park passing behind the former Toll House, now a fish and chip shop, along The Nook turning to the left in front of the church and then within a few yards right.


2.      Soon after passing the Roman Baths, where the road bends to the left, go through a gate stile and continue straight ahead. After a short distance angle towards a gap on the left, to reach a track that climbs up between thorn bushes.


3.      On emerging in an open field, keep close to the hedge on the left and after going over a wall stile, cross the next diagonally, to the left hand side of Knouchley Farm. Walk round the farm buildings and follow the drive down to the main road.


4.      Cross the road to the stile opposite and walk down the field, keeping close to the wall on your left, to a stile close to the bottom corner.


5.      Angle to the left across the next field as it descends gently to the River Derwent.


6.      Continue along the riverbank to Froggatt Bridge, where you turn left and follow the road up to the ‘T’ junction at the top.


7.      Go over the stile opposite and walk straight up a long field. In the next field, keep close to the wall on the right to reach a road.


8.      Cross the road to the left and go through the stile opposite, and walk straight up the field keeping close to the wall.


9.      After going over a stile in the top corner of the field the walk continues up a rough track through woodland before turning left at a ‘T’ junction of tracks.


10.  The track soon joins a lane leading from Top Riley Farm, passing the ‘Riley Graves’ on the way down to the outskirts of Eyam.


11.  Turn right at the bottom of the lane into the village, and just after passing Eyam Tearooms, turn sharp left up Lydgate.


12.  Where the road forks left to Stoney Middleton, your route is straight on to the right of a cottage and along a field track.


13.  The track soon gives way to a narrow walled path leading to a large moorland field. Keep to the right of a group of trees as the path descends quite steeply to a lane back into Stoney Middleton.


14.  Turn right along the lane and then right again to reach the A623 through Stoney Middleton, from where you can retrace your steps back to the start of the walk.




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Eyam Museum (Tel 01433 631371) tells the dramatic story of the bubonic plague outbreak that so decimated the inhabitants of the village in 1665/6. Local geology, archaeology and social and industrial development are all covered in this excellent little museum. Please telephone for details or visit website.


Padley Chapel an early 14th century gatehouse is all that remains of Padley Manor House, the home of two Roman Catholic families who were persecuted. In 1588, two priests from here were executed for their beliefs.


Monsal Head a famous Derbyshire beauty spot where Monsal Dale viaduct is recognised as a triumph of Victorian engineering, but came in for strong criticism when it was built. John Ruskin the poet and conservationist wrote, ‘The valley is gone - and now every fool in Buxton can be in Bakewell in half an hour and every fool at Bakewell in Buxton’.





The Moon Inn (Tel 01433 630203) originally called ‘The Old Moon,’ before it was moved across the road to its present site, when it was called ‘The New Moon’ before adopting its present name. In coaching days, the ‘old’ pub was the principal posting station between Manchester and Sheffield where horses were changed. Food available lunchtime and evenings. Beer garden at rear.


The Lover’s Leap Café (Tel 01433 630300) named after the limestone cliff that overhangs Middleton Dale, where the café stands. It acquired its name after an incident in 1762, when a young woman by the name of Hannah Baddaley, attempted to commit suicide by throwing herself over the cliff top. The board outside the café tells the story. The café is open Friday and Saturday 8-5.30pm, Sunday 9-6pm and Bank Holidays 9-6pm. Bistro open Wednesday-Saturday 7-12pm.



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Anyone describing Stoney Middleton as a quiet and peaceful place is likely to attract strange looks and the expectation that men in white coats will soon arrive to take them away, from those people who have only driven through the village. For those that have taken the time to explore the back streets of this fascinating old village a different view will prevail.


the houses cling to the hillside where any space can be found. On the western side of the village, the cliffs rise almost vertically and this is where aspiring mountaineers come to test their skills. Further to the east, the land begins to flatten out a little, but Stoney Middleton must have one of the steepest High Streets in the country.


Stoney Middleton Feature



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