This glorious walk takes you along picturesque dales, through woodland and lovely open countryside. The infamous Litton Mill and Cressbrook Mill, both now converted for residential purposes, are passed in the riverside stretch of the walk.
It was at Litton Mill where Robert Blincoe arrived as a child from a London poorhouse. He later wrote a harrowing tale of the cruelty and inhuman treatment meted out to the mill workers, many of whom never saw their families again.
Water-cum-Jolly Dale that links Millers Dale and Monsal Dale is one of the most attractive short dales in the country. Here the river begins to widen to form a large millpond, which the path skirts round under impressive overhanging cliffs.
William Newton, probably better known as the Minstrel of the Peak, was the manager of the Cressbrook Mill and showed much greater compassion for his workers than at Litton. He built a school and a row of lattice-windowed cottages that look down on the mill.
The route then climbs up a quiet country road and through woodland, before crossing a series of undulating fields back to Litton.
Length: 4.5 miles.
Start/Finish: The centre of Litton Village near The Green.
Location: One mile south of the A623 Baslow to Chapel-en-le-Frith road, turn left after passing through Tideswell. Alternatively approach through Millerís Dale and turn right on the outskirts of Tideswell.
Terrain: Mainly easy with a long steady climb up from Cressbrook Mill, followed by a steep climb out of the woods and a sometimes slippery walk along the edge of the wood. Water-cum-Jolly Dale can become impassable due to flooding after heavy rainfall.
1. Walk up the main street from The Green, and take the first right turn, down a road leading to Cressbrook.
2. Continue down the road that bends first to the right and then the left. After about half a mile a cemetery is passed on the right.
3. Turn right at the sign for Littonslack by a row of tall dwellings called New Houses and follow the narrow lane down until it bends sharply to the right. Here you cross the stile straight in front of you.
4. Keep to the left, close to the fence and walk down a grass track towards a chimney you can see in the distance.
5. Close to the chimney, the track loops round the hillside and then descends to a metal gate. Go through the gate, down a narrow track, turn left at the bottom.
6. Walk through Litton Mill Yard, and follow the path by the river through Water-cum-Jolly Dale.
7. After crossing a wooden footbridge, turn left immediately to pass Cressbrook Mill, now converted into fashionable apartments, on your right.
8. Turn left at the road and then right at a fork in the road, signed for Cressbrook and Litton.
9. Continue climbing up the hill until, where the road turns sharply to the left, you carry straight on along a track into a wood.
10. Just before coming to a clearing in the wood, where a solitary gatepost is clearly visible, take the path to the left, which leads to a long winding flight of steps that climb steeply up to the edge of the wood.
11. Follow the path along to the right, keeping just inside the wood, before eventually crossing a stile on the left and angling across the corner of the field to another stile on the right.
12. Cross the next field diagonally and continue over a series of fields and a farm track, maintaining the same direction along an obvious path, aiming towards a barn in the distance.
13. As the land rises, the angle of your walk alters to straight ahead, with the barn you have been aiming for, still two fields away on the left.
14. At the top of the field, turn left onto a farm track and within a few yards, go to the right along the road you used earlier that takes you back to the start of the walk.
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PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Freshfields Donkey Village (Tel. 01298 79775) is off the A623 close to Peak Forest village. Donkeys in the herd have their own distinctive colours and range in size from Highland donkeys to Sicilian Miniatures which, when fully grown, are only three foot tall. Turn off A623 in Peak Forest village, towards Smalldale and Wormhill. Approximately 800 yards along the road is the Trust sign. Follow the lane (narrow with passing places) to the very top (about 1 mile) where the lane turns right to the farm. Souvenir shop, free parking and tea gardens. Open daily 10.30-4.30pm. Winter opening dependent on weather.
Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club (Tel 01298 871270) at Great Hucklow is a membersí club, but also offers trial flights for visitors. There is a large car park where visitors can sit, picnic and watch the gliders taking off and landing. Open all year (closed Mondays September to April). Call for further details.
Bookstore Trading Post (Tel. 01298 71017) at Brierlow Bar, three miles south-east of Buxton on the A515. Massive bookstore selling a wide range of books, CDís, cards and gifts at bargain prices. Refreshments available. Large car park. Open daily 9.30-5.30.
The Red Lion (Tel. 01298 871458) is a 17th century pub with a cosy and relaxing feel. Log fires burn merrily away in the winter beneath beamed ceilings. Open Monday to Thursday lunchtimes and evenings; Friday to Sunday open all day. A good selection of meals served lunchtimes and evenings (not Sunday evenings).
Litton Village Shop and Post Office (Tel. 01298 872881) serves hot drinks, homemade cake and snacks all at very reasonable prices. There is limited seating inside. Customers can sit outside and enjoy the view across the Green. The shop is open seven days a week 8.30am-11.30am, and 2pm-6pm Monday to Friday. Weekends 10am-4pm.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
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There is a sense of spaciousness about Litton; a wide grass verge runs down the side of the street of this attractive upland village, situated almost 1,000 feet above sea level. An old world village pub and a small triangular green complete with ancient wooden stocks makes up the idyllic picture.
The houses are of good quality, mainly built in the 18th century.
A combined school, church and library was built in 1865, on a rather grand scale in the centre of the village by Canon Andrew, Vicar of Tideswell. Sixty-four years later a new church was built on the outskirts of the village, and now only the school remains in the premises.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.