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 Matlock,  Derbyshire, 27th, October, 2019

'A' Walk - Distance - 11 miles.       Leader - Martin Vincent.      Grade - Moderate.     Ascent -1410 feet.

This is a  Circular  walk around Matlock with about 1400 feet of ascent.

We start with a steady climb of 700 ft along ‘The Limestone Way’.  The Limestone Way is 74 Km long and runs through the White Peak of the Peak District National Park, from Castleton, south to Rocester over the county boundary into Staffordshire.

BonsallBonsallWe continue onwards and upwards past Masson Lees Farm and then steeply down into Bonsall for an early coffee stop (2 miles).  This picturesque village has a 13th Century church (St.Jame's), mentioned in the Domesday Book.

From here it’s over the moors, dotted with small hillocks and spoil heaps from the lead mining industry, to the interesting village of Winster.

Winster Market House - was the first placeNot looking very good!Not looking very good! in Derbyshire to be acquired by the National Trust in 1906, at a cost of £50. Generally believed to have been erected during the sixteenth century it now provides information about Winster and the Peak District.

We continue eastwards along Clough Lane into Darley Bridge and then onwards towards Churchtown. At this point, subject to the state of the leader's knee, we have the option of catching the 14.49 train back into Matlock, but the £4.50 fare will probably rule this out !!!   Alternatively, we can walk the 2.5 miles back into Matlock alongside the Peak Railway.

No shortage of pubs and cafés in town.

 'B' Walk - Distance - 8  miles.     Leader - Clive Hickman.       Grade - Moderate Plus.     Ascent - 1400 feet.

As Matlock is nestled in a steep sided valley it’ll come as no surprise that walking routes inevitably entail some lengthy uphill sections. This walk is no exception, hence its grade of ‘Moderate Plus.’  However, our route will be anti-clockwise with a much less demanding track profile, on mostly well-defined grassy tracks, and once we’ve gained height will reveal really wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding area.         

MatlockMatlockWe begin by heading north west on the Heritage Way alongside the River Derwent, upstream on mostly level ground with the occasional rain-affected muddy section.  Leaving the river at Oaker we maintain our direction, downhill now to Crossgreen, a charming hamlet below Darley Dale, before the first ascent of the day, south and west to the quaint village of Wensley.

The ascent continues south east now, on generally better ground of grassy tracks, eventually emerging at the minor road at Brightgate where the way ahead is now across level fields of good ground with boundaries accessed through ‘squeeze through’ rather than step-over or ladder stiles, with delightful hillside views all around.

From the sleepy hamlet of Upper Town we continue east, sharply downhill to the delightful village of Bonsall, which, like Matlock, nestles in a steep sided valley but on a much smaller scale.  Bonsall applied for a market charter in the 17th century and although this was refused, the village elders defiantly erected an impressive market cross right outside the Barley Mow public House, over two hundred years old, where the village historical legacy of hen racing is literally kept alive in August every year, complemented by the ‘Chickenfoot’ micro-brewery in the pub car park.

Turning north, sharply uphill, we leave Bonsall behind to return directly to Matlock on the Limestone Way, along grassy tracks, north east and downhill now, passing Masson Lees Farm and then Greenhills Farm  taking us straight back to the coach and welcome refreshment.

This walk will reward your efforts with glorious scenery sprinkled with picture-post-card hamlets and villages radiating a real and refreshing sense of time stood still.  Enjoy the day.     Clive.

  'C' Walk - Distance - 5.3 miles.    Leaders - Mavis & Richard.     Grade - Easy.       Ascent - 450 feet.

After refreshments only a short distance from where we will be parking, we head north westwards along The Derwent Valley Heritage Trail which follows the course of the river into Darley Bridge.  This is an easy flat section of the walk but there are Darley Dale BridgeDarley Dale Bridgeawkward tree roots along the way which could cause problems for the unwary!   Also a few wet sections along the path nearer to the river.

The 55 miles long Heritage Trail which was opened in 2003, was Derbyshire's first long-distance path. It starts on the banks of Ladybower Reservoir and follows The River Derwent through The Peak District National Park, until it meets the River Trent near Shardlow.

We arrive at Darley Bridge, locally referred to as' Darley', where we cross over the impressive, relatively modern bridge, into the village. This was originally a much used 'pack horse' bridge which is first referred to in records dating back to the early Sixteenth Century.

The paths now become much less predictable with a few ascents and Oaker villageOaker villagedescents as we approach a lovely elevated area to the north west of the small hamlet of Oaker, or Oker, to the locals, which is hidden away from the busier valley below.  We have spectacular views from a vantage point on our route where we will also take our lunch break.

After lunch it's thankfully downwards along quite lanes as we make our way towards Ashton Farm which leads back on to the Heritage Way and Matlock.

This is a relatively easy walk with manageable ascents along quiet paths, tracks and lanes.  The walk is approximately 5.3 miles long.  We hope you will enjoy our walk.

Richard & Mavis .... or ..... Mavis & Richard !!

 Forthcoming Walks ..... 2019 ...          November 10th - Otley, North Yorkshire

                                                                  November 24th - Chatsworth, Derbyshire

                                                                  December 8th - Yorkshire Sculpture Park, South Yorkshire