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 Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Sunday 22nd May, 2022

'A' Walk. Leader- Alan Taylor. Distance - 11.2 miles. Ascent - 1960 feet. Grade - moderate+.

Summary: Lovely rolling landscapes, a distinctive shaped hill giving it a mountainous feel, more rolling landscapes and a perambulation through a 350mtr long tunnel – that is basically what is in store for the lucky few today.

The walk in a nutshell…… After leaving the coach near the Ashbourne Leisure Centre we start the walk on an ‘up’ as we climb a lengthy, steep series of steps up a passageway that will get us away from the town and into the lovely, open countryside.

Not for the only time today, we head towards Mapleton but, just as we get to the village, we’ll veer off at an angle to get to the River Dove and head for Okeover Bridge. A steady walk ensues across and around the grounds of Okeover Hall. Eventually, we get to a place called ‘Woodhouses’ (they’re not made of wood!!!) before dropping down towards Coldwall Bridge (another point of interest along the Dove, part of an 18th century coach road to Cheadle) – a short distance from Thorpe (and the HF Holiday House of Peveril of the Peak). Parking ourselves on the bridge would be an ideal resting place for a drink and/or a sandwich – weather permitting and if you can wait that long!!!

Moving on, we follow the River Dove towards Dovedale (c/w with the famous stepping stones) but, on this occasion, we will not head down into the Dale itself as, at the foot of Thorpe Cloud we turn in a south westerly direction to follow a steadily ascending path around the lower-reaches of the hill. According to boarded signs at the start of this path, some of the steeper paths to the summit of the ‘Cloud’ have been closed due to erosion and the risk of rock falls so we follow the steadier path around until we reach a farm building where we are allowed to climb to the top of the hill via a steadier but shorter path…… if desired!!! Depending upon the groups’ wishes we could either climb the hill or not – I will understand if anyone doesn’t want to but it would be a shame not to in my opinion!

Whilst in Thorpe, we walk immediately behind the Peveril of the Peak HF Holiday House as we head towards another goal… the recently re-opened ‘Old Dog’ Inn after its’ winter hibernation (I am led to believe it will be open from the end of April!!!).

We take to the road and hills once more and head over to Mapleton again… after leaving the hamlet, look back and marvel at the view of the surrounding landscape before heading over to pick up the Tissington Trail – a wonderful vista. After a short distance on the Trail, we get to the start of the 350mtr long Tunnel - no torches will be needed as it is well lit. At the end of the tunnel we enter the car park that will lead us back to our awaiting coach.

Conclusion…… All in all, this is an excellent walk on good paths throughout and is very Sheep centric. Very scenic and moderate in grade... unless you would like to climb to the short summit of Thorpe Cloud – decide for yourself on the day.

 'B' Walk. Leader - Rupert Atkinson. Distance - 8.35 miles. Ascent - 1253 feet. Grade - moderate+. 

This walk is to the north of Ashbourne  in Derbyshire and starts in that town. At one point we actually drift across the River Dove into Staffordshire. We will walk in an anti-clockwise direction.

First we make our way through the old railway tunnel to a small visitor's centre, with toilets, before joining the Tissington Trail, which runs for some 13 miles as far as Parsley Hay to the North. It was formerly part of the railway line connecting Ashbourne with Buxton but is now a well-used route for cyclists and walkers. Look out for the excellent views to the East as you stroll along the track.

We then take to the fields before following a stream to the village of Fenny Bentley where we have to cross the busy road.  We pass the sadly neglected 'Old Hall' stone farmhouse, which dates from the late 17th Century, and then continue past the church to join a footpath up a slope and across fields. After a further climb we cross the Tissington Trail which takes us down to the village of Thorpe.

We now join the Limestone Way, crossing over the River Dove at Coldwall Bridge - built in the early 18th Century - and then up a steep slope before dropping  down into the valley to walk along a short stretch of quiet road.

We soon head eastwards through Okeover Park, passing the late 11th Century, Okeover Hall on our way towards the village of Mapleton. The hall has been in the same family since the days of William Rufus, who succeeded William 1 - so it's been around quite a while!

 

 

We have one final climb up a steep slope to loop over the hill where we re-join the Tissington Trail back, via the tunnel, into Ashbourne, which has plenty to offer in the way of refreshments.

 

An interesting walk with excellent scenery throughout in this lovely part of Derbyshire.

 C' Walk. Leader - Andrew Wallace. Distance - 4.5 miles. Ascent - 500 feet. Grade - easy/mod.

 We will start the day with our usual refreshments at a local café before heading northwards through the old railway tunnel at the start of the Tissington Trail.  The walk will be in an anti-clockwise direction. 

 Although it involves some 500 feet of ascent this is not a difficult walk with most of the climbing along the gradual incline of the Tissington Trail in the early stages of the walk. There are only 3 sharp rises, two on the trail  itself where it dips then climbs, and another short incline when we leave the trail. We have plenty of time, so we will take things steadily throughout the walk. Underfoot conditions are excellent.

 Once we leave the trail towards the end of the walk we have a short climb  before continuing past a nearby campsite and then down a road where we soon rejoin the Trail to make our way  back through the tunnel into Ashbourne for further refreshments.

 

 

 

The Tissington Trail is also a cycle route and we need to make sure that cyclists can pass, so please keep a look out and avoid blocking  the whole track. There were a lot of cyclists when we did the recce and a weekend will almost certainly be much busier.

 

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