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Peak District Walk - Tideswell

PUBLISHED: 09:05 19 October 2015 | UPDATED: 15:58 17 February 2018

Tideswell Church

Tideswell Church

as submitted

A stroll around the tangled web of Tideswell’s narrow roads, lanes, alleyways and ginnels, twisting between character houses and pretty cottages

Bridge over the River WyeBridge over the River Wye

DESCRIPTION: Snuggled into the White Peak hills at a height of around 1,000 feet above sea level, Tideswell is a large village with a vibrant community and affectionately known by locals as ‘Tidza’. The walk follows old paths and tracks as well as sections of the Limestone Way and Monsal Trail on a route that heads over the hills to weave around the Wye and dabble amongst a trio of Derbyshire Dales.

DISTANCE: 7.5 miles

PARKING: Tideswell Dale car park SK17 8QH (pay & display)

TERRAIN: Ten + gates and two stiles. Numerous steps. Rough tracks and woodland paths with trip hazards. Close proximity to river. Some roadway without pavement. Livestock grazing. Fields may be planted with crops.

View over Millers DaleView over Millers Dale

REFRESHMENTS: Various pubs, tearooms & shops in Tideswell. The Anglers Rest, Millers Dale

TOILETS: Tideswell Dale car park and Queen Street, Tideswell.

MAP: O.S. Explorer OL24 – White Peak

WALK HIGHLIGHT: St John the Baptist Church known as ‘The Cathedral of the Peak’

Map by Kate Ridout @earlybirdgraphicsMap by Kate Ridout @earlybirdgraphics

DESCRIPTION: Snuggled into the White Peak hills at a height of around 1,000 feet above sea level, Tideswell is a large village with a vibrant community and affectionately known by locals as ‘Tidza’. The walk follows old paths and tracks as well as sections of the Limestone Way and Monsal Trail on a route that heads over the hills to weave around the Wye and dabble amongst a trio of Derbyshire Dales.

1. Leave the car park by following a fingerpost for Tideswell close to the entrance. Walk past a line-up of stalwart beech trees and then pass through a gate to continue across fields on a well-defined grassy path with the road to your left, emerging close to the junction with the road to Litton

2. Carefully cross over the road and follow the roadside pavement to Tideswell, entering the village up the wide and airy Queen Street, lined with an assortment of houses and little village shops. Make your way to Tideswell Church which dominates the centre of the village. Standing on the site of an earlier Norman structure, the present building was built between 1300 and 1400. The Black Death delayed its completion with the tower and west window being the last parts to be built. Within are wonderful late 19th century carvings by Advent Hunstone, an accomplished local wood carver. To the rear of the church is the former Grammar School founded in 1560 by Bishop Purseglove, now home to the famous Tideswell Male Voice Choir, whilst on the front wall of the library building is a plaque to the Orphan Children who worked in Litton Mill and were buried here without tombstones.

3. Leave the churchyard going through the metal gate at the side of the tower by the footpath sign. Walk towards the metal bollards but then turn right and head between houses behind the Star Inn, emerging at Market Square. Tideswell was awarded a market charter in 1250. Notice on the left the elevated former Oddfellows Hall which dates from 1872.

4. Walk through the former market place and continue on the main road before turning sharp left to head up Sherwood Road just before a turning for Wheston. Continue along Sherwood Road passing the top of Parke Road leading up from the left by a large converted chapel. Walk a few yards further passing close to a terrace of three-storey houses and then turn right up Summer Cross by a wall with castellated top.

5. Walk approximately 10 yards uphill and then turn left onto Slancote Lane. This grassy track leads between houses and ascends gradually to leave Tideswell before levelling out at farmland with far-reaching views over a patchwork of fields enclosed by a network of drystone walls.

6. Continue along the lane passing a small field barn on the right. Just beyond a pair of conjoined trees you will come to a left-hand bend. Go through a small gate directly in front and head down across the field to a wall stile by a pond. (If the field is planted with a crop you may need to follow the wall around to the left.) Go straight ahead across the following field to a wall stile providing access to a grassy track forming a section of the Limestone Way which is a recognised long-distance walk from Castleton to Rocester.

7. Turn left and follow the track to a T-junction. Turn right and go through a gate by the bridlepath sign. Away to your right, Monks Dale will appear like a deep, dark chasm, whilst across the valley are disused quarries and the remains of lime kilns. Long abandoned as an industrial site this area has now become a nature reserve providing a valuable habitat for all manner of flora and fauna. Continue on the bridlepath through Monksdale Farm and then be guided by fingerpost signs for the Limestone Way descending a steep stony path then a stretch of lane to emerge eventually at Millers Dale. Notice the twin viaducts which carried the former Midland Railway until its closure in 1968. The first was constructed in 1866 but Millers Dale Station proved to be such a popular location for visitors and to carry out lime and aggregates from the quarries that five platforms were required and a further viaduct was built in 1905.

8. Carefully cross the main road and turn left for Litton Mill. Just before the Anglers Rest turn right by the 30mph signs to cross footbridges over a mill stream and the River Wye beyond, followed by a path leading steeply up to the Monsal Trail. As well as an area rich with wild flowers, in autumn the bushes here are often dripping with rosehips and sloes.

9. Turn left and follow the Monsal Trail for approximately one mile. Just beyond a narrow overhead bridge, leave the trail and follow a path leading steeply down to Litton Mill, crossing back over the river by means of a wooden footbridge.

Litton Mill has a chequered history with a notorious past including a high rate in apprentice mortality. Ellis Needham was a mill owner or ‘factory master’ with the worst reputation. He established this mill in 1782 but struggled to make a profit, reverting to the use of parish orphans and paupers, some brought from London and other large cities to work in atrocious conditions. Often beaten and mistreated, it is reputed that burials were made at several locations in an attempt to cover up the number of child deaths. Well documented, there are various books about Litton Mill, many relating to the accounts of Robert Blincoe. Born in 1792 he was orphaned by 1796 and taken to St Pancras workhouse. At the age of six he became a chimney sweeper’s assistant but was then indentured as a parish apprentice to work in the mills, firstly in Nottinghamshire and then at Litton. In 1822 a journalist interviewed Blincoe about the terrible conditions here, resulting in a government investigation.

The mill was taken over and had a succession of owners. By 1857 there were 400 employees but fire struck in 1874 and the mill had to be rebuilt. It was still producing yarns into the latter part of the 1900s but is now converted into apartments for residential use.

10. Turn left and walk along the road away from Litton Mill to a path on the right signposted Tideswell Dale by the side of a small car parking area. Follow this lovely path past rocky crags and beside a bumbling brook which is on its way to marry with the river. The path ascends gradually to return to the car park.

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