Peak District Walk - Ashford-in-the-Water
PUBLISHED: 12:35 17 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:42 28 April 2016
Pat Tidsall suggests a lovely walk that’s perfect for beginners
If you have just decided you would like to start walking in Derbyshire then this is an ideal route to follow. It is relatively easy with 12, mainly low, squeeze stiles or easy to climb fence stiles. There are no steep hills and the paths are well marked. You will cross fields, walk along part of the Monsal Trail and on village roads and tracks. There is one short stretch of major road to follow.
The walk starts in the pretty village of Ashford-in-the Water where there are three refreshment outlets and a free car park with toilets.
The Sheepwash Bridge in Ashford has attracted many artists over the years. In the past the lambs were penned in on one side of the river and the mothers on the other side; the call of the lambs would ensure that the sheep would swim across the river once they were pushed into the water. Their fleece would then be ready for shearing. Knitting (stockings) and candle making provided the housewife with a part time job. The impure limestone of the Ashford area, known as Ashford Marble, was used for jewellery, clocks, vases and as inlaid work; there is an example of this in the church. Ashford well dressings are very popular. The five well dressings are erected on the Saturday before Trinity Sunday in May and usually last for a week. The first Bakewell Wool Gathering will be held on 19th and 20th October 2013 at Bakewell Agricultural Centre at the end of British Wool Week.
From Bakewell take the A6 Buxton road. In 1.5 miles turn right at the A6020 Chesterfield and Sheffield sign. In a few metres turn left into Ashford village. Keep straight on, passing the church. At the end of the road turn right up Fennel Street. Near the top of the street turn right to follow the car parking signs. Grid Ref SK 195697.
1 From the car park walk back to the road and turn right up Vicarage Lane. At the top of the hill (Highfields) keep straight on for a few more metres and just past the decontrolled sign turn right by the footpath sign for Monsal Head. (A)
2 Cross the squeeze stile and keep straight on down the small field to go through a small gate.
3 Cross the road diagonally left to walk down a short walled track and cross a squeeze stile by a barn.
4 Keep straight on up the field, keeping a wall on the right. Go through a gate to continue in the same direction down to and through the next gate. Keep the wall and wood close on the right as you cross the next field. Go through a squeeze stile in the field corner. (B)
5 Cross the narrow lane to go through a squeeze stile. Keep straight on to go through a gated stile ahead.
6 Continue in the same direction, contouring the hillside, to cross the next gated stile. You now have a wood up to the right and will cross another squeeze stile. After the next wall stile aim uphill to a rail by a short flight of steps. (C)
7 At the top of the steps turn right along the Monsal Trail. In nearly half a mile at Thornbridge Station (D) you could take an extra one mile diversion into Great Longstone where there are two inns, The Crispin and the White Lion.
8 In another half a mile from Thornbridge and having passed a bench and a path to Great Longstone on the left and crossed a road, leave the trail to walk down a path on the left signed ‘Rowland and Hassop’. (E)
9 Turn left to walk under the bridge. Pass the big metal gates on your right. Cross the busy A6020 Ashford road to the footpath sign at the bottom of the drive signed ‘Private Road No Parking’. (F)
10 Follow the drive uphill passing Churchdale Lodge and Farm. At Churchdale Hall entrance stay on the drive as it bear round left. At the ‘Valley Cottage’ sign cross a fence stile on the right. (G)
11 Keep straight on across the field, passing the hall over to the right and aiming for a gate and wall ahead. Cross a rather high wall stile by the corner of the wood.
12 Keep straight on down the field to cross a fence stile then continue down to the next fence stile into a wood. Follow the path down through the wood to go through a gate and on up to the road via a squeeze stile. (H)
13 Turn left along the pavement of the A6020. After about 350 metres and just after the road sign for Monsal Head turn right through a very small low stile by the footpath sign. (I)
14 Walk down a narrow, fenced and walled path to join a village road. Follow Hall End Lane to the next junction and turn left. (Notice the house names, they tell of past activities of the village.) At the junction with the main village road turn right.
15 Walk along Church Street passing The Ashford Arms, The Bull’s Head, the Aisseford Tea Rooms and the Church. At the end of the street is the picturesque Sheepwash Bridge.
16 Turn right up Fennel Street and back to the car park.