Peak District Walk: Baslow
PUBLISHED: 14:49 12 August 2015 | UPDATED: 15:48 17 February 2018
On this classic Peak District walk Sally Mosley heads up to the hills to see clouds casting shadows over Chatsworth, and the sun glinting on the Derwent as it snakes past
Parking Nether End car park, Baslow DE45 1SS (pay & display)
Terrain Ten+ gates and Ten+ stiles. Numerous steps. Stony tracks and paths with trip hazards. Close proximity to river and deep water. Some roadway without pavement. Livestock grazing.
Refreshments The Bridge Inn & The Eating House cafe, Calver Bridge
Toilets Nether End car park, Baslow
Map O.S. Explorer OL24 – White Peak
Walk Highlight View from Wellington’s Monument
Description This walk follows an old coach road from Baslow on a hike to the hills and moors where swathes of heather will flower in late August to create a purple sea.
Curbar Gap forms a break in the long escarpment of Edges. Here we descend to the river far below, passing ancient monuments, curiosities and quaint little cottages along the way. The walk ends with a riverside path through wild flower meadows and the tucked away hamlet of Bubnell.
1 Leave the car park and cross over to the large triangle of grass known as Goose Green. Use the crossing with traffic lights and head up Eaton Hill to the junction with Bar Road with small village green. Notice the pair of ornate gate posts to a late 20th century dormer bungalow. These once formed the entrance to the large and impressive Eagle Tor hydropathic establishment. Constructed in 1880 it stood in 12 acres of landscaped grounds. Unfortunately this once luxurious hotel could not live up to its rivals in Buxton and Matlock Bath and became unprofitable during the years of the depression. After years of standing empty it was finally demolished in 1936 with little to show of its existence apart from the gate piers and Hydro Close as a reference.
2 Turn right and head up Bar Road for almost a mile as it climbs steeply up Baslow Bar leaving the village behind. You will pass Lady Well with a stone trough which long ago provided water for pack ponies and the horses of passing carriages and carts. After passing through a gate with heavy metal weight, the track becomes rough and very stony but is lined with bracken, bilberry and heather.
3 Just after a seat turn right as the path levels out and make a short detour to Wellington’s Monument in the form of a 10-feet high cross which was erected by Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Edward Mason Wrench FRCS MVO to celebrate victory at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. Rest awhile on the nearby seat and admire sweeping views over the Chatsworth Estate to far distant hills beside the meandering River Derwent. Then take a shortcut path through heather to the tall and distinctive Eagle Stone landmark. This curious deposit of hard gritstone, left behind following erosion of the surrounding rock, takes its name from the Saxon God Aigle who evidently could through stones which mere mortals failed to lift.
4 From the Eagle Stone continue to Curbar Gap along the path which runs parallel but to the rear of Baslow Edge. You will meet up with a road which has been used for centuries by countless travellers as a passageway through this high escarpment to the moors and beyond. The original old packhorse track was turnpiked in 1759.
5 Go through a gate and turn left to follow a narrow path by the wallside or keep well under as you head down the road to a small gate on your left beside a National Trust sign for Curbar Gap. Just before arriving at the gate notice some roadside rocks carved with biblical references. This was done in the 19th century by Edwin Gregory, mole-catcher for the Duke of Devonshire. He was so grateful to recover from a serious illness that he turned to God and did similar carvings on several stones in the area.
6 Follow the footpath across to a short but steep flight of steps beside a sycamore tree then continue to descend through three fields before rejoining the road. Walk downhill a short distance to the sign for Curbar village.
7 Cross a stile on the left by a gate and follow the footpath through two further gates, keeping a wall to your right. Head through gorse bushes on an earth path to just beyond a narrow stone stile on the right to find the Cundy plague graves nestling in a hollow. Dating from 1632 (33 years before the famous Eyam plague), these are the graves of Thomas and Ada Cundy together with their children Olive, Nellie and Thomas junior from Grislow Field Farm.
8 Return to the stone wall stile and then diagonally cross a field, heading downhill towards a quaint honeypot cottage which was original built as a lock-up for prisoners on their way to Sheffield gaol. Should night fall before they could cross the moors, they would have been held here secure until morning light.
9 Cross a wooden stile onto the drive for Lane Farm and at the cattle grid turn right to walk uphill, emerging onto Bar Road. Cross over and walk down The Green, passing Candlelight Cottage on the right. This narrow lane between houses takes you to the top of Pinfold Hill where there is an unusual covered well surround by millstones set into the ground. This spring provided clean water for the village before mains water was piped in.
10 Turn right onto The Bent and walk past The Mullions and then down the road between executive houses with Curbar Edge as a towering backdrop away to your right. Arriving at a junction with Dukes Drive, turn right on the road signposted Froggatt and Riddings Lane. Beyond a new house and after a bend go through a narrow stone stile on the left where a fingerpost guides you down the field to a riverside path. Be extremely careful as the next stile is partly demolished.
11 Follow the river upstream past Calver Weir. This incredible structure, now scheduled as an ancient monument, was built in the 19th century to provide water to power cotton spinning at Calver Mill under licence from Richard Arkwright. With EXTREME CARE cross the river using Curbar Bridge then turn left onto a footpath known as The Goit as it follows the mill stream. Initially it is a tree lined avenue before crossing a field to Stocking Farm where the building with bell tower was once a little school for millworkers’ children constructed in the early 1800s by Horatio Mason the mill owner.
12 Continue on the drive to Calver Bridge, emerging by the side of Calver Mill which featured as a castle in the 1970’s drama series Colditz. Take a subway before The Bridge Inn leading under the main road and continue on the riverside path to Bramley Lane at Bubnell , passing initially behind terraced houses and then through fields to a tree lined path by a bend in the river followed by two further low lying fields.
13 Turn left and walk along Bramley Lane through the hamlet of Bubnell where many of the quaint little cottages are painted in Chatsworth blue colours.
14 At Bridge End cross over the narrow old stone bridge above high arches with a tiny toll booth at the far side which is known locally as Mary Brady’s house. Centuries ago, Mary was born to a prosperous farming family but ran away with a ne’er-do-well who turned out to be a drunkard. The couple split up and the penniless girl was reduced to begging, often sleeping in this small watchman’s hut. Walk past Baslow Church with its unusual VICTORIA 1897 clock face and carefully cross the main road on your return to the car park beyond The Cavendish Hotel.