Peak District Walk - Monsal Head and Ashford-in-the-Water
PUBLISHED: 10:39 11 July 2013 | UPDATED: 19:49 14 August 2018
Short and very sweet.... Pat Tidsall takes a route packed with lovely views, history and a 'refreshing' detour to the charming village of Ashford-in-the-Water
Linear distance: 4 miles
Total height climbed: Approx. 460ft
Approx. time: 2 hours continuous walking
Parking: Monsal Head SK 185715
Paths: Tracks, trails, woodland and field paths
Refreshments: Monsal Head and Ashford
Toilets: Monsal Head and Ashford
Picnic: Instruction 16
Monsal Head car park — Monsal Dale — The Viaduct — Headstone Tunnel — Monsal Trail — Ashford-in-the-Water — Pennyunk Lane
1 From the car park pass the toilets on your right to walk between the Monsal Head Hotel and the Stable Bar. Cross the road diagonally left to go through the largest wall gap. (A)
2 Turn right down the stone steps. In a few metres you will reach a bench. At this point either turn left signed ‘Viaduct’ and on reaching the viaduct turn left for the tunnel, or take the longer route by keeping straight on signed ‘Monsal Dale’.
3 Follow the Monsal Dale route down the pretty wooded path for nearly a quarter of a mile. (B) At the bottom of the path pass the garden and barns of Netherdale Farm then turn left at the junction with a track.
4 Pass the farm to cross a footbridge. Turn left for about 20 metres then turn right (C) up a steep narrow path which takes you up to the Viaduct via a gate.
5 Turn left to cross the viaduct and enter the well-lit Headstone Tunnel. It will take about five minutes to walk through the tunnel.
6 Continue along the trail for nearly another half a mile. At a crossing of paths turn right signed ‘Ashford’. (D)
7 Walk down four steps to turn right across the middle of the field. Cross a wall stile.
8 Follow a wood up on the left crossing two fields and stiles then continue ahead crossing two more stiles to reach Longstone Lane. (E)
9 Cross the lane to go through a squeeze stile. Keeping a wall close on the left, cross three undulating fields and gates, and passing farm buildings and holiday lets down on the right.
10 After the last stile walk up a narrow tree-lined path to the road. (F) Cross the road to go up steps and through a gate. Walk up the small field to go through a stile.
11 Turn left up the road. In a few metres, at Highfields, you can make a detour down into the pretty village of Ashford-in-the-Water where there are three refreshment outlets and public toilets. To continue the route back to Monsal Head you will need to retrace your steps back up to Highfields.
12 (G) At Highfields turn right (or left if you have visited the village) to enter the track of Pennyunk Lane.
13 Follow this gently ascending track round all the bends and ignoring all side paths for just over three-quarters of a mile. (H) At the end of the track by a farm gate go through a squeeze stile and turn left.
14 Walk up the field keeping a wall close on the left. At the top of the field go through a small gate and turn right. (I)
15 Pass a dew pond on the right to go through another gate. Continue in the same direction, going through gates and stiles, first along a walled path then a field before entering another walled path.
16 After the last gate turn right to pass the viewing seats above Monsal Dale (J) (The views are more extensive in the winter!)
17 Follow the path down to Monsal Head. It is quite narrow in places and stepped towards the end.
18 You will reach the road at Monsal Head up six stone steps.