Peak District Walk - Tissington
PUBLISHED: 10:27 20 April 2015 | UPDATED: 15:26 03 May 2020
Explore the countryside around Tissington, the pretty estate village tucked away amid rolling hills whose well dressing tradition is world renowned
Description: This walk contains a wealth of highs and ‘lows’ in every direction! Steeped in history and surrounded by breathtaking scenery the paths and tracks around Tissington are a joy to explore. Notice the abundance of tree-topped hills, many being prehistoric burial grounds known as Lows.
Distance: 7.5 miles
Parking: Tissington Trail car park (pay & display) off Darfield Lane above the duck pond DE6 1RA
Terrain: Ten stiles, five gates. Long stretches of trail walking and quiet country lanes without pavements. Fields where livestock may be grazing. Some areas prone to mud in wet weather but generally easy going on sound surfaces for most of the walk.
Refreshments: The Old Dog, Thorpe (drinks & snacks); Herbert’s Tea Rooms and (for necessary supplies of sweets) Edward & Vintage, Tissington
Toilets: Tissington Trail Car Park
Map: O.S. Explorer OL24 – White Peak
Walk highlight: Panoramic views from Thorpe Pastures
1 From the car park walk down into the village, passing the duck pond and head toward the main street. There are several shops in Tissington including a quality butcher, baker (tea rooms to be precise) and candlestick maker. Acanthus sells gifts and is located in the old Joiners Shop but not to be missed is Edward & Vintage at Beech Cottage, an old-fashioned sweet shop where you may want to purchase a pocketful of ‘tuffies’ to munch on your walk!
2 St Mary’s church has a Norman tower and decorative tympanum of two small standing figures over the door. Within is an unusual double-decker pulpit and monuments to Francis and John FitzHerbert of 1619 and 1643 together with their wives in costume. In the graveyard is a grave to James Allsop who ‘drownded’ on the Titanic.
3 Tissington Hall was built in 1609 with a large wing added in the early 1900s. In 1989 Sir Richard FitzHerbert, the present incumbent, inherited the Hall and Estate from his uncle as well as a title. Tissington has been in the FitzHerbert family for more than 500 years and Sir Richard is the 9th Baronet. In fields opposite are earthworks believed to be of a Norman fortification, showing that a settlement has existed on this site for almost 1,000 years. Tissington is famous for its well dressings, which will be on display from 14th to 20th May. These floral masterpieces that take days of painstaking work to create are traditionally erected at daybreak on Ascension Day. Thought to date back to pagan times, well dressing is a way of giving thanks for a pure and plentiful water supply.
4 After passing in front of the Hall, head up The Street going out of the village towards the main A515 road but at the corner where Rakes Lane heads uphill to the left, go straight ahead following the footpath sign and walk on a walled grassy track leading to a gate and stile.
5 Cross fields and stiles and a section of narrow walled path taking you to the Tissington Trail. Along the way notice the ridge and furrow field patterns which are the remains of medieval strip cultivation that was repeatedly ploughed.
6 At the trail turn left and walk for just over a mile to the former Alsop Station. Over to your right are rolling fields intersected with dry stone walls, signifying the last of the limestone before the hedgerows of South Derbyshire take over. Many hilltops are dotted with clumps of trees and small copses. These are prehistoric burial sites or lows where early man buried their dead as close to the heavens and stars as possible. Minninglow, thought to be some 4,000 years old, is the most noticeable landmark with its circular beech hedge surrounding a scattering of spindly trees.
7 Exit the car park and cross the main road with extreme care. Go over a stile opposite and walk through the field passing an old building set amongst trees. Just before this is a dried up dew pond. These were essential for livestock before mains water was pumped around farmland.
8 From Green Lane cross the stile beside a cattle grid and head up the drive towards Hanson Grange. As you ascend look to your right as wondrous views appear. See the hilltop village of Alstonefield with church tower of St Peter’s. The lumpy bumpy line of hills are reef knolls that follow the River Dove and mark the county boundary between Derbyshire and Staffordshire. As you reach the top of the hill there is a fantastic view of Dovedale appearing like a deep gorge with Gypsy Bank on one side and wooded slopes leading down to Coldeaton Bridge opposite. Beyond is Wolfscote Dale, so named because it was where the last wolf to roam the Royal Forest of the Peak was killed in the 15th century. Could this be the view that Izaak Walton saw back in the 17th century when he first visited his friend and fellow angler Charles Cotton? It is believed the route from his home near Stafford brought him past Hanson Grange before descending the steep bank of Hanson’s Toot to Milldale.
9 At the top of the hill and a crossroads of paths, turn left and follow the signpost for Tissington on a track leading up to a gateway. Cross the following field diagonally left to a stile and fingerpost in the corner. Moat Low with its cluster of trees is to your left, Bostern Grange is to your right and directly in front is a high mast set in woodland. Walk down the drive leading away from Bostern Grange and onto Nag Lane.
10 Turn right and walk for just over two miles to Thorpe. The views from this elevated and quiet gated road are breathtaking. As you descend Thorpe Pastures see how the landscape changes from Peak District hills to the flat midlands of central England. Watch for Thorpe Cloud appearing on your right, its summit often dotted with ant-like figures.
11 Arriving at The Old Dog in Thorpe, which has recently been renovated and refurbished, turn left and walk along Narlows Lane and then walk down the approach road to the former Thorpe Station to access the Tissington Trail. Connecting Buxton and Ashbourne, this stretch of the London & North Western railway line opened to passengers on 4th August 1899. It closed in 1963 and was purchased by the Peak District National Park Authority who converted it into a wonderful long distance walking, cycling and horse riding trail, one of the first such conversions in the country.
12 Turn left and follow the trail to return to Tissington, passing through Fenny Bentley cutting, now a nature reserve, along the way.