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A Pub Walk From Monyash

About six miles, mostly fairly easy going and nothing too steep.

This walk takes in three excellent little hostelries and should take about two hours, (excluding beer stops).

/images/freremere.jpgStarting on the village green in Monyash, with your back to the Bull’s Head, (you can choose to sample their wares at either end of the walk - there is usually an excellent local guest ale or two and good home-cooked food, all in a friendly atmosphere) turn to your right and continue around the corner onto Chapel Street.  Cross over the road and in a corner of the car park, (the site of one of Monyash’s former meres) you will see a stone stile.  Go through this and along the short grassy path, over another stile and then around the end of the terrace of houses opposite.

Another stile takes you into a field.  The path is well walked, so you should be able to follow its line easily across the diagonal, passing under a large and quite beautiful ash tree.  The first part of the walk now crosses half a dozen small fields like this, all well walled with the local limestone; the path keeps to the same line, more or less, through many a stile, to arrive onto a stony track called Cross Lane.  Continue along this, in the same direction still, until you reach a five-ways junction, just before an impressive stone barn.  Take the first turn to the left, on a track leading steadily up the hill.

This straight green lane is known as Hutmoor Butts and leads, after a mile of gentle climbing, with much admiring of the views, to the next watering hole, The Bull i’ th’ Thorn.  Walk around the front of the pub to the main entrance and you will see the letters 1472 emblazoned over the doorway.  This is one of the Peak District’s oldest inns, with a colourful history, too varied to detail here, but next to the fireplace, (along with graffiti from “xmas 1742” carved into the oak panelling) you will find the history of the building framed on the wall; it is a fascinating read.  The inn was the birthplace of one of the eighteenth century’s more notorious highwayman and a replica of his skeleton is on view if you venture further into the pub; this is well worth doing, as it is stuffed with curious artefacts, including a gigantic, carved oak chair that once belonged to a Duke of Devonshire.

Dragging yourself away from the fine ales and food, cross the main A515, (taking great care) to a footpath, just to the right, that takes you through four fields and onto the easiest section of the walk, for here you turn left onto the High Peak Trail.
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This was a former railway line, so the going is nice and even, but do watch out for the occasional cyclist.  Not having to look at your feet means you can really enjoy the views of surrounding hills and also the plethora of wild flowers and trees that abound along here.  It is very hard to imagine that main line trains thundered up this way until the end of the 1960’s.

Before you have gone very far at all along here, you will pass the second of our pubs, The Royal Oak.  A Derbyshire Food Pub of the Year finalist in 2008, it has a well deserved reputation for good food that doesn’t cost an arm-and-a-leg, but you are just as welcome to drop in for a pint. Though recently refurbished, it retains a friendly atmosphere and some lovely features - don’t miss the Art Nouveau copper fire hood, for instance.  As at the other stops, the beers are excellent.

images/thetrail022.jpgBack on the trail, you have another mile and half of easy walking in the same direction.  When you see the distinctive dark green silage tower of Custard Fields Farm, (below you, on your right) start to think about looking for the next footpath to your left; it is about another five hundred yards.  Leaving the High Peak Trail behind you, this path takes you uphill, (the steepest part of the walk) a short way to Moscar Farm, which you skirt, and up onto the A515 once more. (You don’t take the farm track).

Very careful now, as you have to dog-leg across the main road, turning left at first, near a nasty bend.  But don’t let these crossings of the A515 put you off; it is a surprisingly unobtrusive highway for almost the whole of the walk.  Once over the road and onto the footpath, take the left hand fork, (though both ways will lead you to the same road towards Monyash.) After crossing a few fields, you will hit The Rake, turn left down this lane for about half a mile; it is not that busy and you can walk on the grass verge when traffic approaches.  The views of the surrounding countryside, with views away to the moors on the Eastern horizon and the woods above Bakewell, are really special, especially in the light of early evening, as the sun slants across from the West, picking out the walls that criss-cross the limestone plateau.

Just before the second set of power lines, take the track to the left and then, almost immediately, the small wooden gate that opens onto a footpath to the right.  This cuts across the corners of two fields to join an ancient, but little walked lane, (indeed you may have to slash a few nettles in summer, but you’ll be doing everyone a favour by keeping this path open).  The lane will eventually bring you out opposite the pretty Frere Mere in Monyash.  (Don’t call it a “pond” as this upsets the locals).  A left turn then takes you back to the village green and the welcoming sight of The Bull’s Head. If you need cooling down, The Old Smithy Café next door to the pub, not only sells beer and food, but ice-creams too!

Simon Corble