Mable whets her appetite in Ashord in the Water
Time taken 1 ½ hours
Ashford is not a place that I knew very well until a couple of summers ago when I was asked to partake in a treasure trail around the village, as part of Grindleford’s carnival week. Mable and I had only ever used it as a thorough fare to Bakewell, as it stands so close. After the treasure hunt I decided that it was time that I introduced Mable to its quaint beauty and Peak District charm, so came back to the village and came upon this walk that uses the Ashford Arms it as its starting point.
From the Ashford Arms you need to proceed along Church Street passed the Bull’s Head where we headed off towards the river and near to the famous and picturesque Sheepwash Bridge. We turned right along Fennel Street and at the end turned right into Vicarage Lane before turning onto a footpath that pointed the way to Monsal Dale. After puffing up some steps and entering an open field we made our way right after the stile and crossed to the stile at the other end of the field.
Making a left on the roughly surfaced lane we walked passed a bungalow and found a track leading off to the left by the pond – Mable had to be steered away from the soggy haven with the use of a distracting stick, at this stage. Following the track for some way we eventually came to a gate at the end. Passing into the field beyond we continued and kept left until we reached another stile then made an immediate right onto a track. This, after a little while, opened up to the glories of Monsal Dale, below - a truly breathtaking view that is one of the Peak Districts finest – make sure you bring a camera to try and capture it, if you can.
Having absorbed the heady site we made a right turn onto the path that runs above the Dale until we reached the Monsal Head Hotel, walking past it and crossing the road that takes you down to “The Longstones” - both Little and Great! Descending down into Little Longstone, you need to make sure that you take in the Edge above it, as it is scenery well worth looking at, but also make sure that when you come up to the Packhorse Inn you don’t miss the turning on the opposite side of the road that takes you off on the Monsal Trail!
The walk then proceeded downhill until we got to the bottom of the fields and in traversing a stile we then found ourselves on the Monsal Trail, itself – though not for long! Taking a left turn onto the trail them almost immediately switch right into the field beyond, we followed the fields which ran alongside a wooded area until we got back to another road.
Crossing the road, we took care and with dog on lead, as traffic can be a hazard, entered the field beyond, walking to the left side of it until we got to pass through a small gate that took us on a track with farm buildings to the right, then through a stile onto a narrow track taking us back onto the road.
We found steps up to a stile just across the road and once through cross over the field we continued to the opposite wall and stile where we then turned left on another road and left again down to Hill Cross. From here it is a sharp walk down towards the centre of Ashford in the Water, where you enter the village with the cricket pitch to the left and the Ashford Arms there ready to welcome you with a hug and little libation! It wasn’t the longest walk we had taken or the most arduous, but with its views of Monsal Dale and even Longstone Edge, I would recommend it to anyone.