Mable finds the water in Ashford from Bakewell
Time take – 2.5 hours
This walk takes in the lovely Peak District village of Ashford in the Water which in itself is worth spending time walking around, as it has plenty of charm and character. Even though I drive through it often on the way to Bakewell, until last year I didn’t know how quaint it was or how far it extended. I discovered its charm when taking part in a Grindleford treasure hunt and spent an early summer evening investigating its nooks and crannies. Mable was not part of this excursion as could neither be trusted to drive nor follow the clues, so was for once, left at home.
This walk actually starts in Bakewell, at the old former railway station above the main Bakewell Bridge. It makes good use of part of the Monsal Trail, which is easily walked as it quite flat so offers a pleasant start to get you warmed up. In turning left onto the former trackbed of the old Midland Rail line, that used to travel through these Peak District parts there is about a mile of totally dog friendly path before you pass Hassop and the cafe and bookstore. You then continue on the trail passed a section that opens out to reveal views of the majestic Longstone Edge, to the right.
Mable is totally content on this stretch, with its brambles and shrubs either side, due to the accompanying smells that keep her interested. At this stage where the paths and bridleways cross the trail and having crossed a bridge, you need to keep an eye open for a right hand fork to take - about 30 yards on before the trail heads over another bridge.
Turn a swift left along the road, which is signposted for Ashford and Baslow, joining a bigger road passing under the old railway bridge. Follow the signs to Ashford until you get to a Private Road/Public Footpath. Here, if you continue on it, you will start climbing up hill until, over the top, you get to the Grade II listed Churchdale Hall. Turn left and within 20 yards you get to a small stile which needs traversing.
As the road heads left, take another stile on the right, which is signposted as a footpath and keep to the right of the field, with the Hall on your right, to find the next stile in the wall. With lovely meadows ahead, descend to the wooded area below and to a gate and bridge across the River Wye. At this stage Mable, as always, has to be persuaded to leave the river, or, given a chance, to wade merrily before continuing back to Bakewell. This walk back, generally following the river, runs almost parallel with the A6 with the to town taking you passed old mill buildings, which have been converted for industrial and office use, still remaining attractive and appealing to the country eye. It also leads you onto a quite private residential road, before it surfaces into the centre of Bakewell.
Once back in the centre of Bakewell, cross the bridge and turn right uphill to return to the Old Station to complete the walk. Alternatively, before you do this, make the most of the cafe’s and coffee shops or Bakewell Pudding Parlours and pubs that thrive, in abundance in the town. Bakewell is a charming Peak District town with good shopping facilities and good weekly markets, should you try this walk on a Monday.It is well worth spending some time looking around, if you get the chance.
For Mable and me, unless we have essential shopping to do, we normally make a quick exit homewards in the car, relishing and savouring the stunning Peak District countryside that we have just enjoyed, in the journey home.