Mable the Duchess at Chatsworth
Time taken 3 hours
A few years ago, in a moment of madness I agreed to take part with friends in the Grindleford Gallop, a near marathon of walking (or running if you are really mad!) that takes you throughout the Hope Valley and into Chatsworth's Park. It is a great Peak District event, in fairness, in aid of Grindleford Primary School, but I have never forgiven it for giving me a bruised toe! I also didn’t fully enjoy it as I find walking without a dog, odd. To me, walking should always be with a canine companion whether your own, borrowed or in conjunction with friends and their dogs. They provide humour and diversion when you run out of conversation or when you just need company when traversing the wonderful scenery that is the Peak District National Park.
I vowed, after enjoying most of the Gallop (Froggatt Edge was the hated bit at the time as, with a sore toe, I prayed that a helicopter or my mom, would come to my aid. Even the thought of the cakes and hot soup at Grindleford Pavilion, could raise me from my painful melancholy!) that I would take Mable on the best parts of this walk so some months after embarked with my little “Duchess of Devonshire” on this walk that took in Bakewell and Beeley as well as the glories of Chatsworth and its Parkland.
For some reason that I do not recollect, we started the walk in Bakewell, at the Agricultural Centre, after I had popped into the town to get some shopping one Monday Market day, when off for the day on holiday. I was at a lose end and needed to stretch Mable’s legs, so just decided to walk and see where we ended up.
We initially followed the route of river out of Bakewell on a lane that climbs over Haddon Fields and followed the metal fence towards the signposted Bowling Green farm. The track became quite stony as it wended its way uphill, with farm buildings off to the right and we walked between hedges until the view opened out to reveal a fabulous view across this Peak District valley, to what I later learnt was Stanton-in-Peak with Stanton Hall also visible. To the left from this point you can look back over Bakewell and even see Riber Castle way off to the right, near Matlock.
Continuing on, we continued into woodland which darkened as the canopy became thicker and excluded the light until at the far corner the path led us to a stony track which left the woods to the right and we continued down the Peacock Hotel and The Grouse and Claret at Rowsley. From here we made our way straight up to the right of the shops ahead through stiles and a metal gate up to Rowsley Bar Road where we then ventured into Rowsley Wood, eventually heading off left down a very narrow bridle path which descends to a small stream, quickly found by Mable, and across a chunky wooden bridge.
Passing across and then off to the left there apparently used to be an old quarry near here so watch out for spoil off to the left. Follow the path upwards to the right until at the end of the wood you get a great view over Beeley, before descending back down the grassy fields through stiles, through walls and across another small stream until you get the Beeley – making a stop at the lovely Devonshire Arms, should you feel the need.
Following the lane to the right of the pub, it is probably best to keep your dog on a lead at this stage as you are approaching a main road and Chatsworth Estate. You will get to a grassy patch before passing the church on the right before you get to the main road. Crossing over the main road, proceed through the kissing gate ahead and make a right turn for about ½ mile across fields until you cross the bridge at the end of the field and take a left turn over it. Carefully following the road you will pass the opening and car park for Chatsworth Garden Centre and need to turn left shortly afterwards along a road marked “No Thro Road”. Keep the garden centre to the left before entering Calton Lees to the right and continue in ascent on to Calton Houses. From here, continue on the bridleway that opens out after passing through the houses turning right by a wall, and then proceeding along an uphill reaching track.
On reaching a farm gate, turn left until you reach the brow and a fence and pond. Keep to the left to cross a stile and take a slight left back towards Bakewell, passing to the left of the tress until you get to the bottom of the field
Access the upcoming wood via a gate and follow the steep path downwards until you reach a more pronounced pathway that continues downhill towards the edge of a golf course. Mable failed to find any stray golf balls on the day we took this walk, which is just as well, but she still managed to annoy the back of left with a stick picked up in Chatsworth’s parkland!
The path from here crosses the Monsal Trail until you descend to Coombs Road on Bakewell’s outskirts. From here it is just a short walk back to the Agricultural Centre and home, with not a sore toe in site, just some weary feet and a happily tired little white hound.