Mable’s Excursion to Darley Bridge from Rowsley
Time Taken 3 hours
We fell upon this walk by mistake I have to admit; as having walked from Bakewell to Beeley and Chatsworth some weeks prior I wondered at the time where we would end up if we walked over to Stanton, which was one of the views seen on the previous walk.
Living in Tideswell and spending much time in the Hope Valley, I do tend to spend most walks within this area and am not as adventurous as I should be, given the unmistakable beauty of the Peak District National Park. It is only when intrigued or “provoked” that I venture out, with Mable, of my comfort zone, and investigate new walks on our own. This was one of those walks, as apart from Bakewell, I had no real knowledge of much of the area but had read that it followed the Derwent Valley Heritage Way on the way out and the Derwent Valley on the way back. It sounded quite simple, it was circular and as I found, was most enjoyable for both me and my faithful side kick, Mable!!!
Starting in Rowsley near The Peacock pub at the main road bridge, turn right to Stanton Woodhouse and follow the lane up as it meanders through Holly Wood until you reach a path on the right. Using it to walk to the left of the field you continue out of the field and uphill until you pass through a farm gate at the far end of farm buildings.
The grassy track continues beyond the gate and uphill to a pair of gates. Take the left hand side one and continue across to the left to another small gate, leading to a fenced path. If you continue along this path you eventually bear off right to another lane and need to navigate a step style stile.
From here turn right on the lane and head towards Stanton in Peak at the junction and continue along to another stepping stile until the road bends to the right. Walk to the wood at the top of the field and follow the trees, keeping them to the right – the path did venture into the woods, but on the day we walked it, we kept outside as the weather did not lend itself to being undercover, being a perfect temperature – neither hot not cold – for walking. Keep walking straight through the fields until you are soon bordered by a fence to right and a drop to the left for the old quarry.
If you keep to this route you eventually see a tall tower, which I later identified as the Reform Tower, a folly and a monument to Earl Grey and his Reform Act of the early 1800’s, which finally offered rid the country of its “rotten borough’s” and provide proper political representation for the newly grown and expanding industrial towns and cities. The tower is closed to the public but still offers and imposing site as a centre to Stanton Moor.
Moving on through this area of Stanton Moor Edge, managed by the National Trust, if you stick to the edge of the moor, you will get some fabulous views down into the Derwent Valley onto Matlock. Like the walk that this one was inspired by, you also get a peep at Riber Castle nestling in the distance – something lost on the white one as she rumbled in the undergrowth for sticks and anything that could be used to torment me as I savoured the wonders of the Peak District, once again!
Continuing downhill from here, tramping through the undergrowth on an overgrown path you eventually move off left passing buildings as you go and then veer right at the barn, where, keeping to the right of a few fields you will reach Clough Lane. Follow Clough Lane along to the left until you get to a narrow break in the wall on the right. Squeeze through and keep left through this latest field heading for the wood using an old path – apparently the wood is filled with deer, but bearing in mind that neither Mable nor I excel in stealth it was never likely that we would see any, especially as it was only part way through the day and not dawn or dusk, the preferred time for deer viewing!
Emerging from the wood you will come across the remains of an old mine, with its dilapidated stone buildings and capped shaft. Mable was swiftly put on a lead, just in case, as I didn’t fancy her plummeting down chasing a stick or stone, which was highly likely on that day as she was very giddy for some reason! The track allows you to turn left and then keep right down the lane leading to a road junction. Just before this turn right over a stile by some double gates and follow the track through the trees down to a small stream. Follow the stream down through a small gorge and passed a pond, under more trees and across a footbridge until you approach Darley Bridge and pass the Three Stags Pub.
Continue passed the pub, if you can, and follow the road over the river to a picnic site, which you should turn left just before keeping the cricket ground to the left. From here you are following part of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way, which is a 55mile walking route starting at Ladybower and extending through Chatsworth and out of Derby to Sudbury Hall and Long Eaton, giving access to some of the finest scenery the Peak District National Park has to offer.
Pass the cricket scoreboard and head out towards Stanton Moor keeping to the left of the kennels having passed through a stile after the fields. Take a left at the church with its renowned 2000 year old yew tree, past the Primary School and through into the Abbey House grounds, keeping to the driveway but eventually swinging right through a tight gap in the wall to the fields beyond. Keep right and walk towards the very far gate continuing to follow the hedge on the left side until you reach the river. Keep to the right of the river until you reach Nanny Goat Crossing which takes you over the rail tracks using a pelican crossing.
Use Northwood Lane to proceed uphill passed a lorry part until you enter Northwood Carr via a stile by a welcome water trough. Follow the main path as it ascends through the woods and swig left as the main path forks taking you onto a smaller bridleway. If you then continue on the edge of the wood you eventually pass to the left of farm and reach more woodland and eventually traverse a small golf course, where Mable almost disgraced herself, but recovered well and with dignity, thank goodness.
Turning left at the road follow downhill before turning right into more woods keeping left until you descend to the A6, where you need to turn right and cross over the river. At this stage, you just need to find your car, as you have returned back to your starting point.
I actually found this walk hard work though I was pleased I had tried it. I think I found it hard because I was very unsure of where I was most of the time and as local landmarks were unfamiliar, I felt a bit out of my depth. On the other hand Mable was quite the reverse, so long as I was there. With new sites and smells, especially in the deer woods, Mable was in her element and she was driven home with what I thought was a self satisfied, contented grin on her face.