Black Rocks of Cromford

To start a New Year I always like to ascend a gritstone summit and the view from Black Rocks to Cromford and Matlock and beyond, is enthralling. May I wish you a Happy Walking Year!

– allow 2 1/2 hours

Basic Route – Black Rocks Car park – Dimons Dale – Bedehouse Lane – North Street – Cromford – A6 – Arkwright’ Mill – Cromford Canal – High Peak Junction – Oak Farm (A6) – Intake Lane – Wigwellnook Farm – Oakerthorpe Road – Trig Point 322 – Big Plantation – Black Rocks – High Peak Trail – Car Park.

Map – O.S. 1:25,000 Explorer Series No. OL24 – The White Peak – East Sheet.

Car Park and start – Black Rocks car park, beside the High Peak Trail, just off the B5036 – Cromford-Wirksworth Road, before the summit of Cromford Hill. Alternative Car parks at the start of the Cromford Canal and at High Peak Junction.

Inns – Bell Inn, Greyhound Inn and Boat Inn in Cromford.

Teas – Tors Cafe beside the A6 in Cromford. Tea-room in Arkwright’ Mill. Refreshments at High Peak Junction.

ABOUT THE WALK – The route is done clockwise from Black Rocks, on purpose, so you can admire the view you have Ã’Â¥arntÓ¬ from Black Rocks at the end. First you descend into historic Cromford and pass many places associated with Sir Richard Arkwright. After his first mill you gain the Cromford Canal and follow it for 1 1/2 miles to High Peak Junction. Leaving the trail you ascend through woodland and then over fields to Wigwellnook Farm and lane above Bolehill and Wirksworth. Here begins the final short ascent to the trig point 322m. before descending to the Black Rocks and the stunning view.

WALKING INSTRUCTIONS – From the car park beneath Black Rocks, aim for the lower far lefthand corner of it. Continue a few yards before turning left and descending in woodland – Dimons Dale – on a good path that curves right to the wood’ edge. The main path turns left here to the B5036, but you keep ahead, right to a stile, 30 yards away. Continue with the wall on your right, to a stile and Black Rocks Cottage on the right. Turn left down the drive with a fence on your left. At the bottom where it turns left beside Holly Cottage, follow the lane left for a few yards before turning right down a fenced/walled path, which soon becomes a lane. At the end turn right then left, at Bede House, to continue descending Bedehouse Lane. Infront of the Almshouses turn right then left to continue descending and at the bottom bear left past Sycamore Cottage (1992) to the B5036 road. Turn right and pass the Bell Inn and North Street on the right and on down to the A6; before it on the left is the Greyhound Inn.

Cross the A6 and pass Tors Cafe and turn left down Mill Lane. Pass Arkwright’ Mill and turn right into the car park and start of the Cromford Canal. Follow the canal towpath for 1 1/2 mile to High Peak Junction, and cross the canal bridge. At the start of the incline, bear half left and ascend the walled path to the A6 road opposite Oak Farm. Turn left then right over a stile and ascend, bearing left, to a stile and Birch Wood. Continue ascending through the wood on a sunken path to a stile on its edge. Keep ahead with a wall on your left to a barn and stiles at Intake Lane, with Birchwood Farm and caravan site to your left. Cross the lane(track) and continue with the wall on your left for the next four stiles to another walled track on your left. Turn right and follow the track, now in open fields to a stile, with woodland well to your right – Big Plantation. Continue on the track with a wall on your left and through stiles and a gorse area, before walking past Wigwellnook Farm on your right. The grass track has now become the farm drive. Follow it to Oakerthorpe Road with views to Wirksworth and to the prominent chimney at Middleton Top on the High Peak Trail.

Turn right and follow the road down for 150 yards and before the first house on your right, turn right, as path signed, and ascend steps. Ascend to near the righthand corner of woodland before turning left to a stile. Continue on a defined path, still ascending, to the triangulation pillar – 322m. – with limited views. Continue on the path and descend ignoring a path to the right, and ascend again before descending through the pine trees and later above a former quarry on the left, before descending more steeply towards the lefthand side of Black Rocks. Here take a path on the right to gain the summit of the rocks for the view. Retrace your steps and continue descending and cross the High Peak Trail and back into the car park, where you began.