Hay Wood Car Park – Froggatt Edge – Froggatt – Nether Padley – Hay Wood Car Park

DISTANCE: Approximately 5 miles

DESCRIPTION: This walk is not suitable for young children as it involves rather a tricky section of path at Froggatt Edge.

The walk along the top of Froggatt Edge should be treated with caution because of the sheer drop over the cliffs. However, there is a well walked and well established path to follow which is extremely rewarding on a clear day and good visibility when the views across the valley are stunning.

This is where the Ice Age glaciers some ten thousand years ago ground to a halt. It is still possible to see glaciations marks on some of the stones, caused by the huge boulders being pushed around by the ice. Not only is the landscape here amazingly scenic, but the Edges also provide an interesting habitat for flora and fauna as well as a playground for climbers whose colourful shapes and jangling equipment can regular be observed.

1. Park your car in Hay Wood car park which is located close to the Grouse Inn on the A625, and follow a path from the car park heading south across a stream and up steps to a sharp bend in the road. Cross the road with extreme care and follow a footpath virtually opposite which takes you onto Froggatt Edge. At first you will walk through a sparse plantation and then across a stream, after which the widespread views will unfold before you of moors to your left and the valley dropping away on your right.

Across the valley are Stoke Woods with the plague village of Eyam sheltering behind. Sir William Hill rises to Bretton in the distance whilst below you Grindleford lies sprawled out on the banks of the Derwent.

2. Continue along the Edge for about 1 ¼ miles. You will pass between some large boulders before dropping down a slight dip. Notice in the bottom of the dip there is a wooden marker. At this point you need to turn right and follow a path down between the rocks, taking you below a cliff face.

3. The path is on a sort of shelf below the rock face. Do not walk right to the far end of the shelf which mainly provides access for climbers, but look for an established path leading down to the left through the trees and boulders. It is well used although a little tricky to find and should be treated with caution. The path is also rather stony so beware! Part way through the woods you meet a track going horizontally under the Edge. Cross this and continue down to a stile. You will shortly emerge onto the main road. Up to your right is the Chequers Inn which is a former coaching inn. An Inn has stood on this site for five hundred years, although the present building was constructed in the 18th century. It is reputed that centuries ago not only travellers called here for refreshments, but also body snatchers who were on their way to Padley Woods where the corpses would be temporarily hidden!

4. Go over a stile opposite where you emerged from the woods and drop straight down a field. It can be boggy in parts due to natural springs which permeate out from the rocks at various locations around Froggatt.

5. When you cross a stile onto a lane turn right and walk down to Froggatt Bridge. The Derwent is very wide at this point due to the weir just above Calver Mill a mile or so downstream. Froggatt Bridge was built in 1688 and is of a most unusual design with its differing arches – one round and one pointed.

6. Do not cross over Froggatt Bridge but go straight on past Derwent Farm. You are now entering Froggatt village proper, its name having many derivations including Frog Cottage, Frogga Cot and in 1203 a document recorded the settlement as Froggegate. There are some beautiful gritstone cottages to be seen and as the road is not a main thoroughfare, it remains a very peaceful and picturesque place to live.

7. Across the river you can make out the rear of Stoke Hall standing on an elevated position above the river. Built using stone from its own quarry which is still worked in the woods opposite, the house has had many owners over the centuries. The first occupant of the Stoke Hall Estate was Gerbert de Stoke in 1204, although the present Hall was not built until around 1757. Stoke Hall passed through the ownership of a succession of Sheffield businessmen during the last century before being turned into a hotel and restaurant for a while. It has since reverted back into a private residence.

8. In the last century Stoke Hall was the scene of a foul crime when a servant called Flora was brutally murdered. Her employers erected a statue to Flora’s memory which later was reputed to move by itself, and her ghost is said to haunt the hall.

9. In Froggatt take a lane on the left by the side of a seat and pass in front of a row of cottages. This then leads on to an interesting stone flagged causeway taking you towards Nether Padley. Part way along the path you will go around a corner and over to the right as indicated by arrows, then go straight ahead through a couple of fields before entering woodland. Do not go up the hillside but remain down near the valley bottom and relatively close to the river.

10. When you emerge at Grindleford Bridge which is governed by traffic lights, turn right and then right again opposite the former toll cottage and head uphill. Go through gates and over stiles heading virtually straight uphill. On entering woodland ignore a sign showing a footpath leading off to the left but continue uphill. When you are almost at the top of the hill bear right on a path to return to the car park.