Distance 5.4 miles
Time Approx 3-4 hours
Terrain Field paths, woodland trails, quiet lanes
Accessibility Uneven ground, stiles, squeeze stiles and kissing gates
Start and End Point Grid Ref SK 12840; Postcode SK17 0AL; /// waltzed.scout.torches
Map Ordnance Survey Explorer OL24
This walk is an absolute stunner! It starts and ends in the very pretty village of Hartington, which has just about everything you could hope for from a Peak District village. From the village it takes you over fields and through beautiful woodland into Beresford Dale and onwards into Wolfscote Dale, where the path runs beside the crystal-clear River Dove that marks the boundary between Derbyshire and Staffordshire. The route then returns through the steep-sided Biggin Dale and back into Hartington on quiet lanes with superb views.
This is a walk of just over 5 miles. There are gates, stiles and squeeze stiles. Please be aware that the terrain is very uneven in places through the woodland and dales, and some parts of the walk may be wet underfoot after periods of rain. There are no steep ascents or descents but the route is undulating. You are likely to encounter cows. Street parking in Hartington is free, and the village is well served with wonderful pubs, cafes and shops, including a renowned cheese shop. There are also public toilets in the village. Allow around 3-4 hours to complete this walk at a moderate pace.
1. Park considerately in the centre of the village. There is a free parking area close to the duck pond and free parking on the streets, and there is also a car park (fees apply) just outside the village. The walk starts from the side of the Hartington Farm Shop & Café (SK17 0AN). Take the public footpath to the right of the shop that runs between the shop and the toilet block.
2. Follow this well-marked path through a succession of gates and across fields, with wonderful views across the White Peak countryside. Where the path reaches a gate that leads on to a narrow lane, cross the lane and continue on the path through another gate directly opposite. Again, the path is well-marked ahead of you.
3. The path eventually reaches a squeeze stile in a stone wall and heads into the pretty Morson Wood, which joins Beresford Dale. The crystal-clear River Dove soon meets and runs to the right of the path.
4. Cross a picturesque footbridge over the river, to now walk on the other bank of the river. You will walk past a tall limestone column on the left. This area is known as Pike Pool and has long been a haven for anglers, having associations with Charles Cotton and Izaak Walton, who wrote The Compleat Angler in 1653. The (private) house that lies behind the gate on the right just beyond the bridge belonged to Charles Cotton.
5. Follow the path, staying to the right of the river until you reach a second footbridge. Follow the footpath signs and turn left to cross the footbridge over the river.
6. Go through a squeeze stile and into a field, where you should bear gently right and follow the obvious path. Do not cross the stile and take the footpath that heads towards the river, but stay within the field walking to the left of a fence. Go through a small gate set within a stone wall.
7. Continue through woodland following the path with the river on your right. Do not cross a further footbridge, but instead carry straight on through a gate to enter Wolfscote Dale. There are caves in the limestone cliffs above you, and the River Dove still accompanies you on the right of the path.
8., Continue on the well-made path through the steep-sided dale, a haven for wildlife.
9. At an obvious junction of paths, turn left to follow the signpost and head uphill towards Biggin. Be aware that this part of the walk can be very wet after periods of rain and good, waterproof boots are recommended, but it is possible to avoid the puddles with careful walking!
10. The path heads uphill to the left of a stone wall. After a short distance you will see a stile on your right with caves to explore if you wish – mind your head and take a torch! To continue on the walk, carry on straight up on the main path into Biggin Dale. Be aware that the terrain is uneven here and the rocks can be slippery, particularly when wet.
11. At an obvious junction of paths with a signpost, turn left and follow the signs to Hartington, going through a gate. The path forks after approx. 200 metres and you should take the left hand path uphill, again signed for Hartington.
12. The path continues between two stone walls, through a succession of gates and over a stile, through fields with beautiful open views.
13. Where the path reaches a T-junction with a broader track, turn left on the track and then immediately right, still following signs for Hartington. You are now on a quiet lane with wonderful views back towards the village. Continue straight on at a junction of tracks, heading slightly downhill towards the village.
14. At a road junction as you return to the village, turn left. Turn left again at the bottom of Hall Bank and follow the road back to the centre of Hartington and your starting point.