Distance: 2 miles
Time: 30-45 mins
Terrain: Field paths, woodland trails, country lanes
Accessibility: Well-made paths but with uneven surfaces, gates, no stiles
Start and Finish Grid Reference: SK 23073
This short walk starts and ends in the lovely village of Hathersage, which is very well served with cafes, restaurants, pubs and shops. There are also public toilets available. It follows well-made paths up and out of the village, past the church, through beech woodlands and back down into the village on country lanes.
This is a circular walk of 2 miles. The trails are clearly marked and easy to follow. It is ideal for dogs and there are no stiles. You are unlikely to encounter cows, although there are often sheep in the fields. Parking (not free) is available within Hathersage. Allow 30-45 minutes for this walk, slightly more if you want to break up the walk and admire the scenery.
Park in the public car park within Hathersage village, located on Oddfellows Road, opposite the open air swimming pool (SK 23073, S32 1DD). Walking out of the car park, turn left, keeping the fire station on your left. Continue walking straight on as the road bends right, and take a narrow ginnel that runs between houses out to the main road
Cross the main road carefully and take the lane that is almost directly opposite, called Baulk Lane. After approx. 200 metres look out for a public footpath to the right, signposted to the church. This path keeps to the right hand edge of open fields, with views to Stanage Edge to the left.
Head upwards and enter the churchyard of St Michael’s Church. Walk straight on, keeping the church on your left. You will pass the reputed grave of Little John, one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, on your right, and it’s an interesting diversion.
Heading out of the churchyard through the lychgate and turn left on the quiet lane. Continue onwards, keeping the churchyard on your left. Where the lane bends left, go straight on through a small gate on to a field path that curves away to the right.
Continue straight on the field path, ignoring a path off to left down some steps, and ignoring a path to the right through a metal kissing gate. The path heads down through trees; be aware that it can be quite muddy as it reaches the bottom of the slope.
Follow the path as it bends left around some shrubbery, to be faced with a charmingly incongruous doorway in a stone frame, leading over a stream and into beautiful beech woodland, known to locals as the Fairy Woods. In Spring this woodland is filled with bluebells, in Summer it is alive with birdsong and in Autumn the colours are breathtaking. Even on a dull Winter day it is stunning with towering trees and the small stream babbling at the edge of the wood. Please treat it with respect – stay awhile and enjoy the peace!
After passing through the doorway turn to the left and follow the well-marked path up through the woodland. At the top of the path, cross a small stream and turn right to walk alongside the hedge of a large property, keeping the hedge on your left and a wall to your right.
As you emerge past the hedge, follow the path as it bears left, widens and heads down the hill. As the lane continues over a cattle grid, you will see a lovely vineyard laid out, with beautiful views across the Hope Valley beyond.
Continue following the path over another cattle grid, as it widens into a country lane that runs downhill. Follow this lane all the way as it winds back into the village of Hathersage. On meeting a road at the bottom (School Lane), just opposite the Scotsman’s Pack pub, turn right and walk on the footpath opposite the school playing field.
As School Lane meets the main road, turn right and walk down the hill, to eventually meet up with your starting point on Baulk Lane on your right. The ginnel that leads back to the car park is on your left opposite Baulk Lane.