Distance 2.7 miles
Time 2-3 hours
Terrain Field paths and country lanes
Accessibility Stiles and squeeze stiles, uneven terrain
Start and End Point Grid Ref SK 22180 – Postcode DE4 2BW – /// thousands.sank.flash
Ideal For Kids aged 8 and over
Map Ordnance Survey Explorer OL24
This walk is a great one for adventurous kids and their adventurous grown-ups! There are trees to climb, huge rocks to scramble over, a hermit’s cave to explore and a rope swing to play on. Robin Hood’s Stride is a fabulous collection of rocks perched high on a hill, perfect for climbing and scrambling, and there are fantastic views from the top.
This is a walk of 2.7 miles. There are gates, stiles and squeeze stiles. The terrain is uneven and muddy in places, and there are moderate uphill and downhill sections. There is free street parking in the village of Elton at the start of the walk. Although there is no pub in Elton, there are cafés and pubs in the nearby villages of Youlgreave and Birchover. Allow around 2-3 hours to complete this walk at a moderate pace for little legs, depending on how long you spend playing on the rocks! Be aware that you’re likely to encounter cows on this route.
This is a natural environment with all the natural hazards that come with that. Take extra care when climbing on the rocks at Robin Hood’s Stride – it hurts if you scrape yourself on them and it would hurt even more if you fell off them. Grown-ups, please make sure all children in your care are supervised. Wear waterproof clothes if it’s rainy and sunscreen if it’s sunny. Please respect this beautiful area and leave no litter. Finally, we try as hard as we can to make our instructions detailed and accurate, but it’s a good idea to carry a map of the area with you as well in case you go off course.
All walks are undertaken at your own risk. Remember, we provide the walk, you provide the common sense!
1. Park on the street near to All Saints church in the pretty village of Elton. The walk starts on the lane that runs to the left of the church, Well Street. After approx. 200 metres the road forks and you should take the left fork that heads slightly uphill, on a public footpath signed for Youlgreave.
2. Where the lane bears right towards a farm, instead turn left and head through a small gate to the side of a wide gate. The footpath is easy to see ahead of you and heads diagonally to the right downhill across the grassy field. There may be cows in this field and be aware that it can be muddy after wet weather.
3. Continue across the field through a squeeze stile, and then across a second field heading for a small gate at the bottom left corner to join a lane. Turn right on the lane heading slightly uphill.
4. On the corner of the lane you will see a collection of stone troughs fed by a natural spring. This spring provided the village of Elton with all its drinking water until 1940, and the water was carried up the hill in buckets every day.
5. Continue walking up the quiet lane, ignoring the public footpaths off. On nearing the crest of the hill, take the footpath off to the right, opposite the entrance to Cliff Farm.
6. On reaching a barn on the right, turn left off the path as the road bears right and take a track through the bracken, aiming for the left of a small area of woodland. Continue on this track as it runs to the right of a stone wall. There are some good climbing trees along the way!
7. Where the stone wall curves away to the left, follow its course, still staying to the right of the wall and following the path through the bracken. The track eventually widens and reaches a wide gate, which you should go through – or climb over! Robin Hood’s Stride is now directly in front of you. Have fun playing on the rocks!
8. Robin Hood’s Stride is a collection of rocks made from gritstone. The whole area around here is full of ancient burial chambers, as well as the remains of an old hill fort. A stone circle lies about 200 metres to the north west of Robin Hood’s Stride. You can see it from the top of the rocks, although it’s on private land. There is also an ancient Hermit’s Cave only approx. 300 metres away. (We’ll help you find it.)
9. When you’ve finished climbing, to continue the walk head to the other side of the rocks on Robin Hood’s Stride, straight over from the direction you came in on. Look out for a stile over a wire fence that leads on to a broad path, known as the Limestone Way. Turn right on the Limestone Way heading downhill, with a stone wall on your left and Robin Hood’s Stride on your right.
10. If you want to take a short diversion to see the Hermit’s Cave, turn left off the Limestone Way after approx. 50 metres, climbing over a stepped stone stile. (If not, fast forward to No 14!)
11. Head straight on across the field ahead, keeping to the left of a wire fence. In the far right hand corner of the field, climb over the stile and head straight on, to the right of a large beech tree. The rocks to your left are Cratcliff Tor. There are great climbing opportunities here too!
12. Follow the path down for a short distance to a collection of yew trees, to find the Hermit’s Cave on your left at the base of the rocks. Look out for a crudely-drawn crucifixion scene on the wall, with a little hollow for a lamp or candle. The hermit’s sleeping ledge is on the west wall. The cave is thought to have been inhabited from around the 12th Century. There are later records from Haddon Hall of 1549 which note, ‘Ye Cratcliffe Hermitte was paid fourpence for guidance of people to Haddon.’
13. When you’ve finished exploring the Hermit’s Cave, retrace your steps to rejoin the Limestone Way. Go back over the stepped stone stile and turn left on the path to head downhill.
14. Continue downhill on the Limestone Way across fields, following the obvious path. When the path reaches a cattle grid on to a lane, turn right to continue on the Limestone Way, heading slightly uphill between hedges.
15. Go past a collection of houses and, soon afterwards, look out for a public footpath sign on your right. Climb over the stile and take the path across the field.
16. If you look to your right as you walk along you can see Robin Hood’s Stride looking a bit like a castle on the hill, and to the right of that you can see Cratcliff Tor, with the Hermit’s Cave at the bottom.
17. Keep following the path slightly uphill, walking to the left of a hedge. Watch out for a lovely old ash tree here, with a brilliant rope swing attached to it. Have a swing and admire the views of where you’ve just walked!
18. Continue on the walk, following the obvious path across the fields through a succession of squeeze stiles to return to Elton. The path goes through a small gate between houses and finally leads to the back of All Saints church, from where you started.
In my opinion the walk was good fun overall! There were lots of interesting things to do! My favourite bit was climbing the rocks at Robin Hood’s Stride but I also really enjoyed the rope swing at the end! Overall I would rate it 8/10.Billy, aged 11
With big thanks to Billy (aged 11) for running, climbing, scrambling and swinging so enthusiastically on this walk.