Derbyshire Tourist - Western Tour

and Staffordshire Moorlands

Here's Matlock Bath:

Take the A6 south from Matlock and turn right a the Cromford traffic lights on the A5012. Then turn right again just past the market place (still A5012). Pass the pond and the water wheel to climb the ancient Via Gellia road. This is a long twisty valley road covered over with trees for the most part. Pass out of the urban limit just past the Pig of Lead (now closed but named for the form of smelted lead ingots). Some of the bends tighten and in winter this road has a nasty micro-climate, keeping its frost late into the day.

After 4 miles arrive at the Holly Bush Inn. Turn left at this crossroads onto the B5056. Pass a quarry entrance on your left and climb to the cross roads at Longcliffe. Carry straight on under the bridge (High Peak Trail) and descend by some nice twisties into a steep sided valley. A quick blast along a flat straight and then more twisties to bring you out at the Bentley Brook PH (Mock Tudor) after 3.6 miles. Turn sharp right onto the A515.

Pass through Fenny Bentley to rise up under the Tissington Trail (long straight climb). After 3.4 miles note the Tissignton trail on your right and turn left down a minor road signed Milldale and Alstonfield just before the white Newton House. If you miss this take the next left instead. Descend a steep narrow road into Milldale. After the bridge a side trip may be taken to the top of Dove Dale (Milldale) to you left. (See Dove Dale walk) Otherwise take the main route which clings to the side of the hill passing over into Alstonfield.

A (diversion) left turn at the green will bring you to the George and Dragon PH, but if drink is not required carry on round to the right to pass the car park and out of Alstonfield towards Hulme End. After 2.7 miles, while descending a hill, take a left turn signed Ecton and Butterton. This is a narrow minor road and some care is required as the surface can have loose stones. Follow this road along the valley and just as it starts to rise up the other side, take a right signed "(Manifold Valley) Wetton Mill". With due care to walkers and cyclists, cruise through the tunnel and down this single track road to Wetton Mill (NT) for coffee and cake. You can cycle this route see Manifold Valley page.

Leave the valley via the road opposite the bridge in front of the cafe. This is a narrow steep road and you just hope not to come across a tractor coming down it. Just before Butterton turn left (signed Butterton and Leak). At Butterton follow the road round to the right and come out onto the B5053. (Less experienced riders, or large cruisers may prefer to retrace their path through the tunnel, and then rejoin the road, passing over the tunnel entrance to come to Butterton.)

Turn left on the B5053 towards Onecote. After passing through the village, climb the hill passing the National Park Sign on your right (this very one is shown at the top of this site's first page). Shortly after the sign turn sharp right to join a long, straight(ish) road which takes you along Morridge. Time to open the throttle.

Turn right and pull into the lay-by (left) to admire the view over Staffordshire - can you see Jodrell Bank today? Carry on past the Mermaid and out onto some open moorland (beware of sheep). Turn right onto the A53, pass the Winking Man PH, turn right off the A53 towards Longnor. Note the llamas at the farm on the right and blast down this road to Longnor (I usually slow down for the descent, sharp turn and bridge at Hardings Booth!).

Straight on at the crossroads in Longnor (stop and look around) and taking the descent (main route, left fork) to Crowedecote. Ascend the switch-back and come to the Royal Oak PH at the top of the High Peak Trail. Cross the busy A515 (right then left) towards Monyash and Bakewell. Ice cream at the cafe on Monyash green (See Lathkill Dale walk) before proceeding to Bakewell. After the descent into Bakewell turn left ( no right turn ) and U turn around the island before making off down the A6 back to Matlock. Beware of Plod on the A6 and generally around the Matlock area.

There you have it then, one of my favorite routes.