Walk – Matlock Bath, Bonsall Village and Cromford

Duration: about 3 hours. Distance: 3.7 miles / 6 km.

To start this walk from 98 Fountain villas in Matlock Bath. From the entrance of the property facing the jubilee bridge turn right along South Parade. Take the first right (Waterloo Road) Climb Waterloo Road until you reach a cobbled footpath on your left. Take this path and at the top, climb the steps leading to the road. Cross the road and continue up the footpath (West Bank)

Eventually emerging by an entrance to the ‘Heights of Abraham’. Turn left along Upperwood Road. look for a footpath on the right hand side of the road. Climb the stepped path. When the steps peter out, continue to follow the path through the wood. At a junction with another footpath, turn left. Keep the edge of the woods to your left and continue uphill. Eventually when you reach the edge of the woods you’ll see a fingerpost and a stone squeeze stile. Go through the stile continuing straight ahead towards a farm gate. This is by Ember Farm. You need to go straight ahead onto Ember Lane.

Entering Bonsall

Follow the lane down hill until you reach a junction and Bonsall Church. You may wish to take some time have a look round the village and its picturesque 13th century church (St James) which has a tower surrounded by crowns and gargoyles. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, Bonsall is a picturesque Derbyshire village situated in the glorious Peak District. The two pubs in village are ideal for a pit stop on the walk.

If you are in the area on the first weekend of august, you might catch a glimpse of the world hen racing championships held every year by the village which also provides a great day out for all the family.

To continue your walk turn left into Church Street. This road eventually runs out and becomes a farm track. When you reach a gate and stile go through and continue straight ahead. When a metal gate and wire fencing ahead bars the route (there’s a large rock here too) you should bear left. Follow the farm track, keeping the wire fencing to your right. Go through a squeeze stile by another gate and continue. You will pass an old ruin and the path bears slightly to the right and runs gently downhill.

As you enter a wooded area you will see a junction with another path from your left (there’s a stone gap stile here). Go straight ahead through a gap stile following the path downhill. Keep the wire fencing to your right and the open fields (through the trees) to you left.

You will then reach a clearing and find some more metal gates on your right, You can see the quarry through here, this is Ball Eye Quarry. Continue ahead and downhill until the clearing runs out and follow the path round to the right into the woods. Follow the main path as it does a zigzag downhill, ignoring any other paths. Bear left to follow the path that has a broken iron rail fencing on the right hand side. The path emerges at the top of a road called Chapel Hill.

Entering Cromford

Walk down here to the main road. Continue along the main road, taking the next left (just past the Cromford Garage). This road is called Scarthin. Take the cobbled footpath on your left just opposite ‘The Old Chapel’. You may also like to take some time to explore Cromford before continuing your walk, if so continue walking along Scarthin until you reach the Market Square. The village is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site where Richard Arkwright set up his cotton-spinning mills powered by the River Derwent.

At this point you can return back to Matlock Bath by bus. Services leave Cromford at frequent intervals. Telephone Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 for information.

I you wish to continue walking, from the market square turn left Cross over the junction on the (A6) and bear left, walking along the A6 with the River Derwent on your right and Willersley Castle on the hill beyond. After approximately a quarter of a mile along the A6, you will pass Arkwright’s Masson Mill now a shopping centre and museum, continue along the main road for a further half a mile until you reach the Matlock Bath Pavilion on the right and, on the opposite side of the road, the Fishpond pub. now you can follow the promendade back to 98 Fountain villas and complete the walk.