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Bakewell, Monsal Head, Great and Little Longstone

Walk Area
Distance
OS Map
 
Start Point
 
 
Altitude Information
Start Point
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Other Information
Tea Shops
Parking
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Bakewell
7.75 Miles (12.50 Km)
Explorer OL24  1:25000
White Peak Area
Northern End Of Town Bridge
(SK 2201 6868)
 
 
413 feet   (126 meters)
406 feet   (124 meters)
764 feet   (233 meters)
 
 
Two
Pay and Display
Feb 19th 2013  Duration 3h 35m
Map For
This Walk.

Walk Altitude Profile:
 


 
The Odd Looking
Walk Profile!

You may have noticed that the altitude profile for this walk looks a bit different. This is intended to show the section of the walk where the route passes under Monsal Head through the Headstone Tunnel (grey area above the line).

A fairly lengthy but gentle walk taking in a large amount of the local railway heritage, including the Headstone Tunnel and possibly a short diversion to visit the Headstone Viaduct at Monsal Head then back via the villages of Little Longstone and Great Longstone to Bakewell. To be honest the only hard bit on this route is the short but steep climb from the former Monsal Station up to Monsal Head. Refreshments and toilets are well provisioned along this route, tea rooms are available at and Hobb's Café at Monsal Head (not open on Mondays), plus public houses at Monsal Head, and both Great and Little Longstone. Toilets are to be found at Hassop Station and Monsal Head car-park.

Should you decide this route is a bit too long it can be easily divided into two shorter walks, both available on the www.derbyshirewalking.co.uk web site. From Bakewell there is the 3.5 mile route to Hassop Station Bookshop, and from Monsal Head the 4.25 mile Great and Little Longstone's route. Two alternate start points are available for this route at Hassop Station Bookshop and Monsal Head.

Getting There:

Bakewell is a prominent market town in Derbyshire located on the A6 towards the north of the county, agricultural and cattle markets still take place each Monday (Bank Holiday's excludes as is the week of the Bakewell show). During these times the town becomes extremely busy, and parking can be difficult if not almost impossible. Parking for this walk is best from either the car parks off Coombs road (Northern end of the River Bridge), or at the agricultural centre if driving in from the South.

Bakewell Bridge In Spring

Bakewell Bridge In Spring

There is also limited town centre parking in the market place on non-market days; but it is so limited I tend not to bother with it. Given the number of different long and short stay parking options available in Bakewell I have chosen not to detail parking charges for this walk. Although Bakewell has no rail station it is well served by buses. Services 6.1 and Trans-Peak from Derby and Matlock areas, Trans-Peak also from Buxton, Stockport, Manchester and Nottingham., Service 275 from Sheffield, Grindleford and Hathersage, plus services from Leek and Macclesfield. For a full list of bus services and timetables both to and from Bakewell please visit the Derby Bus Info web site.
The Walk:

If you have parked in town cross the bridge to it's northern end, take care as you do so because the bridge footpaths are very narrow, and the bridge is both busy and narrow. From the northern end (away from the town) of the the bridge over the River Wye that has served the town since the twelfth century. From the foot bridge turn right at the junction ahead and walk up Station Road away from both the bridge and the Town. The road splits almost immediately, keep left at this point and walk up the hill. The road curves left as it climbs, continue following the road until it reaches a point where an number of roads converge. Remain on Station Road by continuing straight ahead at the junction. A short distance beyond the junction to the right is the former Bakewell Station with it's small pay-and-display car park. Pass in front of the old station then to the left of the station buildings to access the Monsal Trail.

Woodlands; The Private Waiting Room Of Thornbridge Hall, Derbyshire
Woodlands; The Private Waiting Room Of Thornbridge Hall
Once on the Monsal Trail turn left and walk along the disused railway line for a distance of almost three miles to the southern portal of the Headstone Tunnel. Along the way the trail passes now a thriving café and book shop the platform of which has been transformed into the café's sun terrace. Hassop Station is also an alternate start point for this walk, situated one mile north along the Monsal Trail from Bakewell Station. Just over a mile and a quarter further on from Hassop Station, just the other side of the bridge where Longstone Lane crosses the trail is the site of what was once Great Longstone Station. The large building set back from the trail just beyond the station is Woodlands; build in 1903/4 as a private waiting room and recreation rooms for the staff of Thornbridge Hall complete with it's own private access to the station platform. This building is now Trornbridge Outdoors, an outdoor activity and training centre.
Continue along the Monsal Trail which soon enters the steep sided cutting that forms the southern approach to the Headstone Tunnel below Monsal Head. This cutting with it's clearly visible rock strata has been designated a geological SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), continue through the cutting and enter into the tunnel. The Headstone Tunnel was reopened to pedestrian and cycle traffic in 2011 as part of the Monsal Trail, the tunnel is 533 yards (487m) long and is a "complex tunnel" as it contains both a gradient and a bend. As you progress through the tunnel keep an eye open for the changes in tunnel shape as it approaches Monsal Dale. On leaving the tunnel walk through the short steep cutting to the site of the former Monsal Station, ahead the trail passes over the Headstone Viaduct. A visit to the viaduct requires a short diversion from this route as this walk leaves the Monsal Trail near to the site of the Station and does not cross the viaduct, but the views into Upperdale and Monsal Dale make the diversion well worth the effort.
Little Longstone Congregational Chapel, Derbyshire
Little Longstone Congregational Chapel
On leaving the cutting at the Monsal Dale end of the tunnel, take the path immediately to the right and begin the shortish steep ascent up to Monsal Head. After a while the path joins another running down into Upperdale from right to left, turn right and climb the final section of the path up to the viewing area at Monsal Head. It may be worth taking a moment to enjoy the view or have some refreshments at Hobb's Café (if open) and recover from the climb continuing the walk. Once recovered walks past the front of the Monsal Head Hotel to the road junction, then take the lane opposite into Little Longstone.

A short way down the lane on the left is the Little Longstone Congregational Chapel, this is often open to visitors should anyone wish to pay a visit. A little further down the lane on the opposite side of the road is the pinfold where stray sheep and cattle rounded up by the village Pinder were kept until their owners were found and paid a fine for their release. Just beyond the Packhorse public house on the same side as the Pinfold is the village pump and water troughs, these were the villages only water supply until a water main reached the village around 1904. Continue on through the village to a gate with step stiles on both sides just beyond the last house on the right, the path we need is to the left, but you may find it easier to use the stock gate to the right as the field boundary that once necessitated two stiles is no longer in place.

Mud Warning! Part of the path between Little and Great Longstone has muddy near to stiles and gates, sometimes on both sides. These can be circumnavigated with varying degrees of ease, on the bright side this section contains about all the mud to be found on the whole walk.

Walk diagonally left from the gate with the stiles, on the path to the left of the water trough, at the top of the hill walk ahead to a wooden step stile, cross the stile then pass through a short wooded section to a stock gate. This is where the muddy bits begin. Once through the gate pick your way as best possible past the mud on the far side then follow the path across the field to a squeeze stile on the other side, an approach from the left seemed less muddy option. Follow the path slightly to the right to another stock gate and some more mud. Go through the gate leaving the mud behind and walk in the same direction as before towards some houses on the far side of the field, the exit is just to the right of where the wall ahead changes height. Pass through the squeeze stile then walk between the houses to another squeeze stile to exit out onto a road in Great Longstone.

Cross the road and take the footpath next to the lamp post then walk between houses to come out into some playing fields and a cricket pitch. Keeping left exit beside a five bar gate then walk between houses again to come out onto a road beside O'Reilly's Deli. This looks as if it was once a butchers shop as it still has the bars where the butcher would have hung game. Turn right and walk through the village crossing the road as necessary to stay on the pavement as you leave Great Longstone the road bends right and there is a single track road off slightly to the left (Mires Lane), walk up the lane rather than following the road down to Ashford-in-the-Water. Go along Mires lane to it's end at a t-junction after about a third of a mile, then turn left onto Longstone Lane and walk towards a cottage on the right a short way up the lane. Just beyond the cottage and before the old barn take the footpath on the right between the two.

Walk in front of the cottage to a squeeze stile then on into a field, keeping the field boundary to the right make you way across the field to a stone step stile on the far side. The path across the next field bears slightly to the right, part way across the field the embankment of the Monsal Trail becomes visible in the distance to the right, ahead Toll Bar House also becomes visible, the exit from this field onto the A6020 is to the right of Toll Bar House. Climb the stone steps in the corner near the farm gate and step out onto the road, head left to Toll Bar house then cross the road and go through a farm gate to follow the well worn path across the field between mole hills to the Monsal Trail on the embankment ahead. Go through the gate and up onto the trail, the path now continues as a bridle way up the hill on the far side of the trail to begin the final leg of the walk back into Bakewell. The path up the hill soon becomes walled on both sides, continue along the bridle way passing through numerous gates along the way for about half a mile, at the point where the path returns to being walled on both sides after a long section of being fenced to the right we begin the final descent into Bakewell. The path now becomes less even under foot, and signs of rabbit activity are all around, so watch out for holes!

O'Reilly's Deli, Great Longstone, Derbyshire

O'Reilly's Deli, Great Longstone

Approaching The Monsal trail from Toll Bar House, Derbyshire

Mole Hill Guarded Path To The Monsal Trail

Blue commemorative plaque, Bakewell, Derbyshire
Ignoring footpaths to both left and right continue forward through more gates to enter finally into a broad sloping meadow, from here the spire of Bakewell Parish Church can be seen in the valley below. Take the path down the dip in the middle of the meadow and follow it down to a gate in the wall in the bottom left corner, along the way look out for an old Anderson shelter perched on a hill, what that is doing up there I have no idea. On the other side of the gate walk down the rough track as it bears left then right near Holme Hall to come out onto a road opposite an old packhorse bridge over the River Wye. On the wall of the house to the right where the track reaches the road there is a blue plaque commemorating Richard Arkwright Junior 1755-1843. Turn left and walk down the lane to a stock gate at the bottom of some steps on the right hand side of the road, go through the gate into Wynne Meadow, this is a concessionary path on private land, so please keep to the well trodden path.
Exit Wynne Meadow through a stock gate onto a path between a high wall and the rivers edge, then after a short distance through another gate into another meadow, this meadow unlike the previous one is owned and maintained by Bakewell Council. Walk along the path beside the river to the end of the meadow, then up onto the road at the northern end of Town Bridge and the end of the walk.
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