Wheatcrofts Wharf, High Peak Jn, Black Rocks, Cromford Village

Walk Area
OS Map
Start Point
Altitude Information
Start Point
Low Point
High Point
Other Information
Tea Shops
Last Walked
4.00 Miles (6.40 Km)
Explorer OL24  1:25000
White Peak Area
Cromford Canal Car Park
DE4 3RQ  (SK 3007 5701)
262 feet   (80 meters)
262 feet   (80 meters)
741 feet   (226 meters)
Pay and Display
June 1st 2013  Duration 2h 30m
Cromford Wharf Parking
Map For
This Walk.

Walk Altitude Profile:

Wheatcrofts Wharf, Cromford
A rare three tea shop walk! This walk starts as a gentle canal side stroll followed by a long climb up a disused inclined plane of the former Cromford and High peak Railway that forms middle section of the walk. Finishing with descent through woodland and fields, and a bit of a maze between houses and back gardens on the return to Cromford.

Getting There:

Cromford is around one mile south of Matlock Bath on the A6 towards Derby. At the staggered traffic light controlled junction on the A6 do not take the road into Cromford it's self but take the Mill Land down the side of Sir Richard Awkright's Mill.
Car-parks are to be found at end of the Mill buildings. Should you wish to start the walk from High Peak Junction continue along this road, over the river Derwent and past Cromford Station around a mile and a half. The car-park and picnic area are on the right. Cromford can also be reached by train or bus from either Derby or Matlock/Matlock Bath. It is worth noting that this car park can become very busy on Sunday's, Bank Holiday's, or weekends when the nearby Leawood Pump is in steam.

The Walk:

This walk begins and ends at Cromford Wharf, this is also the site of one of the tree tea rooms to be found on the route. Wheatcroft's Wharf Cafe is a converted warehouse (see image above) and has a good selection of hot and cold drinks and food. There are also toilets available in the car-park, and across the road in the Awkrights Mill complex. From Wheatcrofts Wharf, which is co-incidentally the start of the Cromford Canal. From this point follow the canal tow-path for around a mile and a quarter to High Peak Junction. Although a flat canal side walk, this section is teeming with Wildlife, from the ducks at the Wharf, through Coots and Moorhens; to the noisy diving dab's (Little Grebe's). During the late spring all of these can be seen sitting on eggs or feeding their young along the whole length of the canal. Other things to watch for are large Pike hiding in the rushes, Nuthatches, and as the walk approaches High Peak Junction "Ratty" of Wind In The Willows fame - the Water Vole.

At High Peak Junction the walk crosses the canal via the wooden swing bridge. The path leading away from the canal over the rail tracks leads to the nearby car park which is the alternate start point for this walk. Here there is a choice, continues over the bridge to the only climb of the walk, or take a short diversion to visit Leawood Pump and the Wigwell Aqueduct.

The visitors center is also the venue for the second tea stop of the walk. At this point the walk starts the only only climb of the route. From the visitors centre and workshops take the path between the building and the preserved brake van, the track begins to climb then passes through a short tunnel under the A6. From this point the rise in this walk can be seen. The climb is around 450 feet (137m), 400 feet (122m) of which are in this single ascent up the inclined plane of the now disused Cromford and High Peak Railway. The combined Cromford and Sheep Pasture inclines stretch uninterrupted for 1292 yards (1.2Km), with the gradient varying from 1:9 in the first half mile or so, to 1:8 for the remainder of the incline. Just as the climb gets under way the route passes the catch pit built as the result of a runnaway wagon in 1888.

Car Park Charges
(Cromford Wharf)
These prices were correct at the time of visit.
(February 11th 2017)
    Two Hours     1.40
    Four Hours    2.90
    All Day          4.40

Water Vole (Arvicola Terrestris) Cromford

Water Vole

High Peak Junction Cromford

High Peak Junction

Sheep Pasture Top Winding House circ 1940
Sheep Pasture Top Winding House circ 2009

Sheep Pasture Top Winding House, Then (circ 1940) and Now (2009)

Around half way up the incline is a bench on the left, opposite are the remains of a small quarry and it's crane.  At the top of the incline is the shell of Sheep Pasture winding house, this used to power the cables that controlled the wagons on their journeys up and down the incline. It now stands as a sad reminder of it's industrial past (see the images above).

From this point there is a great view down into the valley over looking Cromford Village and Matlock Bath in the distance. The tower of Cromford's St Mary's Church, located near the to the start point of this walk can also be clearly seen rising above the trees that surround it. The track continues to rise gently for the remaining half mile or so the the Black Rock Visitors Centre, the last of the three possible refreshment stops.

Exit from rough patch to fields

Exit From Patch Of Rough Ground

On leaving Black Rock, retrace your steps pack to the point there the car park ends and a five bar gate separated it from the path leading back to Sheep Pasture Top and the incline.  Take the path on the car park side of the wall and descend the stone steps onto a track through a wooded area. Follow this path as it descends through the woodland and bears to the right before emerging into an area of rough stone ground.  The exit from this rough patch is into the corner of the field opposite the point where the track leaves the woodland. Because the exit is not immediately obvious I have highlighted it in the image opposite. Carefully negotiate the narrow uneven steps that lead down into the field and follow the wall across the top of the field to the gate visible in the distance.  Part way across the field there is a very wet and muddy section fed by run-off from a water trough, this can be navigated fairly easily via some stepping stones, but these may well become icy in cold weather; please take care if you walk in the winter months. The gate arrangement at the exit from the field is a bit odd, made up of three gates sort of stuck together to fill the gap. Use the small gate to enter the enclosed area, then use the large gate to exit onto the roadway beside the field.

Follow the roadway down the slope towards Cromford Village, shortly after passing between two houses and swinging left look for a wooden sign post and a narrow gap in the wall on the right (this can easily be missed so watch out for it), take this path and follow it down the hill with the hedge of tall conifers on the right After passing between hedgerows, front and back gardens the footpath leads out onto to a quiet road. The next part of the route is down Bedehouse Lane, opposite and slightly to the right.

Walk down Bedehouse Lane until it looks as if you are about to walk into someones kitchen, pass to the right between the house and the wall, then left down the side of the house, past yet more gardens, and fields until you reach the other end of Bedehouse Lane and  exit onto Cromford Hill (B6056). Turn right and walk down the hill into Cromford it's self.  On the way down the hill there is a cul-de-sac with terraced houses which I assume used to be the homes of Mill employees.  Continue down Cromford Hill to the junction with the A6, then cross at the traffic lights.

There is now a choice of two routes back to the start point, the short route is to turn right then left down Mill Lane back to the car park. The slightly longer route but more interesting requires you to turn left after crossing the A6. After a few meters there is an track between two large gate posts, this path runs down to St Mary's Church with the River Derwent to the left and  high rock face to the right, although supposedly not allowed it is not unusual to find climbers attached to ropes or clinging to the rock face. Before reaching the St Mary's a path split to the right to the car park of Awkrights Mill, on the approach to the car park there is a flight of steps ascending to the top of the rock face, at the top of which can be found a viewing area that overlooks the nearby Willersley Castle.

Depending on which car park you chose to park in you have either reached the end of the walk, or need to cross Mill Lane to the car park of Wheatcroft's Wharf.

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