Wheatcrofts Wharf, Bow Wood, Lea Bridge, High Peak Jn

Walk Area
OS Map
Start Point
Altitude Information
Start Point
Low Point
High Point
Other Information
Tea Shops
Last Walked
3.50 Miles (5.60 Km)
Explorer OL24  1:25000
White Peak Area
Cromford Canal Car Park
DE4 3RQ  (SK 3007 5701)
262 feet   (80 meters)
246 feet   (75 meters)
449 feet   (137 meters)
Pay and Display
April 4th 2015  Duration 2h
Cromford Wharf Parking
Map For
This Walk.

Walk Altitude Profile:

Cromford Blue Bell Wood Walk
A two tea shop walk starting and ending at Cromford Wharf. A varied walk with near all of the ascent in the first section, followed by a gentle decent through mixed woodland to Lea Bridge. Ending with a final canal side stroll from High Peak Junction back to Cromford Wharf.

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 Lane down the side of Sir Richard Awkrights 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, continue for 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, Matlock,or Matlock Bath.
The Walk:

The first of the two tea shops on the walk is to be found the other side of the canal to the car park. Wheatcroft's Wharf is a converted canal warehouse selling a selection of hot and cold sandwiches and drinks. Leave the car park via it's entrance and cross the road, turn right and walk away from the Mill buildings then cross the river via Cromford Bridge. Immediately before the river bridge on the opposite side is an 18th Fishing Temple this still has it's wooden rod rack beside the door and the same inscription above the door as is found on Cotton and Walton's fishing temple in Beresford Dale 'Piscatoribus Sacrum'. Adjacent to both the bridge and the fishing temple are the remains of a 15th century bridge chapel.

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
Cromford Bridge Chapel Ruins 
Cromford Bridge Chapel Ruin

 Overgrown Footpath Marker 
Overgrown Footpath Entrance
Cromford bridge also has a curious inscription 'THE LEAP OF B H MARE JUNE 1697', although I have to date failed to find it. Take care when crossing both the road and the bridge as the road can be deceptively busy at times, and the footpaths on the bridge are rather narrow. After crossing the bridge follow the road round to the right, continue along the road and pass under the railway bridge. A few yards beyond the bridge look for a stile through the hedge on top of a low wall to the left, although not obvious the stile does have a footpath finger post next to it, and is accessed by a stone step sticking out of the wall. The path on the the other side of the stile is clear and well maintained, the path rises steeply for a couple of hundred yards eventually reaching a fence and wooden stile. Rather than climbing over the site, pass through the low squeeze stile in the wall to the right. Follow the path across the hillside through the woods, negotiating a fallen silver birch across the path along the way. In the spring this part of the walk is lined with bluebells for most of it's length (see image above).

Leave the woodland by a stile into grassland. Continue across the hillside following a well worn path alongside an old hedge line and ditch. Keeping the old hedge and wall to your right follow the path as it bears slightly to the left passing through to a gap in a low wall, cross the final field passing over a couple of streams down to a five-bar gate and stile. In the spring this final field has young lambs, so if you have a dog along for some exercise, please take this into account. Turn left and walk up the lane, passing Bow Hill Farm below and to the right follow the lane to the point where it turns sharp left. Turn right and take footpath running immediately in front of the garden boundary wall belonging to the house that overlooks the Derwent Valley. The path soon enters another stand of woodland and begins a long steady descent as it progressed through the trees. Along the way there is another, much larger, fallen Birch to negotiate, and a rope swing to look out for on the right as you pass beneath a low tree branch.

At the point where the path swings off to the left up the hill, take the path that continues directly ahead and enter Bow Wood. The path continues for some way through Bow Wood down to the road at Lea Bridge. Turn right cross the road and walk along the road back in the direction of Cromford. In a short distance there is a pair houses on the left near to a two bus stops. Turn left between the houses and the rear of the houses turn left before immediately before the next house in the lane, follow the path to the disused Lea arm of the Cromford Canal.
Old field boundary path 
Path Along Old Hedge Line
Path along Garden wall 
Path Along Garden Wall
Footpath left turn 
Easy To Miss Left Turn
On reaching the disused canal turn right and walk along the old tow-path, just before the cottage notice the remains of an old crane pivot mount built into the tow-path. Continue along the tow-path past the cottage and along the side of the old canal bed, at points the whole of the old canal bed is covered with Ransom (Wild Garlic). Cross the footbridge over the railway line, noting how close the rail bridge over the River Derwent is to the tunnel mouth in the rock face. A short distance past the rail bridge the disused Lea arm joins the main Cromford canal. At the junction is a derelict junction keepers cottage, now with the logo "The Wayfarer" painted on the lintel above the door. I believe that this cottage was still lived in until the early to mid 1950's. Turn right and follow the tow-path over Wigwell Aqueduct across the River Derwent as you approach the end of the aqueduct a great view can be had to the right of the front of Leawood Pump House, this is usually in steam between 12:00 and 17:00 on the first weekend of the month from May to October. (Worth checking first if you make a special journey to view the pump in action as this can vary with public holidays.)
High Peak Junction approach
High Peak Junction Approach
Continue along the tow-path a short distance to High Peak Junction. Here there are toilets, accessed via the wooden swing bridge, and when the shop is open refreshments are available. This is the site at which the High Peak Railway met the Cromford canal to trans-ship goods for carriage by train across the Peak District. At the rear of the workshops is the start of Sheep Pasture incline site of more than one runaway train during it's history. Directly opposite the swing bridge on the tow-path side is the footpath to the car park at High Peak Junction (the alternate start/finish for this walk. Following the tow-path away from High Peak Junction in a northerly direction look out for wild life, in particular Water Voles, dabs (litttle Grebes) and the occasional glimpse of some rather large Pike. The tow-path follows the canal under Lawn Bridge to it's terminus and the the car park at start of the walk.
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Cromford Walk GPX Download

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