Monsal Head

Walk Area
OS Map
Start Point
Altitude Information
Start Point
Low Point
High Point
Other Information
Tea Shops
Last Walked
Monsal Head
2.25 Miles (3.60 Km)
Explorer OL24  1:25000
White Peak Area
Monsal Head Hotel
DE45 1NL  (SK 1844 7152)
764 feet   (233 meters)
524 feet   (160 meters)
764 feet   (233 meters)
Pay and Display
Jun 7th 2012  Duration 1h 45m
Map For
This Walk.

Walk Altitude Profile:

Car Park Charges
Monsal Head
These prices were correct at the time of last visit.
(February 17th 2017)

    One Hour       £1.30
    Two Hours     £2.20
    Three Hours   £3.30
    Four Hours    £4.40
    All Day          £5.50

A short walk that starts with what on a fine day must be one of the most awe-inspiring views in the country. From Monsal Head the route drops through woodland into the steep limestone valley along well established paths. Once on the valley floor the walk crosses the River Wye then passes beneath the towering Headstone Viaduct before rising onto the former railway tack bed that is now the Monsal Trail. Although this route does not directly pass over the viaduct it only a short diversion should you choose to do so. Returning to the valley floor once more the route crosses back over the River Wye before a short steep climb back to the start point. There are no stiles at all on this route, so this walk can be considered as dog freindly. Public toilets for this walk are to be found at the car park.

The tea shop for this walk is Hobb's Café located at the start/finish point adjacent to the Monsal Head Hotel, please note that Hobb's Café not usually open on Monday's or Tuesday's.

This walk can be seen as dog friendly, there are no stiles and only three stock gates along the route. The only areas to be careful of are the very steep drops immediately beside the path on the initial descent and final ascent to and from the dales below.

Monsal Head, Derbyshire

View From Monsal Head
Getting There:

Monsal Head is located on the B6465 near to the village of Little Longstone, around a mile and a half to the north of Ashford In The Water. From either Bakewell or Buxton take the A6 to Ashford In The Water, then turn onto the B6465 and follow the signs for Monsal Head. From Sheffield, Castleton and the A623 turn off the A623 at Wardlow Mires and follow the signs to Monsal Head. There is also a bus (service 173) to Monsal Head from both Bakewell and Castleton, the timetable for which is available from the Derby Bus Info web site.

The Walk:

From the car park make your way to the front of the Monsal Head Hotel either by passing between the hotel buildings, or via the car park entrance turning left, then left at the far side of the hotel. In front of the hotel is a short stay car park and vantage points for the stunning views down into both Monsal Dale and Upperdale.

Start the walk by passing through the gap in the wall near Hobb's Caf and take the path to the left signed Ashford. After a very short distance the path splits, take the route to the right and begin the long steady descent into Monsal Dale. This path is in places rather steep, and in other spots has exposed tree roots, so please beware of tripping up given the steep drop into the woods to the right of the path. Eventually the roar of the Monsal Dale weir can be heard and the path finally levels out to arrive at the first of three stock gates. Once through the stock gate continue along the path to the weir, then on to a second stock gate and a narrow footbridge across the River Wye.

Cross the footbridge to the far side of the river then turn right and follow the path back towards the head of the dale, passing the weir and a third stock gate along the way. As the path becomes more grassy the route follows the course of the river to the left and the mighty Headstone Viaduct (often wrongly called Monsal Dale Viaduct) comes into view near the head of the dale. Follow the grassy path towards the viaduct and pass beneath the first arch.

Paths down to Monsal Dale and Upperdale, Derbyshire

Start Of The Walk

Weir on the River Wye at Monsal Dale, Derbyshire

Weir On The Wye In Monsal Dale

Once on the other side of the viaduct continue to follow the path as it bends left loosely following the line of the river eventually arriving at a footbridge. Rather than crossing the river this walk now takes the path to the left up the embankment and onto the Monsal trail at the north-western end of the Headstone Viaduct, although this walk does not cross the viaduct it is only a short distance to the left should you wish to pay it a visit.
Headstone Viaduct as seen from Monsal Dale, Derbyshire
The Headstone Viaduct
As Seen From Monsal Dale
On reaching the Monsal Trail turn right and walk along the former trackbed for a distance of a little over a quarter of a mile to a line-side hut, passing beneath a bridge along the way. At the hut leave the Monsal trail to the right then pass beneath the trail and follow the path down to another bridge over the river at Uppderdale farm. Cross the river and walk up to the road, there are no footpaths along this next section and the road does carry some light traffic so please take care. Turn right and walk along the road for a third of a mile to a point where a drive way drops off to the right, leave the road and walk down the drive to some buildings, then take the footpath immediately to the left of the building to begin the short but steep ascent back up onto Monsal Head. Part way up the slope the path splits keep left (the path to the right goes to the south-eastern end of the viaduct) and continue to climb until you reach the gap in the wall near to Hobb's café. From here retrace you steps back to the car park and the end of the walk.
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