Monsal Head, Great and Little Longstone

Walk Area
OS Map
Start Point
Altitude Information
Start Point
Low Point
High Point
Other Information
Tea Shops
Last Walked
Monsal Head
4.50 Miles (7.20 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
Feb 19th 2013  Duration 2h 10m
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 because the walk route passes beneath Monsal Head through the Headstone Tunnel (grey area above the line).

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 four and a half mile walk out through the villages of Little and Great Longstone, then across fields to pick up the Monsal Trail for the return leg of the route passing through Great Longstone Station with it's private platform and the Headstone Tunnel along the way.

Looking at the walk profile you may wonder why I but the short sharp climb at the end, well it's because I like to walk through the Headstone Tunnel and come out into Monsal Dale with the Headstone Viaduct and it's wonderful views down into Monsal Dale ahead. For me the views make it worth the extra effort, plus the climb is not quite as bad as it looks on the walk profile.

Monsal Head Hotel,  Monsal Head, Derbyshire

Monsal Head Hotel

The tea shop for this walk is Hobb's Café adjacent to the Monsal Head Hotel, please note that Hobb's Café is not usually open on Monday's or Tuesday's. The only toilets on this route are near the car-park entrance at the start/finish of the route.

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 walk back to the vehicle entrance adjacent to the toilet block and turn left to the road junction at the front of the Monsal Head Hotel. Our route turns right at the junction along the lane to Little Longstone, but you may wish to take a moment to go left to the viewpoint in front of Hobb's café beside the Hotel to take in the panoramic views over Upperdale and Monsal Dale.

Panoramic Winter View From Monsal Head, Derbyshire

Winter View From Monsal Head

From the road junction cross the B6465 Ashford Lane and take the road opposite the hotel towards Little Longstone. As you enter the village you may wish to pay a visit to the Little Longstone Congregational Chapel, on the left as you enter the village, also look out for the Pinfold where stray cattle were kept until claimed, and just past the pub on the other side of the road the village pump which was the only water supply until around 1904 when the village was supplied with mains water. Continue through the village and look to the right just after the last cottage on the right for a gate with step stiles on each side, the path we require suggests the stile to the left, but I use the small stock gate to the right. There are two paths from this point, ours is the one diagonally to the left, just left of the water trough and heading up the slope, once at the top of the hill continue in the same direction to a wooden step stile. Cross the wooden step stile when walk a short distance through woodland to a stock gate, please note this next section was rather muddy, and looks like it often that way.
Pass through the stock gate then carefully pick your way as best possible through or around the muddy section on the other side, follow the path on to a squeeze stile guarded by more mud, I found the best approach to be from the left. Go forward to another stock gate and some more mud, then on the other side follow the path slightly right across the field to another stock gate with yet another muddy approach. Once through this gate the walk is about done with mud! Continue in the same general direction towards some houses ahead, the exit is through a gated squeeze stile located at the point where the higher wall to the left steps down to a more usual field boundary height to the right. Follow the path a short distance to exit onto a road trough another squeeze stile and enter Great Longstone.
Little Longstone, Derbyshire

Looking Back To Little 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 at O'Reilly's Deli. Turn right and walk through the village changing sides of the road as necessary to stay on pavements until you leave the village (about a quarter of a mile). As the road leaves the village and swings right, take the single track road off to the left (signed Mires Lane). Walk the length of Mires lane until it reaches a T-junction after another quarter of a mile or so, at the junction turn left then take the footpath on the right between Buskey Cottage and an old barn. Walk down to a squeeze stile and pass into a field, then keeping the field boundary to the right continue on to a stone step stile at the other end of the field, in the next field head slightly to the right until the embankment of the Monsal Trail becomes visible to the right, and the isolated white building that is Toll Bar House can be seen at the bottom of the slope. The exit from this field is beside the farm gate to the right of Toll bar House, the exit stile from this final field is tucked in the corner, it has three steps up but only a slight step down on the far side.
Turn left and walk along the road the short distance to the front of Toll Bar House, then cross and go through the farm gate and take the well worn path between the mole hills up to the access gate and then onto the Monsal Trail. On reaching the trail turn right and begin the one and a half mile walk to the Headstone Tunnel beneath Monsal Head. Walk along the trail until just short of a mile further on the trail comes to two bridges close together joined by a shallow cutting, this is the approach to the former Great Longstone Station. Opened in1863 as Longstone rather than Thornbridge as planned the station is unusual in that it has both public and private platforms. What was the public platform is now fenced off as part of a private residence while the unfenced section was the private platform for the residents and visitors to the nearby Thornbridge Hall. Woodlands the large gate house beside the private platform built in 1903-04 housed the private waiting rooms and staff recreation rooms for Thornbridge Hall, is now an outdoor activity centre.
Aproaching the former Great Longstone Station on the Monsal Trail, Derbyshire

Approaching Great Longstone Station
On The Monsal Trail

View from the Meadstone Tunnel into Monsal Dale, Monsal trail, Derbyshire

Exiting The Headstone Tunnel

After passing through Great Longstone Station continue along the Monsal Trail, ignoring footpaths to both left and right and enter into the steep sided cutting on the approach to the eastern portal of the Headstone Tunnel . If walking the tunnel in winter please be aware that near the tunnel ends water dripping from the roof of the tunnel may form icy patches. Enter the tunnel through the steel rockfall canopy and the walk 533 yards (471m) through the tunnel to exit out into Monsal Dale at the site of the former Monsal Station. Ahead now although not on our route is the Headstone Viaduct with its unobstructed views down both Uppderdale and Monsal Dale. I always pay it a visit and enjoy the views whenever I walk this section of the trail. On exiting the tunnel look for a footpath to the right almost immediately at the end of the short cutting in the rock face, this is the beginning of the short steep climb up to Monsal Head, if you have paid a visit to the viaduct head back to the tunnel and the path is on the left. Follow the path up the slope taking note of the steep drop immediately to the left, after a while the path meets another crossing left-to right, turn right and go up the even steeper stepped path to to the viewing area at Monsal Head. Once at the top and having recovered from the climb make your way back to the car-park at the rear of the hotel and the end of the walk.
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