Monsal Head To Litton Mill

Walk Area
OS Map
Start Point
Altitude Information
Start Point
Low Point
High Point
Other Information
Tea Shops
Last Walked
Monsal Head
4.75 Miles (7.60 Km)
Explorer OL24  1:25000
White Peak Area
Monsal Head Hotel
DE45 1NL  (SK 1844 7152)
764 feet   (233 meters)
551 feet   (168 meters)
764 feet   (233 meters)
Pay and Display
Apr 23rd 2013  Duration 3hr 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 because the route crosses Monsal Dale via the Headstone Viaduct (grey area beneath the line) then passes through the Cressbrook and Litton Tunnels and their cuttings (grey areas 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

View From Monsal Head, Derbyshire

Preview Of The Route Ahead

An easy walk mostly flat with only a few short ascents. The outward section drops down to the site of the former Monsal Dale Station then passes over the Headstone Viaduct and along the Monsal Trail to Litton Mill passing through the Cressbrook and Litton Tunnels along the way. The return leg follows the bank of the River Wye from Litton Mill through Miller's Dame and Water-Cum-Jolly Dale to Cressbrook Mill, then back up onto the Monsal Trail to head back towards Monsal Head. With the Vaiduct ahead the path drops down to the river once more in Upper Dale to offer fine views of the structure before crossing the river and ascending up the longest ascent of the route up to Monsal Head Hotel and the end of the walk.

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 make your way to the front of the Monsal Head Hotel by walking to the car park entrance turning left, at the road, then left at the road junction near the Hotel. In front of the hotel is a free short stay car park and vantage points for the stunning views down into Upperdale, Monsal Dale and the Headstone Viaduct. From the viewpoint near the front of Hobb's Café the Monsal Head Hotel, pass through the roadside wall and take the path down to the right, after a short descent a marker post is reached at a junction of paths, take the path to the left and walk down do the site of the former Monsal Station.
Taking a rest at a lineside halt, Monsal Trail, Derbyshire

Taking A Rest At A Lineside Halt

On reaching the Monsal Trail at the site of the former Monsal Station turn right and cross the Headstone Viaduct then continue along the trail for a further three-quarters of a mile or so to the mouth of the Cressbrook Tunnel. The Cressbrook Tunnel is 471 yards (430m) in length, with two curves that form a letter "S", on exiting the tunnel there is a short section of trackbed cut into a steep slope that offers wonderful views down into Miller's Dale to the west and Water-Cum-Jolly Dale to the east. This stretch mast have provided a quite spectacular view from trains as they sped between the tunnels. Continue along the trail and onto the short deep cutting that forms the entrance to the LittonTunnel, this tunnel is 515 yards (471m) in length and curves gently west before exiting out into Miller's Dale close to Litton Mill.
The Cressbrook And Litton Tunnels And The View Between The Two, Monsal Trail, Derbyshire

The Cressbrook And Litton Tunnels And The View Between The Two

On exiting the Litton Tunnel continue along the trail to a bridge that crosses above the trail, just before the bridge leave the Monsal trail and take the signed footpath to the right down to a footbridge across the river. The path winds it's way down the hillside, at one of the point where it turns back on it's self there is a fallen tree that makes the turn a bit more awkward than it should be, but it does compensate by forming a good hand hold. Cross the river then pass between the buildings and out onto a road at Litton Mill, turn right and observing the request to stay to the marked footpath walk along the road toward the former Mill. Walk between the cottages and the mill buildings to the end of the main mill buildings then bear right across the mill leat then turn left to walk between the mill leat and the river.
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus), Miller's Dale, Derbyshire


Nesting Swan, Water-Cum-Jolly Dale, Derbyshire

Nesting Swan

Walk down the wide path and past the wide wooden gate to access the concessionary path through Miller's Dale and Water-Cum-Jolly Dale, follow the path beside the river until it crosses the mill leat via a metal plate bridge, along the way there are plenty of wild flowers to observe, especially Butterbur which seems extremely plentiful along this stretch. From this point the path follows the course of the river and begins to narrow as it heads towards Water-Cum-Jolly Dale, keep an eye open for water voles along this section as I saw one on a fallen tree in the river enjoying a leaf of something or other. Eventually the path reaches two wooden signs against a rock face, one of which indicates an alternate path to Cressbrook Mill should the riverside path be flooded. To be honest it looks rather steep and not for the feint of heart!

The path now enters Water-Cum-Jolly Dale and truly becomes a riverside path, bordered on onside by the river Wye and on the other by the steep rock face side of the dale, on this section there are plenty of waterfowl to be seen on the river, and a pair of swans one of which was sitting on a nest on a spit of land in the middle of the river. Continue along the path through the Dale until a wooden footbridge is reached over the leat that used to provide water to the mill, cross this bridge and then cross a second footbridge over the river just down stream of a weir. Once over the river the path soon begins to climb away from the dale winding it's way up the hillside before flattening out somewhat and heading eastward to rejoin the Monsal Trail near the mouth of the Cressbrook Tunnel. On rejoining the Monsal trail turn left and walk back along the trail towards the Headstone Viaduct crossed near the start of the walk. As the trail nears the Viaduct look for a footpath sign to the left that leads down to a footbridge across the Wye and also to the foot of the viaduct and the entrance to Monsal Dale.

View from the foot of the Headstone Viaduce, Monsal Dale, Derbyshire

View From The Foot Of The Viaduct

At this point there are two choices, cross the viaduct and return back up the path to Monsal Head from the site of the former station, or take the path down to the left away from the trail. This walk assumed the option to visi the foot of the viaduct is taken by choosing the path down to the river on the left of the trail.

At the bottom of the path walk along the path beside the river to visit the foot of the viaduct and get an true appreciation of its size. After visiting the viaduct backtrack to the footbridge and cross the river to the far side, then follow the up to the building ahead then turn right to pick up the public footpath back to Monsal Head. Here begins 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 the front of the Hotel and café retrace you steps back to the car park and the end of the walk.

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