Chelmorton 6 mile walk
Five wells, Taddington, Flagg and back
This route follows a concessionary path to the The Neolithic Chambered Cairn at Five Wells from the historic village of Chelmorton, returning via the village of Flagg, famous for its Easter point-to-point steeplechase races...
Chelmorton, Five Wells and Taddington
The Neolithic Chambered Cairn at Five Wells overlooking the Wye Valley near Taddington is thought to be the highest such monument in the country, standing at over 430m/1,400 feet. This route follows a concessionary path to the monument from the historic village of Chelmorton, returning via the village of Flagg, famous for its Easter point-to-point steeplechase races.
The “fossilised” medieval strip fields of Chelmorton are best seen from the minor road dropping down from the Bakewell road at the end of this walk. The long lines of drystone walls which spread back either side of the village street perpetuate the strip fields of the farmers of 600 years ago. It is a familiar pattern in the White Peak, and can also be seen at Taddington and Flagg on this walk.
Check out our Chelmorton HD video
The charming name of the small stream which passes, mainly concealed, down the village street of Chelmorton is “Illy Willy Water,” and the splendid little partly-Norman, 13th century church at the top of the village carries a locust weather vane on its spire to mark its dedication to St. John the Baptist. Chelmorton – locally-known as “Chelly” – claims to be the highest village in Derbyshire, at over 365m/1,200ft.
From the Church Inn, continue up the hill to the walled track (to the right) which winds above the churchyard past the village spring along the line of an old lead rake, marked by various bumps and hollows, up the southern flank of Chelmorton Low (no access).
The 446m/1,463ft escarpment of Chelmorton Low is crowned by a prominent pair of Bronze Age tumuli, where important tribal leaders were interred around 4,000 years ago. Like most of the Derbyshire “lows,” the Chelmorton pair were excavated by Thomas Bateman of Middleton-by-Youlgrave during the 19th century.
In order to visit the monument - where the track crosses the Pilwell Gate bridleway, turn left up this walled lane until you reach the edge of the Five Wells escarpment, overlooking the A6. Here a sign leads right on the cessionary path beside a wall, to the Five Wells Chambered Cairn monument.
Five Wells Chambered Cairn
All that is left of what was once a substantial, 21m/70ft diameter tomb are the two massive stone-built chambers which were once at its centre. The stones which once covered them were removed by wall builders about 200 years ago. There were two low entrances to the site, which when it was excavated in the 19th century, revealed the remains of 12 skeletons. The Neolithic monument was built between 4,500 and 2,000 BC, and commands extensive views over the valley of the River Wye to the north.
Retrace your steps back down the Pilwell Gate bridleway to where you joined it on the way up from Chelmorton. Take the path which heads off below and to the right of Fivewells Farm, passing through several wall-stiles before passing just below the high point of Sough Top (438m/1,437ft). Below, ahead and to the right of this is a footpath sign in the wall. The path now descends quite sharply to reach, firstly, a back-lane and on through a field into Taddington’s main street.
Taddington is a one-street village standing at over 335m/1,100ft above the sea, which once carried the main road between Bakewell and Buxton but which is now thankfully by-passed by the roaring A6. The church of St. Michael at the western end of the village is notable for its gritstone tower and limestone walls and has what could be a Saxon cross shaft in the churchyard, from which are are splendid views.
From the village street, turn immediately right to ascend the lane known as Humphrey Gate, where again wonderful views can be enjoyed across the valley of the Wye and down to flat-topped Fin Cop, above Monsal Head. Follow this lane, known as The Jarnett, past High Well, once the village’s only source of water.
At a road junction on top of the hill, follow the footpath sign to your right opposite, entering a shallow valley of strip fields which is descended via a series of squeezer stiles/gates (roughly diagonally across) to pass Rockfield House in the near distance (keep to the rght of this) before meeting a minor road. Turn right then left (footpath sign) to follow the line of the narrow fields to reach Flagg to the right of the farmyard of Flagg Hall to the road. Turn right into the village.
Flagg’s unusual name probably comes from the Old Norse and means “the place where turfs were cut.” This typical White Peak linear village is perhaps best known for its point-to-point steeplechase races which are held every Easter and attract large numbers of local people. The long strip fields lead off from the “crofts” in the village street in typical fashion, and the northern end of the village is known as “Town Head” which is again a typical White Peak name for the end of the village, found also as “Townend” at Chelmorton.
At the end of the long village street, on a bend, turn left onto a lane, and then right at a signed path before a farm with an elegant private house/farm on your right. Continue diagonally on a faint path to a broken wall in the corner of a field. Head towards a lone tree alongside which is another stile. Over the brow of the small grassy bank ahead, the path continues diagonally across the field to reach the Bakewell-Chelmorton road.
Turn left and follow the road across a crossroads, taking the next right into Church Lane, which leads back into Chelmorton, now revealed ahead sheltering under the backing escarpment of Chelmorton Low. Note the pattern of strip fields below you to the left, as you re-enter the village past the Church Inn.
Distance: 10km/6 miles
Approximate time: Allow 2.5 - 3.5 hours including stops
Highest point: Sough Top 438m/1,437ft
Map: OS Explorer Sheet 24, The White Peak
Refreshments: Pubs at Chelmorton and Taddington
Terrain: A breezy excursion on field paths for most of the way
These walks have been adapted from Roly Smith’s Rambler’s Guide to the Peak District, published by HarperCollins in 2000.
Last walked, checked and revised 16.8.2010 by the Let's Stay team
Copyright Let's Stay Peak District 2010
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015