Great Longstone 8 mile walk
..from the White Lion and back!
Great Longstone to Monsal Dale, Ashford in the Water and back. An eight-mile circular walk that passes through river valleys, wooded dales and pretty villages. Allow between 3 and 4 hours.
Great Longstone is a pretty village situated a few miles from Bakewell and boasts a couple of pleasant pubs that serve food. The walk also passes several other refreshment stops at appropriate points.
As you enter the village from the general direction of Bakewell, the White Lion pub is found on your left hand side. To the right hand side of the pub as you look at it, is a narrow lane that leads to a small car park where the walk begins and ends.
To the top left of the car park is a stile into a park. Don’t go into the park but take the adjoining tarmac path for about 30 metres before turning right again, still on a tarmac path. Continue until you reach a road, which you should cross before passing through the ’footpath-signed’ stile opposite into a field (remember this footpath sign for later in the walk).
Heading slightly to the right you should pass through a series of obvious and clearly marked gates and stiles before eventually arriving at a large gated stile over which is the minor road that links Great Longstone to Monsal Head. This is the linear village of Little Longstone. Turn left here and continue along the footpath passing the Pack Horse pub on your right as you continue on up the road towards Monsal Head.
At Monsal Head you could stop for a short break and admire the extensive views.
Just in front of the café in the corner, take the stile in the wall and then take the lower of the two footpaths to your left. Descending a well- worn path, you’ll eventually reach the lower reaches of Monsal Dale at an attractive waterfall (weir) in the river Wye before turning left to reach and cross a small iron bridge. Turn left and continue along the dale following the winding river.
Watch out for the white-chests of Dippers bobbing up and down on stones in the river.
Continue along until you reach the end of the dale at the busy A6 main road. Cross this road (with great care) to a point directly opposite and climb into the car park complete with picnic tables where you can rest awhile. Head on up to the obvious stile and continue along a bumpy path to a stile in a wall.
Ascend the rocky path opposite that rises until you reach a path that turns sharply left and rises steeply up the hill towards Great Shacklow wood. Climb this path until you reach a stile in a wall that marks the boundary of the wood. Enter the wood and soon the path levels off and continues along, high above the A6 road that you can occasionally glimpse down to your left.
Continue on through the wood, following the clear path until you descend to a ruined water mill. Keep the same course parallel to the A6 until you find yourself strolling alongside the river, which you will stay with until you reach a quiet road (Sheldon). Turn left here and make the short road walk down to the main A6. Turn right here and continue to a point opposite a ’sheep-wash’ bridge at the very pretty village of Ashford in the Water.
Taking great care, cross the road and enter the village veering right towards the church. Just past the church turn left until you reach a few bungalows at the back of the building. Opposite the church gate is a narrow path that leads you into a park where you should veer off to the top right hand corner.
In this corner of the park is another narrow path that you should take to meet a steep, back road. Turn left and head upwards to the top. Turn right here and continue past a farm on your right before going on to join a quiet lane, passing a house on your right. Hidden in the hedge on your right just a few metres down this lane is a stile that you should cross in to a small field. Cross the field and exit through the stile opposite on to a main road.
Once again with care, you should cross the road to a track before arriving at a stile at the side of a barn.
Continue across the field and upwards to another stile in a gate at the side of a small wood. Follow this path as far as a lane that reaches Thornbridge Hall if you turned right. However, you should cross here to climb a stile and continue up the fields to reach the Monsal Trail some way ahead. Turn right here and follow the trail for a short distance to what once was Great Longstone station but is now a private residence.
At this point climb the left hand steps of the bridge to re-join the quiet lane. Turn left here for about 100 metres to a stile in the wall. In the field veer off diagonally to your right until you reach another stile in the wall.
Turn left here and continue up Station Road for a short while until you find the ’ footpath-sign’ on your left (you were asked to remember this earlier). Opposite this, you will find the path that leads you back to the car park.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015