An outstanding walk with excellent views and with Beeley, Chatsworth House, Baslow, Pilsley and Edensor all on the route, this walk could take a considerable time to complete with so many fascinating places to explore.
From Beeley the path climbs up to Beeley Hilltop Farm and then across the bracken clad hillside on the edge of Beeley Moor, to follow a woodland track high above Chatsworth House and gardens.
After passing both the Swiss Lake and the Emperor Lake, you arrive at the Hunting Tower. Elizabethan in construction, it has the most wonderful views over Chatsworth Estate and was used by the ladies of the house to view the hunt when it took place in the park below. The cannon at the base of the house came from a ship that fought at the battle of Trafalgar.
The route continues through Chatsworth Park close to the banks of the River Derwent, passing the lovely little estate cricket ground on the way to Baslow.
The shortest of detours will take you to Baslow Church where the tower clock displays on one side ‘Victoria 1897’ instead of the usual numerals. Another surprise waits inside in the form of a dog whip in a glass case, supposedly to drive out stray dogs during service, or, as has been suggested to keep the congregation from snoring!
After leaving Baslow the walk continues through fields, before descending steeply to the A619 and then climbing sharply up through the attractive estate village of Pilsley. After a short walk towards Ballcross a rough track leads down to Edensor. The splendid collection of differently designed houses makes you feel, when you leave, as if you had been on a whistle stop tour of Europe.
The view of the house and gardens as you walk across the park is unforgettable, even if the Emperor Fountain is not sending up jets of water nearly 300 feet high.
Length: 9.5 miles.
Start/Finish: Calton Lees Car Park.
Location: Leave the A6 south of Bakewell to join the B6012 to Chatsworth. The car park is on the left 200 yards after crossing the bridge into the estate.
Terrain: Good walking conditions mainly using surfaced tracks and well trodden field paths. There is some ascent to Beeley Moor and up to Pilsley, but nothing particularly strenuous. The long serious of steps down from the Hunting Tower, by taking the slightly longer option and using the access track.
1. From Calton Lees car park walk towards the entrance to the Garden Centre, but just before reaching it turn left on a woodland path leading down to the road. Cross the bridge and immediately turn right to walk diagonally for three quarters of a mile across a long field to Beeley village.
2. Go over the B6012, up the lane past the church, and turn left. Within 30 yards take the stile on the right. Walk up a short field to another stile and in the next field continue straight ahead to the far left hand top corner to go through a stile.
3. Cross the next field diagonally to a stile about 20 yards in from the top left hand corner.
4. Continue across the next field diagonally to a gate and walk along the track towards Beeley Hilltop Farm with the wall close on the right. Follow the track as it swings to the right round the farm buildings, where you turn left to a stile by a tyre dump on the right.
5. Once over the stile turn left and within a few yards go over another stile onto the lane leading up to Beeley Moor.
6. Go right, and almost immediately left, over a stone step stile angling to the right across a field to another stile leading along bracken covered hillside. Follow the path up the hillside, keeping to the left at the top to go over a stone stile by a gate onto a woodland track.
7. Continue along the track, keeping straight on at a track crossing point signed ’Robin Hood’. The track bends first to the right, and then to the left, before eventually passing Swiss Lake and the northern tip of Emperor Lake.
8. On reaching an electricity pole turn left down a partly grassed track. In about 100 yards the Hunting Tower is passed on the right and a short flight of steps descended to a service road.
9. Turn left and within a few yards start descending a long series of steps on the right. At the bottom of the steps, turn right onto a woodland track, passing an adventure playground on the left, to reach a stile by a white gate into a field.
10. Follow the field round to the right to another stile and then go to the left to join a parkland road and head towards Chatsworth House. Walk down to the bridge over the River Derwent, but do not cross it.
11. Turn right alongside the river path for about one mile, passing Chatsworth cricket ground, with the Derwent only a short distance away on the left.
12. The park is departed through a swing gate designed to give access to wheelchair users.
13. In about 100 yards, go through a gate stile on the left and within a short distance cross a narrow stone bridge. Walk across a field behind the Cavendish Arms to join a fenced path leading to the main road.
14. Follow the road round to the left and after crossing Devonshire Bridge, turn right along Bubnell Road.
15. Directly opposite the ‘Old Bridge’ go through a squeezer stile between two cottages and walk up a narrow path, before crossing three fields with the wall close on the right.
16. In the next field, continue beside the wall for about 80 yards before turning left where the wall turns sharply to the right.
17. Walk straight across the field to a stile by a gate leading onto a country lane. Turn right along the lane and then, in about 50 yards, left into a field.
18. Keeping close to the wall on the left, walk to the other end of the field and turn right without leaving the field. Just over half way across the field, go over a stile in the wall close by a gate. Cross the field diagonally to the right as it drops down quite steeply to the road.
19. Go over the road by two stiles and follow a steeply climbing track diagonally to the right to go through a gate stile and over a wooden stile in the top corner.
20. Turn left and walk alongside the wall to reach a minor road, where you turn right and walk back into the village of Pilsley and continue up the road passing the Devonshire Arms and, at the end of the houses keep straight on along a rough track that soon swings to the left. Where the track ends go over a stile and cross a field to another stile by a gate leading onto a road.
21. Cross over to the other side and continue up another road marked ‘Unsuitable for motors’ and when it levels out, just before rising again, turn left down a rough track leading to Edensor.
22. Leave the village by the main gates and cross the road to join a surfaced path that swings to the right and leads to the River Derwent.
23. Do not go over the bridge but turn right alongside the river and continue to follow the path by the Derwent in front of Chatsworth House and gardens until a derelict mill is reached where you turn right and walk back to cross the road turning left to return to the start of the walk.
PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Chatsworth House, Garden, Farmyard and Adventure Playground (Tel. 01246 582204) visitors are free to wander in the magnificent grounds The house stands in a deer park laid out by ‘Capability’ Brown in the 18th century, with hills and woods. Shop and Restaurant facilities are available. The house is open daily from 12 March to 23 December 2008. The park is open all year.
Bakewell is set in an enviable location on the banks of the River Wye, in the heart of the Peak District. Visitors flock to Bakewell in the summer, to shop and explore its many nooks and cranies, to admire its fine buildings, or just relax and feed the ducks by the lovely, clear, sparkling waters of the River Wye. There is more space in the winter, but on a sunny day even, that is limited.
Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop (Tel. 01246 583392) situated at Pilsley one and a half miles from Chatsworth House, at what used to be the Stud Farm and later became a milking parlour. Then in 1977, the Duchess of Devonshire opened The Farm Shop in the former Tack Room, selling beef and lamb from the estate. As the shop has become more successful, it has expanded to include a whole range of products. Further expansion has taken place in 2004 and 2008. Open daily.
Devonshire Arms (Tel 01246 583258) built in about 1700, incorporating an oak beamed ceiling, thick stone walls and open fires it personifies the image of the traditional country pub. A speciality is the fortnightly country and western musical evenings.. Home cooked food is served at lunchtime seven days a week. Carvery meals are served in the evenings from Thursday to Saturday.
Chatsworth Farm Shop Restaurant (Tel 01246 583392) this smart restaurant at the Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop, is extremely popular since it was enlarged in 2004. Open daily, providing a good range of hot and cold food.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
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Chatsworth, 'The Palace of the Peak,' was named Britain's Best Stately Home in Period Living and Traditional Homes magazine's Best of British Awards 2004-2005. Over 200,000 votes were cast when readers of the market leading magazine were asked to nominate the aspects of traditional British life that they love best.
The first house at Chatsworth was built by 'Bess of Hardwick' and her second husband Sir William Cavendish. Building began in 1552 and the work was completed by his widow after Sir William died in 1557.
Today, Chatsworth is one of the Treasure Houses of England with fine furniture, sculpture, tapestry, paintings and other works of art. Set in beautiful surroundings, in the heart of the Peak District National Park, it attracts admiring visitors from all over the world.
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