Starting on the Tissington Trail, the walk visits the pretty village of Mapleton (also spelt Mappleton) before crossing the River Dove into lovely Okeover Park. After leaving the park it climbs gently up in stages towards Upper Mayfield and then descends to cross Hanging Bridge and returns alongside Bentley Brook.
Ashbourne is the starting point of the Tissington Trail, but your stay on it is only brief. The path soon takes to the fields and after a short climb drops down to Mapleton, which is an old red brick village with a beautiful parish church dating back to the 18th century. The Manor House overlooking the water meadows is another pleasing red brick building, which contrasts with the stone of the Peak.
A road with open fields crosses Okeover Park, inhabited by a large flock of sheep who sometimes decide to have a sleep on the road! The hall, in attractive red brick, stands well away from the road through the park, and is well over 200 years old.
Lowes Cottage, in Hollow Lane at Upper Mayfield, made national news recently when it was claimed to be haunted. A narrow lane leads down to the River Dove and the walk continues over the flood embankment, alongside Bentley Brook and through fields to the starting point.
Length: 5.25 miles.
Start/Finish: Tissington Trail Car Park.
Location: Heading out of Ashbourne, turn left along Union Street at the top of the Market Place and follow the road round to the right and keep straight on at the cross-roads towards Mapleton.
Terrain: Hilly, but nothing too strenuous. Some muddy patches.
1. Walk up the Tissington Trail from the car park, cross Bentley Brook and after ascending the slope opposite; turn left to go down a flight of steps to a stile into a field.
2. Follow the path up the field to a stile in the top right hand corner and continue straight across the next field keeping close to the hedge on the left to a stile by a gate.
3. Now with the hedge close on the right, in about 100 yards go over a stile on the right, this can be easily missed so keep a sharp lookout, into a field used for caravans. Continue in the same direction to another stile at the bottom of the field.
4. Follow a clear path, slightly to the right over the next field and continue to descend over two further fields towards a house, leaving by the driveway onto the road through the village.
5. Turn right and walk through Mapleton village turning left to cross the bridge over the River Dove, and then after crossing another smaller bridge, turn left to go over a ladder stile into Okeover Park.
6. Walk to the road through the park and follow it along in a southerly direction. After leaving Okeover Park, continue along the road, before taking a right turn at a footpath sign towards ‘The Old Kennels’.
7. Follow the right fork in the lane, but before reaching the farm turn left and head for a field gate that you can see in front of you, once through the gate turn left to follow the hedge along through a series of gateways and stiles.
8. On leaving the hedge behind, cross the next field to the right of a drinking trough and the remains of a cowshed to go up a hollow on the far side of the field leading to the A52.
9. Walk up the main road for a few yards and turn left into Hollow Lane, and then keep bearing left through Upper Mayfield to descend a narrow lane back to the A52.
10. Cross the bridge in front of you and turn left along a tarmac drive just before reaching a public house. Follow the footpath along close to the hedge on the left, eventually arriving at a low embankment by the river.
11. At this point, turn away from the river and follow the flood embankment to cross a stile and shortly bear left to follow the path by the side of the Bentley Brook.
12. After crossing a stile in about a quarter of a mile, turn to the right and head towards the corner of the hedge opposite a solitary stile that serves no useful purpose other than act as a guide.
13. Ascend the slope for a few yards before crossing the stile on the left just after a field gate and then angle to the right to reach the top of the field.
14. With the hedge on your right, follow the path through three long fields.
15. At the end of the last field go to the right of two red brick houses along a narrow path to the road, where you turn left and then right back to the start.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Kedleston Hall (Tel. 0870 458 4000) is one of the best surviving examples anywhere of the work of Robert Adam. Lavishly decorated with fine collections of paintings, furniture and sculptures. The marble hall has been described as ‘one of the most magnificent apartments of the 18th century in England’. For further information website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Alton Towers (Tel. 08705 204060) the leading Theme Park in the United Kingdom where you can experience a host of ‘white knuckle rides’, or content yourself with more peaceful pursuits, visiting the shows on site and the more gentle rides.
For Further information website:
Okeover Arms (Tel. 01335 350305) At one time this Grade One listed building dating from about 1700 was a Temperance Hotel. Bar meals served daily lunchtime and evenings during the summer, check winter availability. Beer Garden. Accommodation.
The Gingerbread Shop Tea Rooms (Tel. 01335 346753) It is said that in Napoleonic times, when French prisoners were held at Ashbourne, the recipe for gingerbread was given to an Ashbourne baker and has been used ever since. A unique example of a late 15th century timber built building which has been in continuous use as a bakery since 1805. Open Monday to Saturday.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
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The historic market town of Ashbourne, lies in an attractive valley divided by the Henmore Brook and is frequently referred to as the ‘Gateway to Dovedale’. But it is much more than that with its many fine buildings, good shopping facilities and attractive layout. Most of which has been protected since 1968, by Conservation Area status.
The famous Royal Shrovetide football games, which take place on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday every year. The goals are three miles apart and traditionally the game is played without rules, although one ancient rule is that you must not murder your opponent, to which one or two others have been added.
In December 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie proclaimed his father as King James III, in Ashbourne Market Place. He stayed the night at Ashbourne Hall; the little that remains forms part of the town’s library. He did not get much further. Without the expected support of the English Jacobites and the French, he turned back after reaching Derby. Although a small advance party did reach Swarkestone Bridge.
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