A most enjoyable walk with good views of attractive North-East Derbyshire countryside. Plenty of evidence of the area’s former industrial past still exists, but much of it is well concealed. So much so, that in the early stages of the walk a former flourspar pit, and several other workings are easy to miss.
Sightings are made of the former Ashover Light Railway trackbed, but the most impressive is the Gregory Mine, with its tall chimney still remaining as if guarding the route to Cocking Tor. Alongside the track from the mine is a spring of clear water and further on paving slabs have been used to improve the surface, where horses once trod.
Near the end of the walk a particularly fine packhorse bridge takes you across the River Amber before the short steep climb back to Ashover.
Length: 4 miles
Start/Finish: Ashover Car Park on the Alton road 50 yards past the Black Swan.
Location: Take the B6036 at Kelstedge, off the A632 Matlock to Chesterfield road.
Terrain: Two short steep inclines. Mainly easy walking.
1. Walk to the left from the car park. Opposite the Crispin Inn walk down the narrow path to the left of the Parish Rooms and past the village playing fields.
2. Continue straight ahead along a stiled path and over a number of fields.
3. When the path follows the wall round to the right go through a squeezer stile in the top corner of the field by a gate.
4. Keeping to the right continue through a small copse and an area of woodland to follow the path as it descends to a high wall where you turn right
5. The path goes through an area where buildings once stood; here you keep to the right past a white bungalow where a flight of steps in the corner of field leads down to a road.
6. Go to the left of the cottages facing you turning right by the last one down a short drive and along a rather narrow and sometimes rather overgrown path to the left of the garage.
7. On reaching a road by a ‘T’ junction go down the road by the side of the River Amber for 100 yards before crossing a works road bridge over the river and turning sharp left.
8. Follow the path keeping close to the boundary fence to the quarry taking a right fork and crossing the former Ashover Light Railway line by stone steps.
9. Soon the route leaves the trees to follow a fenced path to a road, continue straight ahead and at a further road junction maintain the same line to follow a lane towards some cottages.
10. By the cottages turn right into a wooded area to climb up to the site of the Gregory Mine. Go past the chimney and continue winding upwards for about 200 yards heading for a gap in the surrounding trees on the right.
11. Follow the track through the wood with views of Overton Hall as it descends, where grit stone slabs protect the ancient trackway.
12. On reaching a lane continue straight ahead up a slight incline and over a stile at the top, down a steeply paved path to reach a hollow track
13. Continue down the track and as it levels out and bends to the left – to run alongside the former railway – before crossing the line and the River Amber.
14. A short steep climb brings you back to Ashover, where you turn first left and then right to follow the road round to the start of the walk.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Chesterfield with its historic town centre, cobbled market place, famous ‘Crooked Spire’ and picturesque Queen’s Park, where Derbyshire played county cricket until quite recently. The Museum and Art Gallery (Tel. 01246 345727) is well worth a visit.
Ogston Reservoir to the south east, provides good views in a relaxing setting and is of particular interest to those who enjoy bird watching. Good parking facilities available.
Wingfield Manor (Tel. 01773 832060) impressive ruins of a huge country mansion, where Mary, Queen of Scots was once imprisoned. It is now under the care of English Heritage. For further information website: www.english-heritage.org.uk
The Black Swan (Tel. 01246 590305) the building is over 300 years old and is said to contain the ghost of a ‘Laughing Cavalier’. The sport of Bear Baiting at one time took place in the hollow above the pub. Good food is served at lunchtime and in the evening in this interesting old hostelry.
The Heathers Coffee Shop (Tel. 01629 583036) situated at Tansley, on the B6014 just off the A615. The Coffee Shop is housed in Scotland Nurseries and provides first class food and service with an extensive range of hot and cold meals.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
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The picturesque village of Ashover, the centre of which is designated as a Conservation Area, lies in the beautiful Amber Valley surrounded by tree clad hills.
In the past it had a long history as an industrial centre, with quarrying and lead mining dating back to Roman times.
The stocking frame knitting industry once rivalled lead mining in importance. It was based in that part of the village generally referred to as ‘Rattle’ because of the noise made by the machinery.
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