CLAY CROSS WALK – FIVE PITS TRAIL
To first time visitors to this part of Derbyshire, this walk may well come as a surprise, with its excellent views and variety of scenery. So much so that they may well be back again to explore the many inviting paths that lead off the Five Pits Trail.
Coal mining has taken place in the area since Roman times. During the 19th century mining in the neighborhood expanded rapidly with the opening of pits at Tibshelf, Pilsley, Holmewood, Williamthorpe and Grassmoor. The Great Central Railway Company opened a line to serve each of the five collieries.
All the local pits had closed by 1970, together with the railway line, leaving a legacy of derelict land. The land has been reclaimed by the Derbyshire County Council, and the Five Pits Trail, completed in 1984, links the former pit sites along the track of the original railway line.
There is an abundance of wildlife to be seen on the walk, together with natural farmland with crops and grazing animals. Broomridding Wood is a particularly attractive area of woodland rich in wild flowers in season.
Length: 3.5 miles.
Start/Finish: Five Pits Trail Car Park at Pilsley.
Location: South East of Chesterfield, off A61/B6014 Morton to Tibshelf road. Close to the M1 Motorway.
Terrain: Undulating countryside with no steep gradients, mostly good walking with a few wet patches. The route follows the Five Pits Trail, country roads and field paths through open countryside and woodland.
**Note: Parts of this walk follow the ‘Pilsley Trail’ which can be identified by yellow arrows on a red disk.
1. Cross the road from the Five Pits Trail Car Park and walk up the trail for about 200yards, turning right by a sign ‘Footpath Only – No Horses – No Cycles’ along a woodland path. At the end of the wooded area, turn right along a gravel path.
2. After 80 yards, at a meeting point of paths, where two fingerpost signs are separated by no more than six yards, go over a stile on the right by the second sign to enter a wood.
3. Keep to the right edge of the wood, leaving by a stile. Walk across a field with the hedge close on your left, to go over a stile in the far corner.
4. Descend a short stony path to reach a largish field.
5. Aim across the field towards cottages that you can see in the distance and go over a stile in the hedge opposite. Cut across the corner of the next field to a stile by a metal gate, leading to Locko Lane.
6. Turn right and walk up the road for 100yards, before going to the left by a footpath sign, down the access road to Locko Farm.
7. Turn left before reaching the farm, crossing two stiles in quick succession, then turn right alongside the hedge of a small field and continue in the same direction up another field to a stile in the top corner.
8. Aim down the next field to a stile about 60 yards from the left hand corner. In the following field aim just to the right of some bushes to a stile at the bottom of the field.
9. Once over the stile, keep to the left and walk through a hollow, before crossing a stile onto the Five Pits Trail.
10. Walk across the trail and angle to the left down an access road. Do not go back down the trail.
11. Continue past some cottages and through Broomridding Wood, leaving the wood by a stile and entering a field. Bear slightly right up the field to go through some bushes to a stile (the left of two stiles) into another field.
12. Keep close to the hedge on your right as you walk up the field, and then follow an enclosed pathway to Locko Road, where you turn left.
13. After 100 yards, cross the stile on the right and walk straight up a field to go through a gap; after which keep close to the hedge on the left down another field.
14. Before reaching the bottom of the field go over a stile on the left and continuing to maintain the same direction walk through woodland to Green Lane.
15. Turn left along Green Lane and just after passing Pine Farm; go to right through a stile by a wooden gate into Locko Plantation.
16. Walk through the plantation, along a clear track, keeping slightly to the left at first.
17. Continue straight ahead as you gently climb up a slope, until when you start to descend, turn right at a ‘T’ junction of paths.
18. The track soon leads you to the Five Pits Trail, where you turn right and walk back to the start of the walk.
** The Five Pits Trail leaflet, produced by Derbyshire County Council is a very useful guide to walks in this area.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE AREA
Bolsover Castle, (Tel. 01246 822844) an award winning attraction that provides a romantic example of a Cavalier’s pleasure palace. Under the control of English Heritage, there is a shop a spacious café. For further information website: www.english-heritage.org.uk
Chesterfield Museum and Art Gallery, (Tel. 01246 345727) tells the fascinating ‘Story of Chesterfield.’ Here you can find out how the Parish Church was built and what went wrong to make the spire lean! Open all year on Mondays, Tuesdays and from Thursday to Saturday.
Hardwick Hall (Tel 01246 850430) is one of the greatest Elizabethan houses, which survives almost unchanged. It holds, in the impressive Long Gallery, one of the best collections of tapestries in Europe. Please telephone for opening details or visit website.
The Cannon (Tel. 01246 250078) is a large spacious pub with a number of small wooden and brass cannons on display in the lounge, plus lots of old photographs around the walls. Open all day. Food served Monday to Saturday, lunchtime and evenings and lunchtime only on Sundays.
Sharley Park Leisure Centre (Tel. 01246 217277) Open seven days a week. Indoor facilities include two swimming pools, one with a hoist for disabled people, sports hall, squash courts, fitness suite, sunbed rooms. Outdoor: two crown bowling greens, cricket, football, tennis; in addition there is a camping and caravan area. Cafeteria/restaurant and bar – open for food Monday, Tuesday and Friday 11am – 2pm and Monday to Friday from 4pm – 7pm. Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 4pm approximately.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
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CLAY CROSS FEATURE
Clay Cross is situated in attractive undulating countryside, between Alfreton to the south and Chesterfield to the north. It straddles what was formerly a Roman Road, known as Ryknield Street that later became part of the Derby to Sheffield turnpike road of 1756, and is now the A61.
It is one of those places that many people consider of little interest, but if they would only stop and take the time to look around and delve into the town’s fascinating history, they would assuredly change their minds.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.