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A contrasting walk with the opportunity to admire some of Derby’s famous buildings on the first section of the route, before crossing the city’s most popular park and reaching open countryside.
During the early part of the countryside walk, Mackworth Church is passed, its tall Perpendicular tower and spire date from the early 14th century. The route continues through fields, crossing Mackworth Brook before climbing gently up to Lower Vicarwood Farm.
At the brow of the hill is Vicar Wood and beyond that Kedleston Park, the views over Derby along this section of the walk are particularly good. After passing Stones Farm and walking along the bridleway, Markeaton Park is re-entered.
Markeaton Park is probably the most popular park in the East Midlands with an estimated one million visitors per year. The facilities have been enhanced over the years to include a craft centre, children’s boating lake, amusement park, crazy golf and a miniature train along with the popular paddling pool.
The final section of the walk follows the Markeaton Brook Walkway back to the centre of Derby.
Length: 6 miles.
Start/Finish: Market Place, Derby (alternatively Markeaton Park).
Location: City Centre (Markeaton Park on the A38 Derby Ring Road).
Terrain: Easy, level walking. Some busy roads to cross on the Derby and Markeaton Park section of the walk, then mainly through fields and open countryside. Can be muddy.
1. Walk across the Market Place and turn left into the Corn Market and almost immediately right along St James’ Street. At the end of the street cross The Strand, and turn right up the Wardwick passing the Library on your right.
2. Carry straight on, soon passing under Friar Gate Bridge. After leaving Friar Gate, continue in the same direction up Ashbourne Road.
3. Cross the ring road by the pedestrian crossing and walk into Markeaton Park, following the surfaced path as it bends to the right, until at the end of a block of buildings go to the left between the entrance to the Craft Village and the Duck Pond.
4. Keep straight on and leave the park, passing Home Farm and Markeaton Garden Centre on the left. Where the footpath by the roadside runs out, follow the enclosed path on the other side of the hedge.
5. On reaching the road cross carefully and take the path straight in front of you along a fenced farm track and then go through a gap in the corner into the next field.
6. Cross the field keeping close to the hedge on the left and continue in the same manner across the next field, where the hedge ends follow the obvious path towards Mackworth Church, which is clearly visible in front.
7. Enter the next field by a swing stile and walk to the left round the churchyard to follow the access road down to Lower Road and turn right.
8. Follow the road until just after the Village Hall, where you turn right at a finger post sign down a narrow path by the side of a cottage.
9. At the end of the path go over a stile into a field and carry straight on with the hedge on the left, in the next field maintain the same direction, but this time the hedge is on your right.
10. Cross Mackworth Brook by a footbridge and continue through several fields with the hedge close on the right until you reach Lower Vicarwood Farm.
11. Join a farm track passing between the farm and a pond. The track then starts to bend to the right before eventually reaching a ‘T’ junction of tracks, where you turn to the right.
12. About 50 yards after entering another field take the clearly visible path to the right, where you can see Derby University directly ahead in the distance.
13. Join a farm track and continue in the same direction passing Stones Farm on your right, before reaching and crossing Markeaton Lane and entering the park by the Mundy Play Centre sign.
14. Follow the surfaced path round to the right and turn right at the end of the pool through a children’s play area, along a track that leads you through an area of woodland.
15. Turn right at the end and go over a bridge and then start to angle across the park with the lake close by on your left. Soon you will see the footbridge over the A38, which you need to cross.
16. After crossing the footbridge, turn left for a few yards, before going right at a sign for the ‘City Centre.’ Markeaton Street is quickly joined. At Britannia Mill, turn left along Mackworth Road and descend a flight of steps immediately to the right of the bridge over Markeaton Brook.
17. Continue along Markeaton Brook Walkway and at a sheltered housing complex, turn sharp left and then right into Mundy Street. At the end of the street turn right into Nun’s Street, and then left down Mill Street.
18. Turn left by St John’s Church into Bridge Street and after a few yards go to the right at the Markeaton Brook Walkway sign.
19. Cross the inner ring road at the pedestrian crossing, turn left and then right at the traffic lights before walking up the second street on the left past Queen Street Baths towards Derby Cathedral.
20. At the top of the street go to the right, past the cathedral and continue your walk down Iron Gate to the starting point of the walk.
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A city of considerable character, surrounded by attractive countryside. With the Peak District National Park, the second most visited National Park in the world, only a few miles to the north and the National Forest only a short distance away to the south.
Located near the centre of the country, Derby has excellent communications and is well served by road, rail and air.
OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE AREA
Pickford’s House Museum: (01332 255363) housed in a handsome Grade I listed building, built in 1769 by Derby architect, Joseph Pickford for his own occupation. It was opened as a museum in 1988 and delightfully recreates a scene of Georgian domestic life with splendidly furnished rooms and fine costume displays. Open daily apart from during the Christmas and New Year break.
Kedleston Hall: (Tel. 01332 842191) 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’. Open from the 19 March to 31 October, Saturday to Wednesday. Park and garden open daily from 10am and house from mid-day. Shop and Restaurant open at weekends in the winter. Park open all year.
Home Farm: (Tel. 01332 204597) on the western side of Markeaton Park, is a fine example of a traditional small agricultural holding, the buildings dating back to 1755. A wide range of animals are kept on the farm, including some rare breeds. Seasonal attractions include hatching chicks in the incubator and newborn animals. One of the barns has been converted into a Gift Shop and Education Centre. Home Farm Tea Room is normally open daily from 11am during the school holidays and at weekends throughout the year, serving hot and cold food, drinks and snacks.
The Standing Order: (Tel. 01332 207591) situated in Iron Gate, in what were formerly bank premises, that have been tastefully converted into a popular public house. Open all day. Meals available all day.
The Orangery Tea Rooms: (Tel. 01332 205445) the former Orangery, now a listed building, has been converted into attractive tearooms, where weather permitting, visitors can sit outside and admire the superb flowerbeds. Open daily from 9-3pm during the winter and from 9-5pm in the summer, subject to weather conditions. If in doubt, please telephone.
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