A popular and enjoyable walk on the edge of Derby, along quiet country lanes, through fields and woodlands, with a well preserved Hermitís Cave and views of the Cat and Fiddle Windmill to add variety.
Initially the walk follows Far Lane, until it disintegrates into a track. Here an Archaeological Project Information Board, on land at Little Hay Grange, provides details of the excavation, which may only be visited when archaeologists are on the site.
From this point, the walk continues across fields and through Ockbrook Wood to Dale Abbey and enters Hermitage Wood. Abundant wildlife exists in this ancient woodland and over 60 species of flowering plants have been recorded.
As you walk towards the Hermitís Cave, the Cat and Fiddle Windmill can be seen to the north, the only one of its kind left in the county.
After passing Boyah Grange, the walk continues along lanes and through fields, before ascending Constitution Hill and going through an area of woodland to the rear of Hopwell Hall. A farm track is then followed all the way back to Ockbrook.
Length: 5 miles.
Start/finish: Roadside parking to the north of Far Lane.
Location: Between A52 and A6005 one mile to the east of Spondon.
Terrain: Mostly undulating meadowland, quiet country lanes and farm trackways, with one short steep climb at Dale Abbey.
1. Walk down The Ridings and turn left into Far Lane, passing Littlehay Grange on the right after about three quarters of a mile.
2. Continue along the lane, which soon changes into a rough track. After going by an Archaeological Project Information Board and entering a large field, turn sharp left, and follow the hedge along.
3. On reaching the top of the field, follow the hedge round to a stile in the right hand corner.
4. Keep close to the hedge on the left in the next field before going over a stile into Ockbrook Wood.
5. Remain on the right hand side of the wood at first, before dropping down gradually to leave the wood by a gate.
6. Continue along a rough path that soon bends to the left and reaches a ĎTí junction, where you turn right through a stable yard leading onto a woodland path.
7. After 150 yards turn to the right, opposite a Hermitís Wood sign,* zigzagging up several flights of steps and then walk to the left just inside the edge of the wood. (*Do not go up the steps immediately, but continue along the path a short distance to visit the Hermitís Cave. Then return to the steps you passed previously and continue the walk.)
8. Watch out for a short flight of steps on the right, leading out of the wood into a field.
9. From the top of the wood angle to the left to a gap in the hedge opposite, about 85 yards from the top corner of the field.
10. Maintain direction down the next field aiming for a gate and stile in the centre of a stretch of fencing.
11. In the next field walk towards Boyah Grange, but on reaching a stile into the farmyard turn round without crossing the stile and face in the opposite direction.
12. Angling slightly to the left, walk across the field towards a stile in the hedge opposite, and on reaching a minor road turn right.
13. Where the road bends sharply to the left, continue straight on past Sandiacre Lodge Farm, and after a short distance maintaining the same direction, go over a stile and down a fenced cart track.
14. At the end of the fenced section, go straight across an open field to a stile opposite, leading to another fenced track that changes into a tarmac lane after passing Keys Farm.
15. Continue along the lane and up Constitution Hill, until a few yards before the gateway into Hopwell Hall Farm. Here you turn right down a grassy track leading to a stile into an area of woodland.
16. Follow the clear path round in front of Hopwell Hall and go down the drive. When the drive turns sharply to the left, do not continue but join a stony path by a fingerpost sign.
17. After a few yards go over a stile and walk along an obvious path to a stile, on the left of Hopwell Nook Cottage.
18. You then follow the driveway from the cottage all the way back to Ockbrook and on reaching the village, turn right along the road back to the start of the walk.
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Situated just to the north of the busy A52 dual carriageway, and only a short distance from the outskirts of Derby, Ockbrook has managed to retain much of its charm and at least a reasonable level of peace and quiet.
There are two distinct parts to the village. The old settlement where Occa, an Anglo Saxon, and his people built their homes in the 6th century on the banks of the brook and from where the village derived its name.
Alongside it is the Moravian settlement, a product of the 18th century, with its delightful terrace of red brick Georgian buildings and strikingly attractive church.
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