A delightful walk, through undulating South Derbyshire countryside, but one where extra care is needed as outlined below.
The first part of the walk to the former Seven Springs Farm follows a partly wooded route. More woodland scenery is encountered in Heath Wood, where the only known Viking Cremation Cemetery in England is to be found. Sixty burial mounds have revealed cremated human remains, fragments of pottery, nails, swords and other objects probably buried in the late 9th century.
One of the highlights of the walk is the section that passes through the grounds of Foremark Hall. A Palladian mansion built in 1760, for Sir Robert Burdett, it is now a preparatory department for Repton School. There are a number of school houses, an interesting old church and a particularly eye-catching ornamental lake that faces the hall.
Anchor Church, set in a sandstone crag, is a fascinating place, partly natural and partly enlarged by man. The cave was used by Sir Frances Burdett who extended it and fitted a door, so that during the summer he could hold picnics there for his guests.
There are a number of charming old cottages, a large spacious pub, the John Thomson, and an Art Gallery at Ingleby. The pub is a converted 15th century farmhouse, where brewing was re-introduced into Derbyshire in 1977, when the owners brewed a special celebration brew to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
Length: 7 miles.
Start/Finish: Roadside parking available near the church on the western side of Stanton-by-Bridge.
Location: Off A514 Swarkestone to Ticknall road.
Terrain: Well defined paths and tracks through undulating countryside. There is some road walking, where care is required. The footpath past Black Pool, a short distance beyond Anchor Church, is sometimes flooded and it may be necessary to turn back and follow the suggested alternative route. The ridge walk used by some walkers to avoid flood problems is considered dangerous.
1. Walk past the church in a westerly direction down Ingleby Road. Shortly after passing the speed restriction sign, turn left along a wide track.
2. Follow the track all the way to the end, and turn right along another track that leads you in front of Woodend Cottage.
3. Continue along the track as it starts to widen, keep straight ahead and do not deviate, eventually arriving at a metal gate, with a stile at the side.
4. Turn left, opposite Ingleby Toft, down a minor road. Follow the road until it bends sharply to the right, when your route is straight ahead along a bridle path.
5. Continue along the bridle path, with a wood close by on your left.
6. After passing a fishing pool on your left, you soon arrive at what used to be Seven Spouts Farm, where you keep to the right and leave by an access road.
7. Cross the Ingleby to Ticknall road to a footpath sign by a metal gate, go over the stile and walk up the field, keeping close to the field boundary.
8. At the top of the field, enter Heath Wood by a stile; follow the clear track through the wood.
9. A few yards after leaving the wood, ensure you keep straight on at a cart track intersection.
10. Follow a clear path all the way to Foremark. After passing several school houses and reaching a tarmac road, carry straight on to pass in front of Foremark Hall, with the lake on your right.
11. At the end of the drive turn right, and then after a short distance, right again along a minor road.
12. In about 120 yards, go over a stile on the left and angle to the right towards the corner of an area of woodland on the other side of the field.
13. Cross a stile and walk straight on across another field with a rocky escarpment close on your right.
14. Leave the field by a stile and walk past Anchor Church along the path by Black Pool to a stile at the far end of the crag. The path is very muddy and often partially flooded even in dry weather. If the path is flooded, turn back and follow the alternative route* shown below.
15. Cross the stile and head slightly to the right for a few yards, before following a gently climbing path to the left, through some gorse bushes and along the top of a further escarpment.
16. Cross an open field, and go down a fenced path and after crossing two stiles in quick succession, walk down the next field to the road and turn left.
17. Walk through Ingleby, passing the John Thompson Inn on the way. The road is quite busy and there is no pavement or grass verge for part of the way, so extra care is needed.
18. After passing the pub, ignore the first road on the right, turn right up the second road. This road is not normally busy, but narrows at the top, just before reaching Stanton-by-Bridge and the starting point of the walk.
* ALTERNATIVE ROUTE
1. Retrace your steps back past Anchor Church towards the area of woodland seen at Point 12 of the walk, but just before reaching the wood turn left, up a path that leads you to the road.
2. Go to the left down the road for 500 yards and turn left through a bridle gate, immediately after passing a belt of conifer trees.
3. Head across the field at an angle of 45 degrees to go through a stile, walk down a slope and up the other side and continue to maintain the same direction.
4. On reaching a ‘T’ junction with another path turn right to re-join the main walk (See Point 16).
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PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Melbourne Hall and Gardens (Tel. 01332 862502) once the home of Victorian Prime Minister, William Lamb. Please telephone for details or visit website.
Calke Abbey and Grounds (Tel. 01332 863822) ‘The place where time stood still,’ was the phrase used to describe this property when The National Trust opened it to the public in 1989. One of the most unusual of English country houses with large collections of birds, ornaments, paintings and photographs. Please telephone for details or visit website.
Foremark Reservoir (Tel. 01283 701709) a 230 acre reservoir provides footpaths, picnic facilities, sailing and good trout fishing. It is in the National Forest and a recent addition is an area of woodland planted with 10,000 trees. Parking for cars and coach parking (charges apply). The facilities include - on site toilets, cafe kiosk, all abilities trail, picnic area and play area. Disabled Facilities: Designated disabled parking.
The John Thomson Inn (Tel. 01332 862469) is listed in ‘Roger Protz’s Britain’s Best 500 Pubs.’ A former farmhouse, it is large and spacious and brews its own beer. Food served, Tuesday to Sunday from 12-2pm. Normally closed Mondays.
Melbourne Hall Tea Rooms (Tel. 01332 864224) situated in what used to be the washrooms and bake house of the hall. One of the old baking ovens still remains in these delightful old tea rooms that have built up an enviable reputation for light meals and teas. Open Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays during the summer. Reduced winter opening. Please telephone for further details.
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Stanton-By-Bridge is a quiet, retiring little village, apart from on the eastern side where the busy A514 disturbs the air of peace and tranquility. The road is particularly busy at weekends, when motor-racing is taking place at nearby Castle Donington and the roar of engines can be heard throughout Stanton if the wind is blowing in that direction.
Apart from local traffic, the main road through the village is little used, and it is possible even on a sunny day to walk the half mile or so from one end of Stanton to the other without encountering pedestrians or moving vehicles.
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