Region: Derbyshire Peak District
Walk : Circular
& OS Sheet: OL 24
Start Grid: SK 332 545
Distance: 9.3 ml, 16.1 km
Height Gain: 1420 ft, 146m
Height Lost: 1420 ft,198 m
Walking with: Mrs G & Andy
Notes: Canal path, field and woodland paths. farm tracks and minor roads, muddy in parts.
These notes are provided to enable the walk to be plotted on a 1:25,000 map.
From Whatstandwell Bridge, follow tow path N to High Peak Junction. Cross canal to road to Lea Bridge. Take track towards Splash Farm, at back of Mills, footpath L through Coumbs Wood to Hearthstone Lane. At Hearthstone Farm footpath R to Riber, NE through village to track and footpath E to join Carr Lane , E to junction, R on road to Wood, R footpath to Dethick, footpath SE to Lea, footpath SE across High Lane to Wakebridge Farm, cross road, through woodland to Canal and Whatstandwell.
This walk is one of Andy’s favourite old standbys. For the first one of the year it was not the easiest of walks or the nicest of weather.
This section of canal is getting a bit too familiar we've been along it too often of late. However, changes are planned, to the canal, not our walking, a new surface has been laid to the towpath and a great deal of tree felling and lopping, along with the clearing of undergrowth along the banks all a real improvement. In addition sections of the canal have been cleared of weed plus some of the culvert and weirs have been repaired. Hopefully, this much overdue maintenance and improvement work will continue to the benefit of all users.
There were quite a number of people out at High Peak Junction with the sunshine giving it a pleasant atmosphere. At Lea Bridge we passed the back of Smedleys Mills and started the long climb through Coumbs Wood and Hearthstone Lane. Here that slight felling of Spring we had felt along the canal rapidly disappeared as we trudged through the grey lifeless trees with little in the way spring like growth anywhere. In fact up by Bilberry Knoll we stomped delightedly through 9 inch deep snow banks.
By the time we got to Riber the sun had gone and a very stiff cold wind was blowing, with occasional rainy and sleety bits . There was little in the way of views and everywhere had that dark locked up look, so we moved swiftly on into the teeth of a howling wind (slight exaggeration), in the direction of Dethick. The fields, which were largely, empty although we did pass a couple of fields full of sheep and their lambs.
We whipped around by Dethick Church and using the tower of Crich Stand as our aiming mark down to Lea, crossing the lovely little valley and river to get there. Lea and Wakebridge came and went and we were soon back in the car, then up the A610 to The Excavator, for a very good, well priced roast dinner and a beer.
On the day this felt a tough walk, the lack of fitness and strong cold wind certainly took a bit of pleasure out of the walk. On another day I could see this walk being enjoyable and I would like to explore some of the alternate routes in the area