A circular walk from Monsal Head Car Park (approx 6.5 miles)

Map: Sheet OL24 Peak District - White Peak area
Start: Monsal Head long stay car park, B6465, near Little Longstone. (SK185715)
Route: Very varied, starting with a steep descent on to the Monsal Trail, then through the wooded Cressbrook Dale. The final section crosses the heather-clad Longstone Moor.
More info. Information about the Monsal Trail from Cressbrook Multimedia.
English Nature information leaflet on Cressbrook Dale (pdf).
Refreshments: One of our favourite places to stay is the Monsal Head Hotel (in one of the four rooms overlooking the dale).
We can also recommend Hobb's cafe at Monsal Head where we started this walk with morning coffee and ended it with afternoon tea.
Unfortunately the pub marked on the OS maps at Wardlow is no longer open.
Time: We took 3 and half hours to complete this walk.
walk profile
Monsal Head viaduct From the car park, walk between the Monsal Head Hotel and the Stables Bar. Cross the road and follow the finger post: "Upperdale, Monsal Viaduct." The path descends steeply down steps. At junction of paths, turn left, following sign for viaduct. At the bottom of the path turn right to cross the viaduct.
Cressbrook Mill Follow the track of the disused railway for about three quarters of a mile. The trail leaves the railway track before the tunnel. Go through wooden gate on right. Stay on the main path where a narrower path leads to the left. The path leads down a few steps and rock outcrop, then bends sharply to the right. Continue along path, to cross river by means of a wooden footbridge.
Cressbrook Mill lodge, Water-cum-Jolly_Dale, River Wye Continue ahead, rather than following the trail to left. The path follows the mill car park boundary to meet a road. Turn left onto the road. Follow the road sign, "Cressbrook, Litton." Follow the road for just over a quarter of a mile, then take fork to right, signposted, "No through road, Ravensdale."
Ravensdale Cottages, Cressbrook Dale Beyond the cottages, the road narrows to a path. After about 300 yards a footbridge takes the path across the river. Where the path forks, take the right hand route which starts to climb gradually out of the valley.
Cressbrook Dale, part of the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve When the path levels out, climb a stile on the right, which leads to a walled track. Follow this for about 500 yards, until it meets the road. Turn left and walk through the hamlet of Wardlow. We were disappointed to find that the pub marked on our OS map was no longer in business! Just past the church, turn right through a stile by a metal gate and illegible wooden footpath sign. The path passes through a wooden gate, a gap in the wall and two more wooden gates in quick succession. The path leads through a very uneven field - the map shows disused mine shafts. Two further wooden gates lead to the road. Go straight across the road and cross stile opposite. This field contains a fenced off mine shaft in the middle. The official route leads past the left of this to a stile in the wall on left. Don't cross this stile, but turn sharp right to walk past gatepost in southern field boundary.
stile without a wall! Almost immediately after the gatepost, there is a stile with no wall. Walk past the stile and continue south, across a stile, a track, through a gate, a gap in the wall and a wooden gate to road. Go straight across the road and cross three stone stile before reaching Longstone Moor access land.
Longstone Moor Ignore paths on right and left to follow path slightly left of straight ahead. This leads you to the top of the moor, past a fingerpost pointing back in the direction from which you have walked. The path descends to a junction of ways - keep straight on. Cross a quarry track and leave moorland via a stile leading into woodland. The descent through the woods is fairly steep. Shortly after some steps in the path you cross a track and then through a wooden gate to meet road.

Follow the road straight ahead (south) for about a third of a mile. Turn right by high, stone wall, following sign for Dale Farm. By farm buildings continue ahead over stile. By derelict buildings on right, pass over stile by metal gate on left. Turn right on to road. From here follow the road through Little Longstone to return to Monsal Head.

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