The Retirees go Abroad – Derbyshire and the Elton Walk

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It’s Sunday and after a week of re-cooperating in the flat and one day before venturing off to the Lakes District, we go for a 4 mile walk up hill and down dale in the Peak District Park. Although sunny it is cold so I get hot with my jacket on and drench my shirt only to freeze when I take my jacket off and the wind chills through my sweat drenched shirt.

Elton is an old lead mining village west of Derby in the Derwent Valley, surrounded by farms of cattle and sheep grazing on lush green hillsides. The walk includes, a medieval hermit’s cave, an unusual rock formation known as Robin Hood’s Stride and a stone circle wait on this popular walk from the of Elton.

The Walk starts from the Duke of York Pub (although there was no sign of Pub type activity there) along the main street towards the B5056 and turn left at a stile just beyond the edge of the village, to cross the corner of a field and a farm access road. We continue to angle to the left across the next field and reach a stile into Dudwood Lane. Walking down Dudwood Lane, it is worth recollecting that this route was probably used by travellers long before the Romans came to Briatin. It follows the line of the ancient Portway, which ran the length of the county.

We walk down to the bottom of the lane, and cross over the stile opposite and walk up the drive towards Cratcliffe Cottage, bearing left by a wall after going through an open gateway. As we begin to climb, there is a curious mass of rocks with twin pinnacles known as Robin Hood’s Stride. It is often referred to as Mock Beggar’s Hall, because the outline of the rocks at a distance resembles a large house with twin turrets. On the right are Cratcliffe Rocks and carved into a small cave, where a hermit used to live, is supposed to be a crucifix. I did not find the crucifix but I believe I found the cave.

A short distance further on, facing Harthill Moor Farm across the moor, are four great standing stones, all that is left of a circle of eleven. The others have disappeared for use as gateposts and stone wall construction. We cross two small fields diagonally to the left to reach a quiet country road opposite Harthill Moor Farm.

The walk continues through woods and farmland and, provides good views of the exposed position in which Elton is situated. We turn right down the road and, as it begins to drop more steeply, take the footpath on the left into Tomlinson Wood. We leave the wood, cross a corner of a field to a gate stile on the right, turn sharp left and follow a cow track until its begins to bear left, keeping straight on to a wall stile in front of us. We continue climbing uphill to walk alongside Tomlinson Wood, until we reach a finger post sign directing us to the right over a stile and straight up a long field to reach the access road to Cliff Farm.

We cross the stile opposite on the far side of the access road and angle slightly to the left to a stile, and follow a clear path down the hill to reach a road. We head straight across the road to a squeezer stile to follow a footpath sign marked ‘Elton’ and follow along a clear path, which straightens out on its way to the bottom of the valley.

The path then climbs up the other side of the valley with a thorn hedge on the left, before turning left at the top of the field, and going through a stile and turning right back to Elton Church and the Duke of York Pub across the road.

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Well, we are exhausted. We thought that we had done enough walking that we could do this in our stride. Not so. The gentle slopes were long and steep. We will sleep well tonight.

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