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Cocking Tor from near Matlock

Derbyshire Walk

County/Area - Derbyshire - South East Derbyshire

Author - P J B Steele

Length - 9.5 miles / 15.4 km    Ascent - 1800 feet / 545 metres

Time - 6 hours 30 minutes    Grade - moderate

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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Cocking Tor from near Matlock
Click image to visit gallery of 4 images.

This is a walk full of varied scenery, some of it spectacular, over the less well-known hills and valleys of the Derbyshire Dales District taking in some very interesting archaeological remains in the Bentley Brook/Upper Lumsdale area.

The start can be reached by car or, by walking slightly further, by bus or train to Matlock. From the carpark in the old quarry at Shining Cliff (grid ref. SK296594) cross the A6 and walk along that road for 100 yards or so towards Matlock to a footbridge over the River Derwent. Cross the river by the footbridge and walk under the railway embankment and up the hill to Old Matlock arriving on Starkholmes Road just above St. Giles Parish Church. Turn right up the road for several hundred yards to the junction with a footpath running down the edge of the school grounds on the left (grid ref. SK300594).

Take the path up the hill past Netherclose Farm into the centre of Riber Village (grid ref. SK309590) and then walk a little north of east through the fields towards Daisybank Farm. Directly ahead is the ridge of hills beyond Tansley which you will cross in due course, including the spiky outlines of the pines which surmount Blakelow Hill. More to the south east you will see the memorial column of the Sherwood Forester Regiment on Crich Cliff.

Shortly before reaching Daisybank Farm take the left hand turn down the hill to the A615 (grid ref. SK318593) on the outskirts of Tansley. Cross the road (beware bikers!) and continue on path down to the stream which is crossed by a footbridge. Climb up the hill the other side into the centre of Tansley, turning left along the village street. Take the right hand turn towards the school and continue past the church until you reach a footpath climbing the hill (grid ref. SK322601). Follow the path which climbs north of east up Tansley Knoll pausing occasionally to admire the unwinding panorama of hills and dales to the west. See the ruins of Riber Castle on its hill top from where you passed earlier and appreciate the progress made so far.

However, press on crossing, first, Knabhall Lane and, then, Allen Lane. On Allen Lane (grid ref. SK335609) turn right and climb up to Blakelow Hill - last seen from the fields near Riber. Then turn left at the T-junction and continue down to Red House Farm (grid ref. SK341609). Carry straight on at the cross roads down the bank by way of Ravens Nest watching out for the crags of Cocking Tor. At the foot of the tor take the left-hand track through the bracken up the top. This is a bit of a scramble, but is worth the effort. At the top inspect the inscriptions in the rock one of which dates back to 1896. There may be older ones, but do not go too close to the edge if you suffer from vertigo. Then pause to admire the view over the Amber valley towards Ogston Reservoir. This is a quintessentially Derbyshire Dales landscape. Children may be offered a small prize if they spot the old chimney in the quarry below the crags.

Proceed along the top of the escarpment into the wood until you find a stone field boundary heading due west (grid ref SK343617). Follow this out of the wood and then continue west across the open field towards an unnamed clump of trees (grid ref. SK340617). This is the highest point of the walk at 1,107 feet above sea level. This is a good place to pause and admire the extensive views over the dales and beyond and reflect that it is now downhill most of the way.

Proceed to Holestone Gate Road (grid ref. SK338617), turn right and then, after 100 yards or so, left across the field by way of Old Engine Farm. The path goes almost due west crossing Lant Lane and then slightly south of east crossing, successively, Lant Lodge Farm, Packhorse Farm and Portland Grange Farm until you reach the main A632 Chesterfield Road (grid ref. SK315616). Walk along the road towards Matlock for a little less than a quarter of a mile and then take the footpath into Lumsdale quarry. Then turn back sharply south of east and down into Bentleybrook.

Cross the brook at a convenient ford and walk south down or alongside Smuse lane into the Lumsdale valley. Take time out to admire the millponds and the romantic ruins of the old watermills now in the care of the Arkwright Society. Then follow the course of the brook down Lumsdale along a partly paved track out onto the A615 Alfreton Road at the Matlock Green Scout Hut. Turn right along the road into Matlock town centre and cross the bridge over the Derwent. Then walk straight up the hill opposite taking the right-hand fork in the lane to the footpath at grid ref. SK296601. Follow the path to grid ref. SK295596 and then turn back down the hill towards the river emerging on the A6 near Shining Cliff and the carpark from which you started.

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