Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock Distance: approx. 12.0 miles
We initially head off west going past Bakewell’s beautiful All Saints Church and then the grounds of Anselm’s preparatory school, heading down to the River Wye and on to the lovely Ashford in the Water. We then gradually ascend to the iconic Monsal Head for lunch to take in the views. (and maybe an ice cream if you fancy it!) From Monsal Head we descend and go along Monsal Dale. Crossing over the A6 (which can be busy so take care) we return to Bakewell via Great Shacklow Wood and Ashford, again following the meandering River Wye. We should be back in time to enjoy an afternoon tea/pint and ‘pudding’!
Moderate Leaders: Leo and Jean Keenan Distance : 8.0 miles
We leave Bakewell crossing the River Wye along Coombs Road, then over the Monsal Trail to cross the golf course into Manners Wood. This is the steepest part of the walk which will take us about 20 mins to climb. We are then onto Calton Pastures and our first view of Chatsworth House. We go to the village of Edensor before a lunch stop at Chatsworth House (with toilets). After lunch we walk along the River Derwent past Chatsworth Garden Centre, over Calton Pastures as far as Ball Cross Farm. From here it is downhill back to Bakewell
Leisurely Leaders: Joan McGlinchey assisted by Sue Blything Distance : 6.5miles
We start our walk from the centre of Bakewell, crossing the river via the medieval bridge before turning left into Coombs Lane. We go up through woods, where care needs to be taken on the steepish uneven path and then cross lots of fields(not many stiles), to the picture postcard village of Edensor,(pronounced Enza), quintessentially English, with delightful gardens and a 17th century church where Kathleen Kennedy (sister of JFK) is buried. She was married to the 11th duke of Devonshire’s elder brother. After leaving the village we follow the signs for the splendid estate of Chatsworth where we can have a lunch break, a toilet stop and a brew. We retrace our path back to Edensor, and continue our walk up a lane on a slow climb, onto an uneven path, then down a bridleway through woodlands (again taking care) before finally skirting the golf course and making our way back to Bakewell for a drink and perhaps a piece of Bakewell tart.
Easy Leader: Jackie Gudgeon Distance : 5.5 miles
We leave the coach park along the River Wye for a short stretch, then a lane and a good track northwards to join the Monsal Trail just short of Hassop Station where, if it not too early, we can have lunch (toilets, cafe, etc). We then have a pleasant and easy stroll along this disused railway line for just under 2 miles before descending through woods to join footpaths along the river back towards Bakewell. One climb at the beginning of the walk, with nice open views all round. A fairly easy straight forward walk which should give us time to enjoy the delights of Bakewell before our return home.
Notes On The Area
With a busy cattle market, and being the largest town in the National Park, Bakewell stands on the wooded banks of the Wye and is sheltered by hills on three sides. Bakewell is always busy. Its streets are never free of traffic and bustle. It is an exhilarating mixture of old and new, a tourist honeypot that still serves a working community. Very old buildings are surprisingly few considering the history of Bakewell (it was granted a market and a 15-day fair in 1254), but there are several fine 17th century structures, such as the Market Hall which now serves as the Peak National Park Information Centre, and the Town Hall. On an airy grass-covered knoll sits the parish church of All Saints, a Grade 1 listed building. Like many Derbyshire churches it is broad and low, but with a spire as sharp as a 3H pencil. Inside there are fascinating fragments of Saxon and Norman stonework, and the famous monument to Sir John Manners and his wife Dorothy, who were supposed to have eloped together from Haddon Hall in 1558. Outside stands the shaft of a 9th century cross, beautifully and obscurely decorated with vine scrolls and figures. Close to the church is Cunningham Place and The Old House, a 16th century parsonage turned museum. Close by is Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall. Monday is market day in Bakewell, when the Market Place is decked with awnings. On the river Wye is one of the oldest bridges in England, also Grade 1 listed, built in about 1300; an impressive scene-stealer from water level where its five arches and solid breakwaters are visible. In the distance is Castle Hill, where the settlement of Bakewell began in 920 with the establishment of a Mercian fort.
Bakewell pudding is a jam pastry with an egg and ground almond enriched filling. It is not to be confused with Bakewell tart, which is a completely different confection, made with shortcrust pastry, an almond topping and a sponge and jam filling, and now topped off with a cherry by Mr Kipling! The fame of the Bakewell pudding has spread far beyond the bounds of Derbyshire to become high on the list of favourite traditional British puddings. According to tradition, the recipe was the result of a mistake which emanated from the kitchen of the Rutland Arms Hotel in around 1860. The cook, flustered perhaps by the order to prepare a special strawberry tart for some important guests, put the jam in first and then poured in the egg mixture designed for the pastry on top. Far from being a disaster, the new invention was hailed as a culinary triumph and became a regular item on the menu. Incidentally, do not ask for a Bakewell Tart in the home of their origin – they are always known here as ‘puddings’. And don’t ask who has the original recipe, included in the will of the Rutland Arms cook – it is still the cause of local dispute and rivalry!