3 pretty walks with farmer's markets in Derbyshire
- Credit: Helen Moat
There is local produce and scenery aplenty in Derbyshire, explore the great markets and stunning views of the county.
The farmers’ markets of Derbyshire offer healthy, locally produced foods, perfect for al fresco dining.
You’ll have to rise early to catch the morning markets (wrapping up by early afternoon). It’s well worth the effort, however, not just for the food and market ambience, but also for that atmospheric morning light. Here are more walks that take in the best of Derbyshire’s markets.
Masson Hill from Matlock
Plan your walk for a Wednesday morning in order to catch Matlock’s Hall Leys Park outdoor market. Crossing Matlock Bridge from Crown Square (grandly named for just a mini roundabout with a little crown in the middle), head up Snitterton Road.
Keeping right where the road divides, turn left to follow a cul-de-sac lane and steps up into a meadow. The Limestone Way that climbs steeply through the field is hard on the legs and lungs but you can stop frequently to take in the views of town stretched out below you.
It’s a lovely spot throughout the year: a sledging field in times of snow; a spread of buttercups in spring with splashes of autumn colour spread across the town later in the year.
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At Masson Lees Farm, keep left of the farmstead through fields, merging with a stony track. Turn left and enjoy the expansive views over the Derwent Valley.
Soon you will come to Tinkers Shaft at the exit of Masson Cavern, part of the Heights of Abraham experience. The shaft was named after Mr Tinker, who first sunk it in the 1600s.
The whole of Masson Hill is riddled with lead mines. Apart from the breath-taking views from the Tinkers Shaft platform, this area is superb for foraging, it’s bushes weighed down with raspberries in late summer followed by blackberries.
The path skirts Heights of Abraham, dropping through woodland. At a junction of paths, follow the extremely steep path down the valley towards Matlock Bath.
Follow the back streets of the old spa resort to West Lodge and the entrance to Heights of Abraham. Drop down Upperwood Road a short distance, taking a left turn up steps to follow the signed fingerpost for Matlock.
The woodland path weaves along the bottom of the attraction, passing under the cable car to St John’s Road and the fairy-tale St John the Baptist Chapel with its charming oriel window and square bell turret.
It was built as a private chapel for Mrs Louisa Sophia Harris who lived in the elegant house below, and was designed by Arts and Crafts architect, Guy Dawber.
At the bottom of St John’s Road, turn left, crossing the A6 to follow the metal footbridge bridge over the Derwent. Another left takes you along the banks of the River Derwent to Knowleston Gardens.
Cross the Monet-esque footbridge leading to Knowleston Place, then follow the road left into Hall Leys Park.
There are plenty of lunch options at the outdoor market from artisan bread, samosas and bhajis to delicious cakes. Find a park bench, settle in and enjoy the local flavours of your picnic beneath Riber Castle on the skyline.
From Black Rock to Wirksworth
This is a great winter walk as it mainly follows country lanes and gravel tracks free of mud.
Head out bright and early on a Tuesday morning to take advantage of one of the friendliest markets in Derbyshire.
The Tuesday market runs from 8.30am to 1pm. Alternatively, the bigger farmers’ market runs on the first Saturday of the month.
Starting out from Black Rock, head up Oakerthorpe Road, veering right to drop down Nan Gell’s Hill and Bolehill Road.
At the old primitive Methodist chapel turn right to drop down the cul-de-sac then follow the idyllic gravel path that meanders through a meadow dotted with trees, particularly lovely in spring.
Cross the railway line and continue up Cemetery Lane into the town. The market takes place in the square next to the Memorial Hall.
Choose your lunch: spicy Asian snacks, bread and pastries, cheeses and honeys and scrumptious cakes, mostly produced locally. Finish off with a coffee from one of the shabby-chic cafés in town.
Return to Bolehill via the other side of the valley. Climb up Greenhill with its old mining cottages.
It’s easy to be distracted by the maze of jitties, the quaint dwellings and their puzzle gardens, separated by the maze of paths and the sheer drops between Greenhill and The Dale.
At the top of Greenhill, detour to the Star Disc, just off the lane. Apart from the striking black granite circle mapping out the night sky, there are great views of the town and the surrounding countryside.
Where the lane hooks round to become The Dale, climb the steps straight ahead to follow the stony track that skirts Middle Peak Quarry. A grassy path ascends through fields, crossing the B5035, where it eventually meets the High Peak Trail. Turn right and descend the trail back to Black Rock.
From Calton Lees to Bakewell
Starting from Calton Lees, this lovely walk rises through Chatsworth Estate before dropping down through Manners Woods (part of the Haddon Hall Estate) to Bakewell’s Stall Market.
Parking at the estate village, climb the lane past Calton Houses, then head across Calton Pastures until you reach a crossroads of pathways just after a pond.
Continuing over, cut through Manners Wood, then cross the Monsal Trail to skirt The Brooklands. Turn right onto Coombs Road, looking out for a footpath on the left that leads to the Bakewell Agricultural Business Centre.
This is where all the action takes place on Monday mornings. It’s a farmers’ market in the truest sense.
On a Monday morning, the Peak District farmers tumble off the hills with their Land Rovers and trailers and the occasional tractor.
It’s worth heading to the livestock market even if you don’t have a flock of sheep or herd of cattle to sell. Between the bleating of sheep and lowing of cattle, the auctioneer reels off numbers at breakneck speed.
There’s a real buzz in the air as sellers and buyers seek to secure the best price. Across the Love Locks footbridge, you’ll find the stall market at Market Place and on Granby Road. Among the bric-a-brac, DIY goods, clothing and gifts, food stalls sell everything from olives, cheese and bread to cakes and fruit – perfect for a picnic lunch by the River Wye in town.
To return to Calton Lees, follow Station Road and then the country lane that rises steeply above the Wye Valley, hair-pinning through woodland before opening out to reveal panoramic views of the Peak District.
As you drop down towards Chatsworth Estate where the road becomes Handley Lane, take the gravel track on your right descending to Edensor – a good place to stop for afternoon tea.
From here, cross the parkland (with a good chance of coming across a herd of deer) back to Calton Lees Car Park.