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Peak District walk: Baslow, Bank Wood and Bramley Wood

Calver from Bramley Wood Photo: The Roaming Picture Taker, Flickr
Calver from Bramley Wood Photo: The Roaming Picture Taker, Flickr

Although I have walked extensively in the Peak District, with many of its beautiful landscapes appearing like old friends over the years, sometimes I find a new walk that gives me a different perspective of otherwise familiar topography.

It feels like I’m joining the dots across the Peak District, observing how hill extends to hill, valley to valley, dale to moor.

This field and woodland ramble is one of those rambles – and I wonder why I’ve never walked it before: it’s rare to find such a continuous woodland ridge path. I recommend getting out and enjoying the last of the autumn colour through these lovely mixed woods before the trees lay themselves bare.

1. Parking on Bubnell Lane (as always, considerately), take the path between houses opposite the bridge into fields.

Cross three meadows, the field boundaries on your right and curve round to the right before cutting through three more meadows, again with the field boundaries on your right.

Look out for the ER plantation (homage to Queen Elizabeth II), a much closer sighting than the one you get from Chatsworth. In the last field cut across diagonally to a fingerpost on Wheatlands Lane.

Great British Life: The southern entrance to Bank Wood Photo: Helen MoatThe southern entrance to Bank Wood Photo: Helen Moat

2. Turn right onto this quiet lane and follow it as far as Peak District Hideaway. Opposite the driveway, you’ll see a signpost pointing up through fields to woodland.

From here, follow the path along the top of the ridge into mixed woodland: Scots pines, larches and sycamore primarily, with an understory of rowan, elder, hawthorn and bracken.

Continue through Bank Wood, South then North. There is a bench along the way if you’d like to stop for a picnic.

Either way, pause frequently to take in the views of Chatsworth, Beeley Moor and Baslow Edge with part of the village appearing on the hillside.

Great British Life: Froggatt Edge Photo: Getty ImagesFroggatt Edge Photo: Getty Images

3. On reaching Bramley Lane, you could simply drop down it to meet Bubnell Lane, taking you back into Baslow, but you would miss out on some stunning vistas.

Instead, cross the lane to continue through Bramley Wood, looking out for Sir William Hill and Calver Peak with their masts and more of the Eastern Moor escarpments extending to Froggatt Edge and beyond, as well as Higger Tor and Carl Wark in the Dark Peak.

The mix of trees in Bramley Wood changes with more oak, beech and birch appearing and no conifers.

When I’m out walking (with no botany expertise), I use my phone as a plant, flower and tree identifier. I’ve a long way to go but my knowledge of flora is improving year on year.

Closely observing your surroundings while out rambling gives those outdoor walks an extra dimension: it’s an enriching experience.

The makeup of the ridge changes again as you drop down off the ridge, rhododendrons crowding out bracken.

You’ll even have to duck through your very own miniature ‘Dark Hedges’ where the rhododendrons form a tunnel over your head.

Great British Life: Views from Bank Wood Photo: Helen MoatViews from Bank Wood Photo: Helen Moat

4. Soon you will meet a junction of pathways as you dip into St Mary’s Wood. Turn right to keep the high land.

Your acquaintance with St Mary’s will be brief as you cross a wall into a field. Here’s it just a case of heading directly in the direction of Chatsworth House below you until you come to a meeting of field entrances.

Head through the wooden gate and cross the field diagonally. You’ll pass through a couple of wicket gates before descending to Bramley Farm. Watch your step here on the uneven and steeply sloping ground.

Once you hit Bubnell Lane, turn left to follow it back to Bubnell in Baslow, admiring all the fine country houses along the way.

Great British Life: OS Explorer Map OL24 White Peak (c) OS MapsOS Explorer Map OL24 White Peak (c) OS Maps

COMPASS POINTS

DISTANCE: 4miles

GRID REFERENCE: SK 2513 7218

MAP: OS Explorer Map OL24 White Peak

DIFFICULTY: Easy walking with gentle ascents and descents (apart from the short section above Bramley Farm). The ridgetop woodland paths are narrow but more or less flat

REFRESHMENTS: No café or pubs on the route but plenty of watering holes in Baslow await you at the end of your ramble



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