Peak District walk - Baslow to Chatsworth circular

Baslow village

Baslow village - Credit: Gary Wallis

Helen Moat explores Baslow, gateway to Chatsworth House 

This circular walk takes the rambler through several districts or ‘ends’ of Baslow: West End at Bubnell, Bridge End and Nether End – where the entrance to the leafy deer park of Chatsworth is to be found.  

Upmarket is the word that best describes Baslow. The Cavendish family, Dukes of Devonshire (and friends in high places) are referenced across the village: Cavendish Hotel, Devonshire Arms or the Prince of Wales.  

Inside the parkland, ramble through wide-open spaces dotted with mature trees. The views of Stand Wood and the surrounding escarpments only add to the drama of the opulent Chatsworth House that dates back to Bess of Hardwick.  

Chatsworth Park

Chatsworth Park - Credit: Gary Wallis

With her husband, William Cavendish, she bought Chatsworth Manor for 600 pounds before going on to create a stately home befitting one of the richest women in Elizabethan England.  

1. Starting from Bubnell west of the river, walk north along Bubnell Lane until you reach the old bridge. Considering it was built in 1603, it’s impressive it’s never been destroyed by floods. Cross over, noting the stone watchman’s booth at the far end with its tiny entrance.  

Here the villagers took it in turns to collect tolls, fining anyone who broke the weight restrictions (usually lead and millstones).  

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The booth became known as ‘Mary Bradley’s House’, named after the local beggar who took shelter here. There are not many tramps who can claim they’ve had a building called after them.    

Toll booth on Baslow bridge - Mary Bradley's House

Toll booth on Baslow bridge - Mary Bradley's House - Credit: Helen Moat

2. Turn right onto the A623. Almost immediately, you’ll reach the pretty lychgate of St Anne’s Church. Take time to explore the church. It boasts three oddities. First up, the clock face on the steeple doesn’t have the usual 12 numerals; instead, it spells out VICTORIA1897 – confusing if the hands land on the numbers.  

The clock was a gift from local doctor, Edward Wrench, in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.  

The second curiosity is the sanctuary knocker on the main entrance door. The church was a safe haven for fugitives and as long as they took shelter within the sanctuary of the church the law couldn’t touch them.  

Inside, you’ll find a dog whip behind a glass case. Its three-foot-long prong was used to keep the congregation’s dogs at bay – and the occasional human who dared to fall asleep during the sermon, allegedly.   

3. Leaving the church behind, continue along the A623, turning left at the large roundabout to walk the pavement along the A619 (with plenty of fine eateries and exclusive gift shops along the way to distract you). 

Turn into Church Lane on the right, fringed by leafy Goose Green. Cross a smaller bridge over Bar Brook and turn immediately right onto a lane that passes pretty estate buildings and a rotating kissing gate; the entrance to Chatsworth’s parkland. 

St Anne's Church, Baslow

St Anne's Church, Baslow - Credit: Helen Moat

4. Continue along the path southwards to Chatsworth House, part of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way. It affords lovely views over the parkland to the stately home and the Hunting Tower on the wooded hillside.  

Soon you will come to Queen Mary’s Bower. It’s thought the bower was constructed in the 1570s for Mary Queen of Scots while she was held captive at Chatsworth.  

This has never been proven but the ruin was certainly part of the formal water gardens created in this period. The bower is all that remains of them.  

5. Detour to the former Chatsworth stables for welcome refreshments before returning to Baslow via the driveway leading to Park Lodge and the grand gated entrance at Baslow.  

Leave the driveway, however, just before reaching the ‘Golden Gates’ to cut across to the Derwent Valley Heritage Way again.  

This time, take a left fork to cross Bar Brook and meadows behind Cavendish Hotel. From here it’s an easy saunter through the village back to West End and your starting point.  

COMPASS POINTS

OS map

OS map - Credit: Ordnance Survey

Start point: SK 2513 7220 

Parking: Street parking on Bubnell Lane – please park considerately 

Map: The Peak District White Peak Leisure Map: OL 24 

Terrain: An easy saunter through village and estate parkland 

Distance: 2 miles 

Refreshments: There are plenty of café and pub options in Baslow and at Chatsworth. There is food-to-go at the kiosk near the entrance of the stately home.  

At the stables, you can take your pick from self-service meals and snacks served in Carriage House Café, afternoon tea at the Flying Childers Restaurant or fine dining at Cavendish Restaurant.