County Walk: Ashford-in-the-Water and Great Shacklow Wood

A varied walk crossing fields, following the Monsal Trail, tunnel and Dale before climbing up through the delightful Great Shacklow Wood

Map: Explorer OL 24 White Peak

Linear distance: 5½ miles

Approx. time: 2½ to 3 hours

Total height climbed: Approx. 400-500ft

Parking: Grid Ref SK 195697

Paths: Field, dale and wodland paths, and the trail

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Stiles: 14 (most are quite low)

Refreshments: The Aisseford Tea Rooms in Ashford and The Bull’s Head

Pinic: Instructions 10 and 12

Ashford — Headstone Tunnel — Monsal Trail and Dale — White Lodge car park — Great Shacklow Wood


Quite a challenging walk especially after rain when parts of the route could be slippery and muddy. Ashford-in-the-Water is a pretty village attractive to artists and photographers – the Sheepwash Bridge being one of the most photographed bridges in the county.


From Bakewell take the A6 Buxton road. In 1½ miles turn right at the A6020 Chesterfield and Sheffield sign. In a few metres turn left into Ashford village. Keep straight on passing the church. At the end of the road turn right up Fennel Street. Near the top of the street turn right to follow the car parking signs.


1 Leave the car park to walk back to Fennel Street and turn right up Vicarage Lane. At the top of the lane ignore Highfield Lane on the left and keep straight on for about another 120 metres. Passing the decontrolled sign.

2 (A) Cross a stile on the right and keep straight on across the field to go through a gate. Cross the road slightly left to enter a walled track. (B) Pass the barn and cross the stile ahead.

3 Follow the wall on the right up the field. Continue in the same direction passing through gates then a stile.

4 (C) Cross Longstone Lane and go over the stile. Keep straight on passing a stand of trees on the right. Go through a gated stile. Now keep straight on along a shallow valley crossing four stiles. At the wall ahead walk up the steps.

5 (D) Turn left along the Monsal Trail. Soon you will enter the Headstone Tunnel.

6 In about five minutes walking along the well-lit tunnel you will reach the viaduct.

7 Cross the viaduct and about 100 metres from the end of the viaduct at a crossing of paths turn right through a gate signed ‘Monsal Head via Netherdale’. (E)

8 Walk down the narrow steep path to join a wider path and turn right.

9 Follow this path which takes you under the viaduct and through a stile by a gate. With the River Wye on your left walk along Monsal Dale going through a gate under the trees.

10 Pass the weir and a footbridge on the left. Continue along the undulating wide dale path for about one mile.

11 At the end of the dale cross a stile to walk up to the road via a stepped wall stile. Cross the busy A6 and continue up to White Lodge car park. (F)

12 Pass the pay machine to walk up a surfaced path and through a gate.

13 Continue along the clear path ignoring a path off right. Soon the path becomes quite rocky and you may need to negotiate the stream with an old wall on the left. Cross a wall stile.

14 Keep straight on up the rocky limestone path which could be quite slippery if wet. The path eventually bends right up to a way-marked post. (G)

15 Turn left signed ‘Ashford Sheldon’.

16 Continue up a less rocky but steep path. At the next way-marked post go through the small gate to follow the Ashford route. (H)

17 Follow the path as it winds uphill through the wood. Then on along the undulating Shacklow Wood path ignoring side paths. In about one mile you will pass the old mill workings.

18 Stay on the main riverside path crossing two stiles, a gateway and two gates. After the last gate a short track leads to the minor road. (I)

19 Turn left along the road to join the A6 where you turn right.

20 In a few metres cross the road to walk over the Sheepwash Bridge and back into Ashford.

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