Derbyshire walk - Nelson’s Monument and The Three Ships standing stones

Nelson's Monument on Birchen Edge

Nelson's Monument on Birchen Edge - Credit: Archant

Wander over a landscape strewn with rocks, stones and boulders, scattered and placed by nature’s own hand.

1. From the car park go over to Goose Green and then the pedestrian crossing beyond to head up Eaton Hill.

On land to your right once stood Baslow's Grand Hotel and Hydro which was constructed in 1881. It provided hydropathic services even though it is said the local spring water lacked the health-giving minerals of neighbouring spas in the towns of Buxton and Matlock. There were tennis courts, a 9-hole golf course and landscaped gardens, all of which disappeared following the demolition of the building in 1936. Reminders of its existence are the otherwise curiously named Hydro Cottage and Hydro Close.

2. At the junction with a triangular-shaped island, turn right up Bar Road just after a pair of impressive gate posts that formed an entrance to the aforementioned Hydro. Ascend what was long ago the old coach road to Sheffield, passing Lady Wall Well on the left after the last of the houses. This natural water supply would have been where carriage-, cart- and packhorses could take a drink on their long climb to high ground.

A beautiful view over the Derbyshire Dales

A beautiful view over the Derbyshire Dales - Credit: Archant

3. After passing through a gate to enter moorland on the approach to Baslow Edge, turn right and follow a partly fallen wall and fencing on a path beneath Jack Flatt that leads into woodland scattered with moss-coated rocks lying haphazardly beneath a canopy of corkscrew oak and silver birch.

4. Continue on the path as it descends to cross a narrow bridge over Bar Brook, beside tucked-away houses that are surrounded by wonderful gardens of flowering shrubs and specimen trees.

A lovely garden in Baslow

A lovely garden in Baslow - Credit: Archant

5. Cross over the A621 Sheffield Road to a stile on the left of the former toll cottage and follow a well-walked footpath beneath Gardom's Edge.

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6. Arriving at a gateway and stone post stile, turn left. Keeping the wall on your right, follow a path leading towards the top of Gardom's Edge.

Highland cattle on Baslow Edge

Highland cattle on Baslow Edge - Credit: Archant

7. After passing through a narrow stone gateway you will see piles of stones known as the Three Men.

Go over a wall stile on your right to enter access land and head toward Birchen Edge keeping a wall on your right. To your left is an area of beautiful mature silver birch trees with 'bonsai' baby birch in the foreground.

The Three Ships

The Three Ships - Credit: Archant

8. Just beyond a very large gritstone rock you will find a good path. Turn right and follow this for an easier route to the Robin Hood pub. Alternatively, go straight ahead on a narrow path to the trig point on Birchen Edge and turn right to visit Nelson's Monument and the Three Ships standing stones. The detour path eventually reunites with this main path but please note that it involves a rather tricky descent.

The monument consists of a three-metre tall gritstone column with a 30 cm ball on top. It was erected in 1810 in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson, who had died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, by a local businessman from Baslow called John Brightman. Close by are the Three Ships, large outcrops of gritstone carved with the names of three of Nelson's 27 ships of the line at Trafalgar (none of which were lost) - Victory, Defiance and Royal Soverin (sic).

9. Emerging beside the B6050 turn right and walk down to the pub and then right again at the junction, following the roadside pavement past a smallholding.

Nelson's Monument

Nelson's Monument - Credit: Archant

10. Just before a footpath on the right, cross over the main road, with care, to a gap in the hedge. Descend a series of steep steps and cross over Heathy Lea Brook.

At a crossroads of paths turn right and walk past the gas-pipe post and telegraph pole to a stile beside a five-bar gate and follow a concessionary track and path through the Chatsworth Estate.

11. After crossing a field and high wall stiles you will enter the deer park. Bear right and head downhill. Look out for Jubilee Rock which is located close to a tree on your left. Also known as the Elephant Stone, this large boulder was inscribed with part of the National Anthem by Lieutenant Colonel Wrench to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Elephant Stone or Jubilee Rock

Elephant Stone or Jubilee Rock - Credit: Archant

12. Go over a fence stile to the left of double gates and walk straight ahead across the grass. Cross over a drive which leads to the Golden Gates away to your right. Turn left on meeting the high perimeter fence and follow this to the famous Cannon Kissing Gate of 1999. Inspired by Mrs Jill Cannon, it provides access to the park for visitors in wheelchairs.

13. Walk along the lovely footpath to return to Baslow. Along here are properties that belong to the Chatsworth Estate, as evidenced by their distinctive blue paintwork.

Chatsworth's Golden Gates glinting in the sunlight

Chatsworth's Golden Gates glinting in the sunlight - Credit: Archant

14. Pass a quaint thatched cottage, a rarity in this part of North Derbyshire, and go left over the bridge to return to the car park.

Compass points

An old footpath sign

An old footpath sign - Credit: Archant

Distance: 7.25 miles

Parking: Nether End Car Park, Baslow DE45 1SS (pay & display) Grid Ref: 259722

Terrain: Three gates, eight stiles, steep steps. Trip hazard paths with tree roots and rocks. Livestock grazing. Optional detour to see the Three Ships but with steep descent. Care required when crossing main roads. Some roadway without pavement. Concessionary paths on the Chatsworth Estate.

Refreshments: Pubs and tearooms in Baslow, Robin Hood Inn, Chesterfield Road

Toilets: Nether End Car Park

Map: O.S. Explorer OL24 (White Peak)

Walk highlight: Nelson's Monument and The Three Ships standing stones

Description: Distant views across the Derbyshire Dales from moorland to the east dominate this spectacular walk that also includes a wander through woodland and an amble on the edge of the Chatsworth Estate. The undulating route incorporates gradual ascents and descents with an option to visit the Three Ships on Birchen Edge.

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