High Peak Trail

The High Peak Trail is a 17-mile (27 km) trail for walkers, cyclists and horse riders in the Peak District of England. Running from Dowlow (53°12′21″N 1°50′06″W / 53.2059°N 1.8349°W), near Buxton, to High Peak Junction, Cromford (53°06′01″N 1°32′07″W / 53.1004°N 1.5354°W), it follows the trackbed of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway, which was completed in 1831 to carry minerals and goods between the Cromford Canal wharf at High Peak Junction and the Peak Forest Canal at Whaley Bridge.

Closure of the line occurred during the Beeching era, with the first section of the line closing in 1963 (i.e. the Middleton Incline) followed by full closure in 1967.

In 1971 the Peak Park Planning Board and Derbyshire County Council bought the largest part of the trackbed and, in partnership with the Countryside Commission, adapted it for its current leisure use. The trail has a crushed limestone surface which makes it ideal for all users, including wheelchair use, assisted by level access onto the trail at various points along its route.

The High Peak Trail is now a national route of the National Cycle Network.

The elevated nature of the trail (the highest part of the line is at Ladmanlow, at a height of 1,266 ft or 386 m) affords many splendid views across the countryside. However, these higher sections can also be very exposed in poor weather. The original railway incorporated a number of inclines at its northern and southern ends, and whilst much of the trail is fairly level, these sections are naturally steeper.

At Parsley Hay, about 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Bakewell, the High Peak Trail is joined by the 13-mile (21 km) Tissington Trail, another route of the National Cycle Network, which was formerly the railway branch line to Ashbourne.

The High Peak Trail (and part of the Tissington Trail) are also designated part of the Pennine Bridleway, a 130-mile (210 km) leisure route which starts at Middleton Top, near Cromford, and includes 73 miles (117 km) through Derbyshire to the South Pennines. The Trail also forms part of the Midshires Way, a long-distance footpath and bridleway which runs for 225 miles (362 km) through the Midlands from Bledlow to Stockport.

Top of Sheep Pasture Incline
Looking down Sheep Pasture Incline
Middleton Incline
The trail at Middleton Incline
Cycle centre at Parsley Hay
The cycle-hire centre at Parsley Hay on a busy August weekend
Newhaven Tunnel - geograph.org.uk - 124040
The trail passing under the A515 at Newhaven Tunnel
Minninglow - High Peak Trail - geograph.org.uk - 17540
The trail at Minninglow

Access and facilities on the trail

  • At Hurdlow (map ref. SK128659), at the northern end of the trail, there is parking and level access onto the trail. Picnic tables are provided.
  • At Parsley Hay (map ref. SK146637), where the trail is joined by the Tissington Trail, there is direct access from the car park to the trail. Facilities include toilets, a picnic site, visitor information, and cycle hire.
  • At Friden (map ref. SK172607) there is a car park giving level access onto the trail. There is a picnic table.
  • At Minninglow (map ref. SK194581) there is a car park and picnic site, with level access onto the trail.
  • At Middleton Top there is a visitor centre, with car park and toilets. Cycles can also be hired here.
  • At Black Rocks there is a car park, toilets, and shop for light refreshments.
  • At High Peak Junction there is a Visitor Centre and shop. Light refreshments can be purchased and there are picnic tables outside. Lea Road car park, over the river, is accessible by footbridge.
  • Nearby is the National Stone Centre, Wirksworth.

See also

External links

Coordinates: 53°08′24″N 1°44′09″W / 53.1401°N 1.7357°W


Ambergate is a village in Derbyshire, England, situated where the River Amber joins the River Derwent, and where the A610 road from Ripley and Nottingham joins the A6 that runs along the Derwent valley between Derby to the south and Matlock to the north. Sawmills and Ridgeway are neighbouring hamlets, and Alderwasley, Heage, Nether Heage and Crich are other significant neighbouring settlements. The village forms part of the Heage and Ambergate ward of Ripley Town Council with a population of 5,013 at the 2011 Census. Ambergate is within the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage site, and has historical connections with George Stephenson; Ambergate is notable for its railway heritage and telephone exchange. Ambergate has an active community life, particularly centred on the school, pubs, churches, sports clubs; and annual village carnival which is relatively large and consistent locally, with popular associated events in carnival week and throughout the year. The carnival is organised by a voluntary committee. Shining Cliff woods, Thacker's woods and Crich Chase border the village.

It is about 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Matlock at the junction of the A6 trunk road and the A610 to Ripley. A mile east of Ambergate is Heage with its recently restored 18th century windmill.

Until the early nineteenth century it was known as Toadmoor, from the Derbyshire dialect "t'owd moor" (the old moor) with no more than a few artisans' cottages. The southerly half of the present village is still shown as such on the Ordnance Survey's maps. The name Amber Gate was originally applied to the tollgate for the Nottingham turnpike, but adopted by the North Midland Railway for Ambergate railway station which is located on the Derby-Matlock Derwent Valley Line.

The turnpike to Matlock was opened in 1818. Until then the main road from Belper northwards had been through Wirksworth and such traffic as there was, would have been mainly cotton from Arkwright's Mill at Cromford. However, the Cromford Canal, opened in 1794, also passes the village. In 1818 the turnpike to Nottingham was opened with a toll house at the junction.

The canal towpath can be followed from here to Cromford Wharf, passing High Peak Junction, which is the start of the High Peak Trail). This 6-mile (10 km) section is listed as a Biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and also forms part of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way.

In 1840 the North Midland Railway opened with a station at 'Amber Gate' which brought trade for 'omnibus and posting conveyance' to Matlock, which was becoming a fashionable spa town. By 1867 there was a through line from London St.Pancras to Manchester, as well as to Leeds. Ambergate became an important interchange and, in 1876, Francis Hurt built the 'Hurt Arms' to replace the former 'Thatched House Tavern and Posting House' which the Midland Railway had converted into three cottages (now Midland Place). The main railway line runs through the elliptical Toadmoor Tunnel designed by George Stephenson.

In 1791 Benjamin Outram and Samuel Beresford had built kilns at nearby Bullbridge to process limestone from their quarry at Crich. George Stephenson had discovered deposits of coal at Clay Cross and realised that burning lime would provide a use for the slack which otherwise would go to waste. He leased Cliff Quarry at Crich, and built eight limekilns beside the railway. Within a year they had grown to twenty. They were connected by another wagonway known as "The Steep", a 550-yard (500 m) self-acting incline at a slope of 1 in 5.

By 1851 the tiny hamlet had grown to a population of 206. In 1876 Richard Johnson and Nephew opened the wireworks by the river. In 1931 the population had reached 901, rising to 1,794 in 1951.

The quarry and the wagonway closed in 1957 but the limeworks carried on until 1965 and the passage of the Clean Air Act. The kilns were demolished the following year to build a storage facility and processing plant for natural gas.

In 1966 the first fully operational electronic telephone exchange in Europe opened in Ambergate. This was also the first small to medium electronic exchange in the world and the first of many TXE2 type exchanges.

Bolehill, Derbyshire

Bolehill is an area of Wirksworth, Derbyshire, England. It is located in the north of the town and has connections to the lead mining industry. Originally a village in its own right, Bolehill became part of the outskirts of Wirksworth upon the town's expansion during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Bolehill is adjacent to Black Rocks, a local landmark and a short walk from the High Peak Trail at Middleton incline.

Cromford Wharf

Cromford Wharf is at Cromford in Derbyshire, England.

It is located at the northern terminus of the Cromford Canal, which opened in 1794 and ran 14.5 miles (23 km) from here to the Erewash Canal in Derbyshire. The wharf stands on Mill Lane opposite Richard Arkwright's Cromford Mill, and surviving buildings include two warehouses - one of which is now a cafe - an office or counting house, and two cottages. The wharf was once totally enclosed by a stone perimeter wall, which included other buildings, but these buildings have not survived.

The yard serves today as a car park.

The Canal Warehouse was built in 1794, soon after the canal opened, and is known as the Gothic Warehouse, after the design of the side elevation. (These Gothic castellations, just visible in the top picture, were probably included at the insistence of Sir Richard Arkwright, who would be able to see it from Willersley Castle, his intended home.) This warehouse was owned by Nathaniel Wheatcroft, a principal carrier on the canal. Today the Arkwright Society manages the Warehouse, having leased it since 1995, where two rooms are used as classrooms, and public exhibitions are sometimes held there. The Society offers tours of the Wharf and the canal.

A second warehouse was constructed in 1824, and was used to store goods awaiting carriage by boat, protected by the overhanging awning. Today a café and wildlife shop are open on the ground floor of this building.

Construction of the Counting House started in 1794.

The Wharf Cottages were built in 1796 for administrative staff.

The canal towpath, which starts at the Wharf, can be followed to High Peak Junction (the start of the High Peak Trail), and as far as Whatstandwell and Ambergate. This 6-mile (10 km) section is listed as a Biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and also forms part of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way.

Cromford and High Peak Railway

The Cromford and High Peak Railway (C&HPR) in Derbyshire, England, was completed in 1831, to carry minerals and goods between the Cromford Canal wharf at High Peak Junction (53.1002°N 1.5335°W / 53.1002; -1.5335 (Cromford and High Peak Railway, High Peak Junction terminus)) and the Peak Forest Canal at Whaley Bridge (53.3303°N 1.9848°W / 53.3303; -1.9848 (Cromford and High Peak Railway, Whaley Bridge terminus)).

Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway is a 9-mile (14.5 km) long heritage railway in Derbyshire. The headquarters of the railway centre on Wirksworth station, and services operate in both directions between Wirksworth and Duffield and from Wirksworth to Ravenstor.

From April 2011 onward, passengers are now able to board and alight heritage services at Duffield where in recent years a station platform (3) has been re-constructed. Heritage services are timed to connect with East Midlands Trains Nottingham - Derby - Matlock service at the adjacent Duffield Network Rail platforms and therefore it is now possible for passengers to travel to and from Wirksworth by train from anywhere on the national network.

The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway is named after the River Ecclesbourne and the track follows the river from its source to its confluence with the River Derwent at the Derbyshire village of Duffield.

Despite being a branch in itself, there is also a separate 1⁄2 mile (0.8 km) branch operating from Platform 3 at Wirksworth Station up a 1 in 27 (3.27 %) gradient incline to Ravenstor (for the National Stone Centre and the High Peak Trail, respectively).

The line is principally operated by a large fleet of heritage Diesel Multiple Units. Locomotive hauled trains operate on Enthusiast and special event days often alongside the DMU fleet.

Friden, Derbyshire

Friden is a hamlet in the civil parish of Hartington Nether Quarter, Derbyshire, England. It is 11 miles (18 km) south-east of Buxton, just off the Newhaven to Cromford Via Gellia road, and lies within the Peak District National Park.

The name "Friden" is derived from the goddess Frig, the wife of Woden. It is on the route of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway, which now forms the High Peak Trail. Friden Grange is a Grade II listed building. It is notable for the manufacture of refractory products.

Gotham Curve

The Gotham Curve was once the sharpest curve on any standard gauge railway line in the UK. The curve, which was situated in the sparsely populated, exposed limestone uplands in the Peak District of Derbyshire, England, was on the Cromford and High Peak Railway. The single-track main line was inherited by British Railways in 1948. It closed in 1967.

High Peak Junction

High Peak Junction, near Cromford, Derbyshire, England, is the name now used to describe the site where the former Cromford and High Peak Railway (C&HPR), whose workshops were located here, meets the Cromford Canal. It lies within Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, designated in 2001, and today marks the southern end of the High Peak Trail, a 17 miles (27 km) trail for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The Derwent Valley Heritage Way also passes this point, and popular walks lead from here along the towpath in both directions.

Hopton, Derbyshire

Hopton is a small village adjacent to the village of Carsington and two miles away from the market town of Wirksworth in the Peak District, it is first mentioned in the Domesday book in 1086 as a Berewick (supporting farm) of the town and manor of Wirksworth and its two main industries from ancient times have been farming and lead mining.

Hopton lies just off the main B5035 road from Ashbourne to Wirksworth at the northern end of Carsington Water.

The village had a long association with the Gell family, who have had assets in the Hopton since 1327, and had extensive lead mining interests in the Wirksworth area and lived at Hopton Hall. Notable members include Sir John Gell who was a Parliamentarian in the English Civil War and Sir William Gell who was an archaeologist.

The famous Hopton Incline of the Cromford and High Peak Railway, now part of the High Peak Trail and Pennine Bridleway, is about two-thirds of a mile (1.1 km) north of the village.

Modern Hopton is a rather straggling village with a number of houses some of which are popular for self-catering activities for tourists visiting the Peak District, Wirksworth and Carsington Water.

Hopton Incline

Until it closed in 1967 the Hopton Incline was the steepest stretch of conventional, adhesion-worked standard gauge railway running line in the UK. The incline was situated in sparsely populated, exposed limestone uplands in the Peak District of Derbyshire, England.It is possible that steeper stretches were to be found in sidings, but the Hopton Incline was on the former Cromford and High Peak Railway's single-track main line as inherited by British Railways.

Hurdlow railway station

Hurdlow railway station was near to the hamlet of Hurdlow to the south east of Buxton, Derbyshire on the LNWR line to Ashbourne and the south.

List of cycle routes in England

This is a list of recreational cycle routes in England.

The Alban Way, Hertfordshire

The Bristol & Bath Railway Path

The Camel Trail, North Cornwall

The Cheshire Cycleway, Cheshire

Clay Trails, Cornwall

Fallowfield Loop, Manchester

Fledborough Trail (Lincoln - Fledborough), Lincs./Notts.

Great Flat Lode trail, Cornwall

Greensand Cycle Way, Bedfordshire

The Greenway, Warwickshire

The Greenway, east London

The Ebury Way Cycle Path

High Peak Trail, Derbyshire

Manifold Way, Staffordshire

Marriott Way, Norfolk

The Milton Keynes redway system

Middlewood Way, Cheshire/Stockport

Mineral Tramway Trails, Cornwall

Monsal Trail, Derbyshire

Nickey Line, Hertfordshire

The Parkland Walk, North London

Reepham Bridle and Cycle Route, Norfolk

Sea to Sea Cycle Route, northern England

Sett Valley Trail, Derbyshire

The Sunshine Trail, Isle of Wight

Tarka Trail, Devon

Tissington Trail, Derbyshire

The Somerset Levels host a number of designated cycleways.

Water Rail Way (Kirkstead - Lincoln), Lincolnshire

W2W route, Walney to Wear, northern England

The Way of the Roses, Morecambe, Lancashire to Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire.


Middleton-by-Wirksworth is an upland village lying approximately one mile NNW of Wirksworth, Derbyshire, Middleton was, in 1086, a berewick (a supporting farm) of the town and manor of Wirksworth. Middleton was formerly known for its lead mines and high quality limestone quarries, including the underground quarry site at Middleton Mine. The Middleton Mine networks underground for approximately 25 miles (40 km) with tunnels on three different levels running under Middleton Moor to the Hopton Wood quarry works at the other side of the hill below Ryder Point Works’. Part of the tunnel collapsed in the 1980s leaving a noticeable depression in the ground above on the eastern side of Middleton Moor. The appropriate civil parish is called Middleton. The population of this parish as taken at the 2011 Census was 775.The attraction towards Middleton-by-Wirksworth becoming a village had much to do with the fact that it is one of the few Derbyshire villages in the limestone area that has a ‘perched’ water table due to the impervious volcanic rock and shale formations within its topology. The availability of water was the incentive behind it becoming a choice of settlement. Middleton formed originally in the Saxon times as a small farming hamlet which settled around a very high spring.

The former Cromford and High Peak Railway passes close by the village. The local quarries were linked to this line by a short branch spur, Killer's Branch, part of which now forms the track bed of the Steeple Grange Light Railway. The branch line was operational until the late 1960s.

In the 1970s, the disused track bed of the Cromford and High Peak Railway and some surrounding land were purchased by the Derbyshire County Council and the Peak Park Planning Board, who then worked collaboratively to turn the former railway into the 17-mile (27 km) High Peak Trail for walkers and cyclists. Middleton Top lies near the southern end of the trail, which starts at High Peak Junction. There is a car park and visitor centre at Middleton Top, where cycles may be hired.

Middleton Top Engine House (grid reference SK275552) houses a preserved steam engine formerly used to haul trains up the 700-yard (640 m) long 1-in-8 (12.5%) gradient of Middleton Incline. The engine, built by the Butterley Company of Ripley in 1829, still runs for demonstration purposes and is occasionally open to the public.

The northern part of the village on the west side of the main road out towards New Road is called 'The Hall' due to the location of the now demolished Middleton Hall.

The cold winter of 1947 combined with the exposed nature of Middleton meant that snow was present even during the summer following the heavy snowfall.

Middleton is dependent on the market town of Wirksworth for many of its services, such as its health centre, leisure centre, high school (the Anthony Gell School) and nearby shops, petrol and so on. The closest railway station to Middleton is Wirksworth on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway.


Minninglow (or Minning Low) is a hill in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire, located within the White Peak area at grid reference SK209573. Within the clump of trees crowning the hill are a Neolithic chambered tomb and two Bronze Age bowl barrows.

The chambered tomb (Derbyshire's largest) and barrows are a Scheduled Monument. The chambered tomb comprises an oval cairn of 45 by 38 metres (148 by 125 ft) surviving to a height of 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in) and containing two complete chambers made of limestone slabs, and at least three other incomplete chambers. The tomb was excavated by Thomas Bateman in 1843 and 1851 and was described by Nikolaus Pevsner as "one of the most impressive of Derbyshire's surviving prehistoric burials". The barrow is considered to be a multi-period site, the oldest chamber dating from the Early Neolithic period but with other finds indicating use in the Late Neolithic or early Bronze Age, and also the Roman period. The two bowl barrows, also excavated by Bateman, date from the Bronze Age and also show signs of Roman disturbance.Although it is within 200 metres (660 ft) of the High Peak Trail between Parwich and Longcliffe, there is no public right of way to the site. Between 31 January 2007 and 31 January 2017, however, concessionary access has been granted by the landowner, allowing the public to walk to and explore the site. The concessionary path from the High Peak Trail is signposted with a wooden sign similar to a public footpath sign and there are wooden markers on the route to the barrow.

About one kilometre northwest of Minninglow hill is the massive Minninglow Embankment on the former Cromford and High Peak Railway, the trackbed of which now forms the High Peak Trail. This Grade-II-listed structure, constructed from local limestone and earth in the 1820s, is a pre-Victorian example of civil engineering on the grand scale. There is access from the car park and picnic site about 200 metres (660 ft) further along the High Peak Trail at grid reference SK194581.

Pennine Bridleway

The Pennine Bridleway is a new National Trail in Northern England.

It runs roughly parallel with the Pennine Way but provides access for horse riders and cyclists as well as walkers. The trail is around 205 miles (330 km) long, extending from Derbyshire to Cumbria. It includes the 47-mile (76 km) Mary Towneley Loop and the 10-mile (16 km) Settle Loop. In its southern part, it follows the High Peak Trail along the trackbed of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway.

River Goyt

The River Goyt is a river in North West England. It is one of the tributaries of the River Mersey.

Tissington Trail

The Tissington Trail is a bridleway, footpath and cycleway in Derbyshire, England, along part of the trackbed of the former railway line connecting Ashbourne to Buxton. It takes its name from the village of Tissington, which it skirts. Opened in 1971, and now a part of the National Cycle Network, it stretches for 13 miles (21 km) from Parsley Hay (53.1706°N 1.7828°W / 53.1706; -1.7828 (Tissington Trail (Parsley Hay trailhead))) in the north to Ashbourne (53.0196°N 1.7397°W / 53.0196; -1.7397 (Tissington Trail (Ashbourne trailhead))) in the south.

At Parsley Hay, a small settlement to the north-east of Hartington, it is joined by the High Peak Trail, another rail trail which is 17 miles (27 km) in length from High Peak Junction near Cromford, Matlock, to Dowlow, near Buxton.

The trail has a firm crushed-limestone surface suitable for cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users. It has easy level access at many points along its route. The elevated nature of the line (at Parsley Hay it is over 1,000 feet (305 m) above sea level) means that it affords good views, but it is exposed in poor weather. The trail runs gently downhill from Parsley Hay southwards, but about 1⁄4 mile (400 m) north of the cycle hire centre at Mapleton Lane, Ashbourne, the trail dips down and up where a viaduct has been removed; both slopes are about 130 feet (40 m) long with gradients of 1:9.

Hartington signal box, beside the trail although some distance from the village, has been converted to an Information Centre, open in summer on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. The National Park Authority operates cycle hire at both ends of the trail.

From Hartington station northwards, the route is part of the Pennine Bridleway, a 130-mile (209 km) leisure route which includes 73 miles (117 km) through Derbyshire to the South Pennines. The bridleway has two southern starting points, and another at Middleton Top, near Cromford, on the High Peak Trail.

White Peak

The White Peak is the lower, central and southern part of the Peak District in England, enclosed by the Dark Peak in the west, north and east. In contrast to the Dark Peak, the underlying limestone is not capped by impervious millstone grit, so caves, limestone gorges and dry river valleys are common features of the area. The soils are mostly derived from loess deposited by cold winds in the last part of the last glacial period.Broadly speaking, the White Peak covers the Derbyshire and Staffordshire parts of the Peak District from the Hope Valley southwards to the Weaver Hills near the Churnet Valley. The White Peak is one of 159 national character areas defined by Natural England; their defined area covers an area of 52,860 hectares (204 sq mi) and includes the area approximately bounded by Ashbourne, Buxton, Castleton, Matlock and Wirksworth.The largest towns in the White Peak are outside the area of the Peak District national park. These towns include Matlock and Buxton, while Bakewell and most of the villages in the park are in the White Peak area. Around the areas of Tideswell, Hartington, Flagg, Chelmorton and Youlgrave, long thin fields created by the enclosure of medieval strip fields can be seen. The region is rich in footpaths, bridleways and green tracks that give access to the area. Longer-distance routes include the Limestone Way and the Pennine Bridleway, and former railway trackbeds such as the Monsal Trail, the High Peak Trail, the Tissington Trail and the Manifold Way.

Notable valleys in the White Peak include Dovedale, Monsal Dale, Lathkill Dale and the Manifold Valley. The area is of interest to geologists, since much of the underlying strata have been exposed by extensive quarrying, and can be seen in the old railway cuttings along the Monsal Trail through Monsal Dale and Millers Dale.

Borough of High Peak
Major settlements
Culture, leisure
and tourism
Related articles

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.