Start point: Car parking at a layby on Mires lane
End point: Mires lane
A picturesque loop wandering through the fields down towards Cressbrook and into Millers Dale, along the river then back up through Cressbrook Dale to Peter’s Stone.
Continuing our gradual exploration of the White Peak area, this adventure started outside the village of Litton in Derbyshire. We parked in a small layby on Mires lane. There are two small laybys here on the road that leads into Litton itself, and from here you get a stunning view of Peter’s Stone and Cressbrook Dale.
Peter’s Stone is reportedly the site of the last gibbeting in Derbyshire! Local folklore suggests that the last gibbeting here took place in 1815, but official records disagree and indicate that it was actually 1832, two years before gibetting was formally abolished. A little bit of gruesome local history never goes amiss!
We walked into Litton and took a left just past the church, following a lane out of the village. The lane turned off to the right and we had a moment of confusion as we were uncertain as to where the footpath led into the field, but the stone style over the wall was just initially difficult to see, so be sure to look carefully. From here we wandered across the fields for about 1km until we reached the tree line and crossed into the woods on the side of Cressbrook Dale. The path through the woods was a little tricky in places as the ground was a bit wet, but it was easy to followall the way down to Cressbrook village. Where the path enters the village it seems to briefly go along the side of someones house, so don’t be too concerned if you get there and feel like you’re in someones back garden, the path continues just around the corner.
From Cressbrook down to Litton Mill is around 1.2km and once in Litton mill the path along the river does onace again go through peoples homes. There is a permissive footpath that leads through a gate amd through a small residental complex. The rules are simply to follow the path and respect the privacy of the residents. The path leads out of this little segment of the village and onto the river bank. There is plenty of signage at the start of the path along the river and at various points along it reminding walkers that this is also a permissive footpath and to be respectful of the wildlife and the surroundings.
The walk along the river Wye is beautiful, with the rocks up the sides of the dale peeking through the trees and the sunlight playing on the water.We followed the river as it meandered through the dale. At this point there wer emore walkers around, but it still wasn’t particularly busy. The path led back round to meet up with the bottom of Cressbrook village at the mill and from there we followed the road up into Cressbrook Dale.
The road you need to walk up from Cressbrook is incredibly quiet, so there’s minimal reason to worry about traffic. After walking up the road for about 600m we found our next footpath. The road bends sharply upwards to the left and the footpath carries on in a straight line off the bend, leading off into the trees of Cressbrook Dale. The path through the trees trundled on for about 1.2km before the trees opened up and we entered a part of the Derbyshire Dales Nature Reserve.
This part of Cressbrook Dale seems unreal. It very much feels like something out of a fantasy story, the beautiful green sides of the dale speckled with light grey limestone and Tansley winding away mysteriously back towards Litton village. We walked for about 1km through this part of the dale before Peter’s Stone emerged above us to our right. There doesn’t seem to be a strict path up onto Peter’s Stone, and whichever way you pick it’s a bit of a scramble to the top. There is a sort of crack that is definitely the easiest and safest way up, so we climbed up through there and spent a few minutes taking in the surrounding landscape.
Once we’d made our way back down we carried on along the last bit of the route and back up to the car. From here you can walk all the way to the end of the dale and then double back onto the path that leads up to Mires lane, or there is a path that leads up onto the path to Mires lane shortly after Peter’s Stone, which does cut about 500m off the total route length. Once back at the car we had a final view of Peter’s Stone before beginning our journey back home.
A really stunning little walk with lots to see packed into a relatively small area. Gorgeous scenery accompanied by a constant feeling that you’re in a hidden magical valley that’s disconnected from the hustle and bustle of the real world. Very enjoyable.
Thank you for reading! Be sure to check out my other hiking routes and adventures!
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