Ashford-in-the-Water and Monsal Dale circular 4 mile walk

We are endeavoring as a family to be more active; something that is so much easier as the kids get older (something I fluctuate between sobbing about and enjoying). We still have to drag the kids out, and once on the walk (the main outdoorsy thing we do as a family as there’s no equipment required) there is always a fractious moment or 10 as we bicker and someone eventually swears or cries (or both!)… but then equally there is always a glorious moment when the kids finally start to enjoy the walk – they seem to forget about the ‘work’ of it and let go, and embrace being outside – and it all seems worthwhile!

This walk was last Saturday, it’s a 4 mile circular from Ashford in the Water (really pretty village not far from Bakewell) to the famously beautiful vista point of Monsal Head, utilising the Monsal trail (a disused railway line) for a short while and even going through the Headstone Tunnel, which the kids loved.

The walk instructions (for more comprehensive instructions I do advise buying the book, link below):

  • Start from Ashford in the Water. We parked in the village on the road but there is a car park next to the park, which is higher up in the village (go past the shop, pub, then bandstand on your left, the Riverside Hotel, keep going and then bear right before Vicarage Lane and you will find the park). At the park where the walk officially starts, take a right up Vicarage Lane. Keep going for about 70 yards.
  • Then take the footpath on the left. Follow the path until a stile. Cross the stile into a field. Cross the field passing a post. Cross another stile.

  • Go left along a walled track. This is Pennyunk Lane (pictured). You’re on this for about a mile. What you see here (above) is Arthur laughing at his sister’s tantrum over being cold and tired…
  • Go through the stile, and on the slim path. At the top there is a sign for Monsal Dale (pictured – Bea was very cold at this point!)).

  • Go through a gate, on another track. Go through another gate, and another. You soon reach a viewing seat looking over Monsal Dale.

  • Follow the path right towards Monsal Head, where there is a cafe, a pub and an ice cream van. Ignore the sharp path left as you reach Monsal Head. You are taking the stone path down to the bottom to meet the trail.
  • At the bottom take a left into the Headstone Tunnel, which is lit. It’s about 1/3 mile long.

  • Watch out for cyclists who may not ring their bell as they approach. Grrrr!

The kids found this incredibly mossy wall which they rather enjoyed stroking!

  • Keep on the trail for about 1/2 mile. Eventually you will see two signs opposite one another – one for Little Longstone and one for Ashford. We ate lunch here as it’s a nice spot.

  • Take the Ashford path and cross a couple of stiles in fields – the route is quite obvious. You will eventually meet a lane, cross and keep following the path into a farm.

  • Cross another stile and descend into a field, keeping left and crossing another stile to reach a busy road. Take care when crossing to meet another stile into a footpath. Cross yet another stile onto a lane which will take you back into Ashford. The park is easily found from here, which is a nice place to finish, if you’re a kid.

The walk is taken from Peak District Walks for all the Family. I have written the walk up in my own words.

This is an affiliate link so if you buy the book I get a very small commission. Thanks!

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