Easy walking through fields and down by the River Wye. One fairly steep climb.
|Moderate (height 265M, 870ft).|
|Walking on tracks and in fields/ meadows.||3.5 hours (including breaks).|
|Starting/ End Positions||Distance|
|Round walk from the Car park at Ashford in the Water (SK 198697).||6 miles (9.8 Kilometres).|
Map Guide: OS Landranger 119 or Outdoor Leisure 24.
Start from the car park at Ashford in the Water just past the church (GR195697). Walk out of the car park towards one of the old wells. Every year there are well dressings in the village. At the road turn right and head up Vicarage Lane. Cross over to the left side of the road and turn left at the signpost for Monsal Head.
Follow the path up through the trees to a stile. Climb over and walk directly across the field heading for the far corner. Here climb a stone stile onto a track (GR193702). Turn left and follow this track which narrows for approx. 3/4 of a mile. Here you will come to the end of the track and a gate. Climb the stile next to the gate into a field (GR184707).
Walk up the field, keeping to the left next to the wall, up to the next field. You will see a sign here for Monsal Head to the right. Turn right and climb the stile ahead onto a path. Keep on the path for nearly 1/2 mile to a wooden seat that looks out over the gorge and further fields. Follow the path for another 1/4 mile keeping to the left of the wall until you come to Monsal Head (GR184715). Refreshments can usually be found here as well as the superb views of the Aqueduct, River Wye and Monsal Dale.
Follow the signpost to Monsal Dale. The path starts near the road and you must first descend a few steps before following the path down, which is quite slippery so care must be taken. Do not turn left at the sign for the Aqueduct but keep following the path to the bottom and a stone building. Here turn left and walk over the bridge (GR182717).
Turn left once over the bridge and now continue along the meadows at the side of the River Wye. Soon you will come across the weir on your left. After about 1 mile the path splits into two. It doesn't matter which route you take as they both end up at the same place, but taking the left path keeps you at the side of the river. After another 1/2 mile you will come to a road (A6). Cross the road and turn left into the car park. Here you will see a path on the right up to a stile (GR171706).
Climb the stile into a field. Follow the path for about 300 yards until the trees become closer to you. There is a stile with a route number 3 waymarker on your left. This is the path you must take. Climb the stile and head up through the trees into the clearing at the foot of the meadow. This part of the walk is the most difficult as the path quickly ascends into Great Shacklow Wood (GR174698).
Follow the path up until you see a dual signpost on your right. Take the left path towards Ashford. Follow this fairly steep path up to a stile. Climb over and continue to another stile next to a wired fence. Climb over and head straight up past the large tree. Now you are in the wood and the steepest part of the walk is over.
Continue on the narrow path through the wood which will now start to descend. After approx. 1 mile you will arrive at the bottom of the path and find another path ahead to a bridge and a track to your right. Turn right and follow the track which keeps to the right of the River Wye (GR185898). The track becomes a path soon and after approx. 3/4 mile you will reach a gate. Go through the gate and you will come to a small road. Turn left here and follow the road for 1/4 mile to the main A6 road (GR191694).
Turn right. You must now cross the road but be extremely careful crossing here as this road is quite busy at times. After 200 yards you will come to the Sheepwash Bridge (GR193696). Cross over the bridge back into Ashford in the Water. Retrace your steps back to the car park by following the road ahead (Fennel Street).
Walk first completed: June 2000
Walk last updated: November 2001