A short, varied walk which explores the quarries of Wirksworth and takes a detour to look at the Puzzle Gardens and the Stardisc.
Wildlife/ livestock – there are sometimes sheep in the field after the first quarry (noted below). I have never met cows up here.
Water – none.
Other people/ dogs – you meet occasional walkers in the quarry and on the lanes in Wirksworth, sometimes with dogs.
Roads – you are on lanes in Wirksworth, with very little traffic.
Refreshments – you can take a detour into Wirksworth. The Red Lion pub is nice, and dog friendly. If you don’t have a dog, you can get good food in Le Mistral.
1. If you are happy driving up steep, narrow lanes, you can park for free at the top of The Green, where it loops around to go back down The Dale. If you aren’t, you can park in the square in Wirksworth or in a carpark that you’ll see on the right, as you come in from Alderwasley.
2. Assuming you’re starting from the top of The Green, you’ll see one path straight ahead of you up some steps and another path to the left (back down the road a bit). Take the path on the left which slopes gently upwards. This leads you through an old quarry and you can see Wirksworth on your left.
3. Pass through a tunnel and continue on the path, up a hill and round to the right. This leads you onto a path which runs parallel to a lane on your left.
4. Stay on this path, going through two kissing gates. You should see footpath signs referring to “circuit walks around Wirksworth”.
5. Remain on the path as it takes you into a field. Sometimes there may be sheep here. Stay on the left side of the field with the road on your left. At the end of the field, pass through another kissing gate., which takes you onto a path with a copse on your left and the road still on your right. Just stay on this path, going through gates as necessary, following the footpath signs. (Beware, there are some gaps onto the road on the left.)
6. Continue on a well trodden path, following the yellow arrows. After you descend with a wood on your right, the path then goes to the left, but the sign has been knocked over, so you’ll need to look out for this. It’s not very clear but you need to go left and then in the next field follow the arrow which points right, walking up the right side of the field.
7.Pass through a squeeze stile, and follow the path up to the road. You’ll go alongside the road, but not onto it. After about 50 yards walking parallel to the road, you’ll meet another footpath. If you go left (across the road) this takes you up to the High Peak Trail. In fact you can see Middleton Top pump house in the distance. But to stick with this short walk, turn right onto the footpath. This takes you diagonally across a couple of fields. Look out for the squeeze stiles and the red footpath signs.
8. Eventually the path leads you to a wooden gate. There is a yellow arrow and a red arrow with a train on it. Go through the gate and into the quarry, and follow the path until you arrive back at your car.
9. Now, take the right hand of the two lanes and walk down until you see a sign for the Stardisc. This is worth a look. It is a black granite disc engraved with the stars as they are seen from here, with the constellations marked out. Starsky chose to sit on “Canis Major” (Great Dog)!
9. When you leave the star disc, you can continue to wander down The Dale. Take any of the little alleyways off to the right and explore the “Puzzle Gardens” – the area between the old lead miners’ cottages on The Dale and those on The Green. In some places you can almost step out of one cottage onto the roof of another.
10. Wind your way down into Wirksworth or across to The Green and back up to your car.