This circular walk around the Derbyshire town of Wirksworth uses various footpaths to visit some of the highlights of the area.
Starting in the town you head north and pick up the High Peak Trail to take you up to the Black Rocks around Cromford. From here there are splendid views of the Derwent Valley from the elevated position of the rocks. You can then descend to the Cromford Canal where you have the option of a stroll along the towpath and visiting the historic Cromford Mill. Around here you can also pick up the Derwent Valley Heritage Way and enjoy a riverside walk to Matlock Bath.
From the river the walk then heads back across Cromford Moor to Wirksworth on bridleways.
Other Walks around Wirksworth
- Derwent Valley Heritage Way - Follow the River Derwent through the Derbyshire Peak District on this stunning walk. The path runs from Derwent Mouth, Shardlow and passes through Derby, Belper and Matlock on your way to the finish point at Ladybower Reservoir, Heatherdene.
- Black Rocks Cromford - This circular walk visits Black Rocks in the Peak District National Park. The rocks are a striking gritstone outcrop surrounded by the woodland of Cromford Moor. There are wonderful views of the Derwent Valley from the rocks which are in an elevated position above the town of Cromford.
- High Peak Trail - This splendid, shared walking and cycle trail follows a disused railway line from Cromford to Dowlow through the beautiful Peak District National Park.
- Carsington Water - This route follows the circular cycling and walking trail around Carsington Water in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. The trail starts at the excellent visitor centre where cycle hire is available. It includes long shoreline sections and several woodland sections with great views of the surrounding countryside.
- Pennine Bridleway - This fabulous 120 mile long trail runs through the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District, through Lancashire and on into Yorkshire.
- Midshires Way - This route follows public bridleways and quiet country lanes through Middle England, from Bledlow, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, to Stockport in Greater Manchester. The path links the Ridgeway National Trail with the Trans Pennine Trail passing through the countryside of Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Leicesteshire, Nottinghamshire and the Derbyshire Peak District National Park.
- Middleton Top - Here you'll find an excellent visitor centre with good facilities and a wealth of information on the area. There's also the historic Middleton Top Engine House, built in 1829 and fabulous views down to the nearby Carsington Water.
- Brassington - This worthy village is located a few miles west of the town. The historic settlement is well worth a visit, with several centuries old limestone cottages, a church dating from the Norman period and a notable Tudor house built in 1615. Our circular walk from the village visits Middleton Top and Carsington Water.
Wirksworth Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Wirksworth Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Wirksworth OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Wirksworth Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
The Blacks Head is a good choice for some post walk refreshments. They have a good menu and a lovely sun trap garden area for warmer days. It's cosy indoors with log burners during the chilly months. You can find them on the Market Place at postcode DE4 4ET for your sat navs.
The moorland and woodland on the route make for a fine dog walk and the Blacks Head pub mentioned above is also very dog friendly.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Near Matlock you'll find one of the highlights of the area at Cromford Mill. This site is a significant part of the wider Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site. It includes the world's first successful water powered cotton spinning mill which was built in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright. Near here you'll also pass the noteworthy High Peak Junction where the canal joins with the High Peak Trail. The junction now has a visitor centre with information about this historic area. The site includes various buildings from the former Cromford and High Peak Railway which was one of the first long distance railways which was built on canal principles. You can also find details of wildlife in the area which includes little grebes and water voles.
Another highlight of the town is the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. The heritage railway has its headquarters at Wirksworth station. It's a lovely way of viewing the valley on a fine old steam locomotive. The Ecclesbourne Way walking trail follows the route of the railway from Duffield to Wirksworth. The route passes several of the stations on the route and offers fine views of the surrounding countryside as well. It also passes close to Alport Heights just to the south of the town. There's a car park, a circular trail and an excellent viewpoint to be found at this beauty spot.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Derbyshire Walks and Peak District Walks pages.