Ambergate Station to Matlock Station. Via Crich and Bonsall. A good day out 6-7 hours walking, from Cromford Canal, through the woods to Crich, then back to the Canal, to Cromford (High Peak) Junction. Up the incline towards Middleton, Bonsall and finally the last climb skirting Masson Hill to Matlock.The surface varies from canal tow path, to roads, and steep loose ground. Boots recommended.
The dog needs to be an outdoor type that can walk 15 miles. Some dog bins, on the lead required on parts of the route.
Toilets at Crich, Cromford (High Peak) Junction, Black Rocks car park, Bonsall, and Matlock.
Starting at Ambergate Station, find Cromford Canal, walk along the canal to the first over bridge, where you leave the tow path and start your climb up through the heavily wooded footpath. This can be very muddy during wet spells. It’s a climb almost all the way to Crich, the path is well marked. You drop the last half a mile or so into Crich Village, there is a nice café just off the route, with a good butcher and other convenience stores along the high street.
Back on the route, (and climbing again) towards the Mercian Regimental War Memorial, you pass the entrance to Crich Tram Museum. It is well worth a visit, (on another day perhaps) continue to the summit of this part of the route at the Regimental War Memorial, and trig point. There is a Café here too, but limited opening. This is a nice area to sit and rest.
From here you start to descend towards the Cana, through a couple of nicely wooded areas, again these can be muddy slippy and heavy going in wet spells. Once on the canal, turn right following it to Cromford (High Peak) Junction. Toilets and refreshments here if required.
Once refreshed, start the 1:8 (or there abouts) climb for approx. 2 miles. This is a part of the High Peak Trail, and former incline plane of the railway. There are toilets and Café half way up!!
Where we turn off the High Peak Trail is a car park, and the National Stone Museum, again well worth a visit, but on a different day perhaps.
Through the car park continuing to climb you will pass another “fun centre” the Mount Cook Adventure Centre, cross the road and walk towards the nature reserve, follow carefully here as there are several paths that you can take. Still climbing you will eventually pass the active quarry to your right. Leaving the edge of the quarry, and turning left towards Middleton, where you start to descend toward the A5012. Part of the decent through Middleton Woods is very steep, and has loose soil, tree roots and slippy rocks to contend with, once down on the road, cross it and slightly to the left you will see the start to the equally steep accent, again with loose soil, tree roots and slippy rocks. Take care here.
We are now heading towards Bonsall, you will pass the Chicken Foot Brewery, and opposite the Barley Mow public house, once in Bonsall village itself, you will also find several public houses serving hot food, and of course “refreshments”
Almost there, the final steep pull out of Bonsall, skirting Masson Hill, towards the summit, as your crest the summit (Well top of the hill) you have the panoramic vista of Matlock in front of you, with Riber Castle to the right, and in the distance the Mercian Regimental War Memorial, once you start to decent, its all down hill to Matlock, where there is all sorts to do, including the Steam Railway, to Darley Dale.
It’s a satisfying walk, a good day out, nearly 15 miles of some great countryside, views, and hills.