The Roystone Grange Trail

 

Difficulty : EasyDuration : 2 HrsDistance : 5 Km

 
This is a very easy walk in one of the White Peak's most beautiful and interesting valleys. The valley of Roystone Grange has long been an industrial and agricultural home to its residents from present day to the Roman and medieval times, evidence of which has been unearthed and researched over the past decade by archeology students from Sheffield University and local volunteers. The trail was created to allow walkers to follow an easy route passing all the major sites and findings discovered by the research and any excavations. The walk is made easy by following the level route of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway now restored as the excellent High Peak Trail. It is ideal for those winter afternoons or for a relaxing stroll with fantastic views and fascinating historic interest.


Full route description for this walk

 

The walk starts from the Minninglow Car Park sign posted from the village and situated about half a mile south of Pikehall on a small country lane that goes under the High Peak Trail. Pikehall is on the A5012 road between Cromford and Newhaven. If the car park is full as is often the case on this popular walk, there is viable road side parking available on the country lane. From the Minninglow Car Park follow the signs for the High Peak Trail in the westerly direction crossing the road at one side of the car park into what looks like and is an old railway cutting. The High Peak Trail is a very popular bridleway catering for horses, cyclists and walkers alike.

Roystone Grange Valley

Roystone Grange Valley

Minninglow Hill

Minninglow Hill

The trail uses the line of the old Cromford & High Peak Railway which was completed in the 1830's. This historical line, one of the first in Britain was built as a link between the the Cromford Canal and the Peak Forest Canal at Whaley Bridge to allow easier transport of local goods and minerals. The railway was famous for having some of the steepest inclines and sharpest bends in Britain, reflecting the tough task of navigating the Peak Districts many hills and valleys. When first built the railway was powered by horses on flat sections and stationary steam engines would be used to haul the heavy wagons up and down the steep inclines. Using these methods was reliable but took a train of wagons two days to travel just 33 miles. A decade after the line was completed the first steam engine locomotive arrived, made by none other than Mr Robert Stephenson and Company. The line was eventually connected to the national rail network but after an extremely effective and lengthy life was closed in 1967.

High Peak Trail

High Peak Trail

Stone Quarry

Stone Quarry

After passing through the first railway cutting from the car park the path then travels high over the fields below on the huge and impressive stone embankment of the old railway. The views now open up over the Roystone Grange valley as you watch the stone embankment swoop round to the right. The farmers fields in the valley below are enclosed by centuries old limestone walls. If you look right or South East from here you will see a very distinct hill across the valley topped with a neat row of trees. Minninglow Hill is steeped in history, its summit circled by ancient beech trees is the site of Minninglow Tomb, thought to date back to the Neolithic people of the area who chose this great view point for the site. The tomb has been excavated by many people including the Roman's but has since been carefully restored by modern archaeologists.

Victorian Lime Kiln

Victorian Lime Kiln

Under The High Peak Trail

Under The High Peak Trail

The level trail will bend to the right and then pass through another cutting before coming out at the site of the old stone quarry where I highly recommend you stop and search for the industrial relics that remain. On the side of the trail you'll find old machinery and evidence of the old railway. The trail turns right again just after the old quarry passing high over the fields again where if you look down on the left you'll catch a glimpse of an outstanding example of a victorian lime kiln. After passing the kiln and another small cutting the path reaches a cross roads where a track goes off down right to the farms and a track goes left up into the fields towards Minninglow Hill. Come off the main trail here and take the road to the left known as Gallowlow Lane, after only a few hundred yards take a right downhill at the footpath sign and head towards a tunnel that passes under the High Peak Trail.

Roystone Grange Valley

Roystone Grange Valley

Roystone Grange Farm

Roystone Grange Farm

After going through the tunnel under the High Peak Trail follow the hill downwards until you see a stile in the stone wall on your left. Looking uphill and to the right from the stile you'll see a round roofed storage hut that was once the explosives hut for the old stone quarry. Cross the stile and keep heading downhill keeping the stone walls to your right and you'll start to see the modern Roystone Grange farm. You will come to a small gate in the wall which leads into a small paddock. If you look closely around the paddock and its surrounding fields there are many different levels and mounds which may not seem relevant, however they are actually the remains of medieval farming. The excavations in this small area have unearthed many enthralling stories and items from the medieval Roystone. The spring on the site is thought to be the reason this site was chosen by the medieval farmers.

Starlings

Starlings

Ancient Woodland

Ancient Woodland

At the other side of the paddock is a stile in the high wall. Before crossing the stile and making your way right to the modern farm, take a look at the almost church like building to the left which was actually a pumping house in which a great steam engine sent air to the pneumatic drills used in the quarry's by the railway, an innovative system at the time. Pass quietly and respectfully through the modern working farm, which is well kept. The farm track then climbs out of the valley and reaches Minninglow Lane which goes right down to the other farm in the valley, at this point turn left and follow this road up to Parwich Lane turning right which will take you back to the Minninglow Car Park.

Maps available for this walk

 
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Photos taken on this walk

 

These photo's are taken from a trek with Nicky on January 14th 2007.
Views from the High Peak Trail Minninglow Hill from the High Peak Trail The High Peak Trail towards Minninglow Hill Old railway cutting before the stone quarry Abandoned machinery from the old stone quarry Nicky being lazy at the old stone quarry High Peak Trail sign at the old stone quarry Victorian Lime Kiln near the old brick works Tunnel for path from Gallow Low  Lane goes under the High Peak Trail Heading towards the ladder stile to Roystone Grange Roystone Grange Farm Lushous Farmland around Roystone Grange Roystone Grange Farmyard Chicken at Roystone Grange Farm Cute puppy collie working dog at Roystone Grange Farm Murmuration of Starlings with a desert of Lapwings put on a fantastic display for us Beautiful ancient woodland near the Minninglow Car Park High Peak Trail bridge at Minninglow Car Park




Videos taken on this walk

 

This video is compiled from a trek with Nicky on January 14th 2007.




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