Monsal Dale - Peak District Walk

Monday 19th April 2021

I made the effort to get out early today in the hope of enjoying Monsal Dale before the hoards arrived. The plan worked and I enjoyed a delightful walk where I saw relatively few people and got to revisit a location I haven't been to since January 2018. Also, very strange for this route but not one cow (of the bovine variety) was passed, there are usually two locations where you can guarantee meeting them.

Start: White Lodge car park (SK 1704 7059)

Route: White Lodge car park - Monsal Dale - Headstone Viaduct - Cressbrook Mill - Water-cum-Jolly - Miller's Dale - Litton Mill - High Dale - Brushfield - Brushfield Hough - Monsal Dale - White Lodge car park

Distance: 6.5 miles     Ascent: 362 metres      Time Taken: 3 hrs 40 mins

Terrain: Clear paths

Weather: Sunny and warm

Pub Visited: None    Ale Drunk: None

Route Map >>


Monsal Dale

An early start meant I had Monsal Dale almost to myself, well me and the birds that I could hear.

Monsal Dale

After all of the recent dry weather the usually muddy paths were bone dry.

Wood Anemones

One of the nice things about this part of the walk is the abundance of wild flowers found around here.

Monsal Dale

I'd debated bringing my tripod for some shots of the weir but having heard it was fenced off I didn't bother and when I got there I was glad I hadn't.

Monsal Dale

Never mind I thought, I'll get some nice reflections of the viaduct. I then turned around the corner and saw the vans parked on top of it.

Headstone Viaduct

Of course with some careful use of the trees I could hide the vans from sight.

Headstone Viaduct

Not quite the shot I was after, but the best I could get given the location of the vans and the luminous orange jackets occupying the viaduct.

Monsal Dale

Looking back along Monsal Dale as I head under the viaduct. So far I'd passed one dog walker and two wild swimmers.


The bridge at Water-cum-Jolly is closed so rather than head up onto the Monsal Trail and have to go through the tunnels I opted to use the bridge at Upperdale Farm.

River Wye

Crossing the bridge I was able to enjoy the reflections in the River Wye.


Going this way meant there was a short section of road walking but if I wanted to visit Water-cum-Jolly and Miller's Dale it was the price I had to pay.

Cressbrook Mill

Cressbrook soon came into sight and the car park I had passed earlier showed my decision to set out early was the correct one. It was already full with people kitting up for the day.


Since I've last been here someone has installed a bench so you can sit and enjoy the view across the River Wye to the Rubicon Wall.


It was around here that I started to encounter other people, so after taking in the beautiful reflections I opted to move on.

Miller's Dale

Walking through Miller's Dale I was once again accompanied by the sound of birds and the voices of a group walking along the path above the tunnels. It's amazing how far some voices travel.

Miller's Dale

Having done the route across the top of the tunnels I definitely think the walk through the dale is much nicer and much more interesting.

River Wye

As I approached the weirs on this section of the River Wye I couldn't help but notice they all had a sign on the opposite bank naming them. Sadly I have forgotton what each one was called.

River Wye

Everytime I walk through Miller's Dale on days like this I find myself constantly stopping to take shots of the reflections in the River Wye.

Monsal Trail

Having passed through Litton Mill I crossed over the Monsal Trail and looked forward to the one steep climb of the day.


Whilst the ascent doesn't last long it does gain height quickly and after a long time away from any ascents of this nature plenty of photography stops were called for.

Hammerton Hill

Looking across to Hammerton Hill which one minute seemed to be above me and then before I knew it I was looking down on it.

Wardlow Hay Cop

I was soon looking across the top of Miller's Dale to Wardlow Hay Cop. Another place on the I must visit list.

Rushup Edge

Having reached the top of the side of the dale it was time for 'second breakfast' and a well earned rest. Sat in the sun enjoying the views across towards a distant Rushup Edge and totally alone for the first time in months it was hard to drag myself away.

High Field

However I knew that I had this field to walk through and usually at this time of year it is bursting into colour, but all the cold weather means it is still green rather than yellow.

High Dale

The next section of the walk would see me drop down into High Dale, where it is very rare to meet anyone as most people heading for Brushfield just stick to the track.

High Dale

Dropping down into High Dale and looking across to the path on the other side of the dale and recalling how steep it seemed when I last did it.

High Dale

Looking back to High Dale as I apprpoach the gate onto the lane to Brushfield. As with the earlier field the flowers I might have expected to see here were still not in bud.


A short ascent brings me to Brushfield, I could think of worse places to have spent the last year in Lockdown, although as one of the lacals said to me you soon get bored with doing the same walks.

Taddington Dale

As so few of the trees are actually in bud you can look across Taddington Dale.


Looking back along the track towards Taddington and Sough Top.

Monsal Head

Looking across Monsal Dale to Monsal Head from Brushfield Hough.

Brushfield Hough

When I first started visiting here this farm looked deserted and the path around the farm was often a quagmire, these days both are far better maintained.

New Plantation

All that remains now is for me to make the steep descent back down to the floor of Monsal Dale.

New Plantation

As the sound of the traffic on the A6 gets louder I know that I'm nearing the end of the walk.

River Wye

After crossing the stepping stones over the stream all that remains is to head up to and cross the A6 and it isnt even midday. Not suprisingly the car park was a little busier than when I left it.


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