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Peak District Walk along Cressbrook Dale and Ravensdale, Derbyshire

This walk starts at Cressbrook Mill and loops around through the Ravensdale valley, Tansley Dale, Litton Village, Tideswell Dale and then returns to Cressbrook via the spectacular Wye valley of Water-cum-Jolly.

Ravensdale Circuit from Cressbrook


Route Info
walk mapDifficulty level: 2  (1 to 5 scale - 1 is easy)
Distance: 8.00 km    Ascent: 200m
Estimated time: 2:30 hours
Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 map sheet(s): 119
The Outdoor Leisure 24 - White Peak 1:25000 scale
map covers this walk also

This walk is a delightful, fairly short circuit which starts at Cressbrook Mill and loops around through the Ravensdale valley, Tansley Dale, Litton Village, Tideswell Dale and then returns to Cressbrook via the spectacular Wye valley of Water-cum-Jolly. There are many possible variations upon the route. The scenery is magnificent, and in spring and early summer the local flora are beautiful, with cowslips, orchids, wild garlic and numerous other flowers.

Cressbrook Mill
Cressbrook Mill
Start at Cressbrook Mill. It is usually possible to park a car upon the road near the Mill - if not, then there is a car park in Monsal Dale about 200 metres down the valley. From the mill head north for about 400 metres up the lower of the two roads, then take a right branch down a small metalled track signposted to Ravensdale. This takes you to a small group of former lead-miners cottages nestling in the bottom of the valley, below Ravens' Crag. Follow the track to the left (west) of the cottages up the valley until you reach a stile which marks the boundary to the Nature Reserve which includes most of Ravensdale, and a small bridge over the stream, which is usually dry in summer.

Continue up the valley - the track soon branches. The better route is up the right fork which heads uphill and from the top gives splendid views across the valley to Litton and beyond. You then meet a track which comes from Wardlow village and descends back down to the valley floor to rejoin the lower route, but before you do this you could make a short diversion to Wardlow and the pub. Whichever route you take, you will see abundant evidence of lead-mining, which continued in this area until the late 19th century.

Tansley Dale
Tansley Dale
Some way up Ravensdale a side valley called Tansley Dale enters it from the left (west) side. Leave Ravensdale, crossing the stream (if it is there) by the stepping stones, and head up the steep, narrow defile of lower Tansley Dale. On either side there are lead-workings, those near the top of the dale on the north side being fairly interesting.

Cross a stile and head north-west across a field towards the village of Litton. Another stile takes you into a muddy farm lane. Turn left. Now you have a choice of route - either take the next stile on the right, which takes you across a field and into the village proper (with a shop and a pub), or follow the muddy track to the small road at the end, continue in the same direction along the road to the next bend and then continue, still in the same direction, through a series of stiles and across fields round the back of the village.

Either way, you should emerge on the small road which goes down Litton Dale to join Tideswell Dale. Walk down the dale, and then down Tideswell Dale, until you reach a car park flanked by a magnificent row of beech trees. This was once the site of a basalt quarry with a row of quarrymens' cottages and is an alternative start/finish point for this route. At this point the road leaves the dale but you continue straight on, through the car park and down the tree-lined valley of Tideswell Dale to reach the Miller's Dale section of the Wye Valley just upstream of the hamlet of Litton Mill.

Turn left along the road which leads you shortly to Litton Mill. Like Cressbrook Mill, this was a busy cotton mill until the early 1970s, but has now been converted into dwellings. The main path goes through the mill yard and follows the river through some of the most spectacular limestone gorge scenery in the Peak. This is Water-cum-Jolly, a favourite place for fishermen, birdwatchers, walkers and rock-climbers alike. The best scenery of all is by the former millpond just at the end of the walk, where ducks, coots and grebes live, climbers dangle on Rubicon wall, and fishermen are often to be seen.

Cressbrook - Ravens Crag
0 - Cressbrook - Ravens Crag
Cressbrook Dale
1 - Cressbrook Dale
Litton - Tansley Dale flowers
2 - Litton - Tansley Dale flowers
Litton village green
3 - Litton village green
Water cum Jolly
4 - Water cum Jolly
Water cum Jolly - Cressbrook Hall and millpond
5 - Water cum Jolly - Cressbrook Hall and millpond
Water cum Jolly and Cressbrook millpond
6 - Water cum Jolly and Cressbrook millpond
Cressbrook Mill
7 - Cressbrook Mill