This is a brisk 8 or 10 kilometre circuit starting from the bank of the River Wye at the bottom end of Monsal Dale and climbing steeply up to Sheldon, a quiet little village high on the plateau above, before returning to the valley. There are some good views and industrial archaeology in the form of the many disused lead mines of the area.
Towards the top of the Dale you pass through a gate to the right-hand side of the wall up the centre of the dale. Soon afterwards there is a stile on the left and a path heading uphill. Either take this path or continue further up the valley to a cart track close to the road at the top of the dale and take another, similar path up the side of the dale on the left. It really doesn't matter which path you take, they both lead eastwards across the fields to emerge just west of Sheldon village.
From Sheldon village there are two alternative routes. The shorter and simpler takes the muddy track past the church. Follow this path for 200m, ignoring a branch to the right, and then pass through a stile in the left wall, not far before a closed-off shaft head in the field. Go past the shaft head (which is covered by concrete railway sleepers), across the field and on in the same direction (north-west) following a series of stiles over the walls.
The alternative route is rather longer and takes a wide sweep through the woods below Sheldon and down to the River Wye. First, head through Sheldon village and take a path which descends a grassy dale past the sewage works just outside the village itself. This then descends a heavily wooded dale with evidence of quarrying lower down. Another dale comes in from the left, and the path continues down a narrow dale to emerge from the wood and cross a field between two woods before reaching the wide path which follows the side of the river.
Turn left (upstream) enjoying the fine scenery, to pass a small ruined mill. A little further on you will see a stream emerging from a tunnel in the bank. This is the tail of Magpie Sough, a drainage sough (or tunnel) driven to drain the Magpie mine in the 1860s. The sough is 3km long and took 8 years to build! From here the path continues for a while alongside the river and past fishponds which belong to the local angling club before winding uphill a little into Great Shacklow Wood. Soon you meet a path coming down the impressive descent of Great Shacklow Steps, but continue straight on until you emerge from the wood and meet the alternative route coming down the steep dale at the edge of the wood.