HVL Walk 8:                Hathersage to Grindleford

The Route:    Hathersage station, Harper Leys, Coppice Wood, Padley Chapel, Windses Estate, Grindleford station.

Starting point:        Hathersage station. (G.R. SK 232810)

Distance:      2½ miles (4 km)

Ascent:         346 feet (106 metres)

Maps:            OS Outdoor Leisure No. 1, The Dark Peak and also OS No. 24 The White Peak, but this is such a simple walk you’ll scarcely need any map.

How to get there:   Daily train service to Hathersage and Grindleford from Manchester and Sheffield.  Check train times as there are some lengthy gaps on weekdays.

Hathersage Station
The Walk:     This must be one of the easiest walks imaginable.  I have high hopes that, if I live to be 90 I will still be able to do this walk.

From the end of the station approach, cross the main road and go left, soon passing under the railway.  Take care.  There’s no footway under the bridge.  High vehicles have to take the centre of the arch to get through, which means that others tend to hug the sides.
Continue along the road, which has a footway beyond the bridge, passing the cutlery factory and outlet on the left and soon reaching the private road to Harper Leys.  Despite the road being private, it is a public footpath, so cross the main road and go left down the lane.  Initially the lane runs alongside a mill leat, but this soon joins the river and a delightful riverside walk then ensues.  It is possible to get off the surfaced road onto a path even closer to the river and this is recommended. 

At Harper Leys, the path goes through a stile/gate into fields, cutting off a bend in the river.  The route through the meadow is way marked, but it’s obvious underfoot anyhow.  The path soon rejoins the riverbank and very soon enters National Trust property at Coppice Wood.  This is a lovely woodland and the path weaves its way through it.  Eventually you’ll reach a point where the track forks.  The waymark clearly directs you left, signed to Grindleford station; what could be clearer?  It is possible to continue along the riverbank to the end of the woodland and there bear left, but on this occasion your route lies along the signed path.

Bear left at the signpost and begin to climb through the wood on an easy path.  Where the path seems to go straight ahead through a gate, turn left – it is signed, and go up the hill a little further to another gate.  This leads onto a bridge over the railway.  Go over the bridge and continue gently uphill with a wall to your left.  Where this bears away to the left, the path almost imperceptibly forks three ways (and is unsigned).  Bear right, crossing a few boulders and soon joining an obvious track where it enters the trees.  It’s all plain sailing now. 

Continue down the track, which almost at once crosses a deep cutting. This is the site of the incline down from Bole Hill quarries from which much of the stone for the Derwent and Howden Dams was extracted.  The stone was lowered down on special railway waggons to a set of sidings at Grindleford, then taken along the Hope Valley line to Bamford Water Works Sidings and thence up the Derwent Valley Water Board’s own line to the dam construction sites.  If you go through a kissing gate on the right, just before the cutting, you’ll come to another bridge over the railway.  From here you can see Grindleford signal box and, on the left the remains of the water board sidings, still in situ almost 100 years after they ceased to be used.
Padley Chapel
Photo by Martin Smith
Returning to the track and continuing beyond the cutting you then reach Padley chapel.  This commemorates a number of Catholic martyrs and there are services here at certain times of the year.  It is a beautiful setting.

Continue along the track alongside Windses Estate.  Some of these houses were railway company properties at a time when the workforce needed to be much larger than now and needed to be more or less on hand rather than having to commute.

The track dips to pass Padley Mill and cross Padley Brook, before a final rise brings you to Grindleford station.  If you’ve timed it right, now’s your chance for a mug of tea and a chip buttie at the famous station café.