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Manifold Trail near Dale Farm
The Manifold Trail nearing Dale Farm

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Route No. 641 - Wednesday 5 October 2016
R. Manifold, Hoo Brook, Wetton Road,
Clayton House, Ecton Bridge, Manifold Trail,
Dale farm, Wetton Mill circuit - 6.5km
Peak District (Derbyshire/Staffordshire) . . .

Plus optional visit to Thor's Cave from Wetton - 2.5km

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL24 The Peak District White Peak area


My friend, Jim, and I have been granted a 3-day pass each from our respective wives and we are staying at a pub in Hulme End on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border in the Peak District. Today we are planning to do a short walk in the Manifold Valley and visit Thor's Cave from the village of Wettton. We drove down into the Manifold valley from Butterton and parked in a little parking area at the roadside at map ref.SK 094 560 on the opposite side of the river to Wettonmill.

Setting off from the parking area near Wettonmill
Setting off from the parking area near Wettonmill

Heading back along the road towards Hoo Brook
Heading back along the road towards Hoo Brook

Bridleway along the valley of Hoo Brook
Bridleway along the valley of Hoo Brook

After about 1.5km along the bridleway there was a plank bridge over a boggy area and a gate beyond leading to a footbridge. Before the plank over the boggy bit we turned right following a bridleway straight up the steep hillside passing Broadmeadow farm and crossing the fields to Wetton Road at map ref. SK 086 561.

From this parking spot we walked back along the road for about 100m and turned right for about 30m to the road we had driven down from Butterton just before it crosses a ford. We crossed the road to a bridleway following the valley of Hoo Brook upstream.

Start of the bridleway along the valley of Hoo Brook
Start of the bridleway along the valley of Hoo Brook

Bridleway along the valley of Hoo Brook
Bridleway along the valley of Hoo Brook

The stile onto Wetton Road beyond Broadmeadow farm
The stile onto Wetton Road beyond Broadmeadow farm

The bridleway continuing across Wetton Road
The bridleway continuing across Wetton Road

The bridleway beyond Wallacre farm
The bridleway beyond Wallacre farm

Crossing the bottom of little valley east of Kirksteads farm
Crossing the bottom of little valley east of Kirksteads farm

The track led us past Clayton House and just beyond the house we came to a road at map ref.SK 085 574.

We crossed Wetton Road and continued along the bridleway past Wallacre farm on our right. We followed the bridleway across a little valley to reach a farm access track.

Bridleway approaching Wallacre farm
Bridleway approaching Wallacre farm

The bridleway beyond Wallacre farm
The bridleway beyond Wallacre farm

The farm access track leading to Clayton House
The farm access track leading to Clayton House

Turning right at the road just beyond Clayton House
Turning right at the road just beyond Clayton House

Following the road down to Ecton Bridge
Following the road down to Ecton Bridge

The road on the left bends left to pass through an old railway tunnel and becomes the road to Wettonmill
The road on the left bends left to pass through an
old railway tunnel and becomes the road we are parked on

We continued along the road for another 100m to a gated turning on our right. We turned right here through the gate onto the 'Manifold Trail'.

At the road we turned right and walked down for about 800m and crossed Ecton Bridge over the River Manifold.

Old farm implement at the entrance to a large house
Old farm implement at the entrance to a large house

Approaching Ecton Bridge along the road
Approaching Ecton Bridge along the road

Joining the Manifold Trail just beyond Ecton Bridge
Joining the Manifold Trail just beyond Ecton Bridge

The Manifold Trail is this leafy track along the valley side
The Manifold Trail is this leafy track along the valley side

The Manifold Trail is this leafy track along the valley side
The Manifold Trail is this leafy track along the valley side

Simmental bull with a beef suckler herd by the trail
Simmental bull with a beef suckler herd by the trail

After about 2km from Ecton Bridge along the Manifold Trail we came to Dale Farm, owned by the National Trust. We walked through the farm and then turned right along the farm access track.

The Manifold Trail from Ecton Bridge is a pleasant leafy access track along the valley side with fleeting glimpses of the river below.

The Manifold Trail is this leafy track along the valley side
The Manifold Trail is this leafy track along the valley side

The Manifold Trail is this leafy track along the valley side
The Manifold Trail is this leafy track along the valley side

The Manifold Trail nearing Dale Farm
The Manifold Trail nearing Dale Farm

The Manifold Trail passing through Dale Farm
The Manifold Trail passing through Dale Farm

The access track from Dale Farm to Wettonmill
The access track from Dale Farm to Wettonmill

Bridge over the River Manifold seen from the yard at Wettonmill
Bridge over the River Manifold seen from the yard at Wettonmill

Then we crossed the bridge over the river and turned right back to our parking spot and the end of the walk.

After about 200m we came to Wetton Mill where we had an ice cream at the tea shop, very refreshing on this warm afternoon

Turning to the tea shop at Wettonmill
Turning to the tea shop at Wettonmill

Heading back to the car park from Wettonmill
Heading back to the car park from Wettonmill

car park by the River Manifold opposite Wetton Mill
Returning to the car park by the River Manifold opposite Wettonmill at the end of our walk

A visit to Thor's Cave from Wetton - 2.5km

From the parking area we turned left and drove along the road over a 'Weak Bridge' and continued along the road climbing up the valley side to Wetton. When we reached to road junction at the edge of the village (map ref. SK 106 552) we turned right. There's a blue 'P' sign indication a public car park. After about 350m, at the next junction there is another sign showing the car park to the left. We followed the direction sign to the car park, public toilets too.

Leaving the car park at Wetton on the footpath across the fields  to the main part of the village
Leaving the car park at Wetton on the footpath across the fields to the main part of the village

Our left turn onto the road at the end of the field path
Our left turn onto the road at the end of the field path

Reaching the junction at the southwestern edge of Wetton
Reaching the junction at the southwestern edge of Wetton

There is a walled farm track heading south west from the junction with a sign indication a 'Concession Path to Thor's Cave'. This is the route to take to Thor's Cave and back again the same way.

From the edge of car park we followed the public footpath across the fields to the road through the village. At the road we turned left and walked down to the first junction we came to in the car.

Following the road southwest to the edge of the village
Following the road southwest to the edge of the village

Sign at the start of the Concession path to Thor's Cave
Sign at the start of the Concession path to Thor's Cave

Sign & squeeze stile at the start of the public footpath to Thor's Cave
Sign & squeeze stile at the start of the public footpath to Thor's Cave

Public footpath down to the steep wooded valley
Public footpath down to the steep wooded valley

Turning left up the limestone steps towards Thor's Cave
Turning left up the limestone steps towards Thor's Cave

One of several flights of stairs upto Thor's Cave
One of several flights of stairs up to Thor's Cave

The path straight on goes down to the river side. We turned left up some wide limestone steps through the wood. There were several long similar limestone staircases and a muddy path between them that eventually brought us up to the mouth of Thor's Cave.

Unfortunately we were a bit too clever for our own good and we took the public footpath across the field also with a rather worn sign to Thor's Cave. The public footpath took us down a steep muddy slope through the woods to a turning on our left.

Muddy footpath down the steep wooded valley
Muddy footpath down the steep wooded valley

The mouth of Thor's Cave
The mouth of Thor's Cave

Looking upstream along the Manifold valley from Thor's Cave
Looking upstream along the Manifold valley from Thor's Cave

Rock formations across the Manifold Valley from Thor's Cave
Rock formations across the Manifold Valley from Thor's Cave

Start of the concession path back to Wetton
Start of the concession path back to Wetton

Just below the cave mouth at the head of the first flight of limestone steps there is a narrow path off to the right climbing up around the hillside. There were no signs but this is the start/end of the concession path.

We sat at the cave entrance and admired the lovely views along the Manifold Valley. We decided to use the concession path for the return trip.

Looking down to the first steps from the mouth of Thor's Cave
Looking down to the first steps from the mouth of Thor's Cave

oncession path gate out to the fields
Concession path gate out to the fields

Concession path across the fields heading back to Wetton
Concession path across the fields heading back to Wetton

Stile from the field path to a walled track
Stile from the field path to a walled track

Returning to the road junction at the edge of Wetton
Returning to the road junction at the edge of Wetton

The stile led us to a walled track which we followed for about 500m back to the road junction at the edge of Wetton. From there we retraced our steps back to the village car park and the end of our visit to Thor's Cave.

We followed it up to a little gate out to some grassland with a clear path across the field up to a wall corner. Beyond the wall corner the path led across the field to a stile over a wall on our right.

Concession path along the walled track heading back to Wetton
Concession path along the walled track heading back to Wetton

Turning off the road in Wetton heading for the car park
Turning off the road in Wetton heading for the car park

Returning to the Wetton car park at the end of our visit to Thor's Cave
Returning to the Wetton car park at the end of our visit to Thor's Cave

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