Walks for all Seasons Derbyshire sees author Carol Burkinshaw bring together twenty walks that are suitable for year-round outings.
Carol has chosen walks that are spread throughout the county from Melbourne in the south to Eckington in the north; Ashbourne in the west and Bolsover in the east. The walks take in reservoirs, country parks, stately homes and town which offer walkers the opportunity to discover hidden gems in the places that Peak District walking books don’t cover.
Describing the local area at the start of each walk, Carol then provides a detailed description of the walk with snippets of information as you go along. The majority of the walks are suitable for family groups or the ‘occasional’ rambler with most distances ranging from 2½ miles to 6 miles, although Carol has thrown in an 8 mile walk based in Chesterfield for the more adventurous walkers. A history lesson with exercise thrown in!
Including Ordnance Survey mapping and useful pre-walk information, Walks for all Season - 20 Circular Walks in Derbyshire is superbly priced at just £5.99.
Love the Peak District – you bet I do – yet there’s a lot more to Derbyshire than the pretty face of its deservedly popular slice of the national park. For me, its geological Dark and White peaks are the top-layer of the Derbyshire chocolate box but, hidden underneath it – to its north east, east and south – are lip-smacking delights just waiting to be unwrapped.
“Off Peak” Derbyshire is easy on the eye and legs. An understated beauty with a richly textured past that 20 family – and not forgetting pooch – friendly walks can only offer a taster of.
Its landscapes have powerful stories to tell and they don’t get any bigger than in the Lower Derwent Valley where the 15-mile-long thread of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site spins a yarn of trailblazing entrepreneurs who gave birth to the modern factory system.
At Derby Silk Mill you’ll meet John Lombe, who stitched together all the components of the manufacturing process to design the world’s first factory. Alternatively, at Belper you can tread in the footsteps of Jediadiah Strutt, a former financial partner of Richard Arkwright whose Matlock Bath/Cromford high spec mills lie at the northern gateway of the World Heritage Site, as he set up his own textile empire and model community downstream.
Other visionary front runners with strong connections to the county who helped unleash Britain’s Industrial Revolution are the transport pioneers James Brindley and George Stephenson. Born near Buxton, Brindley’s Trent & Mersey and Chesterfield canals were the key to unlock trading fortunes. Later in his railway career, Stephenson moved to Chesterfield to oversee the financial assets – coal and iron ore – he’d unearthed whilst tunnelling the Leeds-Derby railway.
Coal and iron ore were, of course, key ingredients fuelling Britain’s industrialisation, both of which were found in abundance along Derbyshire’s eastern side. Nowadays, it’s difficult not to be “ore” struck by the new face of mining and its associated transport corridors in the shape of country parks, nature reserves and off road multi-user trails. Many of these “green” shoots have matured into extensive leisure networks spanning the county border with Nottinghamshire, such as the Phoenix Greenways and the Erewash Trail.
Outside the national park the county is also well-endowed with country estates gifting you the opportunity to peer into the lives of these often-eccentric folk. Maybe wander around the Calke Abbey parklands, where behind closed doors generations of “magpies” collected “stuff” in a very “unstately” house”. Or admire the commanding presence of Bolsover Castle that exudes drama from every angle for miles around. Built by the 1st Duke of Newcastle, it’s a castle in name only, which presented a vast pleasure palace to lavishly entertain and curry favour, most notably with Charles I.
Bolsover Castle stands on a thin band of Magnesian limestone that runs from County Durham to Nottinghamshire, which is another geological feature that has provided inspiration for several walks, including the striking, yet little known, gorge at Pleasley Vale.
And a twig snap from the Peak District, in places such as Ashover or Ashbourne you could be forgiven for thinking you were already in the origami peaks, as their underlying gritstone or limestone geology mirrors the national park’s renowned Dark and White Peak areas.
But the subtle clue that you are in “Off Peak” Derbyshire is that the crowds recede. So why not step off the well-tramped paths and explore the blissful countryside and timeless heritage that the rest of the county has to offer. It glitters in all seasons and often the weather is much more agreeable to boot!
01. Ashbourne - 5¾ miles
02. Ashover - 5¾ miles
03. Belper - 2½ miles
04. Bolsover - 5½ miles
05. Calke Abbey - 5 miles
06. Carsington Water - 3¾ miles
07. Chesterfield - 8 miles
08. Darley Abbey and Derby - 3½ miles
09. Elvaston Castle Country Park - 3½ miles
10. Erewash Valley - 5½ miles
11. Five Pits Trail - 6½ miles
12. Linacre Reservoirs - 2¾ miles
13. Melbourne - 6 miles
14. Moss Valley - 4 miles
15. Pleasley Vale - 4½ miles
16. Poulter Country Park - 4¼ miles
17. Shardlow - 2½ miles
18. Shipley Country Park - 3¾ miles
19. Swarkestone - 3½ miles
20. Wirksworth - 3 miles
About the Author
Carol Burkinshaw has lived close to the Derbyshire border all of her life and as a keen walker is, as you’d expect, a regular visitor to the glorious Peak District national park, of which Derbyshire has a sizeable chunk of.
At peak times, however, the national park’s honeypots are heaving with people and Carol loves to escape the crowds and ferret out great walks in the quieter parts of this diverse county.
With the benefit of hindsight, Carol admits she’d missed a trick sat on her doorstep for years. “Off Peak” Derbyshire, she says, has so much to offer to all, but is particularly suitable for families and friends seeking gentler outings throughout the seasons.
Over the past 20 years, Carol has roamed far and wide across Europe bringing her travel experiences of top destinations and secret hideaways to life through articles published in national magazines, which she illustrates with her own photography.
Walking, however, is Carol’s true passion and the driving force behind her work. She regularly contributes rambling routes from across the country to a major walking magazine. And she has stepped out previously into Derbyshire, along with Nottinghamshire and her native South Yorkshire (Walks For All Ages – South Yorkshire published by Bradwell Books) to produce some in-depth regional walking guidebooks.
But Carol now feels the time is right to lift off the invisibility cloak of an underappreciated part of Derbyshire bursting with alluring vistas, teeming with wildlife and dripping in heritage – a more domesticated “Great Outdoors”.
Publisher: Bradwell Books
Released: Spring 2018
Size: 220 x 120mm
Author: Carol Burkinshaw