A short 3.5 mile walk through the delightful countryside around Alport Hights. The last gritstone bastion of the southern Peak District. Situated to the south east of the small market town of Wirksworth in Central Derbyshire.

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Alport Height is a small hill of 314 metres standing above the midland plain just north of the Trent valley in central Derbyshire.   The hill is just about the last trump of the southern White Peak and consequently, it commands some fantastic views over the countryside to the south.  Particularly of the beautiful wide valley of Ecclesbourne and its small river.  The river Ecclesbourne rises in Wirksworth and meanders its way slowly south past the quiet villages of Idridgehay, Turnditch and Windley to eventually flow into the River Derwent just to the north of Derby at Duffield.

The summit of the hill stands just above a little old gritstone quarry containing a small eight-metre high pinnacle known as the Alport Stone.

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The stone its self can be seen for miles around and is a well-known local landmark and it’s at this stone that the walk begins.

There is no facility’s on this walk so bring food and drink with you.

If you would like refreshment after you have completed the walk there are good cafe,s and pubs to be found in the small market town of nearby Wirksworth.

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Wirksworth is an interesting old quarry/lead mining town that dates back to 7th century Saxon times and even further back to the Romans who came looking for the lead.  It’s well worth devoting some of your time in exploring the town with its steep little cobbled back lanes, the market place with its cafe’s and pubs along with its old buildings and hidden corners.

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The imposing mostly 13th-century church of St Mary with its Saxon carvings and Norman font is also worth visiting.

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Car parking for the start of the walk.
The National Trust owns the old gritstone quarry and the land around the summit and there’s free car parking below the telecommunication towers.  Park on the lower car park.
SK 305 515.

Unfortunately, the walk falls between two OS maps.  The main part of it lies on OS Explorer Map OL 24 The White Peak, with a small section at the southern end on the OS Explorer 259 Derby map.

{Within the text Y’F’M’ Stands for Yellow footpath marker.  E’W’M’ Stands for The Ecclesbourne Way Footpath marker}.

The Walk

After you’ve had your fill of the superb vista to the south beyond the Alport Stone that stretches out for miles over the patchwork quilt of fields hedges and woods covering the north midlands, drag yourself away from it and walk to the eastern end of the car park.  Drop down the grassy ridge on a sandy track into the bottom of the small gritstone quarry and walk round to the base of the stone.  From its base take the path to its right through the bracken and gorse to drop down diagonally rightward to Alport Lane.  Turn left onto this and walk hemmed in with grit walls atop steep banks down the sunken lane towards the small hamlet of Spout.  Ignore a road coming in from the right and keep on walking down Spout Lane past the farm buildings and cottages for about a 1/3rd of a mile, by-passing Peat Lane until you come to a junction with Palerow Lane coming in from the left.  Opposite, is a wide field entrance with a metal farm gate in the hedge/wall on its left-hand side.

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Pass awkwardly through the gate, {no footpath marker}, don’t worry it is a public right of way.  Walk down the track on the side of the field keeping close to the hedgerow/drystone wall on your right and follow the track over three fields until you arrive at the left-hand side of a small pine plantation with a stile hidden in a large Holly bush just to its left.  Y’F’M’ hidden in the bush.  Pass over the stile, squeeze past the Holly and walk down the field to its far right-hand corner towards another large Holly, behind it is a stile.  Cross and walk down the meadow towards its right-hand corner to an Ash tree with a stile underneath it, Y’F’M.  Go over this and walk down the middle of the field heading for three-grain silos standing just to the right of Lawn Farm,  in the hedge you will find what is a poor apology for a stile! Negotiate your way through this onto Top Lane. Footpath finger-post on the roadside.

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Cross over the road and walk into the farmyard just to the right of the silos.  In the corner at the right-hand side of the yard is a metal farm gate, open the gate awkwardly and go through to almost immediately find an overgrown stile in the Hawthorn hedge to your left. Cross over this carefully and bear diagonally right towards the hedge line, follow this until you see a stile in an electric cattle fence crossing the field.   Clamber over this awkwardly to a succession of poor stiles in the two electric fences that divide the following three fields.

These stiles are in a very poor condition and have been reported to Derbyshire County Council ! {The council have recently informed me that the farmer has been ordered to repair them. 19.12 18.} 

Once the last rickety stile has been negotiated walk on to the right-hand corner of the meadow.  In front of you in the hedgerow, you will find a gritstone squeeze stile.
Squeeze through and walk on down the field with the hedge/dry-stone wall to your right until at the corner of the wall you come across another grit’ squeeze stile,
 Y’F’M on the corner of the wall to its left.  Go through this and walk down the fenced-in path alongside the wall to an overgrown stile leading you out on to Top Lane.

Turn right and plod on up the lane for fifty metres to reach a double metal farm gate on the left, with a stile situated to its left.

Cross this to meander over the meadow stopping to take in the wonderful views over the Eccelesborn valley laid out below you and further on up to the north of the limestone hills beyond Wirksworth with the wind turbines standing out above Carsington and Brassington.

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Walk on straight down the centre of the meadow towards two large Oak trees in the fence/stroke hedge-line and head for a wicket gate to the left of the right-hand tree.  Y’F’M’.  Go through this to walk down the narrow field by-passing an Oak and a Field Maple to a stile with a chain across the top of it, pass through and walk on downhill, passing a large round black cattle trough and then carry on to a metal farm gate in the right-hand corner of the meadow.  Once through this, continue on down with the hedge-line to your left until you meet a wide cross ride.

Turn right onto this and walk on up towards the left-hand end of Gibbet Wood with the imaginatively named Hill Top poking its head out above it.  At the end of the hedge line bear left then right to take you through the end of the wood to a metal farm gate with a stile to its right, Y’F’M’. Clamber over this and out onto the meadow at the bottom of Hill Top.

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Walk diagonally rightward up the steep meadow heading towards a wicket gate that stands under a large old Ash tree in the fence surrounding the summit of Hill Top.  Pass through this and bear slightly left around the Gorse and walk steeply up through the trees towards the top of the hill, passing to the right the lovely atmospheric ruin of an old gritstone byre.  {All that remains of the once Hill Top Farm}.  Carry on through a pair of stone gate posts E’W’M’ to take you out onto the summit.

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There are some grand views all round from here particularly to the west over Norman Hill farm to the Ecclesbourne Valley and on towards the village of Kirk Ireton.  Also to the north up towards Alport Hight and the start of your walk.

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Leave this delightfully isolated spot and wander off down the hill {north], keeping the overgrown, broken holly/thorn hedge to your left while getting still more views of the Ecclesbourne valley through the gaps and breaks.  In the left-hand corner of the meadow is an old gritstone gate post with a wicket to its left and a squeeze stile just beyond it, E’W’M’, pass through both and turn right.  Walk on to cross a broken down dry-stone wall and keep going with the hedge to your right to pass through a gap in the hedge in the corner of the field.  Plod on passing an old grit gate post to a large green public footpath sign, E’W’M’, turn left at this and take the path towards Lane End.

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Cross the meadow and go through an open gate-way to walk along the raised grass farm track up to a metal farm gate, E’W’M’.  Go through the gate and walk up the pleasant tree-lined green lane, passing through Lane End Farm and cottages, {Y’F’M’ on electricity pole}  to join Spout Lane at Lane End.

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From Lane End turn right and walk on under trees up the narrow shady lane to a wide road junction, Taylors Lane coming in from the left, keep right to plod on up Spout Lane, soon Alport Heights and shortly after it the stone itself will come into sight.  At a road junction and just after the ruin of an old gritstone barn bear left up towards Alport Lane.  Where the road bends to the left take the footpath on the right {E’W’M’, permissive footpath sign}, climb steeply up steps through the Bracken and Gorse bringing you out opposite the stone drive leading up to the N’T’ car park.  Cross the road, walk up the drive then bear right to take you back to your car.

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