The famous 9 mile Monsal trail is literally a couple of minutes' walk from the Anglers Rest, across the bridge over the beautiful river Wye and you're up onto the trail in no time. With cycle hire available at Blackwell Mill
(check times) a 30 or 40 minute flat walk along the trail towards Buxton, you could have a lovely day out exporing on foot and by bike. After that you'll need a drink and a bar snack so, hmm, I wonder where you could go for that :)
However this area is best loved for fly-fishing and the Cressbrook & Litton Fly-Fishing club
is where to get your day-tickets. The wild brown and rainbow trout in these limestone waters are renowned by anglers across the country.
Turning immediately left from the pub you can avoid the Monsal trail and opt for a tranquil riverside walk for 30 minutes to Water-cum-Jolly-Dale
(via Litton Mill concessionary path). Walking along the dale by Cramside Wood nature reserve watch out for coots, moorhens, herons, swans, toads, buzzards, kingfishers, ducks and more. In May you'll see banks of bluebells too. Over the little bridge at the end (after the river widens considerably) bear right over the weir bridge and up onto the trail once more. Turn right through the tunnel to return to Miller's Dale by the higher route.
Turning left once on the trail from Cressbrook Mill leads you onto the Headstone viaduct high above Monsal Dale
. This is an ideal spot for a picnic or, for the more energetic, climb up the steep pathway to Monsal Head where one the best views in the Peak District awaits. There's also a cafe (gifts), hotel, ice-cream van and Stables bar (open all day every day) for more food and drink..! Another option is to continue through the long Headstone tunnel. Further along you can visit the unspoilt villages of Great Longstone
and Little Longstone or continue still further to reach Hassop Cafe (gifts, books, meals) and cycle hire and finally Bakewell itself where the trail ends.
The Peak District is the oldest national park in the UK covering 555 square miles of moorland, gritstone edges, valleys, dales and more.
Peak District photography
copyright Michael Cummins.