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Walk Derbyshire – A Walk to the Bull Ring at Snitterton

Walk Derbyshire – A Walk to the Bull Ring at Snitterton

By Rambler

Before I begin my description of this walk, I must put in an explanation of what I mean by Bull Ring.  First and foremost I have no intensions of sending walkers all the way down the A38 in order to walk round Birmingham’s busy Bull Ring commercial district.  The bull ring (notice the use of lower case ‘b’ and’ ‘r’), we are referring to is a four or five inch iron ring set in a flat low stone in the corner of a tiny roadside green at Snitterton village near Matlock.  Its original purpose was to tether a bull as part of the barbaric so-called ‘sport’ of bull baiting by teams of dogs, a practice banned in 1835.

The walk starts and ends on Matlock Bridge, near to which is currently the site of an extensive flood prevention scheme.  The work involves the use of a massive crane that currently dominates the town centre skyline.  The crane has become such a popular item, that a fund-raising competition to give it a name was arranged – the winning title was (drum roll), ‘Liftymacshifty’.

From the bridge and its interesting civil engineering works, the walk leaves the main road where it bears left.  Continuing forward, the way is past a wine merchant’s warehouse and over the railway bridge. Continuing forwards and steadily uphill through a small farmyard, steps lead to a stile giving access to a path climbing steeply towards a wood next to a tree shaded house. Across its access drive and through the belt of trees, the way then continues uphill on a field path heading towards a farm.  A right had turn on the farm lane and then almost left through a kissing gate  opposite leads on to another path bearing half right and then uphill beside a hedge in order to reach another track.  Here a right hand turn takes the walker past a welcoming seat with a delightful view over Matlock, an ideal place for a rest.

Slightly to the right above the seat, a field path continues to climb the hillside, then crosses a farm lane. Beyond the far side of the lane, a level path crosses meadowland, past two old stone barns until it reaches a five-way path junction. Taking the second path to the right of the one you are on, walk beside a stone boundary wall to reach a narrow road – this is Salter’s Lane once used by teams of packhorses carrying salt from Cheshire onwards to North Sea fishing ports.

Across the road, a signposted path leads to a five-way junction of paths, and then downhill to Jug Holes, an abandoned lead mine.  Swinging left from the mine, we follow the path downhill and then right at a cottage to Leawood Farm.  Its access lane leads downhill into the attractive hamlet of Snitterton. This is where in the corner of a small roadside green marked by a wooden seat the bull ring can be found, set in a flat low stone next to the road.

The road makes a tight right hand bend beyond the ring; follow it for about 100yards and then go left through a stile. Ignoring a path leaving to the left, the walk continues forwards as far as the road which is joined almost opposite a minor side lane.  Follow this lane, to the right, almost as far as the river. Turn right along its bank and continue over a series of meadows until the path reaches a factory producing macadam blocks, the shaded riverside path continues all the way back into Matlock and its bridge.

A moderate walk of 4½ miles (7.25km) on field and riverside paths. One steep uphill climb at the start of the walk. Good views of the Derwent valley as it curves away to the hills and moors of the Dark Peak. Muddy sections of the riverside path, especially in wet weather.

Ordnance Survey Explorer Map Sheet OL24, 1:25000 scale The Peak District – White Peak area.

PARKING: Roadside to the right above Sainsbury’s petrol station, although all day pay and display parking can usually be found in the riverside car park on the Matlock Bath side of the railway bridge over the A6.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT:  Rail from Derby.  Bus from Derby or Ripley.

REFRESHMENTS: Pubs and cafes in and around Matlock town centre.


The walk starts at Matlock Bridge.  Cross it and walk on beyond the road junction opposite.  Continue over the railway bridge and then onwards and upwards to a farmyard.

Climb the stone steps next to the farm house and go through a stile to enter a field.

Climb the steep grassy path directly uphill until it reaches the lane to a large house.  Cross this lane and walk through a small belt of trees.

Climb the stile at the far side of the trees and then follow a path alongside a hedge.

Swap sides with the edge and continue uphill towards a farm.

Cross the farm’s access drive by going right and left as indicated by the position of two stiles.

Walk uphill diagonally half right, crossing the line of a mature hedge.

Continue uphill, the path now bearing half left to reach a tumbled down wall; (hopefully the wall may be repaired in the near future and a stile restored).  Cross the rough farm lane immediately below the wall.

Directly opposite, the twin stones of a squeezer stile in a dense hedge give access to a level path crossing a series of meadows marked by two abandoned stone barns.

Where the path reaches a five way path junction, take the second path on your right.

Go down to and cross Salter’s Lane, part of the old Saltway between Cheshire and the east coast.

Begin to go downhill, steeply at first, then bear left next to the lower entrance of Jug Holes Mine (lead).

From the mine go directly downhill for a short distance to link with a path bearing left and then curving right, downhill to pass Leawood Cottage.

Follow the cottage drive, still downhill, to Leawood Farm.

Follow the farm access until it joins a short side lane into Snitterton and turn right towards the valley bottom road.

Walk down the lane until it meets the road at the side of the bull ring and its tiny green with a welcoming seat.

Follow the road, going left for about a hundred yards until a signpost on the left points the way across two fields.  Follow this path until it joins the road once more.

Go half left along the road for a few feet, then right along a minor lane past attractive modern houses.

When the lane comes into contact with the river, turn right and cross a stile to enter a series of riverside meadows, aiming eventually for a factory making macadam for building purposes.

Cross the stile giving access to a path between the riverbank and factory. Follow this all the way back to Matlock Bridge.


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