DISTANCE: 3½miles (5.6km) of easy walking along farm lanes and woodland, plus by-roads and side lanes.
RECOMMENDED MAP: Ordnance Survey 1:25000 scale Explorer Map, Sheet 269, Chesterfield & Alfreton.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Stagecoach X17 from Matlock.
CAR PARKING: Roadside on Belland Lane, connecting the A632 Matlock/Chesterfield road to the B5057 Darley Dale /Two Dales road.
REFRESHMENTS: Bull’s Head in Holymoorside and Peak Edge Hotel near Stone Edge. High fields Farm Shop and Restaurant about a quarter of a mile to the west (Darley Dale Side) of Belland Lane is highly recommended.
This short walk visits Holymoorside, one of Chesterfield’s satellites, a little bit of rural attachment left behind when the Industrial Revolution swept across the north Midlands.
Apart from a street name, nothing remains of the one cotton mill that was powered by water from what is now the local duck pond. There was even a short-lived silver mine, but this failed a long time ago. What we do have from time gone by, are a couple of strategically placed pubs and a popular farm café, all within striking distance of the walk, whether it be at the start, or around the half-way point.
Holymoorside village lies below the eastern edge of Beeley moor. The village has many tales associated with its isolation. Local legend has it that there is a tunnel from Chander Hill Farm just off the Chatsworth Road, passing under Holy Moor to reach Harewood Grange, once a monastic farm. Despite all these myths and legends, there has never been an explanation of the term Holy Moor, or Holymoorside.
There are two ways to start the walk, the first and the main one described in the text, starts and finishes on Belland Lane just off the Darley Dale road near Stone Edge. The alternative uses public transport; the X17 Stagecoach Matlock/Chesterfield/Sheffield service from Matlock. Ask to be dropped at the Stone Edge stop on the A632 and follow the woodland path starting directly from the bus stop up to and across the golf course. This path joins the walk near the club house. The return bus stops opposite the point where the Bage Hill/High Lane road meets the A632 Chesterfield road.
Belland, or Belond is an old Derbyshire word for the disease cattle caught by grazing on grass contaminated by lead – there was a smelter nearby, its chimney still stands, a lonely sentinel on the adjacent skyline. The local pronunciation of Stone Edge is Stanage for some reason.
From the car parked carefully on Belland Lane, walk down to the B5057 Darley Dale road and cross.
The lone stone chimney over to your left on walking down the lane, is the tangible remains of a lead smelter that once stood here. The fumes would pollute the surrounding land, poisoning grazing cattle, giving them the Derbyshire disease called ‘belland’.
Follow the narrow lane opposite, down past a group of stone farm buildings and continue towards woodland to your front.
continue to follow it until it passes the club house of Stanage Golf Club.
The alternative route joins the main at this point (see end of main description).
Walk on past the club house, continuing forwards for about 100 yards when the lane turns left towards a group of farm buildings. Go forwards on a grassy path.
Look out for a sign post beside a small hut and turn left on a path leading towards woodland. Follow this along the edge of the trees and then into them.
At the far side of the woods, follow a track along the right hand side of them.
When the track reaches a farm lane, turn right along it and follow it up to the farm.
Reaching the farm, turn left on to a path and follow it with more woodland on your right.
When the path reaches a track, continue forwards, downhill to a pond.
Walk round the edge of the pond until the track reaches houses on the outskirts of Holymoorside village.
Turn left to reach the Bull’s Head.
With the pub on your left, walk back up the road and climb the section called Cotton Mill Hill.
Look out for an un-signposted road junction and turn right on to Bage Hill. Follow this for about a mile. There is no footpath, so walk on your right hand side of the road and take a careful look out for traffic.
In about three quarters of a mile, the road forks. Turn right and walk on until this road bears sharp right at a pair of houses.
If using the bus ignore the next set of instructions and climb up to the main road. Cross over in order to stand at the stop for Matlock. The X17 Stagecoach service is hourly.
For the main walk, do not pass the houses, but turn right immediately before them and go through a wooden stile.
Walk forwards on a footpath towards the golf club, taking care not to encroach on the fairways.
Reaching the club house, walk on along the narrow lane back to the Darley Dale road and cross it to reach Belland Lane.