Monday, 17 November 2014


This morning we are greeted by fog, in some places thick, in others thicker, but undeterred we set off from our respective starting points to meet at the Grouse Inn which sits on the A625 above Grindleford. By the time we meet up some of the fog is beginning to disperse, so we are hopeful of a clear day.

The lay-by is pretty full of cars but none of the walkers seem to be going our way. We head over the stile at the side of the Inn and cross over the fields and into Hay Wood, admiring the lingering mist as we go. For some reason we always have to puzzle our way in the wood, but mutually decide to set off downhill on a very muddy path. Then a brief retreat to try to find PC's lost lens cap for her camera, and for a change we are in luck, then retrace our steps again.

The wood is very attractive even though many of the leaves have already fallen, and we continue downhill ignoring the many paths leading off left and right. As we come to a high stone wall on our right we meet a dog walker and stop for a chat before continuing  down towards Grindleford. A gate and a rough surfaced path later and we reach the main road in Grindleford village. We turn left and just before the bridge we go left again through another gate and across a field of sheep.

We are surprised that this low-lying field isn't boggy after recent rainfall, but pleased nonetheless. The small stream is easily crossed and we head uphill into Horse Hay Coppice. We are now following part of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way.

There are a number of lovely streams running down the hillside, one with a calm reflective pool, so we reflect a while with a nip from the secret flask. My home-made Ramblers again!

This part of the walk is very straight forward and easy underfoot. We eventually pass out of the wood and go through a couple of fields (one with cows, but they are not close) then through a potentially very tight crush - depending on your weight - and onto a narrow track. A little way along a tractor and trailer is parked almost blocking the track, the farmer is cutting back some overgrowth, but we manage to get past.

We are now in the pretty village of Froggatt, still following the Way, and admiring some of the gardens. We cross over the bridge and keep on the track that runs at the side of the River Derwent. We recall that further along there is a secluded bench, and when we find it we settle down for lunch.

We have a good view of the larger bridge over the Derwent, and are surprised how many heavy lorries use it. We start off with coffee, then sandwiches - always a non-event - then the buns which, today, are Spiced Apple Fresh Cream Muffins. Not too stodgy, they go down very well followed by a second coffee.

We sit and chat for a while, and as we are talking we see a disturbance in the water. To our delight we are able to watch a water vole swimming along, it surfaces, sits on a semi-submerged branch for a few moments, then slides into the water to swim away. Magical.

Time to go, though, and we are aware of the nights drawing in, so we continue on our path, climb up the slope then over the bridge, descending by the steps at the opposite side of the river.

Now we have a gentle amble along the river bank back to Froggatt village. Here we decide to take a small road uphill, turn left, then right then straight on until we see a footpath on our left. Once again we are in the woods.

This part of the woods seems less well used, probably mainly by dog walkers, but it is lovely, especially with the low light slanting through the branches. A way along we see some rocks, which appear natural, but have an inscription carved into them relating to the dedication of 16 acres of Froggatt Wood. It is almost hidden and it is difficult to take a good photograph.

In places the path along here is fairly boggy, and we have to make a few minor detours, but after a while we come up to some 'shelters' and an outside camp area complete with branches for seats and a fire pit. It looks wonderful!

We descend now and are soon retracing our steps down towards Grindleford. We make our way back up to the woods, and the uphill climb certainly makes us warm. Mainly due to good luck rather than good judgement we end up on the right path and come out exactly where we entered the woods this morning. Only a short stretch now across the fields to the cars, with ours being the only two left.

As we ready to leave we notice that the sunlight is giving the surrounding moors and trees a spectacular burnished glow. They look amazing, their brilliance keeping up for the most of the journey home, a lovely end to a good day.


  1. I always seem to get lost in that wood too. Some lovely photos on this walk.

    1. Thank you for the complement. Yes, the woods are a warren of paths that we are sure the locals know extremely well but are a maze for us.