Lathkill Dale is one of the quietest dales in the White Peak. Usually you would start and finish in the beautiful village of Monyash where you can experience the fabulous Bulls Head pub. Lathkill Dale is a typical limestone dale, flanked by huge limestones cliffs and teeming in unique flora and fauna. The River Lathkill that runs along the floor of the dale disappears during the summer. The walk takes you past rolling lush green farm fields then descends into the magical environment of the dale. It may look small on a map but when you are down on the dale floor the limestone walls looks huge.
Over Haddon is another villiage nearby, Over Haddon is one of the prettiest villages in Derbyshire just 2 miles south west of Bakewell. This small village is built mainly of limestone typical of the White Peak District and stands on a ridge high above Lathkill Dale. The village houses only one pub the Lathkill Hotel, formerly the Miners Arms, which has beautiful views of Lathkill Dale and can be seen for miles with its whitewashed walls. In one of the nearby fields once stood Over Haddon Hall built in the mid 16th century and demolished before the invention of cameras so only a few drawings are said to exist. There are remains of an old corn mill dating back to 1529 and was still working in the early 19th century and also on this site a mill is known to have existed in medieval times. Further upstream of the mill are the remains of lead mines and also the bob wall of Mandale Mine and the derelict remains of Bateman’s House. There are also the remains of a tiny pump house which once held equipment that fed troughs in the villages of Over Haddon high on the hillside.
In 1854 a small quantity of gold was found and this led to a gold rush but after a short while the gold was analysed as “fools gold” and the mine soon closed.
Lathkill Dale is one of the finest valleys of the limestone dales and the upper part is a National Nature Reserve, in the care of English Nature.
The River Lathkill is a disappearing river, when in summer or after long spells of dry weather the river follows an underground route and appears from a series of swallet holes downstream. The river is one of the smallest rivers in Derbyshire and is one of the prettiest with so much character of any river we have ever seen (I like water), it has a series of eleven weirs and the deepest one is known as The Blue Waters due to its colour. The upper part of the river is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a candidate of the Special Area of Conservation under the European Union Habitats Directive.
Youlgrave is situated in Bradford Dale, on the ridge of the south facing hillside, and very close by are the villages of Bradford and Alport. Youlgrave is the largest with a few shops, butcher, a post office and three pubs the Farm Yard Inn, the Bull’s Head and the George Hotel (I also like pubs) and also a youth hostel and car park. In the summer Youlgrave is a busy attraction for visitors and walkers. The water tank in the village is known as The Fountain and in the 19th century was the water supply which was piped up from the River Bradford. The hamlet of Bradford on the outskirts of Youlgrave looks down onto the River Bradford where there is an abundance of ducks. Alport is a small, quiet and attractive village with stone houses dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. There are no shops or pubs here but the walk along the River Bradford to Yougrave then on to Monyash through Lathkill Dale is a superb and very pretty 5 mile walk.
Parts of the footpath from Conksbury Bridge along the River Lathkill and also from Alport along the River Bradford are suitable for wheelchair users, but please check prior to setting off.