Peak District walk - Lyme Park and Cluse Hey
PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:18 03 May 2020
Step out with pride around glorious Lyme Park on a search for the pond made famous by Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in his dripping white shirt!
1. From the bottom end of the car park go through a gate beside a cattle grid and follow the road uphill to The Knott, a huge grassy mound from where there are stupendous views across the metropolis of Manchester.
2. Continue to another small car parking area and then go through a gate to follow a former driveway down Hase Bank Wood to West Parkgate.
Your route will be lined by a variety of mature trees, both broad leaf and evergreen, with song birds flitting about the branches. To the side is a feeder stream to Poynton Brook, which wends its way down to what becomes a sheltered ravine draped with ferns and dripping with little springs trickling out between beds of rock.
3. Turn left at the park gates and walk up to meet Shrigley Road. Turn left again at the far side of Green Close Methodist Church and Day Retreat Centre and walk up the gravel drive past houses, bearing right at a garage that has been converted into a little chapel and shrine.
4. The driveway shortly becomes a well-walked footpath with fencing then a wall to your left passing through a couple of fields and crossing over a stream as it ascends to Moorside. Look left to see Cluse Hey escarpment emerge, atop which the landmark feature of Paddock Cottage is located.
In the distance beyond the main house is a more distinctive hilltop folly. The Cage was constructed around 1580 as a hunting lodge from which distinguished ladies could watch their menfolk on horseback hunting deer around the estate.
5. On reaching a gravel drive turn right and walk past Keepers Cottage then head uphill following Footpath Sign 154 for Bowstone Gate. Keep glancing behind at fantastic far-reaching views. On a clear day it is possible to see the mountains of Snowdonia.
Look for the radio telescope at Jodrell Bank which appears like a giant saucer placed on the flat Cheshire plains. When built in 1957 it was the largest in the world and cost £750,000, three times over budget. In 1981 the TV character Doctor Who, then played by Tom Baker, fell to his death from a walkway on the site and was regenerated into Peter Davison.
See also the slim and dark Beetham Tower rising up from the centre of Manchester. This 47-storey, 554 feet high building was completed in 2006 as the UK's first proper skyscraper outside London. However, in November 2018 it was surpassed by the newly topped-out South Tower at Deansgate Square. Beetham Tower is known to emit a loud hum during windy weather, recorded as a B below middle C, which was said to have been picked up on occasion when ITV's Coronation Street was being filmed at the programme's old city centre studio site.
6. Continue on the path over Dale Top where you will meet up with a track coming in from Sponds Hill, due south.
Now you should have even more extensive views stretching away over Dark Peak hills and moors to the east. Follow this track to the Bow Stones which can be found in a small roadside enclosure to the right of Bowstones Farm. These two late Saxon stones were originally medieval crosses used either as way markers or boundary stones. Both lost their heads during the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. Their name is evidently taken from a local folk tradition that Robin Hood and his merry men once strung their bows hereabouts.
7. Retrace your steps from the Bowstones to a fingerpost and gate beside the green footpath sign to follow a stretch of the Gritstone Trail heading down Park Moor and then enter Knightslow Wood.
8. Turn left at the bottom of the wood and follow a footpath beneath towering beech trees to a high wall stile.
9. Turn right and walk across an area of grazing land known as Drinkwater Meadow to an insignificant field pond made famous during the filming of the 1995 TV mini-series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice when Lyme Park featured as Pemberley. It was here that Mr Darcy, played by Colin Firth, appeared to dive in and swim before walking down to the house where he came across Miss Elizabeth Bennet, played by Jennifer Ehle. (Please note that access to Drinkwater Meadow may be restricted if sheep are grazing following incidents of dog attacks.)
10. Turn right at the pond and follow a grassy track leading to a gate and your return to the car park. u
If you wish to extend your visit with a tour of Lyme Park (National Trust), the House is open Friday to Tuesday 11am-5pm, during October and the shop, tea rooms, and gardens with Rose and Ravine gardens and herbaceous borders next to the reflecting lake, are open daily 11am-5pm. To check details go to the website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Distance: 5 miles
Parking: Lyme Park SK12 2NX (charge applicable unless National Trust member) Grid Ref: 965823
Terrain: Four stiles (two are high ladder stiles), 10+ gates. Trip hazard paths with tree roots. Close proximity to deep water. Keep well away from deer which roam the estate. Sheep and cattle grazing.
Refreshments: Timber Yard tearoom by mill pond
Toilets: Timber Yard
Map: OS Explorer OL1 - Dark Peak
Walk highlight: A rich assortment of trees in all their autumn glory
Description: Renowned for its wonderful paths and trails, Lyme Park is a romantic treasure trove of stately house, formal gardens, woods and wild moorland. It is a photographer's paradise and a delight for walkers.