The ‘B’ walk started from Ashford in the Water, an attractive village of 18th and 19th century cottages which grew as a safe crossing of the River Wye. We crossed the three arched packhorse bridge built in the 17th century and known as the Sheepwash bridge because sheep were washed in the river here at shearing time. Crossing the busy A6 we started to climb up a steep track through Little Shacklow Wood.
Leaving the wood we turned right to cross fields before entering Great Shacklow Wood. We now had a tricky descent with wet slippery leaves underfoot. We met a group of walkers coming in the opposite direction and one said “Hope you have got your waterproof feet on” We soon found out what he meant!. Crossing a wall stile we joined a stream which we followed down.
The path improved and we were soon at the picnic spot close to the A6 where we paused for lunch. Crossing the road we followed a winding path alongside the River Wye. We crossed the footbridge shortly before reaching the weir which was very impressive. We now started to climb up the opposite side of the valley to reach Monsal Head.
Monsal head is a beautiful vantage point overlooking a right-angled turn of the River Wye. Far below is the railway viaduct which was part of the Midland Railway route from St Pancras to Manchester. The line was closed in 1968 and now forms part of the Monsal trail. This trail follows the course of the Wye from just outside Buxton to Bakewell and is popular with walkers and cyclists.
We followed the road to Little Longstone before crossing field paths to join the Monsal Trail which we followed back to Bakewell.