June Walks Giveaway: Monsal Head, Peak District

June Walks Giveaway: Monsal Head, Peak District

This walk is reproduced from our popular walking book 'Guide to the Peak District Pub Walks'. 

📥 To download this walk and take it with you, click here!


Distance: 2.3 miles 


Monsal Head must be one of the most photographed views in the Peak District, and this walk thoroughly explores it. It’s a figure of eight walk, but the crossing point is some 30 yards above the valley floor, so you don’t actually step on the path you’ve used previously. On the return leg you use the Monsal Trail which originally carried the railway line from Matlock to Buxton. You will also see the impressive Headstone Viaduct, which was built by the Midland Railway in 1863, and is 300 ft long with five 50 ft span arches. Although when it was built it was thought to destroy the landscape it is now considered a beautiful part of the dale. 

RECOMMENDED PUB (in case you’re reading this in the future, when pubs are open again) 

The Stable Bar at the Monsal Head Hotel. 


Monsal Head is a couple of miles north-west of Ashford in the Water on the B6465. Postcode DE45 1NL

Parking is behind the Monsal Head Hotel in the district council pay & display car park.

MAP: OS Explorer OL24 The Peak District – White Peak area (GR 185715).


1. Standing with your back to the front of the Monsal Head Hotel, walk left to the Monsal View Café. In front of this is a marvellous view with the viaduct below. Take the path for Ashford and Monsal Dale. After 10 or 12 yards the path forks; take the lower one. The path levels out before descending to the River Wye. Keep beside this until you reach and cross a footbridge.

2. Turn right upstream beyond the bridge. You pass a weir on your right before eventually coming out, with the viaduct ahead of you. Pass through a stile by a gate beneath the viaduct. Follow the path underneath it. This wheels left, with the river on your right, to bring you to a footbridge.

Cross the river for the second time. You reach Netherdale Farm. Keep left of the buildings and then swing left on the drive to the road. Turn left along the road for 500 yards.

3. On reaching the crossroads, turn left, back to the river (look out for the trout as you cross it!). Bear left up the old lane and stay on it under the Monsal Trail. Fork left onto the Trail but turn right along it so that you’re walking with the river down below to your left. You pass the remains of Monsal Dale Station. Eventually you reach the viaduct and cross it.

4. Keep forward towards the tunnel. Just before it, turn left up a path and keep going to reach a T-junction of paths. Turn right up here back to the Monsal Head Hotel.


Thornbridge Hall in Ashford in the Water is a couple of miles away and best known for its stunning 12 acres of formal gardens. They were designed in the 1890s to produce a vision of ‘1,000 shades of green’ as seen from the hall’s bedroom windows. There is also a further 90 acres of woodland and parkland to explore, a café and plant nursery. Check opening times. 

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  • Alex Batho
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