Discover historic Hardwick Hall
Discover this hidden treasure on our doorstep with a circular walk through the countryside around historic Hardwick Hall
Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire Ramblers has restarted its programme of group walks and would like to share a 7.5mile circular walk with you.
You can try it on your own, or alternatively, join the Ramblers when they walk it as part of their programme or organised walks.
It is on tracks, paths and quiet lanes. There are some steps and the fields may be muddy.
Toilets and refreshments are available at the start and at Hardwick Hall.
To start the walk, take the track from the visitor centre that goes slightly uphill and has ponds on either side of it.
At the path crossroads take the left hand path labelled Sculpture Trail. Follow this parallel to Miller’s Pond- so called because it supplied the water to nearby Stainsby Mill. At the end of the pond, bear right onto a path uphill ignoring a narrower path soon afterwards.
Continue through the trees climbing to a kissing gate with warning notices about cows and calves. Cross a tarmac road with cattle grid to your left and walk up the grassy bank. Keep to the right of the fence/hedge. At the top go left to go through a painted gate by a farm (The Grange) and onto a tarmac road.
Go down the road and look back to see Hardwick Hall (built by Bess of Hardwick in the1590s, famous for being more glass than wall) and Hardwick Old Hall in the trees. Follow the road which changes from tarmac to chippings towards Ault Hucknall church where it ends opposite Rose Cottage.
Turn right to pass the church which has Saxon origins and Saxon carvings can be seen on the outside of the church. The tomb of Thomas Hobbes,founder of modern political philosophy, is inside the church. Because of this church, Ault Hucknall is one of the smallest villages in England having only 3 houses but is termed a village as hamlets do not have churches. Usually, the church is open on Saturdays 1-4pm May to September with refreshments available.
Continue down the road until it bends and there take the left-hand path (of two paths) labelled to Rowthorne across a field to a gap in a hedge.Continue in the same direction across a second field. Where the path meets the road go straight across through a gate and onto a footpath labelled Hardwick Rowthorne walks.
Follow the path by the hedge to a small bridge and go through a metal kissing gate. Walk in the same direction towards Rowthorne village going through two more metal kissing gates.
The path meets the road at Haven Hill. At the road turn left and then take the first road on the right opposite a lamp post.
Walk down the road until there is a sharp left bend, take the footpath straight ahead at this point towards some woods. At a crossroads of paths turn right onto Longhedge Lane. To the left of this lane is Pleasley Country Park. Follow this wide track between two hedgerows containing cowslips until another crossroads of paths where you turn right onto the Teversal Trail which runs along an old railway line.After crossing a bridge over the road turn right (opposite a purple sign saying Teversal Trail) onto the Rowthorne Trail another old railway track. Follow this for a mile until the third concrete dip and a path can be seen coming down the field on the right. TURN LEFT here through a cutting in the hedge and walk across the field to a footbridge.
Cross the bridge then continue in the same direction uphill, ignoring paths to right and left, through Norwood. Emerge from the woods and cross a field to reach the road by Norwood Barn. Turn right along the road and continue straight along it. At a wooden gate labelled Dovedale Farm turn right through a smaller wooden gate into the Hardwickand Stainsby Estate Lady Spencer woods. Named after Lady Spencer who was married to the 5th Duke of Devonshire and an ancestor of Princess Diana.
Walk down the steps and then up the steps in the bluebell and wild garlic woods. When you reach the double gate entrance to the car park take the left footpath down the hill (unless you are going to visit Hardwick Hall and its facilities). It comes out to the road just below the Stone Centre.
Turn right up the road and just after the Stone Centre look out for a post with waymarks for the Sculpture and Welly Walks. Turn left off the road here and walk downhill on a broad grassy track. When the track starts to bend bear left towards the gate in the fence by the ponds. Go through the gate and walk between the ponds and then turn left onto the track that leads back to the car park.The walk is about 7.5miles long and the ascent is about 410ft. It is on easy paths and trails with short sections on quiet lanes. The field paths and paths in the woods can be muddy after rain.
The steps would make it unsuitable for pushchairs and mobility scooters.Refreshments are available at the Visitor centre car park, Ault Hucknall church (check for up to date information), Hardwick Hall and at the nearby Hardwick Inn.Toilets at the Visitor centre car park and Hardwick Hall.
If you want to join the Ramblers group when they take on this walk on July 17, you’ll need to book a place by texting 07426 893639 (numbers limited to 30.)
See Ordnance Survey Chesterfield and Alfreton Number 269 to follow the route on a map.