Mystery surrounds the story of walking stick spotted around the Derbyshire Dales

A charming mystery has captured the imagination of walkers around the Matlock area who have been taking it in turns to carry a ‘lost’ walking stick wherever they roam, and documenting its journey online.

The walking stick was first discovered several weeks ago like something from a fairytale, bearing instructions for whoever finds it, signed only with the letter V.

The label says: “Walk with me for a while, through gate and over stile. If you tire, let me be for the next one to walk with me.”

Though the origins of the story are unknown, numerous people have responded to the idea and the stick has accompanied them to various picturesque locations around the Derbyshire Dales.

Some of those who have carried it along the way have shared their encounters online, and local resident Susan Hardaker went so far as to add a new label to the stick with the hashtag #vswalkingstick to help track its travels via Facebook and perhaps uncover V’s identity.

Susan said: “I saw it a couple of weeks ago in Lumsdale and then again today in Riber. Each time I’ve taken a walk with it. I’d love to know more about it and follow its journey.

“I’ve spoken to so many people who’ve seen it and walked with it, about how it makes you feel ‘wholesome’ and brings walkers together – but we’re intrigued as to the origin.”

Emma Holford-Grant, a radiographer from Mansfield who often visits the trails around Cromford, said: “We found the walking stick in Bow wood and took it through the bluebells.

We left it at the Aqueduct cottage.

“It’s such a lovely idea I'd love to know more about the person who left it there.”

So far no one has confessed to setting the stick off on its adventures, though there has been some suggestion the story was inspired by The Stick, a poem by Sheffield-born musician Simon Mayor about a walk in the Yorkshire Dales.

The final verse of the poem reads: “And as the tearoom talk of Pateley Bridge drew near, I thought to cast the stick; just let it go with conscience clear.

“But wait! Don’t throw! Best lay it by the lane, and so It may another weary walker lure To march it back to Middlesmoor.”