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East Staffordshire Group

We are the East Staffordshire Ramblers. We open the way for everyone in the East Staffordshire area to enjoy the pleasures of walking.

Join the Ramblers and enjoy

  • unlimited free access to 50,000 Ramblers group walks
  • a library jam-packed with thousands of tried-and-tested routes
  • a welcome pack teeming with top tips plus our quarterly Walk magazine
  • exclusive discounts from our partners
  • knowing your support is opening up more places to walk and helping more people discover the joy of walking
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Overview

Starting from the charming Peak District village of Wetton, we proceed across open country in the lee of Wetton Hill to commence the ascent of Ecton Hill.  This mountain (369m above sea level) is a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is known as the 'hollow hill' because of extensive copper mining which took place from the bronze age to the late 19th century.  As we approach the summit stunning views are revealed of the Manifold Valley and the hills and villages beyond.  We descend to an 18th century winding house recently restored by the National Trust and continue down along a track and country lane into the valley where we cross the river and join the Manifold Way.  We walk south following the trail to Wetton Mill, a well known local beauty spot, and then continue along the valley to a footbridge over the river from which we ascend the short steep path up to Thor's Cave.  There are excellent views into and over the Manifold Valley from the cave entrance.  Walkers can opt to climb into and carefully explore the inside of this spectacular cavern.  We then follow rights of way and tracks back to our starting point in Wetton.     

Wednesday, 17 January 2024
Start time:
10:00 am
Estimated finish time:
3:00 pm
Difficulty:
Moderate
Distance:
15.3km / 9.5mi
Ascent:
N/A
Type:
circular

During its heyday in the late 18th century Ecton Hill was reputed to have the deepest mine shaft in the country. During this time fortunes were made and lost.  In the 18th century the Duke of Devonshire made a profit of over £300 000, said to have financed the building of the magnificent Crescent in Buxton.  Total ore production is estimated at over 100 000 tonnes and the copper was used mainly to make brass and bronze and to line the hulls of the many warships of the Royal Navy.  

Excavations in and near Thor's Cave in 1864–65 and 1927–35 found human and animal remains, stone tools, pottery, amber beads, and bronze items within the cave itself and the adjacent Thor's Fissure Cavern. The caves are estimated to have contained the burial sites of at least seven people. Finds suggest the cavern was occupied from the end of the Palaeolithic period, with more intensive use during the Iron Age and Roman periods.

Features

  • Toilets available
  • Car parking available
  • Dog friendly

Starting point

Grid reference:
SK 10900 55156
Nearest postcode:
DE6 2AF
what3words:
episode.tilts.busy
Start time:
10:00 am

Free car park near public toilets in Wetton

Join the Ramblers and enjoy

  • unlimited free access to 50,000 Ramblers group walks
  • a library jam-packed with thousands of tried-and-tested routes
  • a welcome pack teeming with top tips plus our quarterly Walk magazine
  • exclusive discounts from our partners
  • knowing your support is opening up more places to walk and helping more people discover the joy of walking