A walk from YHA Youlgreave where history blurs into legend. See stone circles, a hidden cave, a rocky playground, an island of heather and limestone streams.
8.9 miles (14.3 km)
Walking time:
05h 00m

Start location

Youlgreave Youth Hostel

lat: 53.1751088

lon: -1.6866203




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Getting there

By bus:  Service 171 Bakewell - Youlgreave. No Sunday service.



Turn left out of the hostel, left into Holywell Lane and left into Brookleton. A path at the end leads down into Bradford Dale. Continue downstream to the road, cross the clapper bridge (where you meet the short walk), go straight on to the road and turn right. Turn left in 50 yards to join the Limestone Way. Pause at the crest of the rutted farmtrack for the view. In front is Castle Ring (A), believed to be a late Bronze Age hill fort. Behind, you have a good view of the village and surrounding limestone countryside. Curve left down to a gate and bear left with the Limestone Way to enter woodland; be aware of the exposed roots across the path.


Turn right along the lane. The distinct pinnacles of Robin Hood’s Stride come into view as you climb. Turn left at the Limestone Way signpost and head towards the Stride, via the stile to the left of the path. Look left to the 4 remaining standing stones of Nine Stone Close. Climb up to the Stride (B) and follow paths round to the right for the recommended and safest access to the pinnacles, accessed via a short scramble up through a gap. Legend has it that Robin Hood leapt from one to the other to evade capture. The pinnacles also look like chimneys on the roof of a ruin, which led to the alternative name of Mockbeggars Hall. Some of the hundreds of carved initials date back to the 1800s. Return the way you came, cross the fence stile, ignore the track dipping right and go straight on through the gateway across pasture to a stile, which should be accessed with care. Turn right alongside the wall, pass two big trees and beneath huge boulders to a yew tree, behind which is hidden the Hermit’s Cave (C). On the back wall is a 14th Century carving of the crucifixion. On the way back, pass through the gap and follow the path along the topside of the wood. This descends to a gate stile. Continue ahead down alongside the wall on your right. To your left is the popular climbing crag of Cratcliff Tor.


Leave the Limestone Way at the bottom of the farmtrack and turn left along the main road. Turn right on the footpath to Birchover just past an old milestone on the left. The path ascends to a stile before levelling out. Take the left fork upon reaching a farmtrack and stay on the level. Keep ahead up the rough lane and turn left through a gap at a telephone pole 70 yards before reaching the village. Follow the path behind the pub to Rowter Rocks (D). This extraordinary maze of tunnels, rock chambers, steps and carved seats is romantically linked with druids, hence the name of the inn, but is in fact the folly of one man, an eccentric parson called Thomas Eyre, who carved out his own little utopia here in about 1700 to impress his friends. Take care, particularly with children, as there are many dead ends and tight squeezes. Backtrack and find an easier route. Return the way you came and continue to the road, where you have the Druid Inn and the Red Lion a short distance along the road. Both serve real ale and lunchtime meals.


Take the path opposite the Druid Inn (also accessible from beside the Red Lion). This wooded ridge has evidence of old quarry workings; the reason for Birchover’s existence. Emerge into a car park and turn left along the road past a still thriving stone quarry. Turn right 30 yards beyond a blocked quarry entrance to reach a kissing gate where there is an interpretative panel for Stanton Moor. Over 70 Bronze Age burial (or more accurately cremation) mounds have been excavated on the isolated gritstone island of Stanton Moor. Father and son, JC and JP Heathcote dedicated 30 years to surveying the moor and collecting artefacts; the most notable and visible monument being the Nine Ladies stone circle with accompanying Kings Stone. Ignore the left fork at the Cork Stone (E) and keep straight on through the heather. Go over the cross-path and branch right on a narrow path skirting the rhododendrons to a National Trust sign and information panel. Cross the stile and keep forward past the outcrop for a viewpoint along the Derwent Valley towards Darley Dale and Matlock. Note the outline of Riber Castle on the horizon. Return to the fence and follow it right along the edge. Turn left at the junction and stay with the fence to reach the Earl Grey Tower, a tribute to the Prime Minister who carried the Reform Bill through Parliament in 1832. No, it doesn’t serve tea. Cross the stile behind it and bear right to reach the Nine Ladies (F). Turn right at the information panel and follow the main path to a road.


Turn left down through the village of Stanton-in-Peak, passing Stanton Hall, the seat of the Thornhill family (the initials WT carved on the door lintels of some of the houses stand for William Thornhill), the church and pub (popular with real ale enthusiasts but closed Mon and Tue). Cross the B road at the bottom of the hill to the footpath opposite and follow the faint line NW, passing a small ruin to join the lane at a gate. Continue along the lane for 150 yards to a signed footpath on the right, leading into a caravan park. Follow the signs for Alport to a metal gate and head for the far corner. Continue alongside the wall through another caravan park and into Alport along the higher road. Go straight on into woodland at the bend after 100 yards, cross the river and turn left to the main road, where you have a choice of two routes. Cross over at the phone box to the Conksbury footpath and follow this alongside the Lathkill to Raper Lodge. Turn right to the bridge (G) to view the clearest river in Derbyshire and for a final break in idyllic surroundings. Return and ascend the lane past Raper Lodge, turn left at the road and right at the church to the youth hostel. Alternatively, turn left at the phone box and follow the old coaching road beside the river. A grassy shortcut leads to a packhorse bridge, but don’t cross it. Continue over the road and use your outward route back up to the hostel.


For bookings visit or call 0800 0191 700 or 01629 592 700

Hostel number 0845 371 9151 email

Problem with this route?

If you encounter a problem on this walk, please let us know by emailing If the issue is with a public path or access please also contact the local highways authority directly, or find out more about solving problems on public paths on our website.

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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