HVL Walk 9:                Grindleford to Dore and Totley

The Route:    Grindleford station, Padley Gorge, Longshaw Lodge, Little John’s Well, Totley Moss, Totley Grove, Totley Brook Road, Dore and Totley station

Starting point:        Grindleford station. (G.R. SK 250788)

Distance:     6.6 miles (10.6 km)

Ascent:         853 feet (260 metres)

Map:   OS Outdoor Leisure No. 24, The White Peak, covers all but the final road section to Dore and Totley station

How to get there:   Daily local train service to Grindleford and Dore stations from Manchester and Sheffield.  Check train times as there are some lengthy gaps on weekdays.  Dore also has an express service to/from Manchester and Stockport except Sundays.

Grindleford Station
Photo by Martin Smith
The walk:      These instructions presuppose that you can resist the temptation of a visit to the famous Grindleford station café for one of its legendary chip butties.  Spare a glance too at the tunnel mouth, because this is the longest land tunnel on a British railway at 3½ miles. It took six years to drive this tunnel and a quarter of the Hope Valley line between Dore and Chinley is reckoned to be in tunnel!

From the top of the platform exit path go left along the rough lane which dips down to cross Padley Brook.  Pass the old mill and continue on the lane until you reach a sign directing you right, up another track, to Longshaw via Padley Gorge.  Climb this track and soon enter Padley Wood, a superb relict oak woodland, carpeted by bluebells in Spring and alive with birdsong. 

To your left you’ll spot a curiously shaped building that looks vaguely ecclesiastical.  This is a valve house for the great Derwent Aqueduct, which supplies water from the Derwent Dams to Derby, Leicester and Nottingham. 
Continue on the well-blazed path, with the river far below you on your right.  Ignore any paths leading down to the river, and any leading off to the left, but stroll steadily up the gorge until you emerge onto open moorland, with a view ahead to the gritstone outcrops of Carl Wark, Higger Tor and Burbage Rocks. 

Cross the wooden bridge and bear left, then ascend to the road.  Ignore the almost obligatory ice cream van, cross the road and go through the gate opposite.  Pass the National Trust’s information building and follow the obvious path into Granby Wood. 

This is another delightful woodland, from which you emerge to be greeted by a view over Longshaw Pond to Longshaw Lodge and, further to your left, a better view of the various gritstone tors. 

Longshaw Pond
Photo by Martin Smith
Continue ahead through another short belt of woodland before coming out onto open parkland with a deep ditch on your right.  This deters any thoughts of cutting the corner, despite there being a clear view to the right of your eventual route over the crest of the hill.  Keep on the path with ever widening views to the left, now encompassing Over Owler Tor and Mother Cap.

At a gate you re-enter woodland again and the ditch is now revealed as a proper “ha-ha”.  An easy stroll along the path soon leads to Longshaw Lodge, where there is a National Trust café and information point.
Longshaw Lodge was originally a hunting lodge for the Dukes of Rutland, but the entire Longshaw estate is now in National Trust ownership.

From the far end of the picnic tables an unsigned but obvious path leads off through the trees, eventually reaching a track.  Turn right here, following the sign to Wooden Pole.  The track skirts round the back of the lodge, passes through woodland and eventually comes out onto open moorland.

The view to the right is now even more extensive and it gets better as you progress.

Follow the grassy track for about 300 yards to a small outcrop of rocks and a stone trough below on your right.  This is Little John’s Well.  From here a flight of rough stone steps leads away to the left to climb the final slope. 

The view from the top is magnificent, extending to the hills at the back of Buxton.  All the Hope Valley, Lords Seat, Mam Tor, Kinder Scout and Bleaklow are in view, plus the nearer gritstone outcrops you have already seen.  It is worth stopping here for a moment to admire the sight before turning your back on it and beginning your tramp across the moor.

The path soon reaches the A625 road.  Cross with care and go through the gate opposite onto Totley Moss.

Despite the road sign at the junction indicating that you are in the City of Sheffield, you are actually still in Derbyshire at this point and will remain so most of the way into Sheffield, such are the vagaries of local authority boundaries.

The Totley Moss Road had been a “cause celebre” for a number of years because of its use by four-wheel drive motorists and trail bikes.  This first section is not too bad, having been repaired fairly recently, but nearer Sheffield the damage is all too obvious.  The prominent structure seen ahead is an air-shaft from Totley tunnel.

Totley Moss was part of the Duke of Rutland’s shooting estate and when the railway was built he insisted that all the air shafts, apart from this one, should be at the eastern end of the tunnel in order to avoid disturbing the grouse!

Damage to Totley Moss Road
Photo by Martin Smith
The broad track proceeds easily across the moor, with the Peak District view gradually disappearing behind and nothing but rolling moorland in view ahead. 

You suddenly realise that there is a view opening up ahead and it is extensive.  The first things to appear are the Trent power stations, but beyond them the faint line of hills betokens the limestone ridge on which sits Lincoln cathedral.  With binoculars on a good day you should be able to pick out the cathedral towers.  Naming the power stations is also an interesting geographical exercise.  As you begin to descend, the panorama of Sheffield appears, almost as a bird’s eye view.  See how many of the city’s major buildings you can identify from this vantage point.

The track now begins to descend quite steeply and here the damage to the track is at its worst, with huge ruts and variations of route carved across the landscape. 

The track had now been blocked off to 4 wheel drive vehicles, but is still used by motorcycles.  The damaged area does not seem to have had any remedial work done to it and it will take many years for vegetation to cover the mess.
Pass through a gate and onto a rough road, which descends quite steeply, taking a sweeping bend first to the left and then, rather more sharply, to the right, becoming surfaced at this point.  (It is possible to avoid this bit of road walking by going through a stile on the right just before the first bend and descending steeply across the hillside to another stile which brings you out on Moss Road again).  Two more air-shafts are in view ahead and the road passes between them.  When you reach the junction with Lane Head Road and Bents Lane, go left, but in about 100 yards go through a well hidden stile on your right and proceed diagonally across the cricket pitch, making for the field corner to the left of the Cricket Inn.  A gate leads out onto Penny Lane and here go right.  Follow this quiet lane down beside a stream until you reach another road junction by the Crown Inn.  Turn left here, into Hillfoot Road.

The railway emerges from its 3½-mile underground journey about 100 yards to your right at this point.  
Hillfoot Road is narrow and has no verge so take great care.  It would seem to be safer to walk on the left hand side of the road rather than the more usual right-hand side as you skirt the high wall belonging to Totley Grove House.  Where the wall ends, there is a stile on the right.  Go through this and into fields, still following the boundary of Totley Grove House.  The path leads down to Totley Brook.  Ignore the bridge to your left and continue alongside the stream, eventually joining the driveway to Totley Grove House.  Continue along the driveway until you emerge onto Totley Brook Road.  Go right and follow Totley Brook Road alongside the railway line, soon passing Totley Tunnel East signal box on your right and eventually joining the A621 road.  A quick saunter along the main road will soon bring you to Dore and Totley railway station.  Take great car crossing the main road, for the traffic is both heavy and relatively fast moving.  Hopefully you’ll be just in time for a train back to Grindleford.

Totley Tunnel East Signal Box