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Beeley


Beeley – Fallinge – Beeley Moor – Beeley Hilltop – Beeley

DISTANCE: Approximately 4 ½ miles

Start your walk at the small village green in Beeley with its solitary lime tree which can be found not far from Beeley Church. This narrow village street running down to the Devonshire Arms was at one time the main road from Chatsworth to Matlock but the width between the old stone walls made it impossible for modern day vehicles to pass and the by-pass on the outskirts of the village was constructed.

From the village green take the road running east which heads down past the village hall and the 17th century Beeley Hall on your left. Beeley Hall is of two and a half storeys with a porch on the first floor. It has a variety of mullioned and transomed windows and to the side is said to be a barn dated 1791 with cruck trusses which has now been converted into residential accommodation. Opposite Beeley Hall is the possibly earlier Norman House fronted by the remains of stocks. A small privately accessed building to the rear was at one time used as a cheese factory.

Turn right shortly after the Hall as the narrow road takes you down to a brook. Cross the path/bridge and follow the indicated footpath which ascends the hill to a stile then crosses a field and meets the road out of the village heading towards the moors.

Cross the road and continue on the footpath. At a metal gate after the first field, start walking uphill to a mound and series of dips then bear right and follow a track towards the woods. On entering the woods go left and ascend a good path through Smeltingmill Wood. You will come to two huge buttressed walls which lead to the remains of Burntwood Quarry.

Continue up the path until you come to a fabulous stream cascading down through the woods. Do not cross the high-sided wooden bridge over the stream but turn left and walk up the bridlepath, emerging into fields at the side of Fallinge Farm. Walk up past farm buildings heading left and continue along the track with Ravens Tor and Beeley Moor up to your right. Rising to 1250 feet, Beeley Moor contains more than thirty prehistoric barrows and cairns.

Follow the track from where there are superb views down to the Chatsworth Estate and through the Derwent Valley until you meet a road. You can now either turn right and walk up the road to a junction or take a concessionary path through the wooded plantation opposite. However, if you do go through the woods bear right at a junction of paths.

From the road junction above Hell Bank Plantation you turn left and follow the rough track which years ago was in fact the old carriage road from Chatsworth to Chesterfield. Over to your right on Bunkers Hill about ¾-mile distance is an ancient Bronze Age barrow known as Hob Hurst’s House, the traditional home of the goblin Hob o’ th’ Hurst.

Continue down the track with fabulous views all around you and after passing through a cluster of trees known as The Rounds you will shortly afterwards come to a farm. Take the footpath on your left which leads you through the yard and behind Beeley Hilltop. This 17th century gabled farmhouse was once the home of the Greaves family who together with the Saville’s was linked with Beeley village for five and a half centuries, memorials to them can be found in the little church at Beeley. Note the impressive ball-topped gateway now leading to a small orchard but which was probably the original main entrance.

Follow a track with a wall and trees on your left and then descend the fields crossing stiles until you return to Beeley village. Around Beeley there are several houses and cottages whose architectural features and style are attributed to Sir Joseph Paxton. They were designed for the 6th Duke of Devonshire and resemble some of the properties to be found at Edensor.

Beeley Church is dedicated to St Ann and was heavily restored in 1884 but it still retains a somewhat mutilated Norman doorway of about 1160. The 14th century tower has battlements and pinnacles, whilst in the churchyard is an ancient yew that was once a massive tree and is said to be as old as the oldest parts of the church.

Opposite Beeley Church is the Vicarage which is a substantial Victorian dwelling built in 1856.