Cressbrook Peak District Information Website - accommodation, holiday cottages, attractions, towns villages, walking climbing cycling

Peak District walk along Deepdale and River Wye to Sheldon, Derbyshire

This starts from the bank of the River Wye at the bottom end of Monsal Dale and climbs steeply up to Sheldon, before returning to the valley. Some good views and industrial archaeology in the form of disused lead mines.

Deepdale and Sheldon


Route Info
walk mapDifficulty level: 2  (1 to 5 scale - 1 is easy)
Distance: 10.00 km    Ascent: 150m
Estimated time: 2:45 hours
Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 map sheet(s): 119
The Outdoor Leisure 24 - White Peak 1:25000 scale
map covers this walk also

This is a brisk 8 or 10 kilometre circuit starting from the bank of the River Wye at the bottom end of Monsal Dale and climbing steeply up to Sheldon, a quiet little village high on the plateau above, before returning to the valley. There are some good views and industrial archaeology in the form of the many disused lead mines of the area.

Monsal Dale from Sheldon
Monsal Dale from Sheldon
Park at a picnic site and car park at the side of the A6 at the bottom of Taddington Dale, at its junction with Monsal Dale. From the car park take an easy path which heads initially south-east across fields. Where it meets a wall with a stile you will see to your right a narrow rocky defile which is the bottom of Deepdale. Turn up the defile and continue up it for some way, until the chasm opens out into a steep-sided but grassy valley, the main part of Deepdale. In spring this valley is lush with flowers and is a good place to find orchids and cowslips - there are usually lots of rabbits too.

Continue pleasantly up the valley following the left-hand side of the wall and enjoying the scenery. About half-way up you will see the spoil-heap from the first of many lead-mine just over the wall to the right. This is the remains of the a shaft on the Townhead vein, which has been re-opened by the Peak District Mines Historical Society and a climbing shaft inserted to allow entrance to their members.

Towards the top of the Dale you pass through a gate to the right-hand side of the wall up the centre of the dale. Soon afterwards there is a stile on the left and a path heading uphill. Either take this path or continue further up the valley to a cart track close to the road at the top of the dale and take another, similar path up the side of the dale on the left. It really doesn't matter which path you take, they both lead eastwards across the fields to emerge just west of Sheldon village.

From Sheldon village there are two alternative routes. The shorter and simpler takes the muddy track past the church. Follow this path for 200m, ignoring a branch to the right, and then pass through a stile in the left wall, not far before a closed-off shaft head in the field. Go past the shaft head (which is covered by concrete railway sleepers), across the field and on in the same direction (north-west) following a series of stiles over the walls.

Sheldon Village
Sheldon Village
Soon you reach the first of two mounds which mark the remains of the Fieldgrove mine, one of the larger leadmines of the area. Before you reach the second mound, the path turns sharp right into a field. Follow this with the wall on your left, until you reach a stile in the wall. Pass through this and follow the edge of the field to reach the corner of the wood at the edge of the escarpment. On a good day there is a spectacular view from here across to Brushfield Hough and Monsal Dale to the north. From the corner of the wood, head down a narrow dale overhung with beech trees, down which the path makes a steep (and often slippery) descent. Near the bottom you meet a path coming through the wood from the right (the alternative route), and turn left and follow the path downhill to meet the Deepdale path at the start of the original ravine.

The alternative route is rather longer and takes a wide sweep through the woods below Sheldon and down to the River Wye. First, head through Sheldon village and take a path which descends a grassy dale past the sewage works just outside the village itself. This then descends a heavily wooded dale with evidence of quarrying lower down. Another dale comes in from the left, and the path continues down a narrow dale to emerge from the wood and cross a field between two woods before reaching the wide path which follows the side of the river.

Turn left (upstream) enjoying the fine scenery, to pass a small ruined mill. A little further on you will see a stream emerging from a tunnel in the bank. This is the tail of Magpie Sough, a drainage sough (or tunnel) driven to drain the Magpie mine in the 1860s. The sough is 3km long and took 8 years to build! From here the path continues for a while alongside the river and past fishponds which belong to the local angling club before winding uphill a little into Great Shacklow Wood. Soon you meet a path coming down the impressive descent of Great Shacklow Steps, but continue straight on until you emerge from the wood and meet the alternative route coming down the steep dale at the edge of the wood.

Wild pansies (Viola)
0 - Wild pansies (Viola)
Early purple orchids
1 - Early purple orchids
Deepdale (Sheldon)
2 - Deepdale (Sheldon)
Sheldon Cottages
3 - Sheldon Cottages
Monsal Dale view from Sheldon
4 - Monsal Dale view from Sheldon