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Ilam and Musden Woods

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Ilam and Musden Woods
Author: Marie Prime, Published: 21 Jun 2017 Walk Rating:star0 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide star0 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide star0 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide star0 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide star0 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide
Staffordshire, Staffordshire moorlands
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Ilam and Musden Woods
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide boot Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide boot Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide
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0004_black_low_cloud Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Today's weather
16 °C, Overcast, Wind: 4 mph SSW
Next few days: Hover over icon for more info.
0018_cloudy_with_heavy_rain Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide 0017_cloudy_with_light_rain Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide

A 5 mile circular walk starting from the National Trust's Ilam Park in the Staffordshire Peak District. A pleasant stroll through the parkland and on through Musden Woods, an interesting woodland that during the spring has wild primroses, wild garlic and bluebells.

The paths in the parkland are well made but the route through the woodland can be muddy in places even during the summer. Also in the woods you may encounter fallen trees across the path, but these can be passed by either stepping over or walking around them. You will negotiate several types of gates, a river footbridge plus around 10 stiles along the route. The stiles include squeeze stiles, fence stiles and wall stiles - some are quite tall and some quite narrow, so some dogs may need a hand over (see Gallery for stile photos that will help you judge the suitability for your own dog). Some of the fields are likely to he holding livestock (both sheep and cattle). Toilets and refreshments can both be found at the estate visitor centre and there are plenty of grassy areas around the estate to sit and have picnics. There is a small play area for children, this is located behind the visitor centre. A caravan site is also located on the estate.

The first Ilam Hall was built in the Elizabethan period for the Port family. In 1809 the the family sold Ilam to David Pike Watts, a wealthy brewer from London. When Watts died his daughter Mary, inherited the estate. Mary went on to marry Jesse Watts-Russell, an MP and High Sherriff of Staffordshire. Watts-Russell brought in John Shaw to design a new house, which was built by 1826, and the ornate Italianate garden designed at the same time. By the 1930s the house had become derelict and was sold for demolition. Sir Robert McDougal stepped in; he purchased what was left of the house and gave it to the National Trust, on the understanding that the house be used as a Youth Hostel.

The walk starts from the pay and display car park located at Ilam Hall which is run by the National Trust, parking charges apply, £3.50 for up to 4hrs or £5 for longer (correct Jun 2017). There are a limited number of free spaces located in the village, but these fill up very quickly.

From the centre of Ashbourne, travel along the A515 for just under 2 miles heading towards Buxton, turn left onto Spend Lane (signposted for Thorpe/Dovedale), follow this for just under 2 miles, then at a sharp left-hand corner, turn left onto Wintercroft Lane. Follow this passing through Thorpe and on to the next village, which is Ilam. The approx post code for Ilam Hall is Ashbourne DE6 2AZ.

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Walk Sections

Start to Enclosed Avenue
Start to Enclosed Avenue

Start point: 53.0541 lat, -1.8057 long
End point: 53.052 lat, -1.8071 long

With your back to the car park's vehicle entrance, walk to the top left-hand corner of the car park and follow the path to reach the visitor centre (which is on the right). Turn left down a flight of steps then right along the top of the gardens with a line of benches on the right. Go through the gate ahead and turn left, go down a steep flight of stone steps. Follow the path as it meanders down to a riverside path and turn right.

Follow the path with the river on your left and shortly a rocky ridge will be on the right. Look out for water bubbling up into the river near the weir, these are known as boil holes and are from the waters of the River Manifold, which has traveled through caves, for four and a half miles from Wetton Mill (to the north west). Further on, the fenced-off grotto on the right is where the waters of the River Hamps also emerges, having traveled underground for three miles from the west.

Continue along the path until you reach an enclosed avenue, lined with large trees on the right and a short wall on the left. This is known as Paradise Walk. It was laid out in Victorian times for carriage rides to impress visitors to the Ilam Hall. The area under the trees is awash with bluebells and wild garlic during the spring.

Enclosed Avenue to Road
Enclosed Avenue to Road

Start point: 53.052 lat, -1.8071 long
End point: 53.0627 lat, -1.8096 long

Proceed along the path to a large stone (enclosed within a fence) on your right. A small plaque here describes the history of this unusual stone, stating it was probably of the same date as two cross shafts located in Ilam churchyard, being of the 11th century.

Keep on the path as it curves right for some distance before going through a wooden gate. During the summer the river here is usually dry as water disappears underground further upstream at Wetton Mill, before re-emerging at the boil holes you passed earlier. Keep on along the path. After a short distance, ignore a path on the left that leads to a bridge (but take note as this is crossed on the return route), instead continue forward over a metal squeeze stile and keep on along the path to reach and pass through a further wooden gate. Go forward over the field and continue until you pass through two small gates to reach the road.

Road to Waymarker into Woods
Road to Waymarker into Woods

Start point: 53.0627 lat, -1.8096 long
End point: 53.0597 lat, -1.8172 long

Taking care as there is no pavement, turn left along the road passing a cottage on the left and on to go through a gate to the left of a cattle grid. Shortly the road splits. Go left here and follow this quiet lane for just over a quarter of a mile, crossing a stone bridge and going through a gate beside a cattle grid to reach a farm. As the lane bends right, go straight on through Rushley Farm, which has buildings on either side of the lane. At the end of an area on the right which contains animal pens and before reaching a second cattle grid, turn right along a waymarked path.

Waymarker into Woods to Woodland Exit Gate
Waymarker into Woods to Woodland Exit Gate

Start point: 53.0597 lat, -1.8172 long
End point: 53.0532 lat, -1.8389 long

Pass through a small wooden gate, and, keeping a wall on the left, continue on this narrow, sometimes boggy path to go through a second gate. Keeping a wall and wire fence on the left, walk around the edge of the field to reach and cross a wooden stile beside a gate. Continue following the waymarked path as it meanders up through the woodland keeping a stone wall and then a fence on the left. At the next fence stile, keep ahead. Go through two more gates as you walk through the woodland on its sometimes narrow and boggy path. The woodland thins out, continue to go through a third gate, here you leave the woodland (this is an approximate distance of one and a quarter miles from leaving the farm).

Woodland Exit Gate to Gate into Fields
Woodland Exit Gate to Gate into Fields

Start point: 53.0532 lat, -1.8389 long
End point: 53.0476 lat, -1.84 long

The area now opens out as you keep on up the valley with a wall on the left. Go through a small gate and on over the next field, following the left hand boundary. Cross a farm track and continue heading towards the houses in the distance, passing through two more gates to reach the road. Turn left up the road (again no pavement so take care) and at the crossroads turn left again heading towards Ashbourne. Pass a cottage on the left and shortly you reach a waymarker on the left. Go through a gate here into the fields.

Gate into Fields to Small Wooden Gate
Gate into Fields to Small Wooden Gate

Start point: 53.0476 lat, -1.84 long
End point: 53.0496 lat, -1.8349 long

Veer right across the corner of the field to cross a fence stile; continue over the next field to a tall stile in the hedge beside a telegraph pole and to the left of a farm. Cross the next field heading diagonally to the far corner where you cross a wall stile. Keep straight ahead over the next field heading for a further wall stile (which is marked by a yellow mark on a telegraph post and is to the right of a cottage). Go over the next field, go through a wooden gate located in the hedge ahead and join a lane. Turn left along the lane, following this round the boundary of the farm and, just before reaching a cottage, turn right through a small wooden gate which is located to the right of a large metal farm gate.

Small Wooden Gate to Public Footpath Sign
Small Wooden Gate to Public Footpath Sign

Start point: 53.0496 lat, -1.8349 long
End point: 53.0566 lat, -1.82 long

Walk up the field keeping the hedge on the left. At the top go through a further gate. Fantastic views can now be seen. Head left towards a wall. On reaching the wall, turn right and follow this heading gently downhill. At a wall corner go slight left heading toward a barn, the area just before the barn narrows and can be very muddy as it is often churned by cattle as they graze here. Pass the barn and shortly leave the track, heading right up across the field to a stile in the right-hand corner. Once over the stile go forward over the next field, veering to the right and passing two upright marker stones to reach a gap in the wall at a public footpath sign. (Please note that in March 2017 this sign was broken and was lying on the floor).

Public Footpath Sign to Gate by Large Tree
Public Footpath Sign to Gate by Large Tree

Start point: 53.0566 lat, -1.82 long
End point: 53.0568 lat, -1.8117 long

Go right, follow the wall on your right and on through a second gap in the wall ahead. Follow the indistinct path downhill, heading in the general direction of Thorpe Cloud (the flat topped hill in the distance). Go through a gate and over the field to a squeeze stile beside a large tree.

Gate by Large Tree to End
Gate by Large Tree to End

Start point: 53.0568 lat, -1.8117 long
End point: 53.0541 lat, -1.8058 long

After crossing the next field go through a small gate and cross a footbridge over the river (this is the one we passed along the early part of the walk). At the far end of the bridge, turn right and, shortly before reaching a gate, take a cobbled path off to the left. At the end of the cobbles bear slight left and then right heading for the caravan park ahead. Turn right through a large metal gate and then turn left to go back to the car park and the end of the walk.

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network Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author mumnpets and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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12 gallery images for "Ilam and Musden Woods"

8484_0mumnpets1497884423 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017
visitor centre
8484_1mumnpets1497884424 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017
gate to road
8484_2mumnpets1497884424 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017
Farm
8484_3mumnpets1497884424 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017
Stile into woods
8484_4mumnpets1497884424 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017
Stile in woods
8484_0mumnpets1497887855 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017

8484_1mumnpets1497887875 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017

8484_2mumnpets1497887876 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017

8484_3mumnpets1497887877 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017

8484_0mumnpets1497888003 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017

8484_1mumnpets1497888003 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017

8484_2mumnpets1497888003 Ilam and Musden Woods Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2017

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