A Taste of the
Peak District, the Real Manifold Trail, not the Manifold Way …
The 'real' Manifold Trail
Why the 'real' Manifold Trail? The Manifold Trail is often confused with the Manifold Way (Manifold Track) probably because there are so many other 'trails' in the Peak District - the Tissington Trail, the High Peak Trail, the Monsal Trail ... so everyone assumes that the Manifold way is the Manifold Trail because it follows the trackbed of a former railway line. However, for those of us who actually know the Peak District well and actually pay attention and go walking, cycling, climbing and so on, here is the correct Manifold Trail information. The Manifold Trail is NOT a cycle route, it is purely a walking route other than the sections on minor roads and the section shared with the Manifold Track.
Maps - White Peak or Dark Peak
Guides to walking in the Peak - see the 'booksales' section of this site or try Pub walks, tea shop walks or classic walks (in association with Amazon). Click here for views from walks (large files so will be slow - you have been warned!). If you are looking for somewhere to stay, try our accommodation section for a selection of self catering and bed and breakfast holiday accommodation.
OK, here is the walk outline ...
The real Manifold Trail is a linear walk of about 23 miles from the Traveller's rest Pub in Flash to the Dovedale car park near Ilam village, essentially following the river Manifold from its source to its confluence with the river Dove. It passes through classic white Peak scenery of limestone features and passes, un-noticed by most, many locations of prehistoric settlements. The area was well used was used by our stone age and more recent ancestors because the area has many small caves tucked away in the valley sides.
The walk starts at the Traveller's Rest pub near Flash (Junction of the A53 Leek - Buxton road with the minor road to Longnor) and follows the Longnor road for about 1/2 mile before cutting SW and crossing the deeply-incised Manifold valley close to Flash Head. From there, it turns back east, regaining the Manifold Valley near Dun Cow's Grove. From there, the Manifold Trail route follows the flanks and bottom of the Manifold Valley, undulating it's way sinuously to the village of Longnor.
The peaceful village of Flash has not always been so quiet. The highest village in Great Britain (contested by the inhabitants of Wnlockhead in Scotland) has in fact had quite an industrial past with silk weaving, button making, coal mining and counterfeit money making. Longnor was also a busier place in the past as it was once a bustling market town. The imposing Market Hall stands at the head of the village square and is now a craft centre. Above the door, the market tolls are inscribed. Having said that, in holiday peak time, if you are doing just a stretch of the Manifold Trail either west or south of Longnor, it is best to get there early as it is a popular parking spot for local walkers.
After Longnor, the valley widens and truns south. The trail follows footpaths to reach a minor road near Brund. From there, with a little road walking and some footpaths across fields, the route reaches Hulme End. This is the only section in common with the Manifold Way (Manifold Track) which is the cycle trail. In fact, the official route of the Manifold Trail barely uses the Manifold Way at all, using the road and footpaths on the opposite side of the river until Wetton Mill. The routes then coincide until the wide flat area below the esoteric climbing venue of Beeston Tor. The Manifold Way passes to the west of the old railway tea room building, following the valley of the river Hamps, whilst the Manifold Trail breaks off left, along the track between the river and the tea room, following the river Manifold.
You then have a steady climb away from the river, followed by a descent which drops you onto the minor road close to Throwley Hall. Follow that SSE to Rushley where the road then abruptly turns north, crossing the river Manifold at Rushley Bridge. The road follows the meander of the river and where it turns south again, take the path alongside the river to skirt Ilam Park. At Ilam, cross the river Manifold for the final time and follow the path down the left bank, past its confluence with the river Dove to Coldwall Bridge. Here you cross the river Dove and take the path north to the car park at the southern end of Dovedale.
Ilam is a relatively modern settlement having been first built in the 16th century and it has a typical estate village 'chocolate box' appearance, not dissimilar to Ednesor and Beeley. The Hall is now a Youth Hostel and the estate is open to the public. The river Manifold flows underground from just after Wetton Mill and re-appears near Ilam, except after periods when there has been a lot of rain.
So there you have it, the outline of the real Manifold Trail.
Probably not necessary but just in case ... please make sure your party has the fitness and ability to complete the walk as planned, you are in charge and know your walking companions therefore, since we do not, we cannot accept any liability for mishaps along the way. This is purely an outline for information only. It is essential that you research the route beforehand and the navigation is up to you. If you cannot navigate, we can accept no responsibility for that either, the responsibility for a day out walking lies with the walk organiser.