Arbor Low, ‘the Stonehenge of the North’, caps a modest hilltop at the heart of the Peak District. The function of this spectacular henge can only be guessed at. Its fortunate location amid a fine tracery of stone walls, sewing together the White Peak’s limestone plateau, offers a grand ramble from the old lead-mining centre of Monyash, huddled round its village green and dewponds, into sublime Lathkill Dale.
From Monyash green, join Rakes Road for Newhaven and Youlgreave. Where this bends sharply right, depart left on the lane, then left again in 50 yards onto a rough track. This ends at a handgate near a stand of beech. Walk 70 yards then use the Limestone Way handgate. Grassy pits mark the sites of long-abandoned lead mines. At the next handgate, head half-right, leaving the Limestone Way. Pass right of the pylon to a gate; this path is well waymarked for Middleton and Arbor Low. Several stiles and gates bring you to a farm driveway. Turn right and follow signs for Arbor Low. Turn right again along the road – take care as lorries use this.
In under half-a-mile, turn left for Arbor Low’s 59 stones. The monument is beyond the farmhouse; interpretation boards detail its history, starting 6,000 years ago. The commanding henge embankment, tumbled limestone menhirs and the nearby Gib Hill Barrow are an astounding sight; a powerful evocation of past beliefs. Return to the road and retrace your steps to the farm driveway.
Keep ahead on this, then bend left at the entrance to Cales Farm. The field road curls round the top of a dale; look carefully for the tiny handgate, right, into access land. Slip along the lip of Cales Dale for 100 yards; then scramble down to the dale bottom. A path winds down this chasm, a beautiful route between limestone cliffs dressed with ash trees, mosses and vivid green ferns.
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Back to Monyash
Keep downhill and cross the footbridge in Lathkill Dale. Turn left up this limestone canyon studded with caves and rich in wildflowers. Beyond gates it declines to a gentle vale. At the road, cross left onto a path which continues up the shallow Bagshaw Dale to a lane at the edge of Monyash.
How to get there
Monyash is on the B5055 eight miles south-east of Buxton and five miles south-west of Bakewell. Park in Jack Mere car park in Monyash. Daily buses run to Monyash from Buxton and Bakewell.
Find out more
Bakewell Visitor Centre
The Old Market Hall
Bridge Street, Bakewell
The Old Smithy
The Green, Monyash DE45 1JH
A favourite with ramblers and cyclists. Try their renowned all-day breakfast.
The Bull’s Head Inn, Monyash DE45 1JH
Three rooms in a convivial village inn, with local real ales and good filling fodder.
Bakewell DE45 1LA
The definitive fortified medieval manor house, featured in countless films and TV dramas.