Walking Guide: Bolsover Castle to Sutton Scarsdale Hall
This 11km (7 mile) circular walk links two of Derbyshire's many castles and historic houses: glamorous Bolsover Castle and the ruin of Sutton Scarsdale Hall.
Facing each other across a valley with the M1 rumbling in between, both were built on land belonging to William Peveril after the Norman Conquest. That's where the similarities end, but you can discover the landscape which connects them on this walk.
Muddy boots warning: this route crosses several fields - stay on the footpaths. Please also note that livestock may be grazing along the route so keep your dog on a lead.
- DISTANCE - 11km (6.8 miles) circular walk. 2.5-3hrs walking time. Allow extra time to visit both sites - at least an hour at Bolsover Castle.
- TERRAIN - Up and downhill through fields. Some sections are steep and there are stiles to climb over - study footwear is advisable.
- TRANSPORT- Parking is available at Bolsover Castle if you're visiting the site.
- FOOD & DRINK - Bolsover Castle has a cafe and toilet facilities. More cafes and pubs are available in the town of Bolsover too.
- ACCESS & DOGS- Livestock may be grazing along this route, so keep your dog on a lead. The route isn't suitable for pushchairs or people with limited mobility.
- MAP REFERENCE - OS Explorer 269
Views from this walk
This walk starts (and ends) at Bolsover Castle, so you can explore this fairytale Stuart mansion either at the start or end of your day. You'll get a fantastic view over your route from the Terrace Range. The toilets and cafe here are the only facilities on this route, so make sure you're prepared before you set off.
0.2kmLeaving Bolsover Castle
Come out of Bolsover Castle and follow the road round to the right, then turn right again down Castle Lane. The road curves down and around the hill - as it turns back round to the left, follow the footpath sign through the trees, along the tarmac path off to the right.
You'll come out at an open field with Bolsover Castle above on your right. Turn left down the hill and follow the path parallel to the hedge until you get to the bottom of the field.
0.55kmPast Bolsover New Model Village
At the end of the field, continue straight for around 400m though two gates/stiles, passing first a field and then New Bolsover Model Village on your left. This was built by the Bolsover Colliery Company in the 1890s as houses for its employees.
Eventually you'll get to Villas Road. When you do, turn left and follow it for 250m until the road takes a sharp left up hill. At this point, continue straight on a rough track with a field on your right. After 100m, the track turns a sharp right - continue following it around the corner for about 250m, until you reach a crossing with the Stockley Trail.
1.5kmThe Stockley Trail
This trail is a wildlife corridor running parallel to the River Doe Lea. It follows a former Midland Railway branch line, which served the nearby coal pits at Bolsover and Glapwell.
Follow it to the left for around 500m. At this point, you'll reach an intersection of paths - turn right here.
2.0kmOff Towards Sutton Scarsdale
After about 100m, go across a small footbridge (the Millennium Bridge) into a field with a small lake in the middle. This is called Carr Vale Flash. Walk to the left and skirt around the edge of the water, heading towards a stile on the opposite side of the field. Carr Vale Flash is part of a larger wetland reserve - one of the best places in Derbyshire for birdwatching.
2.35kmAcross the Fields
Follow the footpath sign diagonally to the left across a wide field. After about 450m, close to a line of electricity poles, continue on bearing slightly left (towards the M1). The ruins of Lodge Farm will be on your right. When you reach the former farm access road, walk along it to the left towards Palterton Lane.
3.3kmOver the M1
Turn right over the motorway bridge and walk up the lane. After about 300m - just before you get to a house - turn right at a footpath sign. Follow the track for 600m towards Sutton Scarsdale Hall, through what used to be part of the estate. You can view the house from a distance here. To get closer, you'll need to go through the farm and enter via the main gates.
7.25kmUnder the M1
Turn right along a farm track under the M1. At the other side, keeping the hedge on your left continue along the track for 500m. When you get to gate in the corner of the field, continue straight on into the next field until you reach a stile by a gate.
Go over the stile and cross the field angling very slightly to the right, heading for another stile opposite. In this next field, follow the footpath sign diagonally right towards Mill Farm. Go through the new gate but before you get into the farmyard, cross a stile on the right which takes you into the nature reserve.
7.25kmBack Through Bolsover
Now you're in the Peter Fiddler Reserve. Follow the track left, crossing back over the River Doe Lea, until you get to an autosupplies warehouse. Turn left out of the reserve and walk along Riverside Way back to the roundabout with the A632.
Turn right here and walk along the pavement, staying on the right hand side of the road, until you read a crossroads with Villas Road on your right and Woodhouse Lane on the left. Turn right down Villas Road but almost immediately enter the field on your left, following the footpath up towards Bolsover Castle.
At the top of this field, you'll be back into the first field that you entered. To finish the walk, retrace your steps to the top right hand corner of the field and back up Castle Lane to the castle entrance. Alternatively, you can extend your walk to visit Bolsover Cundy House.
ExtensionBolsover Cundy House
This charming cottage-like 17th century conduit house, with vaulted stone-slab roof, once supplied water to Bolsover Castle.
You can add in a detour to see the Cundy House by heading to the top left corner of the last field (almost beneath Bolsover's Little Castle) and cutting through the footpath back to the main road.
Once you're at Station Road, take the footpath between houses cutting through to Houghton Road. The Cundy House is in the area of greenery to the right, between junctions of Craggs Road and Houfton Road with Bolsover Hill.
4.5kmSutton Scarsdale Hall
HALF WAY POINT
To get to the hall itself, follow the footpath around the ha-ha ditch and through a farmyard up to the main road. When you reach the road, turn left and then left again at the gates. There's a postbox and a brown sign pointing the way.
Follow this road back to the hall for a look around. Sutton Scarsdale hall was originally built in 1724-29 around a much earlier building, but has been a shell for almost 100 years. Its interiors were dismantled and shipped to America in 1919. The building is currently undergoing phases of conservation and repairs, so you can only view it from the outside.
When you're ready to head back towards Bolsover Castle, retrace your steps to outside the ha-ha where the path forks.
5.6kmBack Across the Fields
Facing the track that you originally approached Sutton Scarsdale along, bear left downhill along another farm track towards two big trees. This takes you diagonally across two fields back towards the M1. When you get down to the bottom, pass through the kissing gate and turn left walking parallel to the motorway. Cross over a stile and continue 360m to the farm tunnel.
We've had reports of people having trouble following the footpath parallel to the motorway. If you encounter an obstruction, please take care. More details on Rights of Way and how to report obstructions can be found on the local authority website here.
End of WalkDistance: 11km (6.8 miles)
Reward yourself with a slice of cake and a drink in the café back at Bolsover Castle, or in the town of Bolsover itself.
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