In 1984, a WEA group led by Joan Wragg revived the ancient custom of ‘Beating the Bounds’. They were able to gain permission to go on private land and so follow the boundary very closely. In the ancient tradition, at each boundary stone, people (particularly young boys) were ‘beaten, bumped or whipped’ on the boundary stones to remind them of the limits of their own parish. Several of the 1984 contingent were ‘bumped’, though beatings and whippings were not reported!
Inspired by this we have devised a walk using footpaths as close to the boundary of Crich Parish as possible. There are points when the boundary is not accessible as it goes through private land and there are times when the footpath used strays into a neighbouring Parish. Have your passports ready!
These instructions are as accurate as we could make them at the time of writing. However, you are advised to use them in conjunction with OS Explorer map no. 269. Paths can be very muddy in places and proper footwear is advised.
The walk is approximately 14 miles in length, but it is possible to break it down into more manageable sections. This is something we plan to do in future; for now you will have to use your OS map!
This is very much a work in progress; your feedback would be appreciated. Please email any suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start at Whatstandwell railway station (pay and display parking) for this first section of the walk. The boundary follows the banks of the River Derwent at this point and it is not possible to walk there, the nearest foot path being the canal towpath.
Go over the footbridge and turn right onto the canal. Walk approx 2 miles to the end of the canal then turn left signposted to Bullbridge and Fritchley. Follow the chain link fence and go over the stile. Keep going uphill keeping the fence a little on the right.
There is a way marker post. To the left of this take a small path going uphill in line with the overhead power line. This joins a broad grass track running across the hillside. Turn right on this and follow it gently uphill until a slow curve left with a stile is seen in the hedge straight on. There is a four-way path junction here. Follow the broad track round and it immediately becomes two parallel tracks. The right hand track is lovely being slightly sunken and under trees. Take this covered path which ascends next to the hedge boundary on the right. At the top of the hill this path runs towards Hagg Lane and Fritchley. Follow the track until you see a very small stream crossing it and at this point go over the stile on the right into the woodland. Descend this path crossing the small stream to the stile at the bottom. Through this you turn left onto the wide track and immediately through the gate/stile and follow this track to meet the main road at the top of Bullbridge Hill. Go across this road and follow Allen Lane to Fritchley Green. There turn right down Bowmer Lane and continue down this to the Water Works Gate which blocks the road. Take the footpath on the right to a footbridge, noting the Amber Valley 7 waymarker. Continue on the path and then cross the bridge adjoining the railway embankment wall, over a boggy stream. There is a handrail, and a squeeze stile at the end. Follow the path past the railway bridge to your right. (Those interested may wish to make a detour at this point over the railway bridge to the bridge over the River Amber, which marks the boundary at this point). For the main walk, make a right angled turn to the left at the railway bridge gate.
Carry straight on up the field and through the next 2 fields. Go through a stone stile and through 2 more fields. Just before the field boundary, take the stile on the right hidden in the trees, with a waymark arrow (AV7). Turn left and follow the path up the field to Lynam Road.
On the road on the left we can see the first boundary stone. It may be covered by the undergrowth.
Cross the road and take the driveway past Netherclose Farm, following the AV7 waymarker. Keep left through the gate and on through 3 stiles. Follow the path to the corner of the field. Note the ruined windmill on the right.
The squeeze stile on the left into the woodland is a boundary stone. On the woodland side, the stile is marked WB. We are currently in South Wingfield Parish.
Do not stay in the woodland, but step back into the field. On your left there is a modern metal stile gate. Go through this and follow the path on the right, following the field edge to the stile at the green lane. (At this point we leave AV7). Cross over this green lane through the farm gate and follow the path, which widens to a track, and ford a stream on stones just before Park Farm. Continue straight ahead to a mown path leading to Park Head.
Across from the bungalow you will see on your right evidence of old lime kilns. Turn left to cross the main road between South Wingfield and Crich to a small lane opposite and note the boundary stone on on the left.
Proceed along the lane towards Hill Top Farm, following the lane round to the right and then left, through the next farm and a gate across the bridleway. The next boundary stone is on top of the hill on private land.
Continue on the bridleway and through a gate following the arrow and descend the hill and down steps to Wild Lane. Turn left and walk up the road. About 50m further on the right in the wall is another boundary stone.
Continue up the road to a gateway on the right to Hollins Farm. (Another boundary stone is on Hollins Farm land). There are two gates - take the one on the right. Continue down the lane towards Hollins Farm and then follow the signed track to the left. At the end of the surfaced lane go through the stile into the field. Avoid the path diagonally to the left. Keep close to the hedge on the right downhill. After about 30 metres there is a poor stile on the right into the green lane. Follow the green lane to the left and continue through stiles at the side of the cottage and down their drive to Potters Lane.
Turn right onto the road and after about 50m turn left at the fingerpost. Go through a stile to the left of a gate and continue across the fields through two more stiles, then go diagonally right to a gap in the hedge in the corner. Follow the hedge in the next field to the stile and through this is a road. Go left along the road a short way and turn right at the sign post onto a path in the field. Follow this along the hedge. The fine Hollybush Farm buildings are seen ahead on the right. You will reach a timber stile in the field corner – cross the small stream on the stepping stones and through the gritstone stile in the hedge. The path goes left through trees and above the stream – a lovely place.
On reaching the wooden post with the arrow turn right and follow the edge of the field with the hedge on your right for the first section. Aim for the large gateway with large single stone post. Through this gateway turn left and go to the gate in the corner. Continue this line to the next hedge where there is a gap in the corner. Go through this, turn right and follow the hedge line (crops hide the path in season!) and reach a gateway and the Spring Farm track. Cross the cattle grid and walk up this farm track towards the red brick Spring Farm house until you see down on the right across the field a metal field gate and a stile and marker post in the hedge.
Go across (no sign of path) to this and through into the field bear diagonally left to the hedge on the right and find a stile. Go through this and keep the diagonal line left to the next stile in the top right hand corner. Over this turn right onto the green lane in the trees and soon bear left on the large track in the woodland with a stream down on the right. The track crosses Lindwaysprings Brook and it can get muddy here. Follow this broad track through the woodland to Springlane Farm and on to a road with Lindwaylane Farm opposite. Lovely old buildings. Turn left along the road, past the gates to the reservoir, passing Lindway Springs Farm.
At this point the boundary follows narrow roads with no footpaths, which are unpleasant to walk along, and then goes through private land, so we will divert through the pleasant village of Wheatcroft.
From Lindway Springs Farm turn left at a fingerpost stile into a field and go diagonally right uphill heading for an overgrown field corner. The brook and next stile are hidden in the trees just below this corner. Go over the brook and through the stile and go diagonally up the field to near the top left hand corner. Below this corner go into the next small field and again diagonally to the top left. There next to the large gate go through the stile onto the wide track and follow the track up to and past the Beech Farm house. Look for house date over the front door.
Go over the stile onto the road, turn left and go a short way downhill. Take the first wide track uphill on the right which Insert page here 4 Crich Heritage Partnership bears slightly right and the path crosses a lawn to a stile on the left. Go through this and go uphill to the right of the trees to the stile in the corner at the top of the field. Go through the stile and follow the right field boundary to near the next field corner and you will see another stile a short way on the left. Go through this and turn left and follow the wall to a stile and Shuckstone Road.
Go straight across the road through a stile and follow the field wall on your left. After the second stile the wall and path turn left and soon you will see Shuckstone Cross stone base on your right. This is the base for an ancient cross and a boundary stone. A 'shuck' was a robber and a murderer’. Examine this and then just after at the stile on the left turn diagonally right and go to the stile and a modern sign ‘Peak & Northern Footpaths Society‘ on a tall post. The old gritstone stile post has a C cut in it and is thought to be a Crich Boundary mark.
Before going through this stile go down the field edge for 20m and you will see on your right the old fine gritstone sunken water trough known as Holy Well - handy for the washing away of blood and sins! Return to the stile and go through it, following the path to Wakebridge.
In the next field take the left hand of the paths and you will see in the distance a large asbestos clad farm building which you are heading for. Follow the path and stile to pass this building. The path becomes walled on both sides. After this the parish boundary line can be seen as the field boundary with trees and a small brook down across the field on the right. Now the track goes downhill to Wakebridge Farm.
Follow the footpath diagonally across the field to a squeeze stile (not down the farm track). Turn right and cross the road and walk up the hill. Ignore the first finger post sign to Cromford Canal and continue up the hill to the bend and take the footpath through the squeeze stile. There is a gate marked “Pigs roaming loose” - continue through this one and the next. You then come out into Leashaw Wood, a deciduous wood. Follow the track through the trees. It is marked in places with red and blue paint spots on the trees.
Eventually you will meet the Holloway to Whatstandwell Road. Cross over and follow the footpath marked to the Cromford Canal. Cross over the stone bridge and take the gate and steps down to join the canal. The boundary is in the river now.
Walk along the towpath until you arrive back at Whatstandwell. Shortly before arriving at Whatstandwell if you look over the wall on your right you will see the old station platform which is where Florence Nightingale used to alight from the train to her home at Lea Hurst in Holloway.
Text and lots of walking by Peter Holden and Corinne Clemson.
Photographs by Peter Patilla, Ken Hawley and Peter Holden.
Edited and printed by Patricia Mangwana.