Ambergate & Betty Kenny's Tree.

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1 Walk Information Walk Area: Ambergate OS Map: Explorer OL24 Distance: 4 Miles White Peak Area Start Point: Holly Lane, Ambergate 1:25000 Map Ref: SK Post Code N/A General Information Altitude Data Parking: Road Side Start: 246 ft (75m) Tea Shops: None Minimum 226 ft (70m) Duration: 2 Hours 15 Minutes Maximum 595 ft (182m) Altitude Profile An interesting walk through Shining Cliff Woods, but unfortunately not a tea shop in sight. I have included this walk as it is almost the route of first walk I ever undertook when I moved to Derbyshire almost two decades ago. This is a walk through woodland and countryside with some with one or two steep climbs. The main point of interest at the highest point of the walk is "Betty Kenny's Tree" in Shining Cliff Woods, was once a charcoal burner s home. His children were supposedly rocked to sleep in the tree s branches, which may have been the original cradle in the nursery rhyme rock-a-bye baby. The route then returns through an area of woodland that has belonged to the Grith Pioneers since the 1930's. Getting There: Ambergate can be found on the A6 around six miles south of Matlock, and two miles north of Belper. It can also reached from the A38 by exiting at the Ripley junction then taking the A610 signposted Ambergate. It is also possible to get to Ambergate by train from Matlock and Derby, and by bus from all major local towns, or from further afield (Bakewell, Buxton and Manchester) via the Trans-Peak bus service. This walk has two start point's, there are two car parking locations, The first is Ambergate Station car park (clearly sign posted), the second roadside parking near to Birch Wood off Holly Lane on the left just over the river bridge from the A6. Unfortunately there are no tea shop locations on the walk, but the Corner Cafe in Ambergate (at the Junction of the A6 and the A610), and the Hurt Arms Hotel directly across from the same junction, both offer food and drink. Sheet 1 Of 5

2 Access by public transport is available by train from Matlock and Derby. By bus there are services from Ripley, Belper and Crich (services 142,143,and 144 not available on Sundays or Bank Holidays), plus the Trans- Peak service from Derby, Buxton and Manchester. The Walk: A large section of this walk is now way marked by Amber Valley Borough Council as Routeway 12 with the symbol below. From Ambergate Station walk down the steps and onto the road that leads to the A610. On reaching the A610 turn left and follow the road under the railway bridge to the junction with the A6. At the road junction turn left towards the Corner Cafe, cross the road where it is safe to do so (this is a very busy road so take extra care when crossing). Continue along the A6 towards Belper then turn right down Ha'penny Bridge, Ambergate Holly Lane between the cricket ground and St Ann's Church. Walk down the lane and cross the River Derwent via Ha'penny Bridge, again be aware of traffic as this lane is quite narrow and has no footpath for most of it's length so please ensure that you keep to the right to face on coming traffic. After crossing the river turn right onto a private road that runs parallel to the River Derwent, continue along this track between Birch Wood and the fence until a path branches off down to the right as the private road approaches a house up on the bank to the left. This path has several large concrete blocks to prevent vehicular access, pass between these block and continue down the track and through the disused wire works until woodland is reached at the end of the disused factory buildings. Shortly after leaving the old wire works a the haunting view of a large old deserted house can be seen to the left with it's turret poking through the tree line. After passing this ruin the path splits with the YHA sign posted off to the left, continue forward along the path following the fence line and the Routeway 12 marker posts (round posts around a meter high with a white band and the Routeway marker arrow attached to the top). A short way further on a vehicle barrier bars the path, pass around the barrier and continue forward into Shining Cliff Woods. Sheet 2 Of 5

3 Shining Cliff Woods is an ancient woodland and was once part of a Royal Hunting Forest called Duffield Frith, currently the wood is designated as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) as it contains a very diverse range of plants and trees, which in turn support a large number of birds (finches, flycatchers, warblers, and other winter visitors) as well as many animal species (fox, squirrel, stoat, voles). Other areas have wonderful carpets of bluebells in spring. On entering Shining Cliff Woods continue along the track keeping to the right when the path splits after around a quarter of a mile, ignore the sign post suggesting taking the path to the left and continue ahead. The path continues to run roughly parallel to the course of the river for a further half a mile. The main path forks uphill to the left on reaching a block of conifer woodland (see image to the right), follow the white banded way markers to the left and up the hill deeper into the woods. While following the path up the hill (after getting past the fallen Birch tree - Feb 2010) the guide posts indicate a path to the right that lead up a steeper slope to the remnants of the Betty Kenny Tree. [See information panel at the end of this document.] On leaving the Betty Kenny Tree do not return the way you came but continue along the path beyond the tree and down the hill continuing to follow the way markers. On reaching a main footpath continue across the footpath and follow the track between the edge of the woodland and the stone wall that marks the boundary of Alderwasley Park. On the far side of the wall are fine views across the park land to Alderwasley Hall; once the home of the Hurt family, now a school. Continue along the path noting the holes in the base of the wall to allow wildlife free passage between the woods and the parkland, follow the path across the board-walks that cross a rather muddy section. To be honest I often find the path between the sections of boardwalk is far muddier than that the areas that the board-walks cross. Along this section of the walkway there are several sites where low fences woven from locally coppiced willow mark the route of the Betty Kenny's Tree. path, particularly near to the old disused quarry. Where the path passes close to the top the quarry, children and pets should be kept under close supervision as steep drops are at times quite close to the edge of the track. Having passed the board-walks and the quarry continue to follow the path as it climbs steadily through the woodland. Sheet 3 Of 5

4 On reaching the top of the hill there are fine views to the left across the Derwent Valley. On a clear day local landmarks such as Heage Windmill ( England's only working six-sailed windmill with a stone tower, still in use milling organic wheat flour) and the memorial tower at Crich Stand are visible on the far side of the valley. Beyond the view point continue along the way-marked path across the hillside through the woodland until it meets a much wider path at point marked by a rusting metal plaque showing that the route is entering an area of Shining Cliff woods that is under the ownership of the Grith Pioneers. Continue ahead and walk along the well used path down through the woods. Behind and to the right at this point the former Youth Hostel can clearly be seen on the hillside above the path. On reaching a second rusting Grith Pioneer plaque turn right and walk along the path (rough in places) until it passes over a fast flowing stream, once on the far side of the stream bear right once more and follow the path upstream to Peat Pit Pond. The pond is not immediately visible as the path approaches from below. Access tot he pond is via a wooden foot bridge across the stream, which is actually the run off from the pond. Beside the pond there is a bench, and some other seating formed from large logs. A nice place to sit and take a break and enjoy a snack or sandwich perhaps. Having made the short diversion to visit the pond re-cross the foot bridge and take the path ahead and slightly left up into the woodland. If the weather has been wet the section can be a bit muddy (and slippery) in places so take care. After a distance the path rises to join a vehicle track, cross the low chain placed to stop vehicles using the path you are walking and turn left to continue along the wider track. A short distance along the path you reach a house, and the track becomes a private road. Follow the road down past several more houses until you reach the point near the start of the walk where the the route left this private road the pass through the disused factories. Here there are two options; continue to retrace your steps back along the road ahead to the start point, or take wide vehicle track rising to the right after a few meters. If you decide to take the route to the right follow the path between the top of Birch Wood and a wall to open farmland. At various points along this path are tracks to the left down through Birch Wood, each of which return to the private road and Ha'penny bridge. My preferred decent through the wood is the final path immediately before the track meets the roadway. Again in spring Birch Wood has carpets of bluebells and other wild flowers. On reaching the base of Ha'penny bridge make your way back to which ever of the two start-points you chose to begin this walk. Sheet 4 Of 5

5 Betty Kenny's Tree. In Shining Cliff Woods stand the remains of an ancient yew (possibly around 2000 years old) known as the Betty Kenny's Tree. Betty's real name was Kate Kenyon, she and her husband Luke, a charcoal burner lived and worked in Shining Cliff Woods during the late 1700s. Betty and Luke made their home inside the spreading branches of the ancient yew; most probably a dwelling using the tree as it's main structure with a turf roof. The couple raised eight children in the shelter of this tree. Local legend has it that the babies were rocked to sleep in a hollowed out branch (bough) of the yew tree, and because of this it is believed to be the origin the nursery rhyme Rock-a-Bye Baby. The Nursery Rhyme Rock a bye baby on the tree top, When the wind blows the cradle will rock, When the bough breaks the cradle will fall, And down will come baby, cradle and all. The Kenyon's were much favoured by the Hurt family, who owned Shining Cliff Woods at the time, and it was they who commissioned the artist James Ward of the Royal Academy to paint their portrait. The poor state of the tree today is due to fire damage caused by vandals in the 1930's Sheet 5 Of 5

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