Lots of history on this walk in Derbyshire

Walk from Wetton and the Manifold Valley to Thor's Cave

Map Guide: OS Landranger 119 or Outdoor Leisure 24

Overview Countrywalker Grading
Walks through fields and along the river Manifold and a visit to Wetton Mill and Thor's cave. Moderate
Footpaths Time taken
Walking on tracks and in fields/ meadows and along the River Manifold. 4 to 4.5 hours (including breaks).
Starting/ End Positions Distance
Circular walk from the Car park at Wetton (DE6 2AF). 7 miles (11.2 Kilometres).

Park in the car park on Carr Lane in Wetton village. To start the walk, turn left out of the car park onto Carr Lane and continue 150 yards to the end and then turn left again at the road onto High Withes Lane. Walk to the top of the road, past the Royal Oak pub, and at the top turn right towards the sign that reads 'Back of Ecton'. Follow this track to the top of the hill and go through the gate at the top.

Wetton Hill in the Peak DistrictClimb the following stone stile and carry on to the sign post 'Wetton Hill'. Climb the stile here into a field and walk down the middle of the field to a stile in a fence. Cross this and continue down the field towards a wall with another stile.

You can see 'Back of Ecton' ahead in the distance. Continue down the hill keeping the wall on the left hand side of you. When the wall stops, continue ahead across the field heading for the far left hand corner in the distance, eventually over the small wooden bridge and up to the gate. Walk 230 yards up the next field to another gate. Go through this and follow the track a short distance to a small road above a house. Turn left here and follow the road for 220 yards around a steep right hand bend and up the hill to a signpost and gate on your right.

Wetton in the Peak DistrictOnce in the field, this path continues alongside the wall on your left hand side to a stile. Abandoned copper mines can be seen on the right hand side. Climb the stile ahead of you, still keeping the wall on your left, and then keep left in the next field. Carry on across a small and then a large field with a wall on your right hand side now and head towards the triangulation pillar on the summit of Ecton Hill (369M). Great views can be seen from this point all around. This is a great place to have a break and enjoy the views.

From here head north where the path starts to descend. Head for the gate with stile in the wall. Follow the path down the hill by the fence on your right. The path here is steep and can be slippery when wet so care must be taken. More ancient copper mines can be seen here on your left before you come to the Ecton Mine Engine House. Continue by following the path downwards to the old Powder House. Go past this on your left and through a gate near a large house (Castle Folly) on your left. Go through this and turn right once on the track and head down to Ecton Road. Turn right and over Dale Bridge and then turn left through a gate onto the Manifold Trail.

Walk along the track for around 3/4 mile until you come to a small road. Go through Swainsley Tunnel here which is around 200 yards in length. On the other side of the tunnel, follow the road for just over 1 mile to Wetton Mill where a refreshment break can be had at the side of the River Manifold. This can be very busy during Bank Holidays!

Thor's Cave in the Manifold Valley in the Peak DistrictContinue from the Mill on the road keeping the river on you left hand side for around a third of a mile to a wide footbridge with a gate across. Go through this and follow the track for around half a mile. Soon you will see Thor's Cave from the footpath high on the hill side on the other side of the river. You will come to a bridge on the left hand side, just below the cave where you will want to cross.

Follow the steep path up through the woodland for around a quarter of a mile to a gate at the edge of the woodland. You can take a minor detour up to Thor's Cave by turning right off the main track of this walk, but be warned it is steep and there are lots of steps and very busy during peak times.

Once in the field, carry on up the incline for another third of a mile through two fields. You will need to go through a gap in the wall on your left at the top onto Leek Road and then turn right. Walk along the road for around 70 yards and then turn right down School Lane. Continue for around 300 yards until you reach Carr Lane at the bottom. Turn left here and retrace your steps back to the car park.

Why not try downloading the route to an app on your device, like OsmAnd (Android , iOS) or GPX Viewer (Android , iOS).

GPX File Download

Walk last updated: May 2021