Thor's Cave and The Manifold Valley
This hike takes you for a walk around the hidden Manifold valley from the sleepy village of Wetton. You’ll follow a subterranean river system and hike through one of the largest natural caverns in the National park.
Take the A515 between Buxton and Ashbourne. There is a free car park with facilities just across the villages staggered junction.
|When to do|
Yes. Big Hillsdale Farm OR Smith Fields campsites.
The hike starts from the car park in the little quiet village of Wetton. Follow the public footpath out of the village and towards Wetton Mill and the Manifold Valley – The River Manifold is subterranean and disappears underground for several miles at the Wetton Mill to reappear in Llam. Once out of Wetton village you will see a signposted farm track to Thor’s Cave that branches left.
Follow this farm track for half a kilometre and then climb right over the steps of the stile and down a small dale. Over the second stile contour around the hillside towards the mouth of the Cave, a spectacular 18m limestone opening.
After exploring the Cave, drop down the steps to your right and onto the Manifold Trail. Cross straight over the trail, across a stile, and up into Ladyside Wood following the trod to Grindon.
Aim for the church in Grindon where an adjacent laneway leads down towards Ossoms Farm, but before you reach the end of the laneway, and Ossom Farm, turn left onto a grassy bridleway and descend all the way down to the foot of Ossoms hill where you will meet a small stream.
Cross the stream and take a right, following Waterslacks, (the track parallel to the stream) all the way to Wetton Mill.
At Wetton Mill cross the stone bridge over the River Manifold. Follow the signed footpath through the farmyard and up the back of the Mill.
This path leads you into a narrow valley hidden between Sugarloaf and Wetton Hill. Follow the grassy path that goes around the left hand side of Wetton Hill.
Keep walking until you reach the tarmac lane leading to Manor House. Turn right here, climbing over the stile and across the brook. Follow the path up the back of Wetton Hill keeping the stone wall to your right. You do not summit the hill. After a short climb the grassy track will level off and lead you back down to the village of Wetton on an obvious path.
Before you travel home, stop for a meal and a drink at the warm and friendly Royal Oak Inn. Be sure to ask the owner about the famous toe wrestling championship held here each summer!
Peckish on route? Stop at the National Trust Tea Rooms in Wetton Mill for an ice-cream or a cuppa before the final climb.
Don't forget to wear shoes with good grip as the limestone rock features can get slippery in wet weather.
You can take the bus to get here too. The 405 Leek- Wetton runs Monday to Friday. The 443 Ashbourne to Wetton Thursdays and Saturdays.
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