Mention Derbyshire and many people think of the Peak District – and if they visit us that is where they often go.
However there are other attractive areas of the county, not least the north east.
It’s a place of considerable charm with easy access to many of the tourist attractions in this part of the world.
No one really knows an area until you get off the roads and on to its footpaths.
In a county with 3000 miles of rights of way the north east has over 600 miles of them.
The Chesterfield Area Walking Festival does a great job in May each year in show-casing these paths by hosting walks led by the Ramblers and and other organisations.
After a week of walking activity however things then go relatively quiet for the next 51 weeks.
Walking needs to be an all-year round experience and something people do outside walking festivals.
Many potential walkers are reticent to explore our excellent network of paths, particularly where signposts are lacking or where the way ahead presents obstacles.
We can’t create a trail of 600 miles but we can establish one that runs the width of the north east of the county and has the signage, maintenance, and publicity that this part of the world deserves.
Compared with the cost of road building the expense would be minimal. The rights of way are already there waiting to be used by those who value walking for pleasure and for vital health and environmental reasons.
A route from Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire just outside the eastern boundary to Chatsworth just outside the western boundary of NE Derbyshire would encompass places such as Creswell Crags, Bolsover Castle, Carr Vale Nature Reserve and Sutton Scarsdale Hall – on past Chesterfield’s Crooked Spire to Holymoorside, Eastmoor, and Hob Hurst’s House.
Spurs from this TRANSNED Trail could link Hardwick Hall with Bolsover Castle – and Chesterfield with Renishaw Hall.
The trail could be negotiated in parts, assisted by public transport.
The eastern leg of a trail from Welbeck to Chesterfield formed part of the 2017 Walking Festival. Other variations have been walked and are potentially available.
The western leg between Chesterfield and Chatsworth (via Holymoorside) was undertaken in the 2015 Walking Festival. At the time it formed part of a long circular. Again, other variations are possible, although perhaps not on the scale of the eastern leg.
There are potential spurs from Chesterfield to Renishaw (2016 Walking Festival), preferably via Foxstone Dam – and Hardwick to Bolsover, via Ault Hucknall and Glapwell.