Goyt Valley walk 27: Railway track short circular

Walk distance: 2 miles | Date recorded: August 2022
Start point: Goyt’s Lane car park (SK17 6JG) | Google Map
Map app: View on OutdoorActive | Contact me for GPX file

Above: Click map to enlarge. (Ignore the ‘PRIVATE’ captions.) And click here to download an A4 map of the route.

Above: A ‘Relive’ version of the walk. Click to play and use the expand option to view in full-screen. Click here for more Goyt Valley ‘Relives’.

Walk description & directions

Recorded on a gloriously warm and bright day in early August, this is an easy, two-mile circular walk from the small car park beside the pond about half way down Goyt Lane – the road leading down to the valley from the Buxton to Whaley Bridge Long Hill Road. It’s my go-to walk if I just want an early morning or evening leg-stretch.

The first half is along the gravelled old railway track so is very easy. The second half is along a fairly narrow footpath which meanders down towards Errwood Reservoir. This walk turns back up the slope before reaching the reservoir, but it’s very easy to extend it further at both ends (see directions 6 and 8 below).

1: Walk to the far end of the car park and go up some steps to the right to reach the road, then turn left along the old railway track.

2: An information board explains that the track once formed part of the Cromford & High Peak Railway. The small reservoir fed water to the steam engines that hauled the wagons up and down the steep Bunsal Incline which is just behind you.

3: Follow the track for about a mile as it curves around the hill side.

4: You soon come to a pair of twin embankments as the track bends to the right. I think the outer one must have been too sharp for the trains to take at speed and it was replaced by the one that forms the track today.

5: You eventually reach a blocked-up tunnel entrance. At some 580 yards, this was the longest tunnel on the 32 mile route which once connected important canals in Cromford and Whaley Bridge and was completed in 1831. If you look hard enough you will find one of Joe Brown’s Numbers carved on a brick in the stonework.

6: From here it’s possible to extend the walk by going up the slope to the right to Burbage Edge (walk 25), or left to Buxton (walk 9). But to continue this route, simply follow the footpath sign on the right leading down the valley.

7: Follow the narrow but obvious footpath as it slopes down, crossing a series of duckboards, for about 3/4 mile. The rectangular areas of cropped gorse on the other side of the valley were cleared to encourage fresh cover and food for nesting grouse.

8: Eventually you reach a footpath sign pointing up the slope to the right. This leads back to the car park. But you may prefer to go a bit further to reach the southern tip of Errwood Reservoir, returning up Old Goyt’s Lane (walk 10). Or even completing a circuit of the reservoir (walk 13).

9: Following the footpath sign, this short section up the slope is the steepest part of the walk, and can get a bit overgrown with ferns, but is still relatively easy.

10: Another information board at the top of the slope explains how the landowners, United Utilities, together with Forestry England, are managing the ecology of the Goyt Valley. The lane on the left as you reach the top is Old Goyt’s Lane, which was once the main route into the hamlet of Goyt’s Bridge before the Bunsall Incline was tarmacked in 1967. Turn right to return to the car park.