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MERRYMEET – DO TRY THIS WALK – NO NEED FOR A CAR!
This small walk takes about an hour but can be extended with our suggestions to take up as much of your day as you like!
Firstly go to the top of the slope and turn right up the little lane. Continue walking past our two fields (these are both your own private space – so do make use of them while you are here)! You then arrive at a signposted footpath (on the right) onto a neighbouring farmers land which shows the public footpath. Go down the hill and through the narrow posts, but instead of crossing the brook over the little bridge, turn left and continue to follow the brook (which is on your right).
In the summer it may have dried up completely (Waterfall gets its name from the river that just completely disappears underground through the limestone in the summer). Follow the brook down the valley for about half a mile.
Notice as you go some of the wonderful wild flowers. Watch out too for rabbits (you are very unlikely to meet other walkers at this point, so rabbits are usually about) and all manner of birds (regularly a Barn Owl flies over Merrymeet’s fields in the evening).
After only walking about ¾ mile), you arrive in the Manifold Valley (you’ll know you are here as the valley has a tarmac path). Go through the gate and, if you fancy it, there is a tea room just a 100m or so up on your right. They serve delicious local dairy ice cream and have some pretty gardens to sit in. Now you have a choice (and not just of ice cream!):-
For the shorter version of this walk. Return back through the gate off the Manifold Valley and take the path diagonally to your right up the hill. Keep climbing and this will give you some terrific views of the back into the Valley (photos just don’t do it justice). You pass through several fields, but the path is pretty obvious (basically keep going diagonally up the hill!). At the top you reach a little lane. Turn left onto the lane and follow it back down the gentle hill. After about half a mile you are back at Merrymeet!
If you fancy something a little longer. Continue down the Manifold Valley. This is approximately 8 ¼ miles long. For much of its length it has a tarmac base and no cars, so is good walking for little ones or on muddy days. Beware - a number of people do hire bikes along this stretch so there are bicycles to navigate sometimes! Should you wish to hire bikes yourself – on reaching the Manifold turn right and continue to the end, about 1 mile, to Brown End Cycle Hire in Waterhouses who will give Party House guests a discount).
Assuming you turned left along the Manifold track, Thors Cave can be seen c 2 miles or so along. You can cross the river and climb up the path to enter the cave. Returning to the track, continue your walk northwards and you will come across the next tea room at the National Trust site at Wetton Mill. If you want to continue to the top of the Valley we would recommend that you cross the river to the tea room side and continue your walk following the path on that side (this avoids the lane with the old railway tunnel as cars are allowed in this section of the Manifold Valley). In the afternoon it is also the sunniest side! When you reach Hulme End there are public toilets in the visitor centre (the old station). You may also be pleased to know that there is a pub in Hulme End!
If you want to really blow the cobwebs away. On reaching the Manifold Valley cross the track and take the path behind Lee House and up the other side of the hill. You’ll need the map for this (no space here for the full directions – sorry!) but follow the path over the top past Slade House and down into Ilam then into the famous Dovedale. Enjoy! PLEASE FOLLOW THE COUNTRYSIDE CODE AND HAVE A WONDERFUL TIME
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