Denstone Walks, walking routes near Denstone, Staffordshire

Written by Shayle Follows

We have chosen a selection of Denstone walking routes, perfect for time in nature and a proper country walk! Here is all the information you need on each route, such as distance, difficulty level, and highlights.

Denstone is a village near the River Churnet, surrounded by pretty countryside. The village offers a great starting point for local routes. It is also located on the Staffordshire Way and the Tissington Trail, popular with cyclists, horse riders, and walkers. Denstone is easily accessible via several bus services, including those running to Ashbourne and Derby, and is located 8 kilometres (5 miles) north of Uttoxeter. Here is a selection of Denstone walking routes to choose from.

The Tavern Pub in Denstone, Staffordshire is the end (or start) point for many of the Denstone walks.
Linda Bailey / The Tavern, Denstone

Places of interest in Denstone

The development of Denstone owes much to Sir Thomas Percival Heywood. The village church, Vicarage and school were founded by Sir Thomas Percival Heywood, 2nd Baronet, all designed by George Edmund Street in the mid-19th century.

  • The Tavern: Originally built in 1669, this building was briefly known as the Railway Tavern before it returned to its original name.
  • Brook House: Denstone’s first Post Office was located in the back room of this building. After the railway closed in 1964, the Post Office was moved to an extension on the old Station Master’s house.
  • Railway Station: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Denstone boasted its own railway station. However, this station closed to passengers in 1965. Today, a portion of the railway line is preserved as the Churnet Valley Railway. While there is hope that the line may one day extend beyond the village station site via Oakamoor, it is unlikely, given the large number of buildings near the railway.
  • All Saints’ Church: Designed by George Street and considered his favourite church. The attention to detail can be seen in the features and fittings.
  • Denstone College: Nathaniel Woodard and Sir Thomas Percival Heywood founded Denstone College, dedicated in 1871 to memorialise Sir Thomas’s son Graham. The school started as a boarding school for boys with 63 students, but now has around 600 pupils and is a mixture of day and boarding. Arthur Drury’s bronze statue of St George, which can be seen from the southwest, honours Old Denstonians who died during the First World War.

Denstone walking routes

The Staffordshire Way at Denstone. This section of the route is on the trackbed of the Churnet Valley Line which closed in 1965.
© Copyright Graham Hogg and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Village Route | 2.5 km (1.5 miles) | 45 minutes

  • Some sections along quiet roads.
  • The field path may be muddy in places.
  • Excellent views over the village and to the Weaver Hills.

Start by walking towards the car park entrance and turning right. Once you cross Oak Road, you’ll see the War Memorial, and then you should cross the road and walk through the gates near the old railway. Follow the road, and you’ll reach Heywood Hall, then turn left at the T-junction to get to the Church.

After exploring the Church, go through the gate near the Church porch, walk to the old railway line, and turn left. You’ll encounter information boards at each end of the old railway platform before returning to the village. At the War Memorial, turn left and walk along Oak Road. Before a sharp bend in the road, turn right up a track and follow this track until you reach a stile on a corner. 

Go through the stile and keep the hedge to your right until the path descends to a bridge over a stream. Cross this and bear left across to the corner of the small field. Pass between the stream and the houses, and you’ll reach the road. Turn right and follow the road back to the car park. 

Bridleway near Great Gate. Bridleway leading over quiet fields towards Denstone College from the village of Great Gate.
© Copyright Mike Bardill and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The College Route | 4.0 km (2.5 miles) | 1.5 hours

  • This route starts as the Village route but climbs gradually up a track instead of the path across fields.
  • Great way to see Denstone College.

Start by following the Village Route until you reach the stile. However, don’t go through it. Continue up Muddy Lane until you reach the College boundary. This lane was the main route from Denstone station to the College. It was also called ‘Pitcher Lane’ because people would pitch old bricks and crockery on it to improve the surface. Once you reach the first house, you should turn right and follow the track until you can see the College. To do that, you must go through a gap in the hedge on the left of the house. After viewing the College, turn back and continue along the track until you reach the college gates. From there, turn right and walk down the College drive. At the bottom of the drive, turn right again and follow the road back to the car park.

The Churnet Route | 9.5 km (6.0 miles) | 3.5 hours

  • The trail provides a close-up view of the College and passes over an old pack-horse road.
  • The trail follows the path of a no longer in use canal and a railway line, running parallel to the River Churnet.
  • Some portions of the trail may be muddy, and the descent to the Churnet is steep and could be slippery.

To get to the house, follow the College route and go through the gap in the hedge. Pass between the astroturf pitch and the running track, then head towards the school Chapel and pavilion. Pass to the left of the Chapel and tennis court, then turn left and almost immediately right by the Economics building. Continue down towards the golf course and turn right. Follow the top edge of the golf course until you reach the field boundary. Take the footpath to the right, then after 20m, turn left over a stile and aim towards a small red brick building known as the rifle range.

Continue in the same direction through two gates and three stiles. After the third stile, follow the line of the hedge as it swings right. Pass a small marshy area to reach another stile. Cross this stile, keeping the hedge on your right, then pass through a gate and down the road. Cross the road carefully, then follow the track to Holbrook Farm. Pass to the left of the farmhouse and cross Saltersford Lane.

To get to Denstone, you should head across a field and to the right of some old buildings. Keep the hedge to your left as you continue in this direction. Once you reach the corner of the field, cross the stile, turn right, and immediately cross a second stile. From there, turn left and continue gently downhill while keeping the hedge to your left. Look for a stile in the hedge when you’re halfway down the field and cross into the left-hand field. Cross this field diagonally until you reach another stile, then cross it and descend steeply past a rocky outcrop and across a track until you reach a footbridge over the River Churnet. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, continue through a stile/gate until you reach the old railway line. From there, turn right and follow the railway line back to Denstone.

Follow these full routes here.

Where can I park for Denstone walking routes?

Car parking is available by the Village Hall.

Denstone is served by Swift buses travelling between Derby, Ashbourne and Uttoxeter.
Click the link to the Trentbarton website for the route map, timetable, and other helpful information.

Are there toilets nearby?

A toilet is available for public use (maintained by the Parish Council) at the left-hand side of the Village Hall (opposite The Tavern). It’s not signed.

Eat and drink nearby

Denstone Hall Farm Shop
 © Copyright Graham Hogg and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Stop by the Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Cafe to enjoy delicious food, drinks or afternoon tea. We love this cafe; it is our go-to place to meet friends over coffee or lunch before a walk. If you fancy a stronger drink or pub food, try the Tavern, open since 1669 at the heart of Denstone Village. They serve fantastic Sunday roasts and often host pie nights or feature wood-fired pizzas.

Another great walk nearby

Site of Denstone Railway Station. The structure of the old platform can still be seen. It was on the North Staffordshire Railway line from Uttoxeter to Macclesfield, which was closed by Beeching in the 1960's.
© Copyright Linda Bailey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Denstone Railway Walk | 10 miles (16 km) | 4 Hours

This circular walk takes you through the Churnet Valley Railway Path and the Staffordshire Way. Along the way, you’ll be treated to views of the River Churnet, the peaceful woods at Dimmingsdale, and even the famous Alton Towers Theme Park. The walk starts at Denstone Hall and follows the old railway line north toward Crumpwood Weir, past Mather’s Wood, and on to Oakamoor. From there, you’ll head south to Dimmingsdale, where you can explore the picturesque ponds and woodland trails. The trail then continues southeast through the village of Alton before returning to Denstone via Saltersford Lane.

Follow the full route here.

With various routes, Denstone is an ideal starting point for a day out exploring the area. Let us know in the comments if you have ever tried any of these walking routes and what you thought.

Header image credit: Nabb Lane Footpath to Denstone College. © Copyright Mick Malpass and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Leave a Comment