Ecton Hill and the Manifold Valley Walk

A 6.5 mile Peak District walk starting from Wetton.

Start: SK 10909 55179, DE6 2AF
Map: Landranger 119, Explorer OL24
Difficulty: 8
Refreshments : Wetton and Wetton Mill

This Peak District walk starts in the village of Wetton and explores Ecton Hill before descending down to the Manifold Valley returning along the Manifold Trail via Thor’s Cave back to Wetton.

Known locally as the Hollow Hill, the extensive workings for copper and lead on Ecton Hill took place from the Bronze Age right up until the late 19th Century. During its heyday in the late 18th century it was reputed to have the deepest mine shaft in the country. Take heed of the warning notices as you head out onto the hill as there are many hazardous shafts and hollows.

The Manifold Trail runs through the Manifold Valley and follows the route of the old Leek and Manifold Light Railway. This walk takes us through Swainsley Tunnel and onto Wetton Mill. Wetton Mill is the place where the Manifold disappears underground during dry summer weather. The mill once used for grinding corn is a popular spot on the banks of the River Manifold, not least because of the tearoom, a favourite with all not matter how they arrive. A little further along on our walk we come to the footpath that leads up to Thor’s Cave with its mighty 60ft high entrance standing 360ft above the River Manifold.

Ecton Hill and the Manifold Valley Photo Gallery

Ecton Hill and the Manifold Valley Walk Directions

The walk starts at the small car park in the centre of Wetton. Turn left out of the car park and left again past the pub and the church at the bend in the road keep straight ahead onto a tarmac path. At the stile follow the path sign posted ‘Back of Ecton’. Descend to the right of Wetton Hill, eventually crossing a small stream and up over fields through a small copse and onto a minor road. Where the road divides take the higher road and immediately turn right to follow the path to the top of Ecton Hill. The right of way skirts the trig point on the top of the hill to the right. Descend Ecton Hill keeping to the right of the barn ahead a follow the permissive path through woods to Ecton House and the road beyond. Cross the road and turn left along the disused railway line, now part of the Manifold Valley Cycleway.  At the tunnel a very quite minor road joins the path, follow this all the way to Wetton Mill. At Wetton Mill there are toilets and a cafe (Closed in the week during the winter). Proceed along the path, not through the ford and where the road crosses the path continue on along the cycleway until reaching the foot of Thors Cave. Follow the signs to the cave, for Wetton retrace your steps but do not descend but follow the path that rises slightly back to Wetton.

Copyright © Peter Cox. All rights reserved