This varied and beautiful trail run is completely off road through the tracks and paths of Lyme a National Trust property in the edge of the Peak District. The estate is home to many deer which you can often see roaming the land and the house was the setting for Mr Darcy’s Pemberly in the original Pride and Prejudice TV series.
We start the route in a layby near Pott Shrigley but you can pick up this circular route anywhere including the National Trust car park at Lyme. If you cut out the run down to West Gate and back this makes a very respectable 7km route from the main car park.
- Park in the lay-by on the narrow road and look for a footpath which follows a stream about 100m to pop out at West Gate the entrance for Lyme Park. The gate is open from 9.30 – 4.30 but if you are outside these times you can detour around by following the road up. Assuming you are between the opening times, go through the gate into Lyme and follow the wide track uphill with the stream on your right for approximately 600 metres until you see a large track veering off to your right uphill. Take this track which is steep and rocky and follow it until you reach a gate which spits you out onto open moorland at 1km.
- Follow the grass up to your left, steeply uphill towards the folly/building Paddock Cottage you see on the top of the hill. Once there stop and catch your breath and take in the views. To the left of the folly there is a path downhill towards another gate which leads onto a narrow path with a wall on your left and a sharp drop on your right. After half a km you will road a small stream and directly ahead is a tall stile over a wall. Go over the wall into Knightslow Wood.
- Turn immediate right and follow a path next to the wall of the wood as best you can for another half a km. Here you will meet a wide track coming in from your left and a gate on your right which leads out onto open moorland. Go through the gate and take an immediate left along a wide path which undulates alongside the woods to your left and moorland to your right. Foolow this track for about 800m to a juntion with a stile and gate on your left and a very steep path up towards some woods on your right. You should be at km3 now.
- Take the steep path up the hill and look out for a crossing into Lantern Wood after about what feels like 4km but is in fact only 250m. Cross into the wood and you’ll see a path off to your left verring up into the woods which then joins a better path heading left through the wood. Look out for The Latern a fooly in the woods to your left. Follow the path until you bump into the far wall of the woods and another signature tall stile over this wall. Over this wall you will come into open moorland again and follow the path downhill through some bog and over a small stile until you reach a tarmac road. (4 km)
- Go slightly left on the road looking out for a small path on your right which will take you around the edge of the deer sanctury and then downhill to a small stream. Straight across the stream and then a sharp climb up and out heading towards the Cage which is an old hunting lodge build in the 1520’s. Again stop and catch your breath at the cage and wonder at the magnificent vistas. Once you have your heart rate to a mangable level take the grassy track off to right (if you are facing the cage with your back to where you came from) this heads downhill away from the cage and soe turns into a rocky road. When it meets a track coming in from your left keep bearing right downhill.
- Continue down this track until just before you meet the road, and to your left is a path heading uphill and then paralleling the road. Continue on the deceptively uphill grassy path until about 7km on your watch. Here you will be able to see a cluster of building down to your right over the road. You are heading for these buildings which is where the Lyme tea rooms and toilets are.
- Once at the tea rooms, follow the path between the lake and the buildings over a small wooden bridge and then bear left keeping the lake on your left. A narrow steep uneven path veers off to your right taking you uphill, follow this and you will eventually be channeled to a stile in a narrow snicket. Over the stile brings you out onto open grassland. Continue straight ahead onto the road and bear right. Where the road forks take the left hand route to the far side of the hill/knoll. Now you need your uber navigation skills. You are looking for a small grass path off to your left around the base of the knoll. There is a small wooden post marking it but you need to keep an eye open. This path leads you to a car park.
- Turn right through the car park and through a large wooden gate onto a wide gravel track which leads downhill. Follow the track downhill and you will see it is the same track you started the run on. After a km you will be back at West Gate.
- Retrace your steps, left then right down past the small stream and to the layby where you left the car.