BAKEWELL TREE TRAIL : EASY ACCESS

A trail for all seasons, with easy access for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Approximately two hours but could be done in 3 shorter sections:

[Bath Gardens & Milford Stream]
[Information Office & Riverside Gardens]
[River Wye, Recreation Ground & Matlock Street]

Bath Gardens captivates at all seasons; summer scents of roses fill the air and traffic sounds recede amongst the peaceful orderly borders of colourful annuals and high standing perennials; in winter the umbrella of the magnificent hornbeam, next to the wishing well, provides cover for roosting ducks, as well as humans. As you enjoy the scene go towards the large copper beech. The fountain here is dressed annually. Leave through the gate at the path end. Opposite is the Infants School and roadside railings. Although the trail is to the right, you may need to go left to the drop kerb to cross the road.

In the middle of the school playground, there is a lofty birch tree-guardian. Many children have grown up playing under its watching branches. Continue down Bath Street and turn into New Street, signposted to the Medway Centre. At the end of the corner buildings, planted in a small shrub border are three new trees.Take the narrow walled path directly ahead to Milford stream. The trail is to the right but you may like to turn left and linger in this beautiful area by going towards the small weir and bridge by the narrow 'squeeze' exit. Returning downstream you glimpse the mature trees in Scotts Gardens and distant Manners Woods. At the end of the path go through the off-set railings.

Go right, along the straight Georgian terrace, Castle Street, decked in spring with blue wisteria and red chaenomeles. There are brief sightings of the tops of the town trees and the church spire on the right but you are drawn to the large tree at the end. This is the town's eastern entrance sentinel, a horse chestnut, saved by the mountaineer Sir Jack Longland who lived opposite. He climbed it in his slippers one day when it was about to be cut down. The trail turns right in front of the Castle pub, along New Street and to the bottom of Bath Street - you may need to go a short way up this to the drop kerbs. This is a one-way street system. Return back to Bath Gardens or proceed over the pedestrian crossing and turn left.

The Information Office forecourt is graced by two hardy evergreen Bradford Pears - which do not fruit. Past the Information Office you may need to use the drop kerb by the Queens and Peacock. Along the busy main road it is a short distance to the Wye, turning down before the bridge. In Spring cherry blossom brightens the far river bank and the old hawthorns flower.In winter the skeletal island trees are offset by colourful dogwoods and backcloth of lofty pines. Ducks, geese and trout wait to be fed in any season!

A weeping ash greets you inside the sanctuary of Riverside Gardens. There is a small step, which we believe wheel chairs will manage. The mature planting of shrubs and conifers, including the mighty Yew, was by the Victorian designer White Watson, who also built the tufa stone arches and walls.

At the crescent by the metal bridge return to the Information Office via Water Street (see below) or follow the path along the Wye to the Recreation Ground. In winter the weeping willow by the Cricket Pavilion has drooping brilliant yellow shoots, in summer the silver undersides of the poplars shimmer in every gentle breeze. Please greet one of the few oaks in town, by the toilets.

The trail leaves by the tennis courts - notice the line of limes. The underbark 'bast' was used in prehistoric times to make sandals and the wood turns into beautiful bowls. Going back into town, along Matlock Street, you pass two tall Dawn Redwoods and a lone silver birch tucked into the buildings. Turn right into Granby Road and notice the young lime saplings chosen because they do not mark cars by dropping honey dew. Cross the road - a diversion to the Swimming Pool will take you to a beautiful contorted weeping ash and its stone companion. Returning to Granby Road, go straight ahead back to the Wye or, by the Police Station, turn left into Water Street. Where the road splits take the right hand side to the end. Then you can either go right to the Information Office or across the pedestrian crossing and left, back to Bath Gardens.

MONSAL TRAIL - This is an additional flat route along the old railway track on the east side of town, taking approximately one hour. At the Bakewell station car park there are rowan trees with fine crops of red autumn berries and striking coloured dogwoods. Turn right onto the trail and as the view opens to Manners Woods on the left, look for graceful poplars on the right. Further along, by the sound of running water, are white birches with amazing 'eye' patterns on their trunks. On the other side of the track is an elderly pendulous birch tree. Reaching the viewpoint towards the end of the track, look at Bakewell in its setting, noting the hedgerows (unusual in this land of drystone walls) on the river flood plain. Return to the car park, back up the trail.

From the Bakewell Tree Trail website : www.bakewell-trees.org