Astronomy. Fossils. Fresh Air. A fantastic combination for the walk detailed here. Not our typical kind of playground, in terms of unobstructed views or miles of rolling green land. But still worthy of a visit for it’s educational factors, and a pretty cool place to visit! Stoney Wood and the StarDisc are based in Wirksworth on the edge of the Peak District, approximately 10 minutes away from Matlock and Gullivers Kingdom.
Parking for Stoney Wood and the StarDisc
Parking is a bit of a struggle. If you live nearby, we encourage public transport or to go by foot. In this time that we are living in (COVID), it is best to stay local, or to travel as little as possible. You can tie this visit in with a walk from the High Peak Trail, Matlock or even from Carsington Water.
We managed to climb a ridiculously steep hill to park right outside the Stardisc itself. The road is very narrow, and will need a good driver to manage the nerves! The postcode for here is DE4 4EN and is pretty accessible for those with wheels or pushchairs.
An alternative parking suggestion would be down by the shops, which you may have to pay for, or at the other entrance to the StarDisc on Middleton Road. This is on lower ground, and is a very small parking area. (at the moment I do believe it is closed, due to coronavirus restrictions). Postcode DE4 4FR.
StarDisc Grid reference: SK 28356 54381
Ordnance Survey Map: OL24 – Map of the Peak District, White Peak Area.
About the StarDisc
The StarDisc was placed in 2011 by writer, artist and activist Aidan Shingler. Enchanted by the magic of the night sky, he created StarDisc. A 21st century stone circle and celestial amphitheatre spanning 12 meters (40 ft). Carved into black granite is a star chart that mirrors the northern hemisphere’s night sky. The surface of the stone circle is inscribed with the constellations, their names, and a depiction of the Milky Way. 12 stone seats circle the perimeter, denoting the months of the year. Solar powered lighting illuminates the StarDisc at night in an array of colours. A truly enchanting experience, and certainly something you wouldn’t see every day.
In the daytime, the StarDisc is intriguing. Find and trace the patterns of the constellations. The kids jump around following the markings, pretending they are in space and floating among the stars. At the rear of the StarDisc is a viewing platform. From there you can look down and see the disc as a whole. From here, past the Stardisc is Stoney Wood. Land recovered from Stoney Quarry, children and adults help maintain the green space, allowing a greenspace area for locals to enjoy.
As the area used to be a tropical lagoon 350 million years ago, there are plenty of opportunities to source fossils hidden in the rocks. As you walk down to the infinity stones, see if you can find any!
Our walk started at the StarDisc and took us down, past the chain sculpture, picnic seats and peace pole. From here,we took the right turning, past the orchard and along the back edge of Stoney Wood. We walked back in through the other entrance on Middleton road and back past the labyrinth and fire pit. This is the perfect place to carry out any ritualistic tendencies you may have! Head back up to the StarDisc via the infinity loop, which is a little bit uphill.
Explore Some More
If you would like to take a longer walk around the area, to wait for darkness, you can carry on up towards the quarry. Middle Peak Quarry offered the limestone that was used to fuel the Black Country’s industrial revolution, did you know! We took a route through the allowed areas of the quarry, up to the fields before Broxendale farm.
*On the OS app, there is a footpath that looks like it follows straight through the quarry. It doesn’t! I have raised it as an issue and it should be sorted soon.
Follow the road alongside the StarDisc until you reach a dead end. Take the steps up ahead and wander through Middle Peak Quarry. Marvel at the abandoned edges and rock formations. Quite rightly, the quarry itself is closed off, but you can still imagine the inner workings. There is only one route to walk on, which brings you out to some farmland. Traipse along the worn path, and follow the arrows on the signposts. Turn left at the first road you come to, follow the path down, then left again to put the road on your right.
Continue along the trail, through a few kissing gates, eventually turning a little bit left, and down under a surprise tunnel. You will end up back at the dead end that you started from. Go right and follow the road back to the StarDisc. Please be careful as cars do come up and down here.
The walk is around 3.3km and takes an hour altogether. Allow some extra time to play among the stones and to do some star gazing too!
Stoney Wood and the StarDisc is a lovely place to visit and to while away an afternoon. Enriched with history and education, these places are the best ones to stick in a child’s mind.
Have you got any other suggestions for walks like this? Check out some other hikes in the Peak District for inspiration.
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