Discover the Dale’s wealth of wildlife using the Easy Access Trail accessed from a Pay & Display car park at Grid Reference SK 154742.
Tideswell Dale is part of the Wye Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest, designated for its geology and for its characteristic and distinctive grasslands and woodlands. Look out for plants such as pignut, birds-foot trefoil and early purple orchid. You can find butterflies including small heath and common blue feeding on the flowers and may also spot water voles swimming in the small stream at the bottom of the dale.
The Dale lies in the heart of the White Peak, so-called because of the white/grey limestone rock. The Dale includes a former quarry where basalt, a rock formed by volcanic activity over 300 million years ago, was extracted and crushed for use in roads. In earlier centuries the dale was also alive with miners exploiting the lead rich mineral veins in the limestone.
There are two parking spaces reserved for disabled people in the car park and the compacted limestone surfaced car park is fairly smooth.
Paving slab paths surround the building giving level access to the toilets.
There are picnic tables close to the car park.
From the car park an easy going trail leads into the dale - a pleasant spot for less active and disabled people to get into the countryside, with several benches for resting.
The first 500m is wide and fairly level, with gradients not exceeding 1:18, and surfaced in tarmac. Just before the wooden bridge over the stream the path divides for about 300m so a circuit can be followed. The path surface is of compacted limestone; the left fork has a 2m ramp down of 1:12. The right hand fork has a 15mm step off the bridge then a 5m ramp down with a gradient of 1:12.
The remainder of the route to the second bridge is fairly level. There are a number of passing places for wheelchair users and benches to sit and enjoy the dale.
The route has been registered as the first BT Millennium Mile in a rural landscape. This means that it reaches the BT Countryside For All standards of accessibility.
More agile visitors can ascend a steep (greater than 1:6) rough stone slope into a disused quarry, the grassy floor of which provides an attractive picnic area.
The steps down to the dale at the far end are steep and slightly awkward.