Route Instructions

The Leaden Boot Challenge is held on the Sunday, prior to the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.  There are two unmanned checkpoints (CP 1 and 7), six manned checkpoints (CP’s 2,3,4,5,6 and 8) with marshall’s at various points around the course together with numerous yellow direction arrows helping participants to follow the route.  The instructions below have been written with this in mind.  However, entrants should also carry and refer to the OS Explorer Map OL24 and a compass as necessary.


If you wish to print these instructions here are two versions:

as a Word document…Route-Instructions-v10

or as a PDF document….Route-Instructions-v10

Please note that the bold italic font in the body of the route description identifies the changes to the 2016 LBC route


(updated 10/05/16 )


                                                Leaden Boot Challenge

                                            2016 ROUTE INSTRUCTIONS


Section 1 Alstonefield to Ilam (CP2)

From the village hall car park turn R then L and pass through the village keeping to the R to enter Church Street. Pass the Church and descend Millway Lane to the hamlet of Milldale (SK139547). L then R to emerge at the River Dove (Toilets). Cross the old packhorse bridge (Viator’s Bridge), then immediately turn L to ascend the steep, well worn, packhorse trails up Baley Hill. When the slope lessens, ignore first gap in wall and continue with the wall on your R for 200 yds. and, ignoring the gate and stile ahead, turn R through a gap in the wall (map ref 141546). Now head straight for the summit (CB154˚) using the contours to advantage by bearing to the L, passing through another gap in a wall at roughly the halfway stage. Eventually a prominent ladder stile (map grid SK144541) comes into view admitting you to the summit. Continue, with a wall on your L, along the undulating ridge and pass through ‘Brian’s Gate’ or over a stile in the fence. Bear L, keeping the fence on your L to CP1 (control card clipping only – map grid SK147538).

Keep close to the fence on your L. TAKE CARE. This is a steep descent. At the bottom turn R and follow the stony and rutted bottom of the valley (Nabs Dale) down to the River Dove. Turn L past two large caves (Dove Holes) and after approx. 500 yds. turn R over a footbridge across the River Dove at Ilam Rock. Turn R and follow the river upstream for 200 yds. then turn L at a signpost for Ilam by the “Steep Ascent”. Climb up the zigzag path and at the top keep straight on, ignoring the path to the R (map grid SK139531).

Keep to the L of the wire fence at the top of the dale, through a wooded area. At the end of the wood, cross a stile into a sloping field and head slightly downhill towards an indistinct finger post to pick up a rocky path contouring the hillside. Continue until you reach a fingerpost that directs you R uphill, soon bending R to cross two successive gate stiles and turn L onto the driveway of Air Cottage (map grid SK142523). Cross a cattle grid, follow the track, but turn L BEFORE a gate ahead of you. Continue straight ahead until you reach the “NT Bunster Hill” sign. Turn R through the gate and go downhill keeping the wall to your R, (ignore stile-gate on R and step-stile on R), eventually joining a farm track and passing a large pond on your R. At a T-junction of tracks go directly downhill to a stile at the road into Ilam. Turn R and then R again at the Ilam memorial cross. After 100 yds., where the road curves R, go straight on towards Ilam Hall, but almost immediately turn L on the track to the church (SK147538). The track curves R to a metal stile. Pass to the R of the church, and go up to the Hall, turning L in the in front of the Hall to CP2 (map grid SK132506). Toilets are available at the visitor centre.

Section 2 Ilam (CP2) to Calton (Slade House – CP3)

From CP2 go down steps that leads to the River Manifold, and turn R (river on your L) and follow Paradise Walk for ½ mile by the river. Eventually, pass through a gate and almost immediately turn L over a footbridge. Follow CB310˚ to a stile, then CB340˚, which takes you over several fields to emerge at Rushley (map grid SK124515).

Turn L on the road and, where it turns sharp R, go straight on between farm buildings. Just after a bend to the L take the footpath on R through 2 small gates. Keep the wire fence to your L. After 150 yards go over a stile to enter Musden Woods. Follow the path in the valley bottom for over 1½-miles keeping to the R of the fence and later, a broken wall. When you first see the houses of Calton ahead go over one field in that direction and through a gate stile where you turn R on a soft farm track, keeping L of the wall and then turn R with the wall. Keep L of the wall up the long incline to the top of the field, then join a farm track and go through a wooden gate. Continue towards a holiday complex (Slade House). Go through a squeeze stile to CP3 (map grid SK107510).

Section 3 Slade House (CP3) to Grindon (CP4)

From the checkpoint, go over a small cattle grid and immediately turn R to pass behind a newly renovated building (holiday lets) then bear R with along a wall, then L through 2 squeeze stiles. Continue ahead with fine views of Thorpe Cloud to your R, keeping close to the broken wall on your R, to reach a wall with 3 gates. Take the stile next to the centre one and enter an enclosed track (map grid SK110513).

After 100 yards branch off to the L (initially CB11˚) to the L of a hollow in the ground. Head towards a solitary tree, but after a wall stile bear slightly L (CB0˚) to another wall stile. Continue in the same direction to the R of a small copse. The hamlet of Throwley and ruins of Old Throwley Hall come into view. Head directly towards the buildings and turn L onto the road and over a cattle grid. Follow the road through farm buildings and round to the L. On the bend, look for a footpath sign on the R and go through a gate stile into a small copse and exit at another gate (map grid SK110526).

Head towards a stonewall corner (CB330˚) to join a rough farmer’s track to a wooden gate. Go through the gate and head towards a cliff face in the distance (Beeston Tor – CB352˚). Go through a double gate by a footpath sign and follow a clear vehicle track to the L of an old stone barn. Continue downhill on this track about 1200 yds, passing Beeston Tor Farm on the R, to join another track and cross a bridge. Carry straight on for 650 yds, parallel with the Manifold Cycle Trail on your L, to a road bridge. Turn sharp L over a stile, soon to pass an information sign. Walk straight up hill to a metal gate on the horizon. Cross a stile and continue with a wire fence on your L to pass to the R of Weag’s Barn and out onto the road. Turn L to a sharp R bend in the road (map grid SK098539).

Follow the road uphill and after 100 yds turn L onto a footpath keeping a wall to your L. At the bottom of the hill, go through a gate stile and turn R, keeping the wall/fence on your R (ignore gates L and R) to a small wooden gate ahead. Now, head for Grindon Church spire, just visible ahead. Go through 6 fields in the same direction, passing to the L of some farm buildings. Emerge onto a track and turn L. Go straight ahead (possibly around loose metal barriers at a farm) onto a narrower, often muddy path. Turn R at a T-junction of paths, then L at the road for approximately 80yds to CP4, Grindon Village Hall (map ref SK087543). Toilets available.

Section 4 Grindon (CP4) to Ecton (CP5)

Re-trace your route passed ‘The White House’ on your R then, take the road L into a shallow hollow, after a slight rise, bear R and follow a fingerpost through the squeeze stile next to the gate. Keep straight on down the hill (CB16˚) and cross over the L of two stiles. Bear slightly L to cross the wooden bridge to a step stile and continue in roughly the same direction to the corner of the field and a gate stile. Turn R onto a farm road and after 200-yards, turn L towards Ossoms Hill Farm (map ref SK089551).

Soon after a large barn on the L, veer R and go through three squeeze stiles in the direction of Wetton Mill. Follow a narrow hillside path, passing direction posts and crossing 3 stiles. Descend L to a metal footbridge, turn R on to a road (not the ford) and go straight over cross roads and onto a bridge over the River Manifold. (Toilets at Wetton Mill Café but you might have to buy something!).

Follow the road bearing L and go straight ahead through the centre of Dale Farm (map ref SK095563). Go through a gate and over a step stile to follow the valley path slightly uphill. At the base of a prominent hillock (Sugarloaf) go L up a steeper incline. Cross a wooden stile and turn sharp R to go through a squeeze stile. Zigzag L and R to follow a wire fence on your R, soon becoming a broken wall. At the end of this wall, continue to follow a wall now on your L. Continue uphill passing through a gate stile. Continue through another stile and turn L along an access road to Broad Ecton Farm (map ref SK101573).

Just before farm buildings, turn R (CB60˚) onto a marked footpath through a squeeze stile, keeping a wall to your R, to a crossroad of paths. Turn L over a wooden step stile and head directly to the Trig Point on the summit of Ecton Hill (map ref SK100580). Bear R at the Trig Point and go downhill due North. Pass through two stiles and to the R of the barn and then through a stile on the L. Turn R and continue downhill with a wall on your R. Swing L at a hedge and keep going downhill to a gate stile by a folly into the hamlet of Ecton. Turn immediately R to CP5, (map ref SK097583).

Section 5 Ecton (CP5) to Sheen Hill (CP6)

Follow the access road downhill to a staggered junction then, zigzag to the R across the junction, turning R along the Manifold Trail cycle path. After approx. 1200 yds and 100 yds before the second bridge turn L over a wooden stile towards farm buildings. (Toilets 200 yards further along the Manifold Trail). Go to the stile by a metal gate and out on to the road. Turn L BUT WATCH OUT FOR TRAFFIC! After 100 yards, take the wooden step stile R just by an information sign. Go diagonally L towards markers posts (CB314˚). Then go over a step stile towards farm buildings. Just before the driveway, turn R through a squeeze stile crossing over a small concrete bridge and a second squeeze stile. Keeping to the R of a caravan, go directly through the centre of the farm buildings. Turn R onto a road. After the farm on your L, turn L through a gate stile. After the farm on your L, turn L through a gate stile. Keep the farm fence on your L and cross another gate stile. Continue in the same direction following a feint path slightly downhill towards trees to descend a muddy bank and go through a stile in the corner.

Turn R to cross a metal footbridge. Go straight ahead (CB 45˚), BUT STAY AWAY FROM THE EDGE OF THE RIVER BANK BECAUSE THE OVERHANG MAY COLLAPSE UNDER YOU! Continue to a stone stile in the field corner ahead, then keeping first a fence and then a wall close to your L, go uphill in the same direction to cross a farm track. Go between two posts to the R of a metal gate and join an enclosed track that brings you out on the road at Townend (map ref 108606). Turn R, then L at a cross roads (Pown Street) and walk through Sheen village, passing the pub and church.

 At the top of Pown Street, by Manor Farm (map ref 113616), turn L on a narrow road signposted Brund and Ridge End (CAUTION TRAFFIC). Approx.120 yds. along the road turn R over a stone stile and follow a faint footpath diagonally across the field in the direction of Sheen Hill on the horizon. Cross 2 stiles, either side of 2 ditches. From there continue uphill (CB 345˚, then 320˚) through two stiles then, go L up the steep hill towards two vertical wooden posts close together in a wall. Squeeze through the wall between the posts and turn L downhill alongside the wall on your L (Note – the route goes around Sheen Hill clockwise).

When another stonewall faces you, turn R up the field alongside the wall on your L. Continue along this footpath through the wide gap ahead and continue, passing R of a house. After the house, go downhill and turn R onto the driveway and then R onto the road (map ref 107625). After approx. 700 yds you reach a T-junction. Cross the road diagonally to your R to a stile and Checkpoint 6 (map ref. 112629).

Section 6 Sheen Hill to Hartington

Continue down the bridleway to Pilsbury. At the bottom of the hill go L across a wooden footbridge over the River Dove. From the bridge, follow the track uphill to the houses at Pilsbury (map ref 117634). Turn L to climb the narrow road around a R-hand hairpin bend. Continue on the road, uphill. 50 yds past a sharp L-hand bend, cross a wooden step stile on the R sign-posted Hartington and Parsley Hay. Follow the path ahead (CB 94˚) through two fields to Checkpoint 7 (un-manned clipping point – map ref. 125634).

Do not cross the wall but turn R uphill on the footpath to Hartington. Cross the stone stile at the top of the incline and continue ahead bearing slightly R to a pole at the end of a wall. Carry on to some rocky outcrops and descend to a stile by a gate. The path crosses the next two fields slightly R, passing through one stile to another. For the next section, follow blue painted stiles and posts on a path that contours below Carder Low, on your L (map ref 127624), crossing several walls. Eventually there is a rise in the ground to a wall which you follow R to a farm gate (map ref 130616) above Bank Top Farm.

Go through to the farm track and bear L up to another gate. If it is closed you will need to pass by on the R to a gate stile in the wall on the L. Now continue with the wall on your R to a stone step stile also on the R. Cross this and go uphill across the next field to wooden stile just to the L of three trees. Cross this and bear slightly L towards a marker pole. Cross the wall by a stone step stile and onto another stile at the road into Hartington. Turn R and keep going downhill, eventually passing the church and onto cross roads in the village.

 Section 7 Hartington to Alstonefield

 Turn R at the crossroads. The road bends L to pass shops and pubs to Checkpoint 8 (map ref. 128603).  Walk through the gap L of the Toilets and continue on a clear path towards Beresford Dale. Go across an enclosed track and follow the path, which becomes fainter, to enter Morson Wood. Continue along the path and cross the River Dove at a footbridge then, after approx. 400 yds. turn R at the next bridge (do not cross the bridge) onto Beresford Lane. After 80 yds turn L onto a track and cycle path. At next gate bear R in the direction of Narrowdale Hill (map ref. 128583).

Go through a several metal gates to where the track swings R towards the old Narrowdale settlement. At this point go straight on up the valley of Narrowdale. At the dale end, go through a gate and then walk to the L of a wall. Where the wall ends, walk to the R of the next wall, uphill to another wall and track. Turn R onto an enclosed track (map ref. 128568). After about 200 yds. turn L at a path crossing towards Alstonefield. Go through a gate at the corner of a copse, turn L, keeping to the wall on your L, go through a gap in the wall, to pass L of a ruined shelter made from concrete blocks. Go straight over a wall stile and then ahead through several gate stiles to a farm track by a dark grey metal hut. Bear R onto the track and soon after this becomes a road, turn L. Fork R at the village pump to the village hall and the completion of your challenge!