Start: The Ram’s Head Inn in the village centre
Distance: about 4km / 2.5 miles
Time: about 1 ½ hours
Terrain: numerous stiles, some steep slopes and uneven ground
Download: Walk 5: A Heritage Walk to Higher Disley
Exit the Ram’s Head car park entrance, turn right and walk up Buxton Old Road passing The Schoolhouse Surgery on the right-hand side.
The original Ram’s Head was built in about 1640 although the present Tudor Gothic exterior dates from some two hundred years later. In 1790, Viscount Torrington, voted the Ram’s Head in “Dishely” the best inn in England. It was the only mailing house in the area, with coaches and chaises for hire and many coaches changing horses each day.
Turn right beside the White Horse pub and take the single track road (Ring O’ Bells Lane) to the Quaker Meeting House at the top.
The Friends Meeting House is an 18th century building which was once an inn. In 1850 Lady Newton refused to grant a further licence for it, so it became a coffee tavern and is now the home of Disley Quaker Meeting.
Turn right at the footpath sign in front of the Meeting House (25) and cross the stream before bearing left up through the gate and passing between graveyards on either side. St. Mary’s Church can be seen on the right. (See Walk 1 for details). Continue past the Woodland Garden to reach the tarmacked road and turn left here, with the Old Vicarage on the right and the new Vicarage on the left.
At the next junction, follow the Gritstone Trail sign to the left (28) along Green Lane.
To the right, there are fine views of Lyme Park, enclosed as a deer park in the 14th Century, and the Cage, built in the 18th Century as a hunting lodge.
Continue along this track for about ½ mile until you reach the farm at Higher Stoneridge. Here, turn left along the rough track called Long Lane (31) until you reach Buxton Old Road.
This area is now known as Higher Disley but was originally the centre of the village. A Roman coin from the 4th century has been found in the area and Muslin Row, on the left, contains five 18th century weavers’ cottages.
Cross the road with care and turn right up the hill along the pavement. At the road junction with Mudhurst Lane, turn left down Ward Lane.
Mowhole, the 3-storey stone cottage on the right, after the small reservoir, was once the family home of the engineer responsible for building the Peak Forest Canal and it was later a meeting place for non-conformists.
Turn left at Mowhole, over the stream and follow the path. This soon opens out to a track (Corks Lane).
There are several 17th and 18th Century properties along Corks Lane. On the left, behind Bees Cottage, within the farm complex, is Disley Hall with its outside stone staircase. This was the home of one of the three 11th century foresters who lived in Disley.
Follow the lane until it re-joins the main road and turn right down the hill for ½ mile to return to the Ram’s Head Inn.
Opposite the Ram’s Head is a Victorian fountain erected in 1837 to provide residents with water. The shops beside it were originally cottages built in the late 18th Century and the garage opposite was once the village Smithy.
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