Best Kept Villages walk

This 9-mile route takes you through some of the prettiest villages in the Mease Lowlands and links both Ancient Woodlands and new woodlands planted as part of the developing National Forest.

Village greens, historic houses and distinctive church spires are all features of the route.

Location Map

Coton in the Elms Derbyshire

Walk type Medium Walks

Points of Interest

Coton Wood was planted by the Woodland Trust in 1994. Planted on former farmland, the main species are oak, ash, field maple, hawthorn, cherry and other native species. Before the graveyard at Coton was begun, the dead were carried to Lullington for burial along this route through the “Devil’s Arches”.

Lullington has the distinction of being the most southerly village in Derbyshire. The Colville Arms is named after Charles Robert Colville, former Lord of the Manor and MP for Lullington in the mid 1800s.

Lullington Wood was planted in the grounds of Lullington Park Cricket Club in 1998. Old parkland trees have been retained and views to no fewer than seven church spires are enhanced by appropriate planting of native species. Information boards on site explain how Charles Colville planned to build a hall here in 1850 but got no further than laying the foundations and terraces before he changed his mind and altered an existing building in the village to create a grand hall. The foundations can still be seen to this day.

Netherseal was recorded in the Domesday Book as being a wooded area on the edge of the Ashby Woulds and the trading routes, the Walton Way and the Salt Way ran through the parish. Sir Nigel Gresley, designer of The Mallard steam locomotive, which held the world speed record of 126mph in 1938, is buried in the churchyard.

Grangewood and Potters Wood are what is known as replanted ancient woodlands cover. Covering 70 ha, they have characteristic flora including bluebells and anemones. There is no public access to the privately owned woods but a public footpath runs through north western corner.

Top Tree Wood and Long Close Wood were planted by the Woodland Trust in 1996. With a combined area of over 80ha, they consist mainly of native broadleaved trees with a larch “nurse” crop and an area has been left next to Grangewood to enable natural regeneration of trees from the ancient woodland into the surrounding area. Walkers, cyclists and riders can use Top Tree and Long Close Woods

Beehive Farm and Wood was planted in three phases between 1996 and 2002. In an impressive example of diversification, the landowner has dug three lakes for fishing, provided trails for a range of users. There is also a camping and caravanning site, children’s farm and playground. Old farm buildings have been converted into a tea room, craft workshops and business units.

The village of Coton in the Elms derives its name from “all the cottages in the elms”. However, as a result of Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970s few of the elms which gave rise to this name remain. About one mile southeast of the village, just east of Church Flatts Farm, is the furthest place from the sea in the British Isles (grid reference SK257144).