This is one of the most scenic and remote dales in the Peak District. It is located on the River Wye, just downstream from Litton Mill. It had been hidden from general view since the closure of the railway in 1968, until the Monsal Trail was opened.
You can reach Water-cum-Jolly from Litton Mill. Just go to the old Gas House, cross the bridge over the mill race, and turn left. This very scenic trail follows the river all the way to Cressbrook and Water-cum-Jolly is just before the site of the original Cressbrook Mill. However this trail can often be muddy or flooded, and an alternate route is to take the hilltop pathway from the Monsal Trail – which leaves the trail just before Litton Tunnel. This pathway takes you over Litton Tunnel and Cressbrook Tunnel with beautiful views of Water-cum-Jolly and you can then walk down to the weir and bridge and Cressbrook Mill to look at Water-cum-Jolly close up. (See the post on walks for directions).
There is a wide expanse of river at Water-cum-Jolly which is held back by a weir and mill stream which centuries ago would have operated a huge waterwheel at the old 1785 Cressbrook Mill site. Tranquil and serene, the river at Water-cum-Jolly flows through a deep ravine with rocky limestone crags, cliffs and smooth overhanging rock faces. The steep bank to the north containing the alpine-style cottages of Cressbrook village have a Sylvan appearance, with a thick band of trees leading up to Cressbrook Hall on the hilltop.
Years ago the woods were harvested for their crop of lilies of the valley which were transported and sold at Manchester market.
(Imagery courtesy of Simon Harrod, Moli-volio, and Andrew Bone – Flickr)