Ancient sites and artefacts near Chesterfield: Dobb Edge cup and ring-marked stone (near the Robin Hood Inn).
Cup and ring marks are found across most the world, although given that the design is a series of concentric circles that could just be a coincidence; those in Derbyshire are the furthest south they have been found in the UK. They are quite mysterious. Their simple design makes them difficult to age; they are thought to be Neolithic, so thousands of years old - there is no way of knowing what, if anything, they were for. Sometimes several can be found on the same large rock, but the one at Dobb Edge is on a single flat stone, embedded in the ground. It was found just a few years ago when the nearby path was being maintained.
How to get there: the path starts near the Robin Hood Inn, so either leave Chesterfield on the Chatsworth Road or go through Old Brampton, staying on the same road (to Baslow) until you reach the pub. The latter is quieter but narrower in places – if you go up the main road you can join it by taking the clearly marked turning to Cutthorpe just after Wadshelf and then bearing left at the first junction. If cycling, this is certainly nicer coming back, when you won't be going as fast as on the way there as it's uphill; either way, it's just over 5 miles from Storrs Road.
The stone is less than a mile from the Robin Hood, but the path's surface is quite variable. From the pub, walk down the hill until you see, on the other side of the road (just before the S-bend road sign) a footpath sign by a gap in the fence. Cross the road (carefully!) and go down the steps (which are quite steep), then across the bridge and up the other side, ignoring the track which crosses the path diagonally. Then take the path sign posted 'Beeley via Swiss Lake'. It's rough (and slippery when wet) in places, and at a few points it passes directly next to the edge, where the path is quite narrow. It's safe but might not be suitable for excitable children or dogs – or people with vertigo, as there a couple of places with sheer (but not particularly high) drops from it.
Keep on this path, turning left after you go through a gap in a stone wall, and then, just over a dodgy style, turn right and follow the path until you come to some concrete steps let into a wall. On the other side turn left and walk up the slope; after about 200 yards you'll pass a stone basin, and, about 120 yards further on, there's a deep hollow in the bracken on your right. Just before you come level with that, there are some low rocks near the path; between them, level with the ground, is a flat, pale stone, with the ring markings carved into it. This can be a bit overgrown at some times of the year, and, depending on the weather, the rings can be a bit indistinct. If you follow the path for about another ¾ of a mile, you'll come to the ponds and lakes that feed the Chatsworth House water features; Beeley is about another 1½ miles from there.
The path is concessionary and isn't shown shown on the relevant OS Maps (Land ranger 119 or OS Explorer OL 24) although it is on some map apps. The rock itself isn't shown either; its map reference is SK 2874 6923.
Useful web sites: Megalithic Portal: www.megalithic.co.uk
Derbyshire Heritage: www.derbyshireheritage.co.uk