Every year our Ramblers Group organise a long weekend of walking in the Peak District of England. We had decided not to go this year, having been for the previous three (except for 2020 when Covid was rampant) but at the last moment we had a change of mind and managed to book a small cottage near Buxton.
Our cottage was just outside the village of Earl Sterndale and was one of a row of 8, converted from a cow shed a few years ago. It was small and very cosy and ideally placed for our walking adventures.
We met the group for the first walk in the village of Edale, famed in the walking community as the start of the Pennine Way, the UK’s first long distance walking trail. At 268 miles it is not the longest route in the UK, (that honour goes to the South West Coast Path at 630 miles), but it has a reputation of being one of the toughest.
The Start of the Pennine Way and The Nags Head which provides sustenance for walkers
Our walk was more sedate, but taking in three of the Peak Districts most notable landmarks, Jacobs Ladder, Rushop Edge/Lords Seat, and Mam Tor, before returning to Edale. The weather was amazing for the time of year, cool, but with glorious sunshine, and the autumn colours were in full glow. Before the walk started we had the chance to catch up with other members of the group over a coffee from another famous place, the Pennypot Cafe by Edale railway station.
Top: On The Trail. Centre: Lyn on the bridge at the base of Jacobs Ladder. Bottom: Bridge
Scenes from The Climb up Jacobs Ladder
Top: Limestone Trail across the Moor. 2. Rushup Edge/Lords Seat. 3. Approaching the base of Mam Tor
The Route Back to Edale
The walk itself was everything the wonderful names had promised, with spectacular views and clear skies, a great start to the weekend.
The following day we were up earlier for a 45 minute drive to the start of our next walk, a 14 mile route starting at a place called Pym Chair in the northwest corner of the Peaks. The weather was cool, misty and overcast as we arrived at the remote car park at the end of a narrow lane on top of a hill. Our first waypoint was the Trig Point on top of Shining Tor.
From here, despite the misty weather, the views across the moor were amazing. To the northwest we could make out the tower blocks and tall buildings of South Manchester, a reminder that civilisation was not so far away, even in this remote area. The walk took us on to Lamaload Reservoir and Saddle of Kerridge where we stopped for lunch by a monument known as White Nancy. This monument was built in 1817 by a local land owner to celebrate the victory at The Battle of Waterloo. The original structure had an entrance with benches inside but more recently the structure was sealed. Over the years it had had its white painted surface adorned to celebrate certain events, such as in 2012 when a Jubilee Crown and Olympic rings were added to celebrate those events.
Our walk descended from the Saddle of Kerridge, returning via Harrop Brook Valley then on to Taxal Edge and Windgather Rocks to the start point. As we finished, the sun was setting, a fitting end to a long but enjoyable walk.
Above: Wingather Rocks – close to the end
Our Sunday walk was christened “7 Dales” by its leaders and, starting at Tideswell, it followed an undulating route through Hay and Peter Dales and on to Tansley Dale, Cressbrook Dale before a sharp descent into Millers Dale and finally back through Tideswell Dale to the car park. The weather was decidedly moist and damp, rain jackets being required for much of the walk.
Sunday’s walk was the last long walk with the group, many were heading home on Monday. We had booked a few additional days so we decided to plan our own walk. The weather gods, who had kept us dry over the weekend decided that they had the Monday morning blues and produced a persistent drizzle to accompany us as we headed out to the appropriately named Wetton Mill to start our walk. The mill was blessed with a cafe so we waited there with coffee and cake in the hope that the weather would improve. It did not so we set off anyway! The plan was to follow the disused railway to Hulme End before climbing to the summit of Ecton Hill and Wetton Hill before descending and returning to our start point. As we walked up the trail it became clear that going high would be pointless as the cloud was sat squarely over the top of the hills, rendering the visibility as almost nothing. When we got to Hulme End the Visitors Centre was closed so we sheltered under the eves on a bench and debated what do next. Following the same route back was the favourite, so that is what we did. It was still raining and the hills were completely obscured by clouds.
Our Walk From Wetton Mill
Our last days holiday was also our wedding anniversary. We headed to nearby Bakewell for a walk we had found on a local website. The circular route took us from Bakewell, up a track to a hill top from where we descended into the Chatsworth Estate, past ancient trees and grazing deer. Descending the hill gave us some wonderful views of Chatsworth House and the river that flows through the estate.
Emerging from the woods to a view of Chatsworth House
Two residents of the Estate
Views of the Autumnal Chatsworth Estate
We walked back following the river for a while before climbing the hill along a track, through a farm and into the woods before a slippery descent through more woodland into Bakewell.
We love the Peak district and it is relatively easy to get to from deepest Norfolk! We will return in 2022.