Edale Valley Walk,

Peak District

16th - 18th July 2010


The World Cup football tournament had ended in South Africa a week before, so I was still very much in the mode of the event, which had been hugely successful from that country's point of view, after much scepticism abroad prior to the tournament. I had made an arrangement with Chris Platten to travel up from Welwyn Garden City on the Friday following that, after having taken a half-day's leave. Chris was taking his little boy Mathew along for a weekend camping adventure however we didn't get away until mid-afternoon. I was asked to sit in the back with Mathew, as Chris liked to keep the passenger front seat down so that Mathew could be afforded a view through the front window, which must have looked a bit odd to anyone driving by. The only problem with this was that as soon as we reached the winding country roads of the Derbyshire Dales, I began to feel nauseous. We had stopped in Chesterfield to buy dinner on the way. the weather didn't look great though we managed to get there before dark, allowing us to pitch tents at least. Once again the location was the Fieldhead Campsite in Edale in the Vale of Edale.

View across Edale Valley near the River Noe, south of Edale.


View across Edale Valley towards Kinder Scout from below MamTor.


The route from Fieldhead Campsite in Edale via Hollins Cross & Lose Hill (south of the River Noe), Edale End, Crookstone Hill and Ringing Roger (north of the River Noe).



Derbyshire sheep farm near Harden clough Farm, south of Edale.


The route that had been planned for the Saturday walk was new to me and one I wholly approved of, not that it was down to me. It would involve the partial circumnavigation of the Edale Valley on either side of the River Noe. Leaving Fieldhead Campsite heading south after breakfast, along the road that crosses under the railway bridge, turning right at the Hope Road towards Barber Booth, we then picked up a path that crossed the River Noe towards Hardenclough Farm. Instead of following the path that leads directly up the hillside past Coldside, towards Mam Tor, where it emerges adjacent to the road from Barber Booth, we took a path to the left towards Greenlands below Cold Side. After passing through a large farm gate, the path takes a gentle ascent towards Hollins Cross and the Great Ridge between Mam Tor and Lose Hill, where it joins the 3km path along the ridge between the two. From here we were able to view the town of Castleton in the White Peaks and Peveril castle above the town. This ridge is the dividing line between the White Peak (Limestone) on the Castleton side to the south and the Dark Peak (Millstone Grit) on the Edale side to the north. The ridge itself is Millstone Grit and Shale. Hollins Cross is the lowest point on the ridge and is therefore a popular route taken with casual walkers either wishing to cross from one side to the other, or to start a walk along the ridge. It was also the traditional route from Castleton to Edale. Coffins from Edale were taken over Hollins Cross to hope church until a church was constructed in Edale, leading to the nickname of the "coffin road" for this route.


Crossing through a farm gate at Greenlands, below Mam Tor. Backtor and Lose Hill can be seen in the distance.


View across Vale of Edale along the path up to Hollins Cross, below MamTor.


The path towards Hollind Cross, where it intersects the path running down from Mam Tor. Back tor and Lose Hill lie in the distance.


Edale valley's stunning beauty.


View of Mam Tor at Hollins Cross. ((L-R) Dave Ashby, John Adams, Maeve & Andy Weber and Bob Smith.



View back towards Mam Tor, on the way along Barker Bank, with the path from Edale visible leading up from the right towards Hollins Cross.


View of Backtor and Lose Hill beyond along Barker Bank, on the path from Mam Tor.


Approaching Backtor, with Lose Hill beyond.


The Celts were the first people to settle in the Castleton area. On Mam Tor, also known as the shivering mountain, are the remains of a Celtic hill fort on summit, an enclosure of 16 acres at an altitude of 1700ft. The Celts were displaced by the Romans who started mining the rich lead veins, bringing prosperity to the area. Shortly after 1066, William the Conqueror started building castles all over the country and the one at Castleton was given to his alleged illegitimate son, William Peveril in 1086, and was so-named Peveril Castle. The keep was added later, in 1176. It never saw battle and was occupied as a dwelling until 1480. The village developed under the protection of the castle. Whatever his paternity, William Peverel was a favourite of the Conqueror. He was greatly honoured after the Norman Conquest, receiving over a hundred holdings in central England from the king. In 1086, the Domesday Book records William as holding substantial land (162 lordships), collectively called the Honour of Peverel, in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, including Nottingham Castle.

Castleton later prospered from lead mining; the Odin Mine, one of the oldest lead mines in the country, is situated 1.5 kilometres west of the village. A number of caverns were created or enlarged as a result, these being Peak Cavern, Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern and Peak Cliff Cavern. Fluorite (also called fluorspar) is a halide mineral composed of calcium fluoride. One of the most famous of the older-known localities of fluorite is Castleton, where, under the name of Derbyshire Blue John, purple-blue fluorite was extracted from several mines/caves, including the famous Blue John Cavern. During the 19th century, this attractive fluorite was mined for its ornamental value. The name derives from French bleu et jaune (blue and yellow) characterising its colour. Blue John is now scarce, and only a few hundred kg are mined each year for ornamental use. Mining still takes place in both the Blue John Cavern and the nearby Treak Cliff Cave.


On the path between Mam Tor and Backtor; Maeve and Andy Weber on the approach to Backtor.


Along the Great Ridge, just before Backtor, the path can be seen ascending to the left. Castleton lies (out of view) to the right.


The last stretch of the path before the ascent of Backtor.


View of Castleton from Backtor.


View of the Edale Valley and Kinder Scout.from the direction of Backtor.


View west towards Mam Tor, on the ascent of Backtor.


By the time we reached Lose Hill, the ominous weather had moved in and it began to rain. Although the map indicates a more obvious path down Fiddle Clough towards Edale End from Lose Hill, we chose a not too comfortable scramble down the hillside west of this, with the result that we found ourselves fenced off. Though we eventually found a rail-line crossing via a bridge just south of Carr House Farm near the Hope Road, we ended up walking along the road (with no hard shoulder) towards Edale End, as this was the only  way we would find a way across the River Noe. Passing through National Trust owned property at Upper Fulwood Farm, the map indicated a Roman Road just below the ridge behind the farm, with a path up to it. On the other side of the ridge lay Ladybower Reservoir. We stopped for a tea break as the sun came out, enjoying some of Maeve's delicious baked cake. After passing to where the Roman Road led off to the right, we reached a clearing with the landscape covered in ferns, as the path diverged into two. We followed the lower path (realised later as a mistake), blocked by a number of sheep who soon gave way.


A sign at Upper Fulwood Farm indicates the direction to Carr House Farm in one direction and Jaggers Clough and Hope Cross in the other.


Mild interest from the local livestock at Fulwood Farm.


View of Fulwood Farm Manor House, where we stopped for lunch.


Backside Wood, a National Trust property.


With a view up Crookstone Out Moor and Kinder Scout beyond, we encountered a stone wall near Jaggers Clough, after emerging from Backside Wood.


View towards Nether Moor, near Jaggers Clough.


This track at Jaggers Clough in fact leads to Clough Farm - not the way we wished to go.


Earnestly attempting to the establish the correct route up towards Kinder Scout, Andy, Maeve consult the map as Bob points the way.


 Returning back up the dirt track we had just come down, near Jaggers Clough, to course a way up towards the Roman Road along the ridge,


Views from the path leading up from Jaggers Clough to the Roman Road.


Instead of aiming for the Roman Road, we followed the track through the National Trust Backside Wood, even crossing a bridge in the forest. It just didn't seem we were heading in the right direction, though the unspoilt virgin wood was very pretty. This eventually brought us out at Jagger's Clough. This historic packhorse route provides a rough and stony way to get up onto Kinder Scout. It follows the path of the river through a steep and rocky clough or gulley before levelling out on the Kinder plateau. Quite treacherous in places, it is perhaps surprising that the ‘jaggers’ chose to lead their packhorses along this route up and out of the valley. However it makes a picturesque walk, starting at the ford across the River Noe at Edale End. We soon realised after a sharp bend in the track, popular with mountain bikers, some of whom we passed en route, that it in fact was leading towards Clough Farm and not the way we wanted to go, which was to reach the Roman Road and then up towards Kinder Scout. We therefore turned around and headed up teh hillside along the track we had just come down after our exit from Backside Wood. We reached a junction with the upper path running from where earlier, we had encountered the sheep.



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Edale Valley Walk [1] [2]


Links to other websites:

  • Official Pennine Way - website

  • Pennine Way - wiki

  • Kinder Scout - wiki

  • Peak District - wiki

  • Moorland Centre, Edale - website

  • Fieldhead campsite - website

  • Edale Valley Tourist Association - website

  • Kinder Scout Trespass - official website

  • Everyday Cycling - Edale loop - website

  • Kinder Downfall from Hayfield - Trekking Britain website

  • Walking via Kinder Reservoir - didicam69 website

  • The Dark Peak - University of Manchester Hiking Club - website

  • National Trust - Kinder Scout - website

  • Edale in the Peak District - website