In a series of blogs, we want to share with you some of our favourite Peak District walks.
One of the wonderful things about walking in the Peak District is the sheer variety of scenery on offer within a relatively small area. In the “White Peak”, caves and valleys have been carved out of the white limestone by ancient rivers. The scenery is soft, green and dotted with farms, picturesque villages such as Litton and flower strewn dales such as Cressbrook Dale, Millers Dale and Lathkill Dale.
In the so called “Dark Peak”, dark gritstone rock, weathered over millions of years has formed dramatic edges and curiously shaped rock formations. This landscape is often high, rugged and empty and offers staggeringly beautiful views over moorland, hills and reservoirs such as Ladybower, Derwent and Howden.
Walk 1. Derwent Edge from Cutthroat Bridge.
This out and back walk in the Dark Peak can be turned into a circular walk for more energetic hikers and can also be covered on mountain bikes. The path is easy and provides superb views of Ladybower Reservoir and unusual gritstone rock formations, so choose a bright and clear day to get the best views.
Length : Approx 8 miles
Park in the long lay-by on the A57 Snake Pass to Sheffield road, close to Cutthroat Bridge (Grid reference SK217874).
Walk back along the main road towards the Snake Pass and Ladybower for about 150 metres, cross over and go through the gate to Cutthroat Bridge. (It is said that the bridge gets its name from a dead body found there years ago with its throat slit, but don’t let this put you off!)
With the brook on your right, take the path as it begins its gradual climb. At the top, bear left to the viewpoint at Whinstone Lee Tor (Grid reference SK198874)
From here there is an incredible view over Ladybower reservoir and the moors beyond. This particular reservoir was constructed between 1935 and 1943. After its completion, the valley to the north was flooded and in the process the villages of Derwent and Ashopton were completely submerged. Sometimes, when the waters are abnormally low, it is possible to see some of the ruins of Derwent.
Continue along the main path, which winds its way north through the rocks along Derwent Edge. The first large rock formation you come across is called the Wheel Stones (Grid reference SK202885), which is supposed to resemble a coach and horses, although this requires a bit of imagination!
Salt Cellar boulder, another well known rock formation, can be found further along the path.The stone was formed around 320 million years ago when the area was in a huge river delta. Grit was washed down the river from mountains further north and deposited in a wide area. Sometimes layers containing mud would form softer rock. After being exposed to the elements for millions of years, these softer deposits have eroded, forming curious shapes. In the Salt Cellar, these layers are very apparent and the rock is so named because it is felt to resemble a salt pot. (Again, a certain amount of imagination is called for!)
The largest and final group of rocks is called Back Tor, (Grid reference SK198910) easily recognisable by the trig point, and another great place to enjoy the wide and sweeping views over the moors.
Our walk ends here and it is just a question of retracing your steps.
It is possible to turn the walk into a circular walk by returning to Cutthroat Bridge via Lost Lad, along the side of Ladybower Reservoir, through Grindle Clough and Highshaw Clough. This circular route is appox 10 miles long and involves a steep climb.