Snake Summit – is it worth stopping for a walk ?

When driving over the A57 Snake Pass, one of the Manchester to Sheffield trans-Pennine routes the mountain tops of Kinder Scout and Bleaklow are visible either side but to be fair look some distance off. Many cars stop at the Snake summit top where the Pennine Way long distance footpath crosses the road , but most people don’t venture very far.

The Ashop Head end of Kinder Scout to the south is a good 45 mins to an hour walk away and during that time its fair to say the view is no different or even slightly obscured as the Pennine way, paved route, undulates over the moors. Long walks are best from this point but to have a second car at a destination e.g. In Edale or Hayfield to the South, Torside or Woodhead to the North almost essential.

Bleaklow is closer than Kinder and more inviting or at least the Shelf Stones section is close [the Pennine way North to the top of Bleaklow Hill which is very flat and a little uninspiring at that point unless going further is probably just 40 minutes fairly easy but occasionally boggy walking].

A short walk from the summit is recommended though. Parking carefully at the summit, the North side of the road preferred, make sure you get completely off the road and be aware you will be at quite angle when you leave the tarmac so easy does it!

20130731-212600.jpg Walk along the Pennine Way North for 5-10 mins. The photo above shows the path and the view back to the start point and the cars parked at the top with Kinder Scout in the distance. An improved view of Shelf stones can be seen at this point.

20130731-190508.jpgAt present it’s worth it just to see the Bog Cotton (Cotton grass ). Red Grouse are resident birds on the top and more than likely they will see you before you see them – sometimes very close before they fly off with their loud ‘get back, get back’ alarm call. At the point where there is a dip down in the path there is a footpath crossroads – this section is known as Old Woman. Walking to the left the path is uneven and often wet compared to the first Pennine Way section but well worth it for another 5-10 minutes. At that point (through the gate in the foreground of the photo below) it’s all down hill to Old Glossop on the Doctor’s Gate path.

20130731-201148.jpgBut even if you go no further and just retrace your steps it is worth going this far for the views and to get a feel for the moorland .The photo below shows the wide view to the north west from the left the tops are called James’s Thorn, Lower Shelf Stones and Higher Shelf Stones.
20130731-204539.jpgThe rocky tops of these hills are impressive20130731-205250.jpg20130731-205419.jpg
If setting off for a longer walk to any of these tops be fully prepared with suitable walking boots,maps and sufficient clothing for all weathers – I also cannot recommend going over these moors for the first time solo unless sticking to the major footpaths. Too many people seem to get lost on these tops, of course most come to no harm but many arrive home tired after walking more miles than intended. Be careful out there or just stick to this very short walk to get a closer look at the flora and fauna of the Pennine moorland.About me and my blog

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Kinder Reservoir Dam

After a holiday at the start of July based in Great Langdale in the Lake District it has taken me some time to get back out locally. The main reasons for that is that it has been too hot ( for me that is – I know lots of people love it ) and I have had some very bad Hayfever days.

So an overcast morning with slight drizzle got me keen to go out for a walk this morning.

The chosen starting point of the Bowden Bridge Car Park at Hayfield is a little over a mile along Kinder Road out of the village.

For non car users the walk along the road is no hardship as it has good views of the village – The Village in the BBC TV series is recognisable in the first section and then you pass the house with its blue plaque where actor Arthur Lowe (most famous as Cpt Mainwaring in Dad’s Army ) was born. After the houses there is a choice to walk on the roadside footpath past The Sportsman pub or walk down to and cross the river Kinder to follow it to the camp site ( shop with Ice Cream here !). Public toilets are at Bowden Bridge itself after the campsite.

The Bowden Bridge Car Park is a must to visit even if walking as it has a plaque in memory of the Kinder Trespass

There is a dizzying choice of walks from this point from a very simple stroll along the road to the full circular walk of the Kinder Horseshoe so 5 mins or 5 hours.

Today it was a simple straight line walk along Kinder Road to Kinder Reservoir via White Brow for view of Kinder Scout and the flora and fauna of the area.

Turning left out of the car park and walking the road on west side of the River Kinder Walk past Bowden Bridge Cottage (a rental property – great location) soon hearing lots of birds in the wonderful Kinder Bank Wood – one tree had 3 Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Blue Tit and Great Tit in. Watch out for the Grey Herons almost always close to the last house – the one with the Fish pond 🙂

20130725-232155.jpgKinder Bank Wood from the reservoir
below: the River Kinder sparkling in the sun

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On reaching the old Sheepwash ( don’t forget to read the information board about its history) it’s possible to choose to walk either side of the river, staying on the left uses the road to the dam (closed to traffic) and allows further fine views of the wood. At the end the dam wall and the Sandy Hey section of Kinder Scout can be seen through the gates

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The next section is VERY STEEP for about 50 metres only and is a cobbled path – easy to go up awful to come down if wet (be warned!) This leads to White Brow and the open moorland to the west of Kinder Scout

20130725-232335.jpgAt the top it levels out and there are fine views to the South to Mount Famine to the East a large section of Kinder Scout can be seen most notable towards Kinder Downfalll – the famous waterfall that is often blown back up the hill as much as it flows down. This short walk provides great views of the area for relatively little effort – allow at least 90 minutes though to allow time to take it all in !

20130725-235756.jpgI returned the same way but there are two obvious circular walks to consider when setting off in this direction. 1) a low level circuit of the Reservoir which I am sure to cover in a future post OR 2 ) and perhaps of most interest to non car users a return is possible by continuing up White Brow then towards Middle moor to the West taking the track called the Snake Path back to Hayfield Village.

Nature notes:
lots of Gatekeeper butterflies around today.

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Birds included House Martin, Swallow, Wren, Kestrel, Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch and Grey Wagtail with lots of young birds calling to be fed. Goosander, Oystercatcher and Canada Geese at the reservoir.
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Bird watching walk from Odin Mine

Interested in Bird watching and fancy a nice flat walk? – here’s one I can really recommend.

Starting from Odin Mine below the shivering mountain, Mam Tor. There are a number of options but the walk towards Castleton in mid summer is wonderful. Park up at the end of the old road out of Castleton passing Treak Cliff cavern on the way.

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Cross the road through a gate and you can see The Crushing Circle – walk past this and cross the small but noisy stream.
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The trees in this area are species rich in summer, warblers and finches in good numbers. Today there was a Garden warbler singing non-stop and so close it should have been visible but never saw it. Passing through a few very narrow gates and stiles at Knowlesgate Farm the path goes across a lovely meadow which was full of buttercups, clover and yellow rattle

20130624-205635.jpg turn around for this view of Mam Tor.

Crossing the next stile which has large stone steps gives good views of the surrounding fields and on this occasion a male Redstart was moving from post to post it’s bright colours standing out even in the shade.

20130624-213035.jpg Walking throughthe next field before crossing the road to Dunscar Farm there is an old gate post which has carving of the arm of a miner on one side. On the reverse there is the name Odin Mine and a guide finger to point the way

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The entrance to Dunscar Farm provides a number of alternative walks – the walk towards Woodseats and Mam Farm provides a circular walk option, back to Odin Mine and the start point- also good for birds there would be an excellent chance of seeing Whinchat, Linnet and Redpoll on that section.

We continued into the town today.
The next section gives a first view of the Peak Cavern and Pevril Castle

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looking to the south the entrance to Winnats pass can be seen across the fields. Young Goldfinches were begging to be fed on the walls and all looked old enough to fend for themselves.

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The section in to the town had many House Sparrows and a Wren with low flying Swallows.

20130624-215025.jpgWhile other Cafes are available The Three Roofs is hard to pass. Smashing Toasted Teacake.

Return either retracing the path or by folllowing the roadside footpath all the way back to the start point.

Other birds seen or heard included Common Whitethroat and Blackcap.

unplanned walk to Span Moor

Upadate 2015: This walk as described is no longer possible as there is no longer a public right away through the Glossop golf course. 

[in 2014 United Utilities demolished the Hurst Reservoir and landscaped the area]

An extended regular walk took me close to Snake Summit and a view of Manchester.

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The walk:
Starting at Sheffield Road in Glossop near the Royal Oak Pub is Hurst Road, walking along this road the entrance to Glossop Golf Course is on the left. I regularly walk through to look at the birds around the Northern edge of Hurst Reservoir and beyond.

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There are signs warning which direction to watch a golf ball arriving from but take more care than that! Always be aware of the golfers and let them play their shots before walking by – if in doubt ask before walking on. Pass the clubhouse and continue to the dam – a steep rough track takes you to the northern edge of Hurst Reservoir.

There are quite a variety of birds around if you stop and look for them including Oystercatcher today.

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Stay on the track and you will reach a gate to gain access to the open moorland. This is just to the left of the old sluice gates.

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Normally I don’t go much further but today I walked over to Hurst Brook and crossed over the water to gain access to the track up to Span Moor. Soon you can look back to a view of Shire Hill quarry

20130618-235234.jpgNormally this is a very thin track but since the heather was machine cut by a tractor there is some easy walking up the hill to reach the moor and eventually to reach either Snake summit (keep Holden Clough to your left – I have never tried that but have seen it done) or Hurst Moor.

From the point where the Snake Pass road is closest opposite, you can continue over Hurst Moor walk roughly south west to reach Black moor and descend to Moorfield via the Woods Cabin track. To complete a circular walk use the Derbyshire Level road to the right to return to the starting point

(**Holden Clough)
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At the top of this walk there are some rewarding views across towards Bleaklow.
to James’s Thorn

20130618-235813.jpgAnd Shelf Benches and Dog Rock on the Yellow Slacks ridge

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The attractive Span Clough can be glimpsed from the moor without struggling down to see it

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A walk which is a long slow climb made easier by the heather cutting but rewarding for new views of the area. Care through the golf course and where you put your feet on the moor are required. Good walking boots and a map and compass would make for a safer more enjoyable walk if you are unfamiliar with the area. 1 hour to reach the top (**Holden Clough)and and estimated 2 hours 30 mins for the round trip allowing for wildlife and photography stops on the way.
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Longdendale – walking the southern edges (1)

Today’s walk was a bit of a fitness test for me. I started at Woodhead Reseroir Dam and headed up the track past Deer Knowl and reached the top at Lawrence Edge. The intention was to walk the edge as far as Torside Clough and back down to the Longdendale Trail to complete the walk.

20130615-165829.jpg Woodhead Reservoir but not along the trail today it’s behind the cottages past the pylon and follow a wide track up for the first section.
20130615-171150.jpgLeave this track at the point where it makes a sharp right and carry on on a thin path ahead climbing slightly until a flat section appears to the right. Follow the track straight ahead and stick to the short sharp approach to the climb reaching some rocks.
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After that there appear a number of thin track through the heather at various angles but I went for a direct ascent following a small stream. I made it to the top, a bit more of a scramble than I remembered as I lost the path and made hard work of it. I would try a different track next time.

20130615-231304.jpg I saw very little wildlife today, Meadow Pipits and female Merlin. I think they could hear me puffing and panting my way up and kept their heads down.

Pleasant as it was to walk the edge it was very windy and I was walking straight in to it so I decided to shorten the walk. This decision was not taken without a lot of thought the shorter alternative was a steep descent at Wildboar Clough – better to go up than down that way in my opinion and I still think that after today.

The view down the valley from above the Rollick Stones (my widest wide angle lens )

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Wildboar Clough with the dry river bed quite a shock to see. I was wondering if crossing it may be a problem today, it wasn’t.

20130615-231830.jpgI crossed just above this impressive peaty water filled pool

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I only spotted one other walker and that was after I was nearly down to the trees below the Clough

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This is a walk though it is not for the faint hearted, it’s very steep up and down, good boots and good weather are essential I was also glad to have some gloves not to keep warm but for the descent next to the fencing as it really does help to hold on in places.

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Through the woods is an easy to follow track , a little muddy in places but eventually brings you back to the trail at the sign that the majority simply walk or ride past. If you don’t fancy this walk then at least venture up from the Longdendale Trail through the woods to see Wildboar Clough and the impressive Rollick stones.

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Lantern Pike

A circular walk from Little Hayfield in Derbyshire.

Climbing up to the Lantern Pike from The Lantern Pike public house in Little Hayfield (A624 south of Hayfield) the approach to the top from the North is a long zigzag but preferable to the relentless up and up from Hayfield itself.

A view of Hayfield from the summit.

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Little Hayfield is in the foreground of the photo below. The moorland beyond is called Middle Moor with Kinder Scout hidden in the clouds on the horizon.

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The Lantern Pike pub is the building on the roadside at the left.

The western side of the hill was covered in Bog cotton plants

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There was a sunny interval …

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.. on the descent down to Cliff and then Hayfield.

On this day we got very very wet before completing the walk back at Little Hayfield.

About this Walk:
RECOMMENDED for a Sunny summer day and allow 90 minutes to enjoy the 360 degree views from the top. Evening and a good weather day provide superb views of Kinder Scout plateau to the East.
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