Walking, Hiking, and Scrambling route descriptions and reports, mainly focusing on Snowdonia and the Peak District, eg. the Snowdon Horseshoe, Tryfan, the Bochlwyd Horseshoe, and Kinder Scout. GPX files provided for all routes.
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This walk was designed to give my 3 year old son, Harry, his first taste of the Dark Peak. At this age, I didn’t really want to give him anything that involved too much climbing, or too far a distance. I felt that 3 miles should be about his limit. I also wanted a bit […] The post Birchen Edge and Gardom’s Edge appeared first on Hill...
This walk was designed to give my 3 year old son, Harry, his first taste of the Dark Peak. At this age, I didn’t really want to give him anything that involved too much climbing, or too far a distance. I felt that 3 miles should be about his limit. I also wanted a bit of interest on the walk in the form of gritstone as he, like all kids, love clambering on rock. And a trig pillar is always a bonus! After much studying of the map, I decided on Birchen Edge as it was quick to get up onto the edge from the car park, was short and sweet, and, even better, it was a location that I’d never been to before.
I was warned that the Robin Hood car park filled up quickly so I had to get there early – and whoever told me that wasn’t wrong. We left the house at 8:00am and arrived at a full car park at around 9:10am. Luckily there was somebody leaving just as we got there so I quickly nipped in and took the space. We started along the path towards Birchen Edge. The idea was to get up on the edge as soon as possible and an opportunity soon presented itself to do just that. A track on the right steeply ascended up to Birchen Edge. To an adult, the path was steep and steppy, but to Harry it was more of a scramble which he seemed to be enjoying.
It wasn’t long before we were up on the top and we started the pleasant walk north, following the line of the edge. Harry took every opportunity to climb onto lumps of weathered gritstone scattered around but his balance unfortunately isn’t too great at the moment and so he often needed a helping hand to steady himself.
We eventually arrived at the popular end of the ridge. The Birchen Edge walls were busy with climbers, the large gritstone formations known as the Three Ships were busy with boulderers, and many casual walkers were milling around in between. Harry had a go at climbing up onto the smaller of the gritstone shapes, and his efforts were met with success.
Just beyond this area was Nelsons Monument – a 3 metre column of gritstone erected in 1810 by a local businessman in honour of Lord Nelson. The column was restored in 1992. Also in this area was the trig pillar – Harry’s first Dark Peak trig pillar. I felt so proud! 😉
From the end of Birchen Edge, we descended and made our way north, following the path through moorland. Just before we arrived at a road, another track headed off to our left, roughly south-west, and running parallel to the A621 below. This eventually took us to Gardom’s Edge. Harrys legs were beginning to tire and his enthusiasm for climbing was on the wane. He started to need a little more encouragement to keep moving as – being the cruel parent that I am – I was downright refusing to carry him.
Gardom’s Edge was a nice stretch of walking. The views aren’t quite as varied and expansive as they are from Birchen Edge due to the forested areas below and on the opposite side of the valley. It was much quieter though and we didn’t encounter many people along the way. The atmosphere could be described as serene and tranquil as opposed to Birchen Edge which would better be described as bustling with activity.
Once at the end of Gardom’s Edge, we followed the path slowly downhill back to the road. We passed another large gritstone formation of interest but, by this time, little harrys legs were too weary for more play. The boy done well! It was a decent mileage for such little legs, especially taking into account the ascent up to Bircham Edge and the occasional clambering on the gritstone.
This route is taken from the excellent Cicerone ‘Dark Peak Walks’ book and starts at one of the small parking areas at the end of the western branch of Howden Reservoir. From there, the route heads steeply up through Ditch Clough Plantation before heading across a patch of open moorland between Ditch Clough and Fagney […] The post Alport Castles to Bleaklow Stones appeared first on Hill...
This route is taken from the excellent Cicerone ‘Dark Peak Walks’ book and starts at one of the small parking areas at the end of the western branch of Howden Reservoir. From there, the route heads steeply up through Ditch Clough Plantation before heading across a patch of open moorland between Ditch Clough and Fagney Clough. In no time at all, Alport Castles is reached. Alport Castles is formed from a landslide and, at around half a mile long, is thought to be the largest landslide in the United Kingdom.
From the crumbling cliffs of Alport Castle, the route follows the edge north-west until it crosses the head of a brook. After crossing, a track leads up onto Westend Moor where it continues roughly north-west. On a clear day, the white trig pillar should quickly become visible in the distance and makes a useful point of reference.
The weather had forecast nice weather, but as yet there was no sign of it. It was still cloudy, and the top of Bleaklow was still obscured by low cloud. The wind was quite strong too and it felt chilly even with my fleece top on. To think that I almost turned up with just a t-shirt! The last time I walked across Westend Moor, it was hard work. This may have been partly down to me going slightly off route and having to cross a load of deep groughs, but it was also down to the wet weather and deep peaty bog. Due to the recent warm and dry spell though, it was completely different this time. All the peat had dried up and the bog had kindly converted into a springy bed of earth which made for a pleasant walking experience.
The route continues north-west, aiming for the highest ground between the groughs for the easiest walking. At the end of the moor, a sloped ridge rises up to Bleaklow Stones where the strange weathered gritstone formations can be admired for a while, as well as the weirdly scarred, other-worldly landscape of bleaklow’s plateau. From Bleaklow Stones, the rest of the route is relatively straight forward in clear weather as the next destination of Grinah Stones can clearly be seen in the distance to the east. It’s a simple case of following a track that contours around the edge of Bleaklow until this is reached. The views from here looking over the expanses of moorland below are fantastic.
The final gritstone collection of the day is only a short walk away. Head roughly north north-east and the weirdly eroded gritstone that makes up the Barrow Stones soon becomes visible. A track descends from here and a stile over a fence is tackled before the track continues over Round Hill and across Ridgewalk Moor before finally descending down to the River Westend. The view along the valley during this part of the walk makes for a great finish. Once down to the valley floor, the river is followed south back to Howden Reservoir.
From the starting point at Trent Bridge, the route follows the riverside path past the Nottingham & Union Rowing Club, and then The City Ground – home of Nottingham Forest Football Club. It then continues, still following the river, under Lady Bay bridge and past The Hook Nature Reserve on the right. Eventually, the first […] The post Trent Valley Way: Nottingham to Gunthorpe appeared first on Hill...
From the starting point at Trent Bridge, the route follows the riverside path past the Nottingham & Union Rowing Club, and then The City Ground – home of Nottingham Forest Football Club. It then continues, still following the river, under Lady Bay bridge and past The Hook Nature Reserve on the right. Eventually, the first detour away from the river has to be taken at the Nottingham Sailing Club.
Take a right turn and eventually turn left onto Adbolton Lane. This is probably the most tedious section of the route as it involves a long walk along the fairly uninteresting road. The route on the map utilises this road all the way to Radcliffe-on-Trent, however it’s probably more advisable to utilise one of the footpaths in the Skylarks Nature Reserve instead for a part of it. Conveniently, one of these paths runs parallel to the road although a longer detour can be taken to see more of the Nature Reserve.
The route continues past Holme Pierrepont on the left and, eventually, the tarmacked road gives way to a short section of potholed dirt track that links the road to Radcliffe. Once back on the tarmacked road in Radcliffe, continue for a short while to the point where Holme Lane becomes The Green. Here, the road can finally be left behind as a footpath on the left leads between fields used for horse grazing and brings you out at Wharf Lane Recreation Ground.
Here, it’s a left turn down Wharf Lane just past the railway bridge where a path veers off to the right up steps to an area called ‘The Cliffs’. As you’ve probably guessed, this is an exposed river embankment, steep enough that you could just about get away with calling them cliffs.The path runs along the top of this but it’s surprisingly difficult to actually get a good view due to the trees.
The path initially starts in Radcliffe and runs behind a row of houses, but this changes after a while as it leaves the town behind. The view opens up to reveal a landscape of gently rolling hills. The path eventually curves to the left and crosses sheep pasture to follow the course of the river which is on the left as always. To the right are fields of rapeseed adding a bit of colour to the scenery. Across the river, Stoke Bardolph is visible as is the popular riverside pub, the Ferry Boat Inn.
The footpath eventually reaches the farm road Stoke Ferry Lane which is followed past St Marys Church into the small village of Shelford. Head down Church Street to the junction before continuing straight ahead to a track named Water Lane. This is followed until it eventually leads to open fields. An incline is ascended to the road. A bench with a memorial plaque sits at the top of this hill should you with to rest weary legs and enjoy the view.
As soon as you’re on the road, it’s time to come off it again with a left turn onto another footpath that crosses fields as it follows the boundary line of Shelford Civil Parish. This next field contains the ruins of an old early 19th century windmill. The base is all that remains and it’s officially a grade II listed building. Continue past this, and then the next field which appears to be used for horse riding and jumping. A small wooded area is finally navigated which emerges on to the A6097. At certain times of the day – namely rush hour – this road can be extremely busy and difficult to cross so care needs to be taken, especially as there’s no path on this side of the road.
Once over the road, there’s one final stretch of footpath that leads north to Trent Lane, emerging near the site of the old Gunthorpe Toll Bridge that was demolished in 1925. There’s an information board onsite by the river banking should that be of interest. From here, it’s a short walk back to the A6097 and over the main bridge – the only bridge between Nottingham and Newark that crosses the Trent – before arriving in the small, picturesque village of Gunthorpe. It’s a perfect place to finally rest your feet and enjoy a drink or two! The best way to return to Nottingham by public transport would be to walk up to the A612 roundabout and catch the number 100 bus back.
This was the first walk of three that I managed to complete as part of a mini two day adventure in Northumberland – a county that I had never set foot in before. I’d been sent a copy of Cicerone’s ‘Walking in Northumberland’ book to review and so I selected a bigger walk in the […] The post Border Ridge including Windy Gyle appeared first on Hill...
This was the first walk of three that I managed to complete as part of a mini two day adventure in Northumberland – a county that I had never set foot in before. I’d been sent a copy of Cicerone’s ‘Walking in Northumberland’ book to review and so I selected a bigger walk in the Northumberland National Park for the first day, and two shorter walks in the hills around Rothbury for the second.
In terms of the journey… the A1 was as dull as always, but all changed at Newcastle when I turned onto the A696 towards Northumberland. Suddenly roads were quieter and I was surrounded by scenery that was actually worth looking at. The drive was actually enjoyable for the first time since setting off. I continued a fair way down this road as it eventually merged into the A68. Then, all of a sudden, my satnav informed me to turn right, which I did – only to be greeted by a sign saying ‘Private Road – Ministry of Defence’. I had a choice to make here… either find another way to get to my destination in an area of the country that I don’t know at all. Or risk being blown up by military debris. I decided to trust my satnav and proceeded down this little single lane track. And what a track it was! For the next four miles, it was utterly gorgeous. This little lane improbably wound its way around the hills, heading further and further towards the middle of nowhere. I felt like I might be the only person in a 50 mile radius – which is a great feeling when surrounded by such a beautiful landscape. It’s hard to describe how fantasic this road was, but luckily it just happens to be available to view on Google Streetmap. Enjoy!
The walk actually starts at a small car park that lies just past Buckham’s Bridge. The most obvious choice of line here to obtain the Border Ridge is to immediately ascend Yearning Law, however the route I was following had gone for a different variation. I headed west, following the line of Buckham’s Walls Burn as far as a an old sheepfold where the stream forked. So far the walk had been lovely with it’s surroundings of steep valley slopes. Unfortunately, there was also a horrid side to it due to the amount of dead sheep that I walked past. Not just the odd individual sheep but also clusters of them, five at a time. Together and rotting. I reckon that during the initial stretch as I followed the burn, I must have passed around 25 or more of them. The smell of death made an interesting contrast to the sweet fruity taste of the Starburst (I still call them Opal Fruits) that I was chewing at the time. I started to work my way through possible causes of their demise, such as a black panther on the loose, or maybe an airborne killer virus. This made me feel a little anxious. I won’t post the picture of the sheep here, but if you’re morbidly interested then they’re in my Flickr album linked at the foot of the post.
Anyhow, back to the route description! At the sheepfold, I took the right-hand fork onto Rennies Burn and headed in a more northerly direction. The Ordnance Survey map shows a path but in reality there’s none visible but it’s fairly easy to pick your own way. Eventually the stream forks yet again at another sheepfold, and again it’s the right fork that’s taken with the easiest walking on the left-hand side of the stream. It’s not far after this that the route eventually leaves the stream up the right-hand slope. It’s best to look out for a small stream running down the hill on the right-hand side as it’s just after this that the route makes it’s way up the slope.
Once up, the path is a little more visible and is followed until a junction of footpaths is reached. The right hand path (south) heads back to Yearning Law so it’s the left hand path that’s required that heads north before curving round to the west and to the mountain refuge hut. From here it was a sharp left onto the Pennine Way, which I would follow all the way along the ridge to Windy Gyle. The first stop was Lamb Hill, which has a trig point located on the other side of the fence and so I assume that the trig point is technically in Scotland. The terrain up here was much more familiar to me as a regular visitor to the Dark Peak with its heather covered slopes and patches of exposed peat. The path along the ridge is paved for much of the way, like many sections of the Pennine Way.
The scenery up in the Cheviot Hills is beautiful all around, and the rolling hills stretch as far as the eye can see. To the right was the expanse of Northumberland National Park, and to the left, Scotland. Next up on the ridge was Beefstand Hill followed shortly by the summit of Mozie Law. At various points, spectacular views were on offer to the right looking down into some of the large cloughs (I’m not sure if they still call them cloughs up here).
The final section of ridge wrapped around the clough that houses Rowhope Burn and led up to the final and biggest summit of the day, Windy Gyle at 619 metres above sea level. This hill also features a trig point that sits inside a large cairn named Russel’s Cairn which apparently dates back to the bronze age. It was the perfect place to stop to rest the legs and get some fluids down me. What had started as a fairly cloudy day had transformed into a red hot summers day, and I was suffering a little as I’d put no suntan cream on my arms. I could see them going red and could feel the heat radiating off them. They were going to be sore later.
From Windy Gyle, I descended south towards the ridge above Trows Law that runs high between Trows Burn and Wardlaw Burn. Galloway cows were out grazing on the ridge and, with me being such a coward with a fear of cows, I dropped down the slope a little so that I could safely skirt around them. The path eventually descends down to the Trows farmstead and continues on to the Rowhope farmstead where it forks off to the right up the slopes of Hindside Knowe. My legs were feeling very weary at this point thanks to the heat, but struggled on knowing that this was to be the final ascent of the day.
Once over and descending on the other side of the hill, I turned right and contoured around Stogie’s Cleugh before gradually heading downhill towards Carlcroft farm. Once back on the road which ran alongside the River Coquet, it was a simple case of following it back west to the car park. A spectacular day and so much more around here to explore. I was here for 2 days and already I was wishing it was 2 weeks.
I was recently sent a copy of the new book ‘Walking in Northumberland’ to review by Cicerone Press. I quite enjoy opportunities like this as it gives me an excuse to go out and test some of the routes, however this one was particularly exciting as I’d never actually been walking in Northumberland before. The […] The post Book Review: Walking in Northumberland (Cicerone) appeared first on Hill...
I was recently sent a copy of the new book ‘Walking in Northumberland’ to review by Cicerone Press. I quite enjoy opportunities like this as it gives me an excuse to go out and test some of the routes, however this one was particularly exciting as I’d never actually been walking in Northumberland before. The book is written by Vivienne Crow, an award winning freelance journalist and avid hillwalker. She has now authored over a dozen walking guidebooks.
So I’ll start with the outline from Cicerones website:
The book comprises 36 short walking routes between 4 and 14 miles in Northumberland, England’s most sparsely populated county. Ranging from easy ambles and gentle woodland trails to long days on the hills: there is something for all types of walker – and all types of weather. Taking in the beautiful coast with its immense, empty beaches and dramatic crag-top castles to the remote hills of the Cheviots and Pennines, the whole county is covered. Most of the routes are circular, but there are a few linear walks that make use of local bus services.
The landscapes are rich in history, featuring Hadrian’s Wall, Lindisfarne Priory, Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh castles, and much more.
The walks are divided into five geographical areas: north-east Northumberland, National Park (north), Kielder, Tyne Valley and National Park (south) and the North Pennines. Each walk description contains information on start/finish points, distance covered, total ascent, terrain, approximate walking time, grade, maps required, transport options, public toilets and refreshments, and is accompanied by 1:50k OS mapping. The book also includes a handy route summary table.
The book is very nicely laid out with plenty of well chosen photographs to show off the highlights of the routes. The guides themselves are well written and easy to read. It’s not just a ‘go here, turn there’ set of instructions. Plenty of useful information is included about the surroundings and places of historical interest. I journeyed up to Northumberland for a couple of days and tested three of the routes from the book: Border Ridge including Windy Gayle, Rothbury Terraces, and Simonside Hills. It turned out to be a quite wonderful two days due to an extremely hot and sunny Bank Holiday weekend, and of course the utterly gorgeous scenery of Northumberland. I may have fallen in love with it a little bit!
Along with a map (because you really shouldn’t go wandering off across the moors armed with nothing more than a book!), I had no trouble at all following the directions for the three walks in question. Points of reference were clearly explained and little snippets of text prompted me to explore a little more when it was appropriate to do so. The only unpleasant aspect of the three routes that I tested were the 25 (approx) dead sheep that I passed on the stretch of Buckham’s Walls Burn between Buckham’s Bridge and Rennies Burn (a section of the Border Ridge walk). The smell made me feel more than a little nauseous. Hardly the fault of the book though!
At the beginning of the book, before the walks start, there are a few mini chapters on subjects such as geology, wildlife, and history. I found these chapters to be very interesting and felt they made a nice addition to the book. The section on wildlife informed me that there was a chance I could encounter an Adder basking on one of the paths – and that’s exactly what happened! It was my first ever sighting so I was very excited about that.
The walks are also split into several sections covering different areas. There’s a nice variety to the walks that cover both high and low level walking, hills, forests, coastline, and sections of Hadrians Wall. Everything is logically laid out and therefore easy to find.
All in all, if you’re interested at all about visiting Northumberland to walk, then I highly recommend this book. It has a wonderful variety of walks to choose from across all of Northumberland, and all the important information you’ll need on those walks. Access for dogs, transport options, parking, facilities, etc… It’s all there.
Walking in Northumberland is available to purchase at Cicerone Press here.
We started the walk at the rather expensive car park at the end of Beach Lane (£6 for 4 hours!). It was a beautiful day. The sun had come out, the sky was a rich blue, and it felt like a proper spring day for once after a winter that seemed to go on forever. […] The post A Walk Around Weybourne appeared first on Hill...
We started the walk at the rather expensive car park at the end of Beach Lane (£6 for 4 hours!). It was a beautiful day. The sun had come out, the sky was a rich blue, and it felt like a proper spring day for once after a winter that seemed to go on forever. We set off west along the coastline, enjoying the seaside scenery but finding it difficult to walk fast on the pebble beach.
After a short distance, up to the left, we saw the anti-aircraft guns – relics from the Second World War when Weybourne was a highly secret military site and an Anti-Aircraft Artillery range. During the war, the coastline became a controlled zone by the British forces. Defences were constructed around Weybourne as part of British anti-invasion preparations, and the beaches were blocked by landmines and extensive scaffolding barriers. Further inland there were pillboxes, barbed wire entanglements, a long anti-tank ditch, and various other defences. The site is currently home to the Muckleburgh Collection – the largest privately owned military museum in the United Kingdom. The anti-aircraft guns that we could see now belong to this collection. At the north-western corner of the site, just before the area labelled ‘The Quag’ which appeared to be a wetland area and possibly a nature reserve, we took a sharp left and continued to follow the boundary of the Mickleburgh Collection site gently uphill towards Muckleburgh Hill.
Muckleburgh Hill is a small hill with a height of 68 metres. Despite its modest height, the views are fantastic from its summit, looking out over the Muckleburgh Collection below and a section of North Norfolk coastline. Like most heathland on the east coast, the earth is sandy and mainly vegetated by gorse. This is controlled by the grazing of cattle, and the main paths are usually well maintained.
We made our way over the hill, crossed the road, and continued heading north to Kelling Heath. This little area was much of the same as the last hill in terms of feel and vegetation – just larger. The north-east corner of the heath is labelled Telegraph Hill on the map and is the site of a trig pillar. It’s always a novelty when you come across one of these in East Anglia.
We continued heading north and eventually came to the North Norfolk Railway Line where, if you’re lucky, you can see one of the old steam trains come by on its journey from Sheringham to Holt. We were lucky and a train was coming past just as we got to the railway banking, however my camera wasn’t quite so lucky and my photo was somewhat ruined as I was facing the sun. Better luck next time!
We followed the line south-west for a short distance then crossed at the keeper’s cottage. Once across, we followed the path north-west, following the railway but this time on the other side of the tracks. The small station of Kelling Heath station was passed shortly before we arrived at a large pond on the right. Immediately after the pond, we turned right and proceeded to pick a path through the Kelling Heath holiday park, eventually emerging onto Sandy Hill Lane.
After a brief spell of road walking, we headed off down another path that led us through Weybourne Wood. We passed some horrid eyesore holiday lodges that really had no place there. Big triangular A-frame constructions which I guess are supposed to look Scandinavian but just looked plain wrong. After a short walk through the woodland, the trees eventually gave way to the open green space that surrounds Sheringham Hall. Sheringham Hall is a Grade II listed building that was completed in 1817 and stands in the grounds of Sheringham Park, which is in the care of the National Trust.
We took a turn to the left before we got to Sheringham Hall, and followed a path that ran between the steeply sloped Oak Wood, and an open crop field that appeared freshly ploughed and waiting for the next batch of whatever crop to grow. As we walked down this path, we saw a sign pointing up some steps that led up the steep slope of the woodland, and saying ‘Viewing Platform’. It sounded interesting and it was another excuse to exercise the legs on a steep slope, and therefore we started to climb to take a look. The steps were indeed steep and went on for quite some time. No match for my hillwalking legs though! At the top was a wooden tower with yet more steps that needed to be climbed to obtain the viewing platform – known as the Gazebo. It was well worth the detour as the view turned out to be quite splendid. It looked out over the whole section of coastline that stretched from Sheringham to Weybourne, and of course the sea beyond.
We came back down the steps, which were much easier in descent, and continued following the line of the woodland towards the coastline. There really wasn’t anything else worth mentioning between here and the coast. It was just a nice easy straight path that cut between fields. I tell a lie, there was one more point of interest. An old World War 2 bunker that amusingly had a picture of a soldier with binoculars in one of the side holes. Looked quite realistic as you can see from the pictures below:
The walk finished simply with a final stretch of coastline that led back to the car park at Weybourne. It had been a really great day out with the kids and the weather had been absolutely perfect. Already looking forward to the next walk.
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