Dark Peak Walks
40 walks exploring the Peak District gritstone and moorland landscapes
By Paul Besley
Guidebook to 40 walks in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park. 35 circular routes for most abilities, from 8km to 19km, around Edale, Marsden, Fairholmes, Baslow and Castleton, including Kinder Scout and Mam Tor, and 5 longer (25km to 45km) routes highlighting the best of the Gritstone Edges, High Moorland and Deep Valleys.
SeasonsThe area can be enjoyed in all seasons, although extra care (and kit) may be required in winter conditions.
CentresHathersage, Grindleford, Langsett, Marsden, Dove Stones, Edale, Upper Derwent Valley, Castleton, Greenfield, Chatsworth, Sheffield, Hayfield, Crowden, Hope, Dunford Bridge
DifficultyWalking in the Dark Peak requires good navigational skills, especially in winter, and a good level of hillcraft. Having the correct equipment and clothing and knowing how to use it is paramount when venturing out onto the high moors.
Must SeeKinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District; Bleaklow, the second highest; Howden and Derwent Edges; Black Hill and the Wessenden Moors; the gritstone edges of Derwent, Bamford, Stanage, Burbage, Froggatt, Curbar, Birchen, Gardoms and the Roaches; the Eastern Moors; the Goyt Valley, Shutlingsloe and Wildboarclough
This guidebook describes 35 circular walking routes in the Dark Peak - the wilder northern area of the Peak District distinguished by its dark gritstone. The walks range between 4 and 13.5 miles in length (6.5km to 22km), varying in terms of difficulty: some involve steep ascents and descents, uneven ground and pathless terrain, and demand a good level of navigational competence. The book also outlines 5 longer routes (3 linear; 2 circular) of 15.5 to 28 miles (25-45km) for those wishing to explore the area further, including a classic 'skyline' circuit of the Kinder Scout plateau. Detailed route description and 1:50,000 OS mapping are provided for each route, along with information on nearby points of interest and facilities.
Icons of the Dark Peak - such as Kinder Scout, Stanage Edge, the Roaches and Mam Tor - are included, however, the focus is on exploring the lesser-known corners of the region. The routes take in striking gritstone edges, distinctive rock formations, open moorland, steep-sided valleys and hidden waterfalls.
The Dark Peak features a wild landscape of sweeping moorland and big skies. Easily accessible from Sheffield, it boasts a wealth of natural, geological, historical and cultural interest - and some great walking.
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Paul Besley is a writer who began exploring the British Landscape while at school in the 1970s. His focus of work is the interaction between human and the land. His work has evolved into the study of how the physical environment imprints itself on humans and how as a race we respond. His belief that walking is a simple activity has led him to support the effort of many just starting out on a lifetime of pleasure. He has a desire to show people that walking does not just have to be in the hills and mountains of national parks or rely on expensive equipment but can be enjoyed from the front door of home through our urban landscape and out into our local countryside. His books, Day Walks in the South Pennines and 1001 Walking Tips for Vertebrate Publishing, and the three Peak District guidebooks for Cicerone Press, are well respected by walkers and explorers of all ages. He lives close to the Peak District in The Outdoor City of Sheffield with his partner, metalsmith Alison Counsell, their three dogs Monty, Olly, and Scout.View author profile
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