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Explore England's Dark Peak with a Cicerone guidebook - Maps and Photos

Cover of Dark Peak Walks
3 Mar 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm
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Dark Peak Walks

40 walks exploring the Peak District gritstone and moorland landscapes

by Paul Besley
Book published by Cicerone Press

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.

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Cover: Paperback - PVC
Size: 17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm
Weight: 250g

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Located in the Peak District and distinguished from the neighbouring White Peak by the layer of gritstone which covers its limestone bed, 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. 

This guidebook describes 40 walks in the Dark Peak. Ranging from short strolls to full-day adventures, they showcase the region's unique character. Dramatic waterfalls, striking gritstone edges, heath and woodland are just some of the delights encountered, with many of the routes venturing off-path to explore hidden cloughs and valleys. Detailed route description is provided for 35 walks, accompanied by 1:50,000 OS mapping and interesting facts about local points of interest, then a further five longer walks (of 25-45km) are summarised in the final section, including a classic circuit of the Kinder Scout skyline.

Taking in the high moors of Derwent, Bleaklow, Kinder and Howden, the walks reveal not only the area's wild beauty but also some of its fascinating stories. 10,000 years of history lie waiting to be uncovered – from Neolithic burial mounds and Bronze Age cairns to remnants of the region's more recent industrial past. This guide is a perfect companion to discovering the secrets of the Dark Peak and experiencing its magnificent landscape in all its glory.

  • Activities
  • Seasons
    The high moorlands in winter and summer; the gritstone edges in spring and summer; the valleys in autumn; the cloughs in spring
  • Centres
    Hathersage, Grindleford, Langsett, Marsden, Dove Stones, Edale, Upper Derwent Valley, Castleton, Greenfield, Chatsworth, Sheffield, Hayfield, Crowden, Hope, Dunford Bridge
  • Difficulty
    Walking 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 See
    Kinder 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
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Plants and wildlife
The future
Local services and transport
The walks
Responsible walking
Maps and navigation
Using this guide
Eastern Dark Peak
Walk 1 Chatsworth to Birchen Edge
Walk 2 Longshaw Estate and the gritstone edges
Walk 3 Fox House to Big Moor
Walk 4 Fox House to Stanedge Pole
Walk 5 Grindleford to Higger Tor
Central Dark Peak
Walk 6 Hathersage to Stanage Edge
Walk 7 Wyming Brook to Stanage Edge
Walk 8 Bamford Moor
Walk 9 Win Hill to Hope Cross
Walk 10 Kings Tree to Shepherds Meeting Stones
Walk 11 Westend and Bleaklow Stones
Walk 12 Derwent Edge
Walk 13 Alport Castles and the Woodlands Valley
Walk 14 Margery Hill to Back Tor
Walk 15 Low Bradfield and Dale Dyke
Walk 16 Langsett to Howden Edge
Walk 17 Langsett to Pike Lowe
Walk 18 Torside to Bleaklow Head
Walk 19 Wildboar Clough to Lawrence Edge
Walk 20 Old Glossop to Bleaklow Head
Walk 21 Kinder Scout Northern Edge
Walk 22 Kinder Scout Western Edge
Walk 23 Kinder Scout
Walk 24 Kinder Scout Southern Edge
Walk 25 The Great Ridge
Northern Dark Peak
Walk 26 Dunford Bridge to Ramsden Clough
Walk 27 Crowden Horseshoe
Walk 28 Crowden to Chew Valley
Walk 29 Marsden to Black Hill
Walk 30 Alphin Pike to Birchen Clough
Walk 31 Binn Green to Great Dove Stone Rock
Walk 32 Cotton Famine Road
Western Dark Peak
Walk 33 Goyt Valley to Shining Tor
Walk 34 Derbyshire Bridge to Shutlingsloe
Walk 35 The Roaches
Long day walks
Walk 36 Marsden to Edale
Walk 37 Langsett to Edale
Walk 38 Gritstone edges
Walk 39 Edale Horseshoe
Walk 40 Kinder Scout skyline
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Useful information
Appendix C Aircraft crash site locations


Front Cover Long Causeway and Stanage Edge Walking along the Great Ridge (Walk 25) Full winter kit on Kinder Scout (Walk 24) Derwent Reservoir in the autumn (Walk 12) A rainbow on Barrow Stones (Walk 11) The Dark Peak in all its glory (Walk 7) North Lees Hall, Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre (Walk 6) The Boxing Gloves (Walk 21) William Clough, where the Mass Trespass strode onto Kinder Scout (Walk 22)
Maps and navigation

All walks have been plotted using Ordnance Survey online mapping tools. The main paper maps for the area are the OS Explorer Dark Peak OL1 and White Peak OL24. Harvey and the BMC Dark Peak maps are also useful. Always take a map and compass, even if you are using a GPS device.

A word of caution: do not underestimate the area. Walking on the high moors – Bleaklow, Kinder Scout, Derwent and Howden – requires excellent navigation skills, especially in winter. It also requires good equipment and a knowledge of how to use it, and clothing that is appropriate to the time of year. The use of walking poles when crossing moorland can be helpful for maintaining balance and forward motion. They can also be useful when descending some of the steeper sections of the walks.

Smartphones can prove invaluable, especially when combined with a mapping app. However, these do drain the batteries, so be careful. One advantage of having a smartphone should you get into difficulty and need assistance from Mountain Rescue is its ability to let the teams know where you are, making rescue a much easier and quicker process. It is therefore advantageous to carry one of these devices for emergency purposes.

Big skies in the Dark Peak (Walk 7)

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