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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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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.
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|Plants and wildlife|
|Local services and transport|
|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|
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.