Peak District Walks
North Kinder Edges
Date: 15th October 2011
Distance: 10.4 miles
Ascent: 2065 feet
Time: 6 hours
Start Grid Ref: SK114903
Route Summary: Snake Road - Gate Side Clough - Seal Edge - Fairbrook Naze - The Edge - Mill Hill - Featherbed Top - Ashop Clough - Snake Road
Walk Summary: The aim of this walk was twofold. Firstly to explore the gritstone edges of the northern Kinder plateau and, secondly, to bag Mill Hill and Featherbed Top, the pair of Deweys between Kinder Scout and the Snake Pass.
Arriving fairly early I managed to get parked in one of the laybys below the Snake Inn. Early morning mist was still hanging heavily over Ladybower Reservoir but the skies were beautifully clear in this part of the Woodlands Valley.
At Fair Brook I got chatting with someone else who was trying to find a suitable spot to ford Fair Brook. As our intended routes were the same, as far as the Pennine Way at least, we ended up walking together. The other walker, whose name was Baz, had recently retaken up walking following retirement and from the routes he told me about seems to be doing a very good job of exploring all the various paths up on to Kinder.
After safely negotiating Fair Brook we took a fine slanting path up to Gate Side Clough from the top of which we followed a thin path leading straight up to Seal Edge. The views across to Bleaklow and along the length of Seal Edge to Fairbrook Naze were already magnificent.
The next few miles along Seal Edge and then Black Ashop Edge (or just The Edge as it is marked on the map) has to be some of the finest walking I've done, not just in the Peak District but anywhere. Highlights included The Chinese Wall, Fairbrook Naze and the Boxing Glove Stones along with numerous weird and wonderful outcrops whose names I don't know. Throughout, the views north and down to Ashop Clough were outstanding.
Along our way we'd seen a few other walkers but it was still something of a shock to arrive at the Pennine Way and meet the crowds heading up or down William Clough. After having lunch together Baz set off for a detour to Kinder Downfall whilst I headed off in the opposite direction along the Pennine Way for my first real summit of the day - Mill Hill.
The top of the latter was marked by a decent sized cairn. The best thing about Mill Hill though was the prospect looking back towards Kinder Scout. Carrying on from Mill Hill I followed the flagged Pennine Way over Glead Hill before striking across Featherbed Moss to reach Featherbed Top, the highest point of which was marked by a stake in the ground and what looked like someone's geocache.
Initially following a faint vehicle track I descended south off Featherbed Top into Ashop Clough. After a short distance the 'path' disappeared and I had to negotiate some knee deep heather before reaching the line of grouse butts alongside Upper Gate Clough.
Amazingly my arrival at the small footbridge crossing the River Ashop coincided almost exactly with Baz who, having visited Kinder Downfall, was returning via the Snake Path in Ashop Clough. Together again we followed the undulating path above the south bank of the River Ashop to eventually arrive back at our starting point.
This was a fantastic walk and, quite rarely for me this year I'd had been able to enjoy some lovely sunshine. The only downside was that I got a twinge in my left knee on the steep section down to Ashop Head and occasionally thereafter. Hopefully this is not going to herald the start of further problems.
1. Morning sunshine in the Woodlands Valley
2. Fair Brook Clough
3. Looking up to Seal Stones from the top of Gate Side Clough
4. Fairbrook Naze
5. Posing on one of the rocks above Gate Side Clough
6. The Chinese Wall on Seal Edge
7. This shapely rock was by the Chinese Wall
8. Baz heading for Fairbrook Naze
9. Looking along the length of The Edge
10. Baz on The Edge
11. Looking down to Ashop Clough
12. The Boxing Glove Stones
13. Kinder Reservoir
14. Mill Hill
15. The top of Mill Hill looking back to Kinder
16. The Pennine Way as it runs over Glead Hill
17. On Featherbed Top
18. Fairbrook Naze from Featherbed Top
19. Ashop Clough
20. The Snake Inn