Buxton to Edale across the Peak District National Park. Follow the thin blue line with your mouse to see the full walk.
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This is about a walk that I did once, about three years ago, which I had been thinking about for some time. Essentially you can take a train from Manchester (or Sheffield) to Buxton, in the Peak District, and then walk to Edale and then take a return train to Manchester (or Sheffield). As I say, I only did it once. It is a long walk and I have become a little arthriticy in recent years. And as the walk needs to be completed before the last return train then I would be nervous about repeating it. One could book a room in one of the Edale Hotels and catch a train back in the morning. Quite a few nice little places to get a dinner and a drink in Edale. Alternatively one could book a hotel in Buxton and then walk the other way, from Edale to Buxton. But it is a good summer walk, a long way but fairly easy going. I shall describe the route from Buxton to Edale that I took. The total distance, according to my little wheely map thing, is 20 Km. In my experience these underestimate all the little bends etc. So it is fair to say that it is probably more like 21 Km.
You will need the Odnance Survey OL 24, White Peak map, for the Buxton end of the walk, and the OL 1, Dark Peak map, for the Edale end. These are 1:25,000 scale and the plastic-coated ones are best, to stop them going soggy in the rain. I find that a GPS SATNAV is useful too to show you where you are on the map. I have a SatMap Active 10, which has a 1:50,000 scale map of the British Isles on a SD card inserted in it. This is a bit small really, to see the paths sometimes, so I like to use both a map and the GPS. You can use a phone with, for example, the ViewRanger GPS app. But even though the GPS satellite connection with your phone will work seamlessly you will still need to be able to get a phone signal in order to download the maps as you walk around. Otherwise you are just a dot in the middle of a blank screen 😉 .
You can buy maps and GPS’s on Amazon. I will put links in eventually and maybe try to get them to pay me a penny or two for my trouble.
On the train it is either best to get a return ticket from Mancheter to your first destination, Buxton or Edale, and when you return get a single to New Mills as that station is common to both Buxton and Edale. You can get a single the whole way, in each direction, but that might be more expensive. It used to be the same price to Buxton or Edale, from Manchester, so you could just buy a return to Buxton (or Edale), but they changed it. Probably similar stuff to sort out if coming from the Sheffield side. The trains are run by Northern Rail and you can access rail information at www.thetrainline.com.
The way I went is, from Buxton, make your way to the Penine Bridleway, via the North East of town, and then switch to the Limestone Way at grid ref 130:752, in Peter Dale. Follow the Limestone way to grid ref 136:184 and then take a left along the track that goes NNW past Rowtor Farm, towards Windy Knoll and passes Mam Tor on your right. Drop down into Edale the other side of the hill, down Harden Clough. This way can be muddy, even in summer, as there is a spring and a little stream there. Needs either the drainage sorting out properly or a couple hundred tons of railway chippings usually helps.
And in a ‘little’ more detail:-
At the Buxton end, the train station is next to an Aldi. So grab a coffee from the station and stock up with chocolate and crisps from Aldi. Or, more sensibly, go and patronise any one of the wonderful cafés in Buxton, if you think you have time. I shall call the station in Buxton the ‘Start’ for the purposes of measuring distance along the way. Take a left out of the station car park on to the A53, going down hill. Head towards the roundabout by the railway viaduct. Go under the viaduct and head out of town on the A6, Chapel le Frith Road (Fairfield Rd). A few hundred meters walking up hill on the pavement. It is usually best to walk up hills on the right hand side pavement, in the UK, as the cars that are on the left, going uphill, produce more fumes than the ones going down hill, on your side. Turn right at a sign that says “Wormil Tongue Industrial Estate” (GR 068:741) into Waterswallow Road. You have now walked one kilometer. After a couple hundred meters, turn right into Lesser Lane at GR 074:743. You now need to take a footpath to the left. This isn’t very easy to find. There is a line of terraced cottages with their entrances facing East, i.e. away from the lane with their access near to the begining of the lane. There’s a footpath down down that access way, apparently. Alternately you can go down the lane, past this row of terraced cottages and there is a foot path sign on the left there. Check your OS map as you have to go back up parallel to the lane in order to set off east.
Heading Out of Town
Essentially you want to head East North East (ENE) to pick up Green Lane, just south of Waterswallows Quarry. Head towards Daisymere Farm and pick up Green Ln there. Green Ln crosses Hardybarn Ln at GR 089:748. Here I met a couple, in their late twenties, coming the opposite way. Both walking quite slowly, hanging on to each other and both wearing conspiratorial grins. My guess is that they had just been getting to know each other a little bit better. The path east goes through Tunstead Limestone Works. Green Ln joins with Longridge Ln at GR 093:748, which goes NW. You continue eastward. You have now walked a total of 4Km from the Start.
Tunstead Limestone Works
This part of the path, on the approach to the cement works, was just being renovated with masses of chippings by dumpers and JCBs, working at a furious rate, when I was trying to walk along it. I felt that I might end up as “collateral damage” in this great enterprise so I was constantly looking behind me and stepping off of the path to let these great dumpers hurtle past. I know that some people think that these huge quarries and cement works are blots on the landscape and I also think that maybe some of the people involved in these industries think that hikers are all Green Party voting vegetarians with too much time on their hands. But really, I have used so many tons of cement and concrete my self over the years, just in my own house and drive and garden wall building etc etc, that I would have to be a real hypocrite to think this way. I would also guess that many of the folk who don’t like the idea of these cement works live in brick and mortar houses with concrete foundations and driveways, etc.
Opinionated Old Git
What does bother me, a little, is the amount of land used for agriculture in the UK. I would guess that only around 10% of all the food produced ends up being eaten. First the supermarkets reject quite a lot of stuff that is produced. Then they overstock. This is one of those Operational Reseach problems. How much extra do you overstock by in order to maximise your profit on a particular item? Then the customers will be picky, always selecting the best apples, no bruised ones etc. I’m the same myself. So unless stocks are running down, the poorer stuff gets left. Another OR problem: at what point do you add more stock to the shelves? If you add it too early then you will be left with all the not so good stuff. If you add it too late then Mrs and Mr Customer will go to a different store next time. Then us customers buy too much stuff anyway. Well meaningly, we buy all those fresh healthy vegetables and then inadvertantly leave them in the fridge for a week and have the quick-to-cook-pizza instead. Doing a little shop daily really is the best idea. And finally, if you have children or care for elderly relatives, then you know that not everything on the plate gets eaten. So, as I say, I reckon about 10%. And not a soul is too blame for it. But I would really like to see more woodland and moorland than all these fields set aside for crops and grazing. Can’t be helped, folk need to make a living and there are so many of us to feed. It really is probably cheaper just to eat out sometimes.
There is a footbridge provided for walkers as part of the path across the Limestone Works beinning at GR 100:748. It is a raised, narrow metal structure and you can see it in the near distance as you enter the limestone works area. Be careful crossing the main road into and out of the works. The footbridge goes over the works-railway, running north and south, and then joins a zig-zag footpath going up hill. The path goes over the main passenger-railway tunnel, which runs parallel to the works railway. The footpath continues east just north of a small strip of woodland. Good views from here.
At GR 102:747 the OS map shows that in order to go East you either take a path going NE, to Taylor Farm, or SE and join a track going East, along the North side of a quarry, part of the Works. I went SE but there is a track to the East that begins just south of the GR I just mentioned which I would be tempted to take. However you do it, you want to get to the point 111:746, which is where a proper little tarmacked road, joins a track, going East, which forms part of the Pennine Bridleway.
The track comes to an end after a two or three hundred meters, joins a field, with a wall on your right, for another two hundred meteres, and then joins another track, leading to Old Hall Farm at GR 122:745. (7Km) There is another, fairly main, road here, running North-South. Turn right onto this road for about ten meters and see a wooden Public Bridleway, footpath sign on the left.
The Pennine Bridleway.
The bridleway starts off as a track and then becomes a path. Most of it is betwen two nice dry-stone walls, which I like as you are not then bothered by cows. Funny things cattle. I have, in the past, put one foot down in a field of bullocks and immediately felt that I wasn’t wanted and that they might just do something about it too. I have gone into fields with young bullocks and they will come to you, if they are not familiar with walkers, because they will think that you are bringing them feed. This is not scary if they are not too big yet! I have gotten into a field of big old pregnant cows and felt fine. I got pinned to the wall of a barn by one once and I knew it wasn’t malicious. It just wanted patting and talking to a bit 🙄 . These walls are a bit broken at GR 129:747 which is where you need to start heading North, so don’t lose your way here. This track/path emerges onto the road between Tidelswell and Dove Holes. If you are on the bridleway on a horse then take the left fork in the path, 100 meters before the road, as there is a gate that way 🙂 .
The Limestone Way
Turn right onto the road for a few yards and then take the footpath off to the left signposted “Limestone Way”. If you look on street view, below, you will see a group of four walkers sitting down having a picnic just here. This is Peter Dale. The other side of the road, going south is Monks Dale. Anyway, we carry on up Peter Dale. The Limestone Way crosses another road at Dale Head GR 123:765. (10 Km) The valley then becomes Hay Dale. Why the same Dale is called Monks Dale, Peter Dale and Hay Dale I have no idea. I guess it’s because they were named when people where less mobile than they are nowadays. Still, you would have thought that they could have managed a couple of miles.
Just before I entered Hay Dale I met a group of about ten people, all in their seventies, sitting about having a rest. They were so eager to chat. Apparently they had met one and other as they has all had operations. One doesn’t want to pry too deeply so I congratualated them, as that seemed appropriate, and wished them all well.
The picture shows the Limestone Way footpath at Peter Dale
The Main Road A623
At GR 119:773 the Limestone Way and the Penine Bridle Way become one for a short distance as the dale curves around to the north east and joins a road at GR 128:778. Quite good views from this point. continue north on the road until it meets the main A623 road. (13 Km) Turn left onto the main road and then, after a few meteres, right off of the road by a footpath sign. This is Mount Pleasant Farm on the map. I saw a couple of farm hands chasing an errant calf, at this point. The calf looked frightened, one of the cow hands looked angry and the other looked guilty as if I had witnessed some mis-treatment.
You should now be on a track heading ENE. This is still the Limestone Way. You continue until you reach a local access road called Old Dam Ln at GR 128:795. Turn right onto the lane, there is Brocktor farm off to your left. After a few meteres, you pass another farm on your right were and there is yet a third farm at the end of the lane. There was a “footpath closed” sign up here when I went through here and I had to clamber over hedges as it wasn’t obvious where the diversion ought to be. Carry straight on with this last farm on your left. You head across a field towards another path, about 20 meteres on from the farm.
Time to Switch to the ‘Dark Peak’ OS Map
At GR 130:800 you need to switch from the White Peak OS map to the Dark Peak OS map. Also at this point the track runs out and you come into the SW corner of an odd shaped field. Continue heading ENE, keeping the field wall on your left. at GR 132:804 the Limestone Way starts to go north, keeping a field wall on your left. A few meters further on, in the obtuse corner of two field walls you again head ENE, keeping a very straight field wall on your left. At GR 136:812, (16 Km) the Limestone Way meets a track going east-west. If you were to go straight on the Limestone Way takes you down Cave Dale into Castelton. At this point, though, I turned left onto the track as wanted to take a more direct route to Edale, via Mam Tor. So continue on the track for 70m where it heads WNW for about a Km, heading for Windy Knoll on your map.
Edale Train Station
This is actually a little access road to Rowtor Poultry farm. The road is quite elevated so you can get good views in clear weather. Windy Knoll is at GR 128:829. There is a little cave here, or at least there always was when I used to go this way more frequently. Often caves get bricked off to stop people getting trapped in them or dumping rubbish in them etc. A few meters on from Windy Knoll cross a road and continue on the footpath to a second road just another few meters up hill. Turn right onto this road until you get to two footpaths on your right at GR 125:836 (18 Km). Take the left foot path. The one on the right goes up to Mam Tor. This is different to the way I took, going down, Harden Clough, and through those muddy springs. They might not let you back on the train until you cleaned your boots. The path goes down to Greenlands Farm where it meets an access road. Carry on down the hill to Edale Train Station. This is 20 Kilometers from the start, about 12.5 Miles.
Coffee or Beer?
If you have time there is the Penny Pot Cafe and the Ramblers Inn, near the station, Coopers Cafe and the Old Nags Head in the actual village of Edale, just North of the station (0.5 Km up the road).
There you are, a fairly long complicated old walk. Not many hills. Best done in the summer with a bit of company. Then you’ll have someone to argue with over which paths you ought to take 😉 .