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Stanage Edge

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Stanage Edge
Author: ptruman, Published: 17 Feb 2010 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Derbyshire, Dark Peak
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Stanage Edge
Length: 7 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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The length of Stanage and back again providing a great look at the whole of the Edge and the climbing routes along it. A simple there and back walk, along the top or base of the edge or any combination.
It may be a simple and not too strenuous walk, but the views are some of the best in Derbyshire, the views down and across the Derwent Valley being far reaching on a clear day. Do ensure you take appropriate footwear and clothing. The rocks can be slippy when very wet and there's often mud to walk through. Even if it is warm in the valley, there can be a good breeze as you walk along the edge that can make it feel chilly. And in common with anywhere in the Peak District it can start to rain!

Stanage Edge is for me the king of the Derbyshire gritstone edges. It has a presence unlike any of the other parts of the Derbyshire Peak District towering above the Hope Valley near Hathersage. It is an almost unbroken four mile line of exposed gritstone cliff that stretches from Moscar Moor and runs south east to Cowper Stone at Burbage End. It has something for everyone - great walking, some of the best climbing (over 850 recognised routes) and bouldering in Britain, fantastic and far reaching views down the Derwent Valley, easy access by road (so no long climbs to the top from Hathersage in the valley below), lots of natural history to see and so on. But with magnificence and relatively easy access comes popularity. On a good weekend, when the weather is mild, not raining and there's no major football match, cars are parked along every stretch of road and there's so many people climbing that the cacophony of carabiners is the only sound you will hear! But find a day when you can be on your own or in relatively small numbers the area is just sublime.
In his 1946 book "The Backbone of England", W.A Poucher describes the gritstone Edges as being "like the long broken battlements of an old fortress", a description that I think paints an excellent picture. He continues:
"...and Stanage Edge is probably the most beautiful of them all. Here the moorland plateau suddenly ends and a line of supporting precipitous gritstone cliffs, up to 100 feet high, separates it from the first declivities of the valley which sink down gently to the woods fringing the river that threads its floor."
I couldn't find better prose to describe Stanage.

There are plenty of remains of earlier industry and activities all along the escarpment and below on the moors. Abandoned millstones, some clearly close to completion, litter the moors immediately below the cliff. These are more concentrated near Burbage End and near High Neb. There are also the numbered drinking wells carved into the gritstone along the ridge at the behest of gamekeepers. These were to allow grouse to drink rainwater.

From almost anywhere on the ridge, the views are just great. At the northern end you can see over Winhill, Lose Hill and the Great Ridge to Mam Tor and Kinder Scout. In the middle you can look down into the Hope Valley and Hathersage, and at the southern end the view down the Derwent Valley to Chatsworth is great.

Stanage Edge provides a great choice of walking. You can start at either end and walk to the opposite end and back again. You can start in the middle and do a round trip, or you can combine this with a longer walk that touches other parts, equally worthy of a visit!

There is car parking at either end of Stanage Edge - lots at the southern end along the roadside or near Upper Burbage Bridge. This is closest to the top of the edge and makes for a very easy walk indeed up to the escarpment itself with little climbing or ascent involved. The Upper Burbage car park is accessed from Ringinglow Road between Hathersage and Sheffield.

The parking elsewhere requires a good bit of ascent to get to the edge, but nothing too dramatic. The other car parks are at Hooks Carr, Stanage Plantation and Dennis Knoll. The car park at Dennis Knoll is very small and will only cater for a few cars, just as well as this end of the Edge tends to be the quietest. Do be aware, that Stanage does get very busy on warm, dry weekends and during the summer months. On several occasions there have been so many cars along the roadside that it is all but impossible to find a place to park so have gone elsewhere. Early morning is great and much quieter. Evening can also be good but there will inevitably be a good few cars and many cameras and tripods waiting for the sun to set!

Walk Sections

Stanage End to Buck Stone
Stanage End to Buck Stone

Start: OS ref SK222860
End: OS ref SK234848

Start point: 53.3712 lat, -1.6668 long
End point: 53.3598 lat, -1.6489 long

Follow the path along the base of the edge, staying close to the rocks rather than veering off down away from the edge. This path is used by many rock climbers throughout the year and it would be a rare (or poor weather) day when you see no climbers at all! As you walk round Crow Chin and below High Neb there are quite a number of abandoned and part finished millstones. Like almost all the gritstone edges this was once an industrial site. Maybe hard to imagine today, but many millstones were cut and carved from the millstone grit of these edges until they became too uneconomical to produce and largely replaced by cheaper French imports.
As you get to the Long Causeway, just below is a large stone called Buck Stone, very popular for bouldering.

Buck Stone to Cowper Stone
Buck Stone to Cowper Stone

Start: OS ref SK234848
End: OS ref SK260829

Start point: 53.3598 lat, -1.6489 long
End point: 53.3425 lat, -1.6107 long

Walk back up the track, the Long Causeway, up to the top of the escarpment once again and follow this path back along the edge and back to the car park.
For those interested it is along this stretch that Kiera Knightley was filmed as Lizzie Bennett looking out in the 2005 version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2010 by the author ptruman and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 responses to "Stanage Edge"

great views with little effort to see. a little heavy on the knees with stepping over/on the stones etc

By cobrakit on 2016-04-11 21:37:10

vhj

By onix100 on 2016-06-15 08:01:48

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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40_0Natasha1428339628 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Natasha
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