Our walk yesterday took us over five small hills in the area of the upper Dove valley, one of which was Chrome Hill. From my photo, it’s easy to see why is it known locally as ‘The Sleeping Dragon’.
The classic walk over Chrome Hill is to ‘walk the dragon’s back’ which is exactly what we did. Stunning views can be enjoyed from the ridge back up the valley towards the moorlands of the Dark Peak to the north, and looking south down the Dove Valley over White Peak countryside towards Parkhouse Hill, Hitter Hill, and High Wheeldon.
View towards Parkhouse Hill from Chrome Hill
You can enjoy a guided walk with us over Chrome and Parkhouse hills on our occasional open group guided walks, or by hiring your own personal walking guide.
Going back in history as far as Roman times, lead mining was the most important mineral industry in the White Peak area of the Peak District. During the 18th century, at least 10,000 miners worked in over 30,000 workings, some of which were opencast and some deeper mines.
Magpie Mine is the best preserved lead mine in the Peak District. It is thought to be over 300 years old and is rumored to be haunted by an old miner who is guarding a particularly valuable seam of lead ore.
The disused mine can be easily accessed via a public footpath from the village of Sheldon. We sometimes incorporate a visit to the mine on a full day scenic guided walk from Ashford in the Water, also visiting Monsal Head and Monsal Dale.
There are two pump house chimneys at Magpie Mine. The square one is of local Derbyshire design and the round one is of Cornish tin mine design. They stand above 200 metre deep shafts which were worked more or less continuously for over 200 years. The last attempts to mine the valuable lead ore is marked by black winding gear and a rusting, corrugated iron shed dating from the 1950’s. It is now protected as an ancient monument and used as a field study centre by the Peak District Mines Historical Society. There is an interesting information plaque on a building near the main shaft.
Before leaving the mine, it’s worth visiting the re-constructed horse gin about 150 metres to the east of the main mine buildings. The horse would have been walked in circles to winch up containers of lead ore from the mine below.
Holme Moss is an area of moorland on the side of Black Hill in the Peak District. The moor is crossed by the A6024 road between Holmfirth and Longendale, whose highest point is near the prominent Holme Moss transmitter that can be seen from miles around.
To British cycling enthusiasts, the A6024 ascent of Holme Moss from the village of Home has become one of England’s best known bicycle ascents, and has acquired a reputation as among the country’s more difficult climbs. On 6 July 2014 a certain world famous cycle race will climb this hill. It is anticipated that around 60,000 people could make their way to Holme Moss to see this section of the race and millions world-wide will probably be watching on TV.
The hills and moorland surrounding Holme Moss are also fabulous walking country. Black Hill is the third highest hill in the Peak District and nearby Bleaklow is the second highest hill. Both offer the hiker the opportunity to experience a wonderful wild and remote moorland environment. However, navigation can be tricky especially if the cloud unexpectedly descends, reducing viability.
At Peak Walking Adventures we are for the first time offering guided walks during August 2014 in the Holme Moss area:
One of the most distinctive hills in the Peak District with its twin summits, Crook Hill is surrounded on three sides by Ladybower Reservoir and is easily visible from the A57 road. The highest of the summits stands at 382 meters above sea level with the slightly lower one nearer to the farm being 374 meters.
The area surrounding the summits is Access Land and is easily accessible via the bridle path that rises up the hillside from the road on the side of the reservoir and passes Crook Hill Farm
There is the remains of an ancient megalithic stone circle between the summits, but only two of the five original stones remain standing.
Cotton Grass is looking beautiful on the Peak District moolands at present!
There are actually two types of Cotton Grass. Common Cotton Grass which often has two flower spikes on each stem, and Hare’s Tail Cotton Grass which grows in tussocks and only ever has one flower spike per stem.
The two pictures below were taken on the moorland just below White Edge last week and are fine examples of Hare’s Tail Cotton Grass. The guided walk was arranged with a personal walking guide for the day.
Despite its name, it actually isn’t possible to produce cotton from the plant because the hairs are to brittle and can’t be twisted.
I had been really looking forward to Friday 22nd February when I was guiding our first ever ‘Great Ridge at Night’ walk from Castleton. For Martin, Charlotte, Sherry and Elizabeth who had booked, it was their first experience of hillwalking in the dark.
We were fortunate to have good weather conditions. Although it was very cold (around -5 degrees) it wasn’t too windy and the snow that had covered the hill only days before had almost gone. We all wrapped up in lots of layers of warm clothing and set off up the hillside passing the buildings of Treak Cliff Cavern on the way.
Upon reaching the trig point on the summit of Mam Tor we were treated to the wonderful view of the lights of Castleton down below on one side of the ridge, and of the tiny hamlets within the Vale of Edale on the other side. Although the sky was overcast there was just enough moonlight filtering through to enable us to see the outline of hills in the distance, still speckled with snow. We had an enjoyable torch lit walk along the ridge and as we had made good time, went a little further than I had originally planned and continued as far as Backtor Nook before descending down the hillside on a path into Castleton.
The night wouldn’t have been complete of course without a call into a pub and The Castle Inn proved to be a good choice!
High Tor is a great limestone outcrop which towers almost 400 feet about the river Derwent between Matlock and Matlock Bath. The limestone was formed about 325 – 350 million years ago when the area was at the bottom of a shallow tropical sea. Over millions of years, limey muds and the shells and skeletons of tiny sea creatures settled on the bottom and formed a thick layer of limestone. Large areas of limestone such as High Tor have been pushed upwards by land movements and further shaped by glacial meltwaters at the end of the last ice age.
You can walk up to the top of High Tor either from Starkholmes, or from the path alongside the River Derwent from Matlock. There are fine views down the Derwent Valley in both directions. You will find High Tor Grounds at the top, once a Victoria pleasure grounds laid out with romantic woodlands walks. These grounds offered an exciting ‘alpine’ route between the Victorian Spa resorts of Matlock and Matlock Bath.