To afficionados of Peak District walking, it will come as something of a relief that the club is returning to more northerly latitudes for our next excursion. A 12-mile circular ramble takes us through the dramatic landscapes to the north of Hayfield. Our route takes us to Lantern Pike, with panoramic views of Kinder Scout. We then proceed via Knarrs Nook and Whiteley Nab to Charlesworth for our lunch stop. We return via Combs Edge, Cown Edge and Rowarth back to Birch Vale. We then continue on to Hayfield to rejoin our coach.
Our walk begins near Hayfield. After an optional, brief toilet stop at Hayfield bus station, we shall rejoin the coach for the short ride to Birch Vale. After leaving the coach again, we proceed on foot to quickly join the Pennine Bridleway and cross the River Sett. The Bridleway climbs out of the valley and past Upper Cliffe Farm to Lantern Pike where we shall have our first break of the day. We can optionally walk to the top of Lantern Pike at this time, or simply sit and admire the scenery from the Pennine Bridleway. Either way, the views are excellent. Looking east over Little Hayfield, the mass of Kinder looms large.
After a refreshing break, we gradually descend to Blackshaw Farm, where a many-ways footpath sign must have confused many a hiker over the years. With luck, we shall head for Bullshaw Farm and Matleymoor Farm before traversing Matley Moor itself. Coombes Tor and the rear of Cown Edge appear to our left, across a shallow valley. Near Higher Plainstead Farm, we cross a busy, but minor road called ‘Monk’s Road’, once used as a route by Cistercian monks to and from North Wales. We then cross meadows to Whiteley Nab. Here, we take a sharp left to Herod Edge Farm, where we re-join the Monk’s Way for a short distance to a spectacular viewpoint. All along here there are tremendous views to the north and the west. We then descend largely along footpaths past Slack Edge to the delightful village of Charlesworth for our lunch stop. There is a selection of green spaces and a pub here.
After another refreshing break, we reluctantly leave Charlesworth by a similar, but slightly different route. We follow an old track through the back streets of the village and up ‘The Banks’ towards Coombes Edge. As we turn to the south, below Coombes Rocks, we see the aftermath of massive landslides and erosion below us – a very dramatic landscape; then on along Cown Edge.
Beyond Cown Edge, we descend to Near Slack Farm and on to Rowarth, where we shall have our final break of the day. This is an idyllic location where an old mill has been transformed into a pub -appropriately called ‘The Little Mill Inn’. It is the sole survivor of several cotton mills in this remote valley. A giant replica waterwheel sits adjacent to the stream. Please be considerate here as the outdoor tables are reserved for pub customers.
We then follow a pretty path past Thornsett Fields Farm and on to Aspenshaw Hall. The scenery has by now become far more pastoral, with gently rolling hills. We descend through woodland, via Bank Head back to Birch Vale. Having completed the circle, we continue for another mile or so to Hayfield, where our coach awaits.
We plan to depart from Hayfield Bus Station at 6:30pm for the journey home. If we arrive early we should be able to bring the departure time forwards. Please bring along ample food and drink for the walk, as for much of the time today, we shall be far from civilisation.
We always welcome new walkers. There is no need to pre-book, just turn up at one of the following coach pick-up points. The fare is £12.
(With the agreement of the leader other pick-up points
on the bus route may be available).
|“Staff of Life” pub, Hack Lane
|Priestic Road, opp McDonald’s
|Eastfield Side, (Blue Bell)
|Hermitage Lane stop, Sutton Road
|ASDA bus stop. Stockwell Gate.