Thursday, 20 August 2015

Walk 1 - Kinderscout from Hayfield on the Snake Path

 The walk described below is a day walk that  is a favourite of mine. I last did this walk in July this year with my family and dog, many of the paintings included reflect this. It is more usual to do  a circuit of Kinderscout  by starting at Bowdon Bridge, opposite Hayfield Campsite and return there. Instead  this walk takes you up onto the Snake Path and then  onto the top of Kinderscout from there. The walk is approximately 10 miles, assuming you choose the slightly longer route described below, walking via Edale Cross. It takes around 4 to 5 hours to complete.
The Kinder Plateau is a very interesting, stunningly beautiful and fascinating place. A huge plateau of unrelenting black peat moorland. It has numeroush  unusually shaped and weathered gritstone rocks and, at it's edges impressive dark gritstone cliffs. Kinderscout is 636 metres ( 2,087 ft) above sea level, is the highest point in the Peak District, and also the highest point in Derbyshire and the East Midlands.  This walk takes you up the Snake Path for part of the way, The Snake Path is a fantastic walk in itself - another candidate for one of my Art Walks at a later date I suspect. It goes across the high moors, crossing Black Ashop Moor and ending on the  A57, Snake Pass, which connects Glossop to Sheffield. Ending, somewhat conveniently in time for a few beers at the Snake Pass Inn.

There are is a wonderful view of Kinderscout itself and the  Kinder Reservoir and then up on to the western edges of the plateau to the Kinder Downfall waterfall then on to Kinder Low, the highest point in the Peak District National Park. Kinderscout is of huge historical importance to all hill walkers. In 1932 a large group of locals from the now Derbyshire and Greater Manchester area set off on a walk that was to change public access rights and hill walking in Britain forever. Most wild land was at the time owned by Game Keepers and Private Landowners who used the moorlands and hills for there hunting pleasure. Not allowing access to the general public who needed to get away from the large industrial cities at weekends. In a defiant stand these proud walkers confronted the land owners and set off on the historic 'Mass Trespass' which started an uproar from the public that went on for many years and in 1955 the first access agreement to Kinder was signed, a first of many to come that allowed us to walk the hills and moorlands today. 

1.  Park in the middle of Hayfield, cross Market Street, and turn right onto Kinder Road. Walk up Kinder Road for approximately 5 minutes, until see the signs for the Snake Path which goes up a track between the houses to the left. (National Grid ( OS) Ref SK 04070 86820). The path  continues up a  stony, rutted track, with lovely views back across the village.  You are soon walking through sheep grazed lowland. Sheep are a big feature of this walk and our family dog, who loves 'worrying' them had to remain on her lead throughout. 

2. After about 10 minutes of uphill you encounter to your left the clump of trees which is known locally in Hayfield as "Twenty Trees".  If you count them, as we did, you will find that there are now 18 - look our for evidence of the two missing ones though - it does look like there were twenty trees originally.

3.  Follow the Snake Path on up from Twenty Trees. By now Hayfield village has disappeared from view and the views are of the hills behind it. You can see "Twenty Trees" in the bottom right hand side of the painting.

'Above Hayfield, Derbyshire' - oil on board, size 30 x 20"   

4. The path continues as a track through a field next to a stone wall. Paths like this are such a common experience in the Peak District - this painting could be of numerous places in Derbyshire really! 

'Track Alongside the Wall, Hayfield'(oil on board) size 24 x 20"

5. Continue on the same track, you are still on the Snake Path, and follow it as the track changes to a path which heads  north east, across the moor, called Middle Moor. The path flattens out, all around you is the moor, depending upon time of year, but a large flat area of scrubby grass, bracken and heather. In the far distance you get your first glimpse of the Kinder Plateau..

Middle Moor, nr Hayfield ( 20 x 18")  

6. Shortly after this the Snake Path comes to a crossing with the footpath  which is signed to Glossop, going left ( North West) or right ( North East) to Edale. Our route carries on towards Edale. If you are walking this way for the first time you might wonder why there is a small white hut just over the moor to your left. This is the Shooting Cabin, which is also marked on the Ordinance Survey Map. Perhaps more importantly at about this point in the walk there is the first view of the reason for the walk - a most  fantastic view of the Kinder ridge itself. The ridge of Kinder and the higher slopes stretch out in front of you and over to the far right ( North East). This is probably the most complete and best view of Kinderscout, and a major reason for taking this route, rather than starting from Bowden Bridge as most people do, where you are simply too close to the mountain to get  a view of the whole like this.

Kinderscout - (oil on board) 36 X 12"  

7. Follow the path round the side of the hill. You will soon see Kinder Reservoir below to the right. At this point there is a choice of paths, stay on the higher path running level above the reservoir. You will soon see Kinder Reservoir below to the right. At this point there is a choice of paths. Stay on the higher path running level above the reservoir. You are now on White Brow, following in the footsteps of the 1932 trespassers, who gathered at Bowden Bridge Quarry and then scrambled up the steep hillside to White Brow. They then followed the Snake Path to Nab Brow and then onto William Clough. As they ascended the hill towards the top of the plateau the trespassers were met by the Duke of Devonshire's gamekeepers. After a bit of a scuffle  in which one of the gamekeepers was slightly injured the trespassers carried on up to the top of the plateau. They met a group of  Sheffield - based trespassers  who had come over from Edale. After congratulating each other the trespassers returned, with the Hayfield trespassers returning the way they had come, back to Bowden Bridge Quarry.

8. So, leaving the reservoir behind, head up the William Clough path which crosses the stream in several places. Keep going uphill, at one point the path goes over some rocks and up some steps.  This ascent from White Brow is the steepest stretch of the whole walk. At the top of this path by a cairn you turn right, onto the Pennine Way, leaving the Snake Path which heads over to the left over Black Ashop Moor. The walk is still up hill, but is not so steep as you are now on the ridge of the Kinder Plateau. The painting below shows the view from the top of the William Clough path, looking back down to Kinder Reservoir.

Kinder Reservoir from William Clough  - ( oil on board) 20 x 16")

9. Follow the Pennine Way path, heading slightly uphill, with fantastic views over the gritstone cliffs towards the Kinder Reservoir.

Kinder Reservoir View  (oil on canvas) 30 x 20" 
10. The path eventually levels out as you continue to follow it to the left around the gully towards Kinder Downfall. This is where the River Kinder cuts through the rock to the valley below. This waterfall  has a huge drop, approximately 100 ft ( over 30 metres). Depending on the time of year and weather when you do this walk it can be a really amazing spectacle of thundering water and spray, or a little trickle. Follow the path over the river bed at the top of the Downfall.

River Bed, on top of Kinder Downfall (oil on board) 24 x 24"
11.After you have crossed the top of Kinder Downfall turn right and continue to follow the Pennine Way, crossing over to the right of Kinder Low's summit. Kinder does not have a particularly obvious summit, as it is a plateau. But there is is a trig point, and apart from that it is very flat, with a large number of rocks seemingly scattered around in the landscape..

'View from the Summit, Kinder Low' (oil on board) FOR SALE 24 X 12" 

12. Continue across the plateau, bearing left to pass to the left of Edale Rocks. Continue onto a stone path. This heads slightly downhill. Where there is a for in this track take the right fork. Carry straight on and you go around the hill called Swine's Back, where the path hugs the stone wall to the right of the hill. The path then comes to a junction with a stone track, this is a bridleway which goes from Hayfield to Edale. Turn right to make your way down towards Hayfield. As you turn, take time to have a look at the Edale Cross, set into the wall to your right. This is a medieval cross, thought to have originally been erected in 1157 by Cistercian monks of Basingwerk Abbey. The cross marks the old boundary between three areas of the Forest of the Peak, Glossop and Longdendale, Hopedale and Campagna. At some point the cross came down and was found later by local farmers, buried in the peak. They re-erected it in 1810 and carved their initials and the date on the front of the cross.

13. Walk downhill from Edale Cross. The simplest way to complete this walk is to continue on down to the bottom of this track, approximately half an hour's walk. This takes you onto a narrow road that runs alongside the River Kinder. Continue to follow this road down. Then turn left, following along the side of the River Sett. Cross the River Sett next to Hayfield Campsite and then turn left and walk along Kinder Road, heading back towards Hayfield.

I hope you will enjoy this walk and have enjoyed looking at my paintings, inspired by this walk. All paintings are for sale. If you would like to view and or purchase please contact me on 07946432818 or through my website,

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great walk, I'll have to try it sometime. Nice pictures too!