Eyam moor and Abney from Hathersage

by backpackingbongos

“How about a walk in the Peak District tomorrow?” Corrina asked.  This was in reply to my mooching around the house regretting not getting things together for my backpacking trip to the Migneint.  I immediately said yes, it’s not very often that my partner will agree to head for the hills for a walk, let alone suggest it.

Driving up the M1 the weather really was not looking promising, in fact it was lashing it down and all my windows were fogging up.  A grey world of spray and cloud.  Should we just have stayed at home and had a nice morning reading the Sunday papers?

8.5 miles with 540 metres ascent

The road from Fox house to Hathersage is a delight when you reach the well named ‘Surprise view’, it is hard to keep your eyes on the road as the ground falls away to the left with the Derwent valley far below you.  It does not help when the passenger says, ‘I can see a great view’.  Luckily since we passed through Chesterfield the sun had made an appearance and the rain had made a good job of washing the sky until it was crystal clear.

I can never really resist a stop in Hathersage with its abundance of outdoor shops, I was even more exited to find out that ‘Outside’ had erected its bank holiday sale marquee.  I really should not have been as all it meant was that they simply filled it with stock that was either extra large or extra small.  I went in the shop and fondled a very nice Arcteryx Atom hoody before suddenly coming to my senses when I realised that £180 is a lot of money for a synthetic insulated jacket.  I fondle the same jacket every time I go in that shop.  One day it will be in the sale in a nice medium size.  If Arcteryx fancy sending me one or there is a rich reader of this blog please get in touch!

We set off from the car park with me cursing the fact that I had brought my Paramo with me, I was immediately sweating under the warm sun.  I had promised Corrina a ‘nice’ six to eight mile walk with not too many ups and downs.  One day I will properly measure the map before setting out, this was going to be a ‘make it up as we go along’ sort of walk!

Just past Leadmill we took a narrow lane uphill to Hazelford hall and then a very steep path that rejoins the road further up, taking a big zag out of the zig zag.  Views behind were really opening up with the air being exceptionally clear for late August.  The reason for this?  A pretty strong northerly wind.

Just before Leam farm there is a field with a large ‘No camping’ sign on the gate.  In the field itself are a large amount of caravans, vans and large tents!  We stayed here a few years ago and it is not your usual campsite, this then was most definitely a party field.  Just don’t turn up here for a cosy weekend!

A path leaves the lane just past the farm and heads across the heather and bracken covered Eyam moor.  The heather was in full bloom and the air buzzed with bumble bees.  The dominant view across the valley was of Millstone edge and Higger tor.

It was already past 2pm and our bellies were rumbling, the incessant wind meant that the exposed moor was not a good place to sit down.  The few pieces of dry stone wall were angled at such a way that it was windy on both sides.  Sir William Hill road was a wind tunnel, the trees fully laden with leaves were groaning under the onslaught and it was difficult to progress upwards.  Strangely as soon as the trees were left behind the wind dropped a little bit.  A climb over a stile and a sit down behind the wall transported us back into summer, the sun hot without the cold wind.  As lunch was eaten four sheep came legging it down the hill, greeting us like long lost friends.  We were not sure if sheep should be given Tuna.

Back over the wall into the full onslaught of the wind.  The view suddenly changed leading our eyes to the north this time, the furthest skyline being dominated by Kinder Scout.  The quickly moving clouds throwing shafts of sunlight down on to the green fields, changing their colour every few seconds.

Further down you begin to see that the fold in the hills here hold a secret world of deep ravines and dense forests.  We were soon on one of my favourite paths in the Peaks, a grassy track that contours the hillside giving views down into the greenery below.

At one point there is even a small rock outcrop, a place to sit and contemplate the scenery around you or a place to get your partner to pose whilst you bark instructions at her (why at that moment of being bossy did a group have to pass us by?).

The track heads on down, wide grassy and easy, perfect for letting your eyes feast on the surroundings without the worry of tripping up (for some reason I have an uncanny knack of suddenly ending up on my backside).

Down, down, down it goes, getting steeper towards the bottom where you plunge deep into the greenery.  Once again out of the wind it was warm with the sun heating up the bracken to give a heady aroma.

Stoke Ford lays at the bottom of the deep valley with paths radiating off in all directions.  The best way if you come here is to head off along Bretton Clough, full of strange drumlins.  That however was in the wrong direction for us so we walked up Abney Clough, another gem hidden away in the folds of these hills.  Every step was a pleasure and as a rarity for me in the Peaks, a path that I have not yet trod.  At Abney there was a bit of confusion where one map ends and another begins.  For some reason the OS decided not to overlap the maps, so we stood on the lane for a while trying to join up two large unwieldy laminated maps in the wind.  Eventually the correct path was located and as we climbed toward Offerton Moor we had one final view of the way we had just come.

Descending back down to Hatherage we came to Callow farm and an honesty test.  Someone had left a brand new walking book next to the stile.  Would they be coming back for it?  Which way did they go?  If I leave it will someone else just come along and half inch it?  In the end we left it where it was, just incase someone was on their way back for it.  Fifteen minutes down hill we met a family who asked if we had seen a green book next to a stile at the farm!  If only I had picked it up, it would have saved dad from running back up to retrieve it!

So far this year I have overlooked the Peak District as a walking destination.  It’s just an hours drive away yet this is only the third visit this year.  What always surprises me is how much I enjoy visiting the place, yet for some reason I happily sit in the van for 3 hours on the way to somewhere else.  Mind you a nice sunny day helped with the enjoyment and for some reason the hills were almost deserted this bank holiday Sunday.

14 Comments to “Eyam moor and Abney from Hathersage”

  1. Lovely. I used to live 15 mins drive from Hathersage. Your account reads like a strange mix of the familiar and exotic to me: the place names and the secenery so familiar and yet, after 13 years away, the green and the purple in the photos seems foreign. What a great time of year to be up in the peaks. I have to confess I took it somewhat forgranted too. Miss it like hell now though!.

  2. It is a particularly pretty area, Stoke Ford and Bretton Clough!
    I live on the SE side of Sheffield and thinking ‘Solitude’ headed up to Alport Castles this morning – left the car at 7 near Ladybower. DIdn’t see anybody for a few hours and the sky was so much clearer than in your pics! I had done my 12 miles well before noon so have had the best of all worlds!
    May adopt your route on another outing :o)

  3. Dave the Purple and greens that we saw yesterday were almost alien to us too. The heather really was at its peak yesterday, especially with the sun beating down on it. 15 mins from hathersage? I am assuming that you lived in Sheffield then?

    Helen, Alport Castles is one of my favourite spots, especially the walk from there up to Grains in the Water, a lovely tranquil spot. From the blue skies in Nottingham today I bet the views were good in the Peaks?

  4. Like Dave I used to live near to Hathersage for about 20 years. I haven’t moved too far, but don’t get back as often as I would like. You should have made a detour to Grindleford Cafe, to sample the artery clogging delights. Some fell running friends of mine used to run out to the cafe from Sheffield and eat a “Full set”. The trick was to run all the way back without being sick!


    • Mmm the Grindleford cafe and their massive chip cobs and pints of tea. A great place to fill up at lunch time Ian!

  5. I like it when you contemplate the scenery around you. It just gives us the thought of enjoying life as it is. Being so fortunate to see the beauty of the world. Breathtaking scenery when hiking is the most awaited moment. The time when your struggles on your way to hike has been paid off.

  6. Some fond memories in those pictures, especially the heather around Eyam Moor.
    I overlook the White Peak too (1 hour drive away) but more deliberately. It’s not well suited to wild backpacking, much better for long day walks.
    Outside is a good shop but I only venture in when I need to see something in-hand. Another good one is Hitch and Hike along the road in Bamford.

    • I have yet to try a wild camp in the White Peak, have eyed up a few spots but would only attempt in winter when fewer people about. Outside was a disapointment this time round, especially their sale.

  7. I was particularly interested in the reference to Leam Farm. We have camped there for years – my husband initially going there some 20+ years ago. All our sprogs have experienced it and it is a place we love. Our eldest son rang John in August and was told they don’t have campers there anymore.
    We were devastated!

    My husband and I love this area and tend to visit as often as possible.

  8. Hi Glenys. I was a bit confused by the ‘no camping’ sign as the field was crammed with caravans and tents! As I said when I last stayed there is was definately a party venue, maybe still is rather than a nice quiet campsite?

  9. Hi There

    I run a site together with my partners called http://www.peakdistrictonline.co.uk and have over many years built it up from passion, into the 10,000 plus page site it is today. What we are now doing is putting something back into the community where we want to help all the locally run sites for villages towns and parishes by giving you a platform on our site to shout to the world about you and your area! We are averaging over 10 million hits a month and we feel now we have reached a point were we can help others grow all in the common cause of loving where we live – The Peak District!

    With that in mind we have also launched the site http://www.peakdistrict-news.co.uk again to raise awareness for the area to be screaming at the top of its voice on the internet to grow the tourism and business trade for the peaks.

    So what do we have in mind?

    Well first off the simple option….

    Let us have by email ( my own email is james@peakdistrictonline.co.uk ) any news , events , happenings in your town or area and will post these up free of charge onto our sites to help you spread the word ! Anything at all that you think is relevant for your site to be heard….. we will try our very best to have the information on our sites news section the same day – and as much as you care to give us that has a relevance for the peak district and whats going on in the area.

    The more complex option…..!

    To have a chat and help us run the very section on our site about your area , with your editorial input as to what goes on the pages , and our editorial team will try to accommodate placing these pages on so that you can benefit from the power we have gained on the search engines for the towns and places within the peak district in general.
    Again if this interests you then please email james@peakdistrictonline.co.uk or call me on 01433 639095 and lets make contact and have a chinwag.

    I live and work in Foolow near Tideswell , and have a deep passion for the peaks and am so very lucky to have now the presence on the internet that we can all use to get the word out there that we all live in such a fabulous place – HELP US TO HELP YOU TODAY

    Also if you have any other ideas and projects that help promote the peak district let us know and see if we can help in any way – (or if you just want to natter for half an hour with a like minded person call me!!!!) We all love passionately what we do and if we can help we will!

    James Dobson
    01433 639095

  10. I enjoyed reading your detailed report of an area I know well, having done pretty much the same walk in the opposite direction a few months ago.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: