Across the Peaks – Ashbourne to Hayfield

by backpackingbongos

I have always fancied walking across the Peak District from south to north taking in the best parts of the National Park. Before setting off on the TGO Challenge I planned to do just that as a way to get fit. However when I actually sat down with maps to plan a route it became apparent that it was too far for a three day weekend. The original idea was to go from Ashbourne to Marsden, but in the end Ashbourne to Hayfield was much more manageable at 63 kilometres and 1700 metres ascent. The route went through a great variety of landscapes, from deep dales to high moorland. It’s good fun linking areas that you know well from day walks into a long linear route. You get to see them from a different perspective, a small part of a bigger picture.

Wild camping is difficult in the Peaks, especially in the south. Rather than staying in large commercial sites I booked two Certified Locations that are affiliated to the Camping and Caravan Club. Chrissie joined me for the weekend and she helped with the travel logistics. Her husband Geoff picked me up from Monyash where I left the car and dropped us both in Ashbourne. Chrissie lives in Hayfield so after finishing she dropped me off in Monyash. It all worked rather well.

Anyway, rather than a blow by blow account of the walk, here are a few photos and comments.

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Thorpe Cloud, a mini mountain that guards the entrance to Dove Dale.

 

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Lin Dale, leading towards the famous stepping stones in Dove Dale.

 

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Looking down at Dove Holes, Dove Dale.

 

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Early spring in Upper Dove Dale.

 

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Wolfscote Dale.

 

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Campsite at Pilsbury Lodge. A bit overpriced at £10 each and spoiled by the hyperactive screaming children who were running round until 10.30pm.

 

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Crossing the Limestone plateau just past the Bull-i’-th’-Thorn pub. 

 

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Descending into Deep Dale.

 

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Descending into Litton Dale.

 

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Looking towards Tideswell Dale.

 

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Millers Dale from the Monsal Trail.

 

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The lower reaches of Monks Dale before it gets tricky.

 

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The wooded section of Monks Dale is a chaos of slippery limestone rocks, tree roots, mud and vegetation. We were relieved to leave that behind and follow a simple path through the woods.

 

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A lovely little campsite in Peak Forest that is basically someones back garden. A bargain at £8 between us.

 

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Climbing out of Peak Forest.

 

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On the limestone plateau above Conies Dale.

 

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Rushup edge looking towards Mam Tor and loads of paragliders. Mam Tor and its surroundings were swamped with people on a fine Sunday. Rushup edge was all but deserted.

 

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Looking down into the Edale valley with Kinder Scout on the skyline.

 

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Crossing Moorland en-route to Brown Knoll.

 

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Looking down to the upper River Sett.

 

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South Head.

Three days of glorious spring sunshine and with good company from Chrissie. What the photos don’t show are the numerous stops for ice cream, cafe’s and a pub. Sometimes it is good to backpack away from wild and remote mountains.

You can read Chrissie’s version of the trip here.

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12 Responses to “Across the Peaks – Ashbourne to Hayfield”

  1. ‘Twas an excellent weekend. 🙂 We’ll have to do a Hayfield to Marsden or Edale to Marsden or somewhere else to Marsden route sometime to finish it off nicely. 🙂

    • Aye it was a good weekend Chrissie. Loads of options for linear backpacking routes in the Peaks, and yes Marsden should feature!

  2. I enjoyed that. I’ve never walked in that area – and I’ve obviously been missing something.
    Cheers, Alen

    • Its a great area Alen, surrounded by some large cities there is some surprisingly remote feeling countryside.

  3. Looks fantastic, and in good weather too.

    • Yep the weather was pretty good, although I didn’t take any photos during the drizzly second afternoon!

  4. Great stuff! I like the route you walked – like you (before this) I’ve never done it as a linear walk, but all areas are familiar. One thing I always like about the Peak District is the contrast between White Peak and Dark Peak, and some of the best walks feature both in a single helping.

    • Hi Jules good to hear from you. It was good to have so much contrast over the space of a weekend,the Peaks has loads to offer.

  5. I miss the Peak, I should make the effort to meet up with you both for a wander sometime with the doggies.

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