Millstones & Moody Skies
The Peak DIstrict can lack the dramatic scenery that the highs of Wales and the Lakes can offer. With rolling hills and great edges jutting into the sky, ‘The Peaks’ can offer a less eventful, but way more approachable hike. As a result of CV-19 Lockdown and having to stay within England for travel, I decided to visit the Great edges of Burbage & Stanage.
Both Burbage Edge and Stanange Edge are popular with climbers, but double as a brillaint medium distance walk, with little in way of technicality, especially following the route I have provided below.
Starting near The Fox House (Amazing looking pub with a big beer garden; no pint for us this time, Mr. Lockdown says so!), the route starts by following the Sheffield Country Walk for a short while toward Burbage Rocks; taking the higher line on the southern edge of the valley allows visits to disused quarry works.
Something of a history lesson, this entire route takes a step back into the past, as the disused quarry works all along the edges seemingly stopped functioning one day, with finished and unfinished millstones littering the entire area. It is said that, due to french rock imports milling a purer, whiter flour, the grey gritstone millstones of Stanage were cast aside with no buyers.
As you make your way across the top of burbage rocks, the climbers belay partners and dogs can be seen enjoying the panoramic views back down the valley. Burbage rocks terminates into a carpark at the top of the valley, where a series of tunnels allows Burbage Brook to trickle under the road.
As you proceed toward Stanage Edge, the leading side of it comes into view. A short and easy scramble up the edge and onto the plateau give way to ever more impressive views over the local landscape. Dropping off on your left is a sheer cliff-edge, often covered with climbers, with Hallam Moors stretching out on your right; certainly some potential wildcamping spots!
Continuing along to the appropriately named Stanage End, the route doubles back on itself, following the bottom of the Edge back toward Dennis Knoll and into the Valley Below. Snaking its way toward Hathersage, passing farms and manors of all shapes and sizes.
A hard and fast climb is ahead now, albeit over well established paths and roads, passing through the untouched reserve of Mitchell Field. As you begin to return back toward Longshaw Lodge over Hathersage Moor, a huge Sheepfold points the way through the thick fields of heather; the paths are difficult to spot here, but the grown is flat and steady under the growth.
Take a stroll through the forested grounds of Longshaw Lodge before arriving back at The Fox House, hopefully for a rewarding pint!
This walk was definitely one of the most rewarding I’ve been able to get out on of recent, allowing serious mileage to be covered in a pretty reasonable time. One note to make is to take caution while approaching the area in your car; there are many many cyclists around on the roads enjoying the varying terrain.
Parking is free if you can find a place in the many roadside laybys and carparks , with good facilites available at Longshaw Lodge; there’s even a Thai Food van at the top of burbage rocks (Withing the car park) for that quick lunchtime energy boost.