Hayfield

 

A few weeks ago the Norwest Fellwalking Club went to Hayfield in Derbyshire. It was not so much an outing but more a pilgrimage because a little over 85 years ago a group of 400 walkers set out from the village with a point to make and partly because of their actions walkers today enjoy “the Right to Roam.”
This country doesn’t do bloody revolutions – it does mass trespasses instead. In 1932 walking groups from Manchester and Sheffield converged on the Peak District with the intention of walking to its highest part the Kinder Scout plateau which at that time was private property reserved for grouse shooting.
As they saw it all week they worked in the mills, workshops and foundries of the industrial North and on Sundays wanted the freedom to tramp across the moors in communion with peat and heather. It seemed a small thing to ask – especially after the sacrifice of World War 1.
The landowners had a different perspective. They (and their gamekeepers) had managed the high moors for generations as ground for shooting grouse – a tender bird easily upset during nesting season. Should they allow the hoi polloi come onto the moors willy-nilly it would take away all the pleasure of killing the birds. They firmly – militantly resisted the idea of giving access to ramblers.
Gamekeepers and trespassers came into conflict – scuffles broke out at the end of which five men from Manchester were arrested, brought to court and then jailed. This turned out to be counter-productive – the punitive sanctions gave the ramblers’ campaign the oxygen of publicity that started a national debate on access to the countryside.
This walk starts at the place where the ramblers gathered before taking part in what has been described as” the most successful direct action in British history.”
For more information see www.kindertrespass.com

Start. Bowden Bridge Car park. SK22 2LE

 

 

Distance: 9miles 15k

Time: 4- 5 hours
 

Grade: Strenuous

Map: OS OL1 The Peak Distric: Dark Peak Area
 

Directions:

1. After paying due homage at the plaque commemorating the Kinder Mass Trespass turn left onto Kinder Road. After 500yards bear right in front of gates in front of gates crossing the River Kinder and then join a riverside path taking you through woods to the next bridge. Cross this and then take a path to the left of metal gates entering National Trust land – White Brow.

 

The path climbs steeply to reach a viewpoint overlooking Kinder Reservoir with an information board.

 

Here turn sharp left onto a bridleway which climbs steeply to join the Snake Path – an ancient route connecting Hayfield to the Snake Pass.

 

When you reach the path turn right. Keep on this path

 

as it leads into William Clough a steep sided valley leading up onto the Kinder Scout Plateau.

 

“Steep” is the theme for this section of the walk. On entering the clough there is just under a mile of steepness and 700ft of ascent.

2. As the path levels out bear right soon joining the Pennine Way – a veritable motorway of a footpath.

 

When we checked this walk out a few weeks ago warm spring sunshine had brought out the crowds. Squeezed in between the conurbations of Manchester and West Yorkshire the Peak District National Park attracts more than 10 million visitors a year. The Pennine Way heads south following the edge of the Kinder Scout plateau the largest extent of land over 2000ft in England.

 

Down to the right the Kinder Reservoir provides a good reference point.

 

Keep on the rocky path for 1 ½ miles to reach a famous feature – the Peak District’s highest waterfall – Kinder Downfall.

 

Sometimes if the wind is blowing strongly from the west this becomes Kinder Upfall when water defies the laws of gravity. After cross the feeder stream

 

the Pennine Way swings right. Keep on it as it follows the escarpment to the highest point of the walk – the trig point at Kinder Low.

 

At 633m (2076ft) it is only 3 metres lower than Kinder Scout (half a mile north east but not easily accessible because of boggy ground.) From the trig point the Pennine Way descends to the noticeable rock outcrop of Edale Rocks

 

and then continues to a wall.

 

3. At the wall the PW turns left for Edale.

 

Your way is right for Hayfield. After the first gate look for Edale Cross

 

to the right of the track – a medieval boundary marker. Keep on the broad track as it descends leaving the high moors

 

and passing through pasture land. Follow signs to Coldwell Clough to pick up a farm road in the steep sided valley.

 

At a gate keep ahead on the “walkers only” track and then after crossing a bridge bear left on a lane leading back to Bowden Bridge.