The Gritstone Edges is a long day walk, covering 24 miles, 767 metres of ascent and 867 metres of descent of gritty Peak District landscape. It’s a challenging day but most of the climbing is over first thing on the pull up from the Derwent reservoir to Lost Lad. From there onwards there are views along the entire route to spur you on with only a few modest climbs and a gradual descent all the way to Baslow.
The walk takes in some of the finest gritstone edges in the area. There are a number of variations, as well as escape points at cosy Derbyshire pubs along the way where you can call in for a rest or arrange to meet back up transport. For your effort you will be rewarded with fine views all the way along and plenty of photographic opportunities, from expansive views of heather moorland to strangely weathered rocks. Attempt this walk in August when the heather is in bloom and you won’t be disappointed even if the sun doesn’t shine.
You need to be organised with timings or lifts as this is a straight walk without easy transport options at each end. There is a bus service from the nearest train station to the start of the walk (Bamford) which is on the Manchester-Sheffield line. At the other end, there are buses from Baslow to Sheffield.
If you come by car there are some free parking spaces in the lay-by just outside Fairholmes visitor centre, with more paid parking in the visitor centre.
This walk can be found in John Merrill’s Peak District End to End Walks
Fairholmes – Lost Lad
From Fairholmes (where there is a café and public toilets), follow the footpath leading towards the Derwent Dam, passing beneath the dam wall and up the steps beside the tower to gain the track leading alongside the reservoir.
After half a mile or so you reach a bench and footpath sign on the right at the foot of Walker’s Clough. Take the path up beside the steam to a gate where the path curves left and zigzags steeply up the bracken-clothed hillside to a cairn.
Continue ahead following the path signposted Strines via Bradfield Gate Head to cross a wall at a stile and bear right towards the moorland plateau of Green Stitches where the path becomes a broad grassy track.
When the track splits follow the left hand fork which leads to some steep steps up to the cairn on the first summit of the day at Lost Lad (518 m).
From here the path undulates towards the rocky outcrop at Back Tor (538m), with an outstanding view back across the reservoir.
A good path leads along the start of Derwent Edge, passing the oddly named Cakes of Bread, then Dovestones Tor and gently down towards the Salt Cellar, a unique rock formation which lies just off the path on the right. The path continues along Derwent Edge past White Tor before heading down towards the Wheel Stones (also known as the coach and horses).
Beyond the Wheel stones, at a junction of paths, take the left path signed to Moscar which falls gently down the hillside past a line of grouse butts. The path joins up with a farm track and passes through a gate with a wall now on your right. Continue to a junction and climb over the stile directly ahead of you (do not go on to the farm). It can be boggy here by a stream but soon the path leads to a broad track past a house, emerging onto the Strines Road. Turn right onto the A57 and follow the road for 1/3 mile to a small lay-by with a footpath leading over a stile towards Stanage Edge.
Leave the A57 at a small lay-by where a footpath leads over a stile opposite Moscar Lodge. The path gently rises for almost a mile to the remains of a quarry at Stanage End. Follow a good path up through the quarry and onto the edge.
The wide path keeps to the edge past Crow Chin to the trig point at High Neb (458m). Continue on, crossing a ladder stile, and shortly after veer left to keep with the edge at an Open Country sign. (The path crosses the old causeway road that leads up to Stanage Pole here).
From here the edge gradually gains height again. You are likely to encounter people pulling up onto the rocks on this section of Stanage which is particularly popular with climbers.
The path continues on, eventually arriving at the trig point at the southern end of Stanage and then to the Cowper Stone where it crosses over the diminishing edge onto the heather moor.
Beyond the Cowper Stone the path descends towards the Sheffield – Ringinglow Road at Upper Burbage Bridge, where in summer months you might find an ice cream van. Follow the road towards the bridge where you have a choice:
- Take the path before the bridge from the parking area which leads over towards Higger Tor and Cark Wark before rejoining the path over Burbage Edge just beyond the pack-horse bridge.
- Or cross the bridge and go through the gate on a wide path which passes under the edge.
- For the third option look out for a path left that diverges from the track and goes across the top of Burbage.
All three paths rejoin and the track emerges onto the A6187 next to Burbage Bridge. Cross the road, enter the Longshaw Estate and turn left to follow the path to the B6054 where you can reach the Foxhouse Pub on the corner of the A625. To continue the route, cross the road and follow the driveway into Longshaw and take the path that leads by steps away from the café and information centre.
Follow the path through two gates, straight ahead on a grassy track through the Longshaw Country Park to reach the B6054 above the Grouse Inn. Turn right at a stile just beyond the pub to cross the field that leads towards to the car park. Follow the path through woodland and down to cross the river, ascending to the road where the continuing path to Frogatt Edge can be found on the other side.
Frogatt and Curbar Edges
The path leads through woodland and the odd gritstone outcrop can be seen glimpsed through the trees.
It continues up onto the Edge where large a boulder indicates you have arrived at the Froggatt Pinnacle. This is a spectacular edge and an another busy rock-climbing area.
The path continues to follow the edge which changes its name to Curbar as it continues for another 2 miles before leading down to Curbar Gap (where there is an ice cream van in summer).
Cross the road at Curbar Gap and take the path to Baslow Edge – choosing between the bridle path that leads across the moorland to the Eagle stone, or the path that wends its way along the edge. Just beyond the Eagle stone you can cut the walk short if you are getting tired by taking the left fork that leads down towards the village at Baslow. However, the route continues, forking right towards the Wellington monument and following the path by a wall where Highland cattle are often grazing to the road. Turn right and walk down to the junction with the A621, crossing it to a stile on the other side.
Gardoms or Birchen Edge
Here, you have another choice – bear right to take the path on top of Gardoms Edge, ignoring a series of stiles used by climbers to access the first rocky outcrops and taking a stile to cross the fence onto Gardoms Edge. Follow the edge then follow the path down to a wall stile on the A619 Chesterfield road, just below the Robin Hood pub
Alternatively keep left to take either the path below Birchen Edge or the one that runs along the top. The Birchen paths lead down to a stile, where you turn left and pass in front of the pub to the A619 until you pass the wall stile mentioned above.
On the other side of the A619 follow a concessionary footpath sign to Chatsworth Park. The path leads down steep steps to cross a stream and across pasture to a track that passes beneath the red stained rocks of Chatsworth Edge. Enter Chatsworth Park via a much higher wall stile and descend the grassy fields, where deer can often been spotted, heading more or less straight ahead until you reach an ornate kissing gate (the Cannon Gate) that leads to a track that leads to the end of the walk at Nether Baslow. If you take the first gate on the left and follow that track it will bring you further along near the junction with of the A619 and A623.