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Month: January 2018

blanket of heather on Edale, view from Losehill

Two Great Places to Visit in the Peak District.

The Peak District has some of the most stunning scenery in the Midlands. Wedged gently between Manchester, Sheffield and Derby it really is a true wonder to come across. It’s steep valley and rising hills make it a haven for anyone who enjoys spending a summer’s day walking through the English countryside. Edale, a small village in Hope Valley, marks the start of the 267-mile long Pennine way, stretching all the way up to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. I’m not going to promise that I will cover this route anytime soon but I can imagine it provides some lovely scenery.

My first visit to the Peak District was in 2016. It’s a much shorter car journey than the one to the Lake District or Snowdonia and the walks are just as fantastic. I’ve put together a very short guide on two great places to visit while in the Peak District. I’ve only been a handful of times so this is by no means coverage of the two best places as there is still so much to explore but they are definitely a good place to start!

Castleton & Mam Tor

Castleton is a bubbly little village in the heart of the Hope Valley sitting in the shadow of the ruins of Peveril Castle. It’s full of great places to eat, quaint gift shops and spectacular walks. One of the most famous in the Peak District is the circular Mam Tor Ridge walk.

Starting in Castleton you walk west towards Winnat’s Pass a deep Limestone valley created after an old cave system collapsed. There is still evidence of these caves around the Pass including Speedwell Cavern that offers tours of the underworld.

You can climb the north side of Winnats pass and walk across the grasslands towards Mam Tor, also known as the shivering mountain, and the tallest hill in the High Peaks standing at 517m. Once at the top you are treated with spectacular views of Edale and the Hope Valley. The ridge takes you along the north side of Hope Valley towards Lose Hill and then you can drop back down into Castleton. It’s definitely one for the summer as the high ridge can get extremely windy! We visited at the end of August, just in time to see the blankets of heather that annually cover the fields.

Blue car travelling east through Winnats Pass

Flock of sheep on Mam Tor ridge

View of Hope Valley

Fence and path leading along Mam Tor Ridge

Path up to Losehill

blanket of heather on Edale, view from Losehill

Edale valley from lose hill

Padley’s Gorge & Stanage Edge

This circular walk starts at the Longshaw Estate, a National Trust property about 3 miles south-east of Hathersage. There’s easy parking and great walks around the estate if you don’t have a lot of time, it even boasts a lovely cafe if you need a pick-me-up. You can find out more about the Lodge here if you wish.

From the car park you can walk through the grounds of the Lodge and follow the path across the road to the Burbage Brook, this marks the start of Padley’s Gorge. Heading south through the trees you can follow the bank along the gorge down to Upper Padley. Turning left at the bottom of the trail will take you past the famous Totley Tunnel to the Gindleford Station Cafe if you need some refreshments.

Heading right will take you north along a trail past various cottages, churches and farmland. You may even see the beautiful cat we came across! We followed a route that took us north-east along the bottom of the Stanage Edge cliff. Taking the path to the top, we were faced with amazing views out towards Hathersage. There’s no coincidence that this place is also known as Surprise View.

We also visited Stanage Edge at the end of the summer when the heather was blooming across the moor creating a blanket of purple hugging the birch trees along the route.

autumn landscape shot of padley's gorge, peak district

fluffy cat and pair of legs

the view from stanage edge in winter.

birch trees behind a blanket of heather

Birch tree in heather

2017 was the year of the snow!

December saw England receive a lot of snow.

On Sunday 10th December, my partner was due back in the country after a 3-week trip away. On Sunday 10th December it snowed like never before (well at least more snow than I’ve seen in a good few years.) Since getting a car (almost 6 years ago) and moving out to the countryside nearly 2 years ago I’ve been longing for some decent snow to photograph. Mostly, we get a sprinkling overnight which has gone by the time I’ve finished work or had the chance to pick up my camera.

So after all this time it eventually snowed, on the day I was supposed to be driving to the airport.

After deliberating whether it was a good idea, I eventually set off with my mum’s partner who offered to drive me across the county to Birmingham. After over an hour of avoiding road closures, broken down vehicles and steep hills, we ended up back where we started – home.

It turns out my other half wasn’t in Birmingham after all, he was in Manchester.

Luckily, I managed to get a couple of phone shots while playing passenger in an extremely slow moving car!

So while the county was experiencing its first proper snow in the last 5 years, I spent the day trying to figure out how on earth Ross would get home. Eventually, at 4pm, we made it!

Luckily, the snow stuck around and on Monday 11th December I headed out into the fields to photograph the trees that had been waiting for me.

And a hare.

Happy with my shots I didn’t check the weather again as I’d captured the photographs I’d always wanted.

Come December 27th, we got another covering and I thought it was too good an opportunity to miss. Armed with my camera and a bright blue sky I managed to sneak in these shots before the warm weather melted it away.

I think we’ve had enough snow this winter, but if we get some more, I won’t complain!