On Foot
Trail: The best of the West (a scramble and a walk on the Western side of Kinder). (0)
Contributor: rangerjohn Activity Type: Scrambling Difficulty: Hard Distance: 9.366 mi (15.073 km)
Description: A scramble up a little used clough followed by the best bits of the Western side of the plateau in a great day out. I think this is the best easy scramble in the Peak District. This walk starts at Bowden Bridge car park (site of the start of the Kinder Trespass), but could just as easily start in the centre of Hayfield.
From Bowden Bridge take the road to the dam,and walk up the steep cobbled path that leads you round the reservoir to the little bridge at the bottom of William Clough. Cross the bridge and turn left on a path that follows the reservoir round while rising gentlyup the side of the hill. Round the corner, take a right fork in the path, over stiles and down to the Kinder River (which is more like a kinder stream!). Follow the stream uphill past Peter Nook Wood, and over cataracts (a scramble in the stream-bed here is a good warm-up for what is to come. At SK076883, turn right up the innocuous looking stream ( Red Brook ). Stay on the true left bank until you can descend into the boulder-strewn stream bed. Scramble at will, staying as close to the water course as possible. There are many options at this stage, but as the ravine narrows and the water peters out (unless the weather is really wet), the real scrambling begins: A series of large, clean rock steps and enormous boulders rear up in front of you, but there is always a way upwards. Escape from the ravine at this stage is hard work and messy, so it is always better to continue until all too soon you pop out on to the plateau (sometimes to the surprise of passers-by). This is the Pennine Way - -follow it North 1km to Kinder Downfall and the crowds. Now for a spot of bog-trotting! Head almost due North, through peat hags and groughs for 800m towards Nether Red Brook ( there are three Red Brooks on Kinder) and the Northern edge. If the weather is fine, wonderful views and the vast sweep of the Ashop Valley below. If the weather is wet and misty, hard luck - but console yourself with the weirdly sculpted rock formations that appear mysteriously out of the mist as you head west along the edge. Look out for the turtle on the left of the path, a strange flea-like rock balanced precariously below the edge, and the famously photogenic "Boxing Gloves" ( worth a scramble for a photo opportunity).
The path rejoins the Pennine Way and descends to Ashop Head, where you can cut the walk short by turning left down William Clough and back to your starting point. To continue, head up to Mill Hill where you then head South-West across Leygatehead Moor on a faint path to the small rocky knoll of the Knott (a wonderful little viewpoint). It is rare to encounter any other people on this section of the walk. Next, take the line of least resistance down to the bridleway south, and follow the path to a junction near to a White shooting cabin. There is another opportunity to cut the walk short by turning left, then forking right down a bridleway to the reservoir, then back to the start. To continue, turn right on the path to Hayfield, thruogh five restored kissing gates and past "Twenty Trees" plantation. Try to count the trees -it will drive you mad - there are only nineteen! On reaching the road in Hayfield, turn left for 200m, then right, down a path that that crosses the stream at the bottom by a small bridge. Turn left, and follow the path alongside the stream, past the campsite and back to the start. Hayfield is a pretty village with a number of pubs and restaurants, and even has a cricket ground in the centre of the village. Enjoy the day!
On Foot:
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