BL Walk 5.                Dove Holes to Chapel en le Frith

The Route:    Dove Holes station, Station Road, Cowlow Lane, Cowlow Farm, Ridge Hall, Chapel station.

Starting point:        Dove Holes station. (G.R. SK 074781)

Distance:     1.88 miles (3.02 km)

Ascent:        231 feet (70 metres)

Map:  OS outdoor Leisure No. 24, The White Peak

How to get there:  Daily train service to Dove Holes and Chapel en le Frith from Manchester, Stockport and Buxton.     

Dove Holes Station

The Walk:     This is a short and relatively easy walk.  The only difficulties that will be encountered are stiles.  It is a little walked route and the field paths are not distinct.  

From Dove Holes station go onto Station Road and turn left.  Follow the road up through the village until you reach the junction with Cowlow Lane and there bear left again.  Follow Cowlow Lane up past the remaining houses and just past the 30 mph /de-restriction signs there is a footpath signed on the right.  A decrepit stile leads into a rough field.

To your right is a curious little building on top of what looks like a quarry spoil heap.  In fact this is one of a number of airshafts over the Midland Railway’s Dove Holes tunnel and the spoil heap is the result of the tunnel excavations in the 1860’s. You’ll spot a number of these on this walk.

In this first field the path is fairly obvious, as is the next stile, though this one is not the easiest to surmount.  In the next field, bear right, making for the gateway in the wall ahead, at which point you will see Cowlow Farm ahead of you.  An enticing track bears away to the left, making for a gate, but the path actually bears right, heading directly for the farm and for a stile in the wall ahead.  This is a nice stone step stile, but not easy to spot. 

To your left rise Lady Low and Short Edge, all of which is access land, but most of which is difficult to get onto!

Go over the stile and follow the wall down to the farm, passing in front of the farmhouse, then bearing round to the left of the barn and then right, to a gate into the farmyard.  Here go left, through the yard and out into open fields again, this time on the farm access track.  Immediately outside the farmyard, the track splits.  Go right, but in less than 100 yards (90 metres), bear left (no obvious path), to skirt round the north side of Cow Low, the hillside on your left, with a shallow valley to your right. 

Cowlow Farm
Also to the right is another of the airshafts of Dove Holes tunnel and a view across to Chapel, and the hills at the back of Chinley, Mount Famine, Brown Knoll and Kinder.
The path becomes a distinct terrace as you round Cow Low and this continues to a stone step stile in the wall.  In the next field, the terrace is more of a sunken ditch, but obvious enough, heading for a gateway, alongside which is another version of a stone step stile. As there’s not a gate, you don’t actually need the stile.  Now bear left towards the left hand end of the wood, seen ahead. 

There’s another stile in the fence ahead over which you go and then there’s a tempting gap in the wall leading into the wood, but this is not the path.  The path bears left to yet another stone step stile beside a well defended gate and thus you end up back on Cowlow Lane again.  Here go right. Go along Cowlow Lane for about 200 metres.

To your left rises Short Edge and between you and it is theoretically access land.

At the footpath sign, turn right and follow the tarmacked driveway down to Ridge Hall and Ridge Farm. 

Beyond Ridge Farm the lane deteriorates into a rough track, which descends gently at first and then more steeply to reach Ridge Hall Lodge and immediately beyond it, Chapel station.  Take care if crossing the line to the Buxton platform.

Lady Low and Short Edge