HVL Walk 4.                Chinley to Edale

The Route:    Chinley station, Maynestone Road, Peep O’Day, Pennine Bridleway, Coldwell Clough Farm, Oaken Clough, Edale Cross, Jacob’s Ladder, Upper Booth, Barber Booth, Edale station

Starting point:        Chinley station. (G.R 037 826)

Distance:      7.9 miles (12.7 km)

Ascent:        1680 feet (512 metres)

Map:   OS outdoor Leisure No. 1, The Dark Peak

How to get there:  Daily train service to Chinley from Manchester and Sheffield.  Check train times as there are some lengthy gaps on weekdays.  Chinley also has trains from Stockport, but they are few and far between.

Chinley Station

The walk: From the railway station, turn left along Station Road and then left again into Green Lane at the T junction.  Continue along the road, ignoring the turn to the right and cross over the railway line by the bridge.  Now turn right.  Follow the lane round to the left and keep on this minor road, (Maynestone Road), which sees little traffic, for about 1½ miles (2.4 km), climbing steadily until you reach the main A624 road at Peep O’Day.  Cross the main road with care and go left for a short distance before joining a path on the right which takes you up past an old quarry and onto the old Hayfield-Chapel road, now part of the Pennine Bridleway.  Ignoring the routes right and left, go straight on, following the Pennine bridleway as it skirts the northern flank of Mount Famine. 

This curious name apparently derives from the belief that cattle brought to graze on its slopes would never fatten.

The bridleway soon enters access land and swings north, descending into the upper Sett valley, with views across towards Kinder reservoir and the western edge of Kinder Scout.  After about 300 metres, look out for a path descending steeply to your right.  This is your route.

Go down the path towards Coldwell Clough Farm, crossing the River Sett, which is no more than a stream here, and then joining a rough lane.  This is the old Hayfield-Edale road.  Go right, passing the farm and beginning the long ascent of Oaken Clough to Edale Cross. 

Kinder Low rises to your left, with Mount Famine and South Head to your right. 

After about 1½ miles (2.4 km) steady uphill plodding you reach Edale Cross.

Mount Famine
The date of 1810 on the cross must surely refer to its restoration rather than the date it was originally put there, because it is reckoned that the cross was a boundary marker for Basingwerk Abbey lands.  It also marks the summit of the pass between Hayfield and Edale and, as such it sits on the main watershed of England.  Behind you, all water flows to the Mersey and the Irish Sea.  Ahead, the rivers flow to the Derwent, Trent and then the North Sea.
Continue along the well-blazed track, soon being joined by the Pennine Way coming down off Kinder Low.
Ahead the view is of upper Edale, with the Mam Tor-Losehill ridge to the right and the looming bulk of Kinder to your left.
Follow the broad track down to the top of Jacob’s Ladder, where you have a choice of routes.  I prefer the route to the right, following the old packhorse way in the long zigzag, but either way will take you down to the lovely little packhorse bridge at the bottom.  Cross the River Noe and onto the broad track along the valley.
It is tempting at this point to think that you’ve nearly finished, but you’ve got another 3 miles (4.8 km) to go, so if you are catching a train you need to be aware of the time requirements.

The track becomes a metalled road at Lee House farm where there is a National Trust information point.  Follow the quiet lane down to Upper Booth, where again you have a choice of routes – in fact no fewer than three choices of route.  You can either turn left at Upper Booth onto the Pennine Way.  This will lead you over Broadlee Bank and bring you out by the Nag’s Head in Grindsbrook Booth. This involves a further 295 feet (90 metres) of ascent and you may well feel you’ve climbed enough. As a second choice, you could continue down the road for a further ½ mile (0.8 km) to the railway bridge and then take the footpath on the left over the Noe, or, the third choice is to turn left at Upper Booth onto the Pennine Way, but then spurn it and follow the field path to the right, which roughly parallels the road and thus reaches the railway line just east of the bridge.  The second and third choices join at this point and follow the north side of the railway line to another bridge, which you cross and thus reach Barber Booth.

Almost all the settlements in Edale are “booths”.  This is an old Norse word meaning settlement.  There is really no village of Edale.  The proper name is Grindsbook Booth.  The railway station name is correctly called Edale because it serves the valley of that name, though it is unusual for a railway station to be called after a valley rather than a village or town, even if the village was many miles away from the station.  Some railway companies were past masters at this with the Great Western leading the way by naming some of their stations “XX Road” by which you knew you had a long walk to reach whatever town or village was reputedly served.  The Midland must take pride of place though with Dent station on the Settle and Carlisle line.  This was fully 4½ miles (7¼ km) from the village and a good 820 feet (250 metres) of climbing to boot.

Jacob's Ladder

Barber Booth Bridge

Wriggle your way through Barber Booth without getting onto the main valley road and then go left, crossing the railway again and then turning right.  This is a well used path, heading for Shaw Wood Farm and Grindsbrook Booth, but after about 440 yards (400 metres)  there’s another bridge over the railway and a signed concession path leads to the right, over this, then turns left and follows the railway line right back to the station and within a stone’s throw of the main car park. 

If you’ve timed it right, the Rambler Inn lies just alongside the station, or you could always patronise the Penny Pot café at the bottom of the station approach.

Penny Pot café

The Rambler's Inn