HVL Walk 5.                 Edale to Hope

The Route:    Edale station, Ollerbrook Booth, Rowland Cote, Jaggers’ Clough, Hope Cross, Hope Brinks, Edge Farm, Aston, Hope station

Starting point:         Edale station. (G.R. SK 122853)

Distance:      6.7 miles (10.8 km)

Ascent:         1112 feet (339 metres)

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

How to get there:  There are daily services to Hope and Edale stations from Sheffield and Manchester.  Check train times as there are some lengthy gaps on weekdays.

Edale Station

The walk:      From the railway station, turn left and go up the lane towards Edale village.  Try to ignore the blandishments of the National Trust’s station tearoom and those of The Rambler pub at this stage.  Just past the Moorland Centre and before the church, turn right and descend a tarmacked footpath to cross the Grindsbrook.

A stile takes you out into open fields.  Go straight ahead, following a clear path until you reach Ollerbrook Booth Farm.  Booth is an old Norse word meaning settlement.  Nearly all the scattered settlements in Edale are “booths”.  Even Edale village itself should rightly be called Grindsbrook Booth, as Edale is the name of the valley not a village.  The right of way wriggles through the farm complex before emerging at the eastern end as a track.  As you approach Cotefield, the track diverges left and the path continues straight ahead through a couple more fields.  Look out for an inconspicuous sign on the left indicating the point where you leave the track and head uphill.  Signs ask you to keep to the left hand boundary of the field, but where this bears away to the left, the path slants right towards the top side of the trees that surround Woodhouse Farm.  The path continues to climb briefly before levelling out.  You are now quite high above the valley floor with good views over towards Lose Hill, Back Tor and Mam Tor.  The sound of passing trains is almost the only noise of note, other than the occasional bubbling call of a curlew.

The path soon reaches Rowland Cote, which is Edale’s youth hostel.  The right of way skirts round the bottom of the hostel, on the approach road.  Where the road turns sharp right, the path goes left and swings into Lady Booth Clough.  Descend to cross the bridge and follow the path round the flank of the hill with a wide view to the right.  The path dips steeply to cross another stream above Clough farm, then rises equally steeply before joining the bridleway.

The bridleway sees extensive use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders – and it shows.  The surface is rough and frequently muddy, but the view down the valley is very fine with Win Hill now firmly in the frame.
You soon crest the rise, only to find that the track descends steeply into Jaggers’ Clough.  There’s no bridge across the stream here, but there’s usually no difficulty.  Kinder Scout rises dramatically to your left at the head of the clough, but your way continues along the bridleway, which of course now climbs again and continues to do so until it levels out near Crookstone Barn.
At this point there is a major crossing of tracks.  The path straight ahead is the old road down into the Ashop valley en route to Derwent and thence to Penistone.  The track running west to east is the Roman Road from the fort at Glossop (Melandra) to Brough (Navio).  Turn right here and make your way down the rough track between the fences to reach Hope Cross.  The fences are not designed to stop sheep, but to discourage the users of the track from straying onto the moor and causing damage.  Attempts have been made to maintain the surface of the bridleway, but they don’t do much to make it easy for walkers.
Beyond Hope Cross, the track continues its rough and muddy way towards Hope, but instead of using this route, keep to the left, on a path, which runs between the wall and the conifer plantation.  This is easier on the feet and it’s also sheltered.
The views from this section of the walk are amongst the best in Derbyshire, looking right down the Hope Valley and up Edale to Lord’s Seat and Mam Tor.

Continue between wall and trees, soon crossing a rudimentary stile.  At this point you emerge from the shelter of the wall and follow a broad track that rises gently towards Win Hill.  At Wooler Knoll, the track begins to bear away to the right, leaving the trees well to the left and you soon over-top them to get a view to Crook Hill and beyond to the Upper Derwent Valley and Bleaklow. 
Pass through a gateway, which has but one gatepost standing and thus reach a junction of paths at a little cairn.  Here bear right and begin the descent into the Hope Valley.  The descent is easy, on a good path and you’ll have time to look around and admire the view.  You soon get a bird’s eye view of the railway sidings that service Hope cement works.  Peoples’ attitude to the cement works, its buildings, quarries and associated transport infrastructure and traffic are very mixed, but it is idle to deny that it is a major employer, a key part of the local economy and a considerable revenue earner for the Hope Valley railway line.  It’s also a good talking point.
Continue your descent, still high above the valley floor, until the path  swings bears right, above Twitchill farm.  At the gate you cross the path running from Hope village to Win Hill – the steep direct route.  Your route continues gently along, now skirting a wood on your right.
Shortly afterwards you enter a walled lane, which can be very muddy.  Follow this down to Edge Farm, where you go right along what is now a proper surfaced road, though with very little traffic.  Go down the road until you reach a T-junction at Aston.  Here turn left and then almost immediately go right, through a stile and into a wood with a stream to your left.  From here on there should be no further navigational problems.  The path soon enters open fields and continues straight ahead with the stream on the left and this route is followed right down to the railway line.  A kissing gate leads you onto railway land and to the fine Midland railway bridge onto the station.