Head to the north of the county for a scenic walk around hills and mills in the High Peak with Sally Mosley

DISTANCE: 6 miles

PARKING: Manor Park, off Manor Park Road, Glossop SK13 7SH; Grid Ref: 039944

TERRAIN: 10+ stiles. Moderate walk passing through fields grazed by livestock. Woods with trip and slip hazards. Country lanes without pavement. Areas prone to mud.

REFRESHMENTS: Bakery, shops and café on Station Road, Hadfield

Great British Life: Glorious views en routeGlorious views en route (Image: sally mosley)

TOILETS: Manor Park, Glossop

MAP: O.S. Explorer OL1 – Dark Peak

WALK HIGHLIGHT: Extensive views toward brooding Dark Peak moors

DESCRIPTION: In this green and pleasant land of North Derbyshire where dark satanic mills once reigned supreme, the occasional towering chimney can still be seen beside old mill buildings and terraces of stone cottages. As well as providing a gentle hike to high ground, this walk across fields and along ancient tracks also includes pavement walking through leafy suburbs to discover Padfield, Hadfield and Old Glossop.

1. Manor Park used to be the grounds and gardens of Glossop Hall, owned by the Dukes of Norfolk who became Lords of the Manor here in 1606 and held the estate for the next 300 years. The park was created by the Borough of Glossop after it acquired the land in 1927, while the hall became a school before it was demolished in around 1950.

From the car park off Corn Street, cross the metal bridge over Glossop Brook and walk up the path to the public toilets by the Pavilion Café. Head between the tennis courts and lodge house, and then bear right onto a path which exits the park through a small metal gate onto Manor Park Road on the edge of the Conservation Area of Old Glossop. Turn left onto Church Street South and proceed up to Wellgate beyond All Saints’ Church on your left. On the way you will pass the entrance to the former market place on your right where you can see Glossop’s old cross – the village was awarded its market charter in 1290. Also notice the centuries-old cottages built of dark gritstone with small mullioned windows, typical of the High Peak area. At the top of the street is the former Bailiff’s House where the Duke of Norfolk’s manager once lived, employed to oversee his Glossop estate.

2. Head uphill between the Bull’s Head and Wheatsheaf pubs. At the top of the pathway ignore the first right into a cul-de-sac and continue, turning right along Bute Street. At the entrance to Shirehill Hospital turn right then left to walk up Blackshaw Clough lane which leads eventually to Swineshaw Reservoir with a smaller holding pond on the right before it.

3. Before the high grassy dam wall you will pass a property on the left. Immediately after this go over a stone slab bridge on the left to cross a stream at the end of the garden wall beside an old-fashioned street lamp. This narrow path then leads steeply uphill through a band of woodland where there are trip hazards and several sets of steps. Emerging into a field, keep a high wall on your right with the main reservoir beyond it and follow the well-defined footpath through a succession of fields and stiles to emerge onto Woodhead Road.

4. Carefully cross over the road to the building with the grass roof opposite and notice an old mounting block set into the wall near the drive entrance on the left. Turn right and walk on the main road as far as the end of the main house to a public footpath sign. Follow this path which leads through a builders’ yard to the rear of the property and then a field beyond.

Go past a small derelict farm building and walk alongside the perimeter wall of the graveyard to the far corner, then turn right and descend a field to a wooden stile by an old metal footpath sign. Head straight across a couple of fields to Little Padfield Farm.

5. Follow the drive away from the farm, cottages and barn conversion and when arriving at a triangle of roads at Redgate, turn right and walk down Platt Street in Padfield. This goes past terraces of old millworkers’ cottages and allotments planted with vegetables and fruit trees with a former factory building beyond.

6. At the bottom of Platt Street where the houses come to an end at a corner, turn right along Trail View to access the Longdendale Trail which follows a stretch of the former Woodhead railway line. Turn left and walk a short distance to the end of the trail then continue ahead on the road past Malvern Rise to Hadfield Station. At this point you may wish to detour down Station Road to find refreshments in the various shops that line either side of the road.

7. Walk up the approach to the station then bear right up a cobbled path. Turn left and use the walkway beside the bridge to cross over the railway line. Turn right at Park Road to enter Bankswood Park.

8. Walk through the playground area and continue as the track enters woodland. You will emerge for a time from the woods to observe sweeping views across the valley on the right and with the tower of Mottram parish church on War Hill in the distance. Continue to a corner where the drive leads around to the left and a grassy path descends to the right. At this point turn sharp left to follow a woodland path which leads up a deep dark ancient holloway around Castle Hill. The medieval motte and bailey Mouselow Castle once stood on the hilltop here, occupying what is believed was the site of an Iron Age hillfort.

9. Follow the path uphill beneath towering beech and oak trees keeping roughly in line with the ditch, and ignoring a path on the right beside a field.

10. Arriving at a lane with North Road approximately 50 yards to your left, turn right and walk up the rough stone track of Hilltop Road which eventually leads you beneath a mast atop this high vantage point from where there are superb far-reaching views. Look for a line of vehicles making their way up and down Longdendale beyond the string of five huge reservoirs known as the Longdendale Chain. When completed in 1877 this was then the largest artificial expanse of water in the world. Beyond is the dark brooding morass of Black Hill as a backdrop. Descend the lane from the mast to a residential area known as The Ashes and continue down to a junction.

11. Turn left to walk along Dinting Road. Notice the building of Howard Park Swimming Pool with its Paxton-like fan window. See also the lovely parkland beyond with pool and resident ducks. At the crossroads, with round red post box opposite, head straight over to walk past the school in one of Glossop’s many leafy suburban roads that are lined with grand Victorian and Edwardian houses. Glossop ‘new town’ was created around 1840 following expansion of the wool and cotton-spinning industries. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries some 46 mills were built, as well as housing for the workers and mill owners. Many roads were laid but then the town grew even bigger with the arrival of the railway line in 1847.

12. At the end of Talbot Road cross Norfolk Street and then head along Hall Meadow Road. This will now bring you to Old Glossop which nestles close to heather-clad moors leading up to Bleaklow. A Roman road was laid over these high hills from the fort called Navio at Brough in the Hope Valley to Melandra, a garrison fort on the western edge of Glossop above the River Etherow and Glossop Brook, that was built in 80AD and probably known as Ardotalia.

13. Arriving at Church Walk, notice the old school building ahead. Built in 1852 as Glossop’s Grammar School, it became a primary school before closing a few years ago. It was used for filming classroom scenes in the BBC drama The Village but is currently being converted into apartments. Turn right before the former school building and church to descend a path back into Manor Park where you might wish to explore the formal gardens and woodland paths before returning to your car.