On days of minus temperatures why not combine a bracing walk with a fiery whisky? You can either arrange your ramble to arrive back at the Cat and Fiddle for the 3pm whisky tour at the weekend, or you can walk in and order a drink from the bar between Wednesday and Sunday (space permitting).

Great British Life: Views towards Shuttlingsloe Views towards Shuttlingsloe (Image: Helen Moat)

1. Park in the layby opposite the Cat and Fiddle and follow the road along the verge in the direction of Macclesfield as far as the bend. Be careful crossing the busy A537, Take the wide track across the moorland on the right-hand side of the road, then trend right to continue along the height (you can make a detour down to Peak View Tea Rooms if you fancy pausing for morning coffee or lunch).

Make sure to pause along the way to take in the far-reaching views of Shuttlingsloe, Macclesfield Forest and the Cheshire Plains beyond. On clear days you can see Jodrell Bank Observatory with its massive Lovell Telescope.

2. Take the next right signed for Stake Clough and Goytsclough Quarry. You’ll come to a third junction. Turn right to continue down through the moorland and on through forest.

This route is fine on frosty days when the ground is hard, but very wet when the moorland is not frozen. If that’s the case it may be better to head left alongside the brook at Stake Side.

3. The path drops down to a footbridge crossing Deep Clough, where the first views open up to Errwood Reservoir.

Continue through the woodland until you come to another junction. It’s best to turn left here (the hillside route above the road very muddy and wet in winter) to follow the stream as it cascades down to Goytsclough Quarry.

4. Turn right at the Goyt Valley road, then drop down to a footbridge on your left. It climbs the bank to reach a hillside path above the river. Turn right at the top, walking in the direction of Derbyshire Bridge.

Great British Life: Dropping off the moor into Goyt Valley Dropping off the moor into Goyt Valley (Image: Helen Moat)

5. Drop down to the next footbridge, cross back over the river and continue along the road to climb up to Derbyshire bridge, the lovely babble of the River Goyt accompanying you on the lane. On winter weekdays there’s little in the way of traffic.

6. There are a couple of benches at Derbyshire Bridge, where you can rest up. The name refers to the old boundary between Derbyshire and Cheshire (until 1936 when the boundary was moved to the west). Take time to read the information boards on the history of farming and coal mining in the area.

As you climb the road towards the Cat and Fiddle, you’ll see shale exposures formed from mud and silt that lay under a shallow sea 300 million years ago. Drink in the fine views of the Bleaklow and Kinder massifs on your right.

Soon the iconic Cat and Fiddle Inn will come into view, a striking landmark – and an iconic one – on the crest of the road, and now the highest distillery in Britain. It’s time to warm up with a whisky.

Great British Life: The Cat and Fiddle The Cat and Fiddle (Image: Helen Moat)


DISTANCE: 4.4 miles


DIFFICULTY: Easy – just watch your feet on the stony path off the moorlands. Consider taking alternative drier routes when the ground is wet.

MAP: OS Explorer Map OL 24 White Peak

REFRESHMENTS: Peak View Tea Rooms (drop down off the moors to detour to the café at the beginning of your walk for morning coffee or lunch). Forest Distillery serves soft drinks, spirits and snacks. You can also sample their award-winning gin.