Discover three of Derbyshire’s great little peaks (all Ethels), choosing between an easy, medium and more demanding ramble. Even better, tackle all three

Great British Life: Ladybower outspill Ladybower outspill (Image: Getty Images)

Crook Hill

This three-mile walk takes you to the twin summits of Crook Hill. At 1,253 and 1,227 feet high, they are easy summits to conquer, both offering fine outlooks over the Dark Peak and Ladybower Reservoir.

From the roadside parking just before Ashopton Viaduct, head across the bridge with the first views of Crook Hill in front of you.

Turn right onto the dead-end reservoir road leading to Fairholmes. A short way up the road, you’ll see a public footpath on your left. Cross over the road and go through the wooden gate beside the National Trust sign with the words High Peak Estate and Crookhill Farm on it.

Climb the field towards the farm, pausing to look back at Ashopton Viaduct at your feet with Ladybower Reservoir stretching out to the north and west.

As you continue to climb towards Crook Hill, you’ll find the public footpath has been rerouted around the side of the farm, a gate beside the last outbuilding taking you across the farm track into another field.

At its end you’ll reach a stony bridleway. Cross it to follow the path diagonally uphill towards the farthest of the Crook Hill summits.

Heading round the north end of this rocky tor, there’s an easy scramble up onto the 1,253-foot peak. Enjoy views of Derwent Edge, the reservoir, Win Hill, Lose Hill and the sweep round Edale over Kinder Plateau.

Once you’ve identified some of the Dark Peak’s most iconic landmarks, drop down to the saddle then climb to the slightly lower twin summit at 1,227 feet. From here a path descends to the gate you went through earlier at the side of the bridleway. Retrace your steps here to the farm track.

Drop down to the Fairholmes road, turning left until you meet the turning circle for buses. Beyond it a grassy path drops down to the water of Ladybower reservoir.

Keep right to pass the old pump house with its lovely copper roof and porthole window. Go through the gate at the end of the waterside path and turn left to cross Ashopton Viaduct again, returning you to your starting point.


Great British Life: Summit of Win Hill looking towards Ladybower Reservoir and Derwent Edge Summit of Win Hill looking towards Ladybower Reservoir and Derwent Edge (Image: Gary Wallis)

Win Hill

At 1,516 feet Win Hill is only a few hundred feet higher than Crook Hill on the other side of the reservoir, but appears (and feel) a lot loftier as you climb to the top.

This four-mile walk takes you along the dam head of Ladybower, then up through coniferous forest to the foot of Win Hill. I recommend approaching the peak from its west side as it’s a much shallower approach.

Starting at Heatherdene (charge), head along the path at the back of the car park in the direction of Bamford.

The pathway drops down to the A6013. Cross the road and take the path over the dam head to the west bank of Ladybower Reservoir. In winter and spring, after heavy periods of rain, the two overspills with their cascades of water are a spectacular sight.

Turn right to follow the reservoir’s edge a short way, taking the first pathway on the left that heads up through the forest. When wet, the forest trail turns into a stream of water; good waterproof boots or wellies are recommended.

Take the second left track. It ascends steeply through the forest, passing the roofless Winhill Barn. Eventually you’ll emerge onto open land, reaching a wall and fence boundary below Win Hill shortly thereafter.

Turn right and walk a short distance to a metal kissing gate. Go through and follow the path up the west side of Win Hill, the twin peaks of Crook Hill, cradled by the two arms of Ladybower, now below you.

A path leads you along the edge of the rocky tor to the summit where the 360 ° views of the Dark Peak are simply stunning.

Spin round to take in the Kinder Massif, The Great Ridge (Lose Hill and Mam Tor punctuating each end of the ridge) Hope Valley, Derwent Valley, Bamford Edge with its village and so much more.

Continue along the rocky tor of Win Hill in the same direction (eastwards), dropping down the stone hewn steps to Winhill Plantation and Parkin Clough. A word of warning: the path down through Parkin Clough is very steep and uneven, requiring good balance.

An alternative is to take the flatter path to the left at the top of the clough. It meets the path you climbed up after leaving the water’s edge at the beginning of your ramble.

If braving Parkin Clough, the rewards are ample. It’s a lovely, wooded route with water cascading down through it in winter and spring.

Eventually it reaches the road that drops down from the dam head. Pause to look at the cascade on the other side of the road, then turn left to follow the lane back to the dam head. From here it’s just a case of retracing your steps to the car park.


Great British Life: View over to Lose Hill, Back Tor and Great Ridge View over to Lose Hill, Back Tor and Great Ridge (Image: Helen Moat)

Lose Hill via Back Tor

On this ramble, you can enjoy two great little peaks within a stone’s throw of each other, both Ethels.

This more strenuous seven-mile walk takes in a challenging ascent from the valley floor of Edale to Back Tor, then Lose Hill. It will certainly strengthen your lungs.

The walk starts from Nether Booth, where there’s a small parking area at the bottom of the driveway leading to Edale YHA. I’d advise arriving early to insure a parking space.

The Great Ridge can feel more like Blackpool promenade on weekends, even in winter, so tackle the walk on a weekday if you have that privilege.

Head southwest along Edale road (away from Hope), walking on the right side of the road, while crossing over on blind corners. Passing under the railway bridge, you’ll eventually see a sign for Back Tor Farm on your left.

Head up the surfaced farm lane, passing the farm to continue uphill. Where the route diverges, take the left-hand grassy path that continues alongside the boundary wall initially. It takes you up through hummocky landslips, through a gate in a stone wall and on up to the Great Ridge.

Turn left, the mass of Back Tor cliff an imposing sight ahead. A short, sharp climb will take you to its summit, a 1,765-foot Ethel.

Continue along the Great Ridge to Lose Hill, the ascent to the neighbouring summit gentler. It’s an easy second Ethel to tick off your list (1,562 feet). At the top you’ll see Win Hill on the other side of the valley.

As with Win Hill, the views from Lose Hill are expansive with many of the Dark Peak’s iconic landmarks visible within its 360° range; The Great Ridge, Mam Tor, Rushup Edge and Kinder Massif as well as the eastern edges such as Bamford and Stanage Edge. The copper-topped stone marker on the summit will help you identify many lesser-known landmarks.

From the summit of Lose Hill, continue in the same direction, dropping down towards Hope (the village, Hope Cement Works and Castleton laid out at your feet).

Keep left to continue down the wide grassy runway. You’ll hit a stony pathway, providing some woodland shelter after the windy heights.

At its bottom you’ll reach a surfaced lane at Townend. Turn left at the bottom to continue past Losehill Spa Hotel (if you’re having a weekend break in the area, why not treat yourself to a spa experience, dinner, overnight in one of the luxury rooms and breakfast. It’s a good starting point for this circular too).

At the end of the lane, a path skirts round Oaker Farm, taking you through woodland and meadow to Edale road.

Turn right onto the road, then almost immediately left on the other side of the road to drop to a brook, crossing Bagshaw Bridge.

At Upper Fulham Farm continue uphill. Follow the fingerpost signed for Jaggers Clough left. You’ll reach a division of paths. Once again follow the sign for Jaggers Clough, this time inscribed on a low circular stone marker.

From here the path takes you through a delightful hidden valley and alongside a tumbling brook. Crossing short boardwalk sections, you’ll eventually arrive at a footbridge. Cross it and climb up through the amusingly named Backside Wood.

At its end, climb the steps in the drystone wall and onto a stony moorland track. Turn left, continuing to ascend to the height. The path veers right, panoramic views of Edale opening out.

As you cross the valley side, enjoy the spectacular views of Back Tor and Lose Hill on the other side of Edale.

Eventually, the track drops down to Clough Farm. Climb up again, taking the grassy path (signed public footpath) following a brook. The pathway intercepts the stream. Ford it and climb up to a stone boundary, where the path flattens out to cross the hillside.

Follow the path as it curves round to ascend alongside Lady Booth Brook, the babbling stream cascading downhill off Kinder.

Cross the brook at the youth hostel, slip round the side of the building and head down the driveway to your starting point. You’ll feel tired and happy after a strenuous but glorious ramble of peak, upland, woodland and moorland.