This is a fantastic ramble, taking in three Ethels (for those collecting them).

It hugs the skyline for the majority of its five miles, views extending all the way across the Cheshire Plain to the Welsh hills on clear days.

The day I walked the route, the mists clung to the ridge all the way from Pym Chair to Shining Tor, occasionally lifting to reveal Greater Manchester or Foxlow Edge pooled in iridescent light. It was very atmospheric.

Dropping off the moor into a soft green forest of pine, spruce and fir above Errwood was like entering another world.

Likewise, on Foxlow Edge when the low cloud yielded to bright sunshine and blue skies.

Sometimes the rapidly changing weather just adds to the enjoyment of a ramble. The beauty of this route, despite the high-level walking, is there’s very little climbing.

In fact, the whole ridge from Pym Chair over Cats Tor, The Tors and Shining Tor is relatively flat, with easy-underfoot flagstones to help you on your way.

Great British Life: Looking west from Pym Chair Looking west from Pym Chair (Image: Gary Wallis)

1. Park (free) at Pym Chair. Leaving the car park, turn left and follow the verge-side pathway beside the road, veering left again with the lane.

2. After the cattlegrid, cross over the road to follow the grassy roadside path up to a fingerpost which takes you onto Cats Tor. The track follows the drystone wall boundary, narrowing to York Stone flagstone after a short while.

From here it’s easy walking along the ridge, then The Tors before the path gently rises to Shining Tor. Go through the gate to the trigpoint, then enjoy a rest on one of the two benches before continuing your ramble.

3. From the summit of Shining Tor retrace your steps along the flagstones, looking out for a path on your right leading down off the moorland.

Great British Life: Views from Shining TorViews from Shining Tor (Image: Gary Wallis)

4. Descend through the heather. Luckily, the boggy path gives way fairly quickly to a stony track that twists and turns down through conifers to the knoll where the wealthy Grimshawe family are buried. (Do detour here to visit the hilltop graveyard and the ruins of the family home below if you haven’t visited before).

5. At the wooden signpost, follow the fingerpost signed for Foxlow Edge. The grassy path drops down to a tumbling brook. Cross the footbridge and climb the steps on the other side.

After the sparse moorland, the landscape here is much softer with a variety of conifers, some planted by the Grimshawe family, this part of the walk within their extended parkland.

6. Turn left at the top of the steps, following the sign for Pym Chair. Initially the path follows the base of Foxlow Edge.

7. When reaching a path on your right signed for Foxlow Edge however, take it to climb through trees to the ridge.

8. Turn left on reaching the top of Foxlow Edge, following a track between drystone wall and fence. Soon you will reach the highest point of Foxlow Edge (another Ethel). Look out for the round roof of a shrine created by the Grimshawe family in the trees far below you.

Great British Life: Grimshawe chapel shrine Grimshawe chapel shrine (Image: Helen Moat)

9. Where the path divides, take the one furthest left to make a short detour to the building you saw from above. In the wooded valley, look out for steps on your right leading down to the round building.

Explore the inside of the little round building with its corbelled roof and stone cross. It contains a tiled painting and statue of St Joseph with baby Jesus, a crucifix and scattering of other devotional items.

You can sign the visitors book if you wish. A Spanish inscription translates as ‘No one asks in vain of St Joseph. A token of gratitude.’ The shrine, it’s believed, is a memorial to a Miss Dolores, a member of the Spanish nobility the Grimshawes met while travelling.

10. From the shrine retrace your steps back up the valley, this time keeping left to climb to the road.

11. Turn left at the lane to return to Pym Chair. There’s a verge-side path all the way back to the car park so you won’t need to walk on the narrow road.

Great British Life: Overlooking Fernilee ReservoirOverlooking Fernilee Reservoir (Image: Helen Moat)


DISTANCE: 5.4 miles


DIFFICULTY: Surprisingly easy with flagstone pavement along most of Cats Tor and Shining Tor, and only gentle climbs. Watch your feet on the stony track when descending to Errwood. There’s a short, sharp climb onto Foxlow Edge. Once up, the climb – as on the other side of the valley – is fairly shallow

REFRESHMENTS: None. Bring a picnic