Peak District Walk - Hayfield

Kinder Reservoir with backdrop of Kinder Edge

Kinder Reservoir with backdrop of Kinder Edge - Credit: Archant

Snuggled into the foothills of Kinder and overlooked by Lantern Pike, Hayfield has numerous claims to fame, the most recent being as a location for the BBC drama series ‘The Village’

DISTANCE 4.5 miles

PARKING Hayfield pay & display car park, Station Road SK22 2ES

TERRAIN There are four stiles and six gates as well as uneven terrain and rough moorland paths which may become boggy in wet conditions. Some sections of road and lane walking are without pavements. There may be livestock on the moors where it is advisable for dogs to be on a lead.

REFRESHMENTS Lantern Pike, Little Hayfield; Rosie’s Tea & Coffee Room, Kinder Road, Hayfield

Footpath down to Kinder Reservoir

Footpath down to Kinder Reservoir - Credit: Archant

TOILETS In the car park at the start

MAP OS Explorer OL1 – Dark Peak

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WALK HIGHLIGHT View across to Kinder Edge and the Downfall from White Brow

DESCRIPTION For centuries, water flowing off these High Peak hills was harnessed to power cotton, calico, wood and paper mills – the last one to close being in 2010. Comprising attractive 18th and 19th century terraces of quaint millworkers’ cottages huddled together beside narrow lanes, ginnels and cobbled alleyways, Hayfield is an architectural treasure trove of early industrial housing. Combine this with moorland tracks, old footpaths and far reaching views for a fascinating walk.

Map by Kate Ridout @ early bird graphics

Map by Kate Ridout @ early bird graphics - Credit: Archant

1. Head down Wood Lane along a section of the Calico Trail, as indicated by an information board to the right of the car park entrance. A path then leads under the relief road constructed in 1978 to a footbridge over the river and across the old school field to a gate at the top onto Swallow House Lane.

2. Turn left and walk past houses to a junction where there are large gate posts at the start of the drive to Oaklands. Turn down Bank Vale Road to the right of these which eventually leads to a cluster of properties at the site of the former Bank Vale Paper Mill. Hayfield is rich in industrial archaeology as an abundant water supply and high rainfall made it the perfect location for establishing a variety of mills. What began long ago as cottage crafts of spinning and weaving wools from locally reared sheep, progressed to factory mills and the mass production of textiles, cotton, calico, paper manufacture and wood-turning. Grotto Mill in the village was a bump mill, bump being flax or cotton waste that was spun to make a yarn known as candlewick. This was used for the wicks of candles or oil lamps as well as woven to make candlewick bedspreads.

3. Just before Bank Vale House with its beautifully glazed windows, take a footpath on the right signposted Little Hayfield ½-mile. As you follow the path look across to Clough Mill which is now converted into apartments.

Character cottages in Hayfield

Character cottages in Hayfield - Credit: Archant

4. On reaching a lane, bear right a few yards to a stile and fingerpost and then cross a field and footbridge to Clough Lane. Turn right and walk up to the Lantern Pike pub which contains lots of Coronation Street memorabilia. It was here in 1960 that Tony Warren wrote some of the earliest episodes. The website has a wonderful introduction from the late Bill Tarmey who played Jack Duckworth.

5. From the pub follow the pavement to a terrace of houses and then, with extreme care, cross over Glossop Road to access a drive opposite by a NT sign for Park Hall Woods. Follow this up through the trees, a haven for insects and birds including the Pied Flycatcher.

6. Before the final approach to Park Hall Manor, which was built in 1811 for Capt. John White who was a sporting celebrity, turn right and go through a gate to access moorland.

7. Follow a path behind the sign for Middle Moor on a narrow but well walked path that ascends through heather which in late August will be a sea of purple interspersed with patches of bilberry and bracken. Keep glancing behind you to far reaching views across the valley.

8. On reaching a wall and wider path turn left and head toward the white painted shooting cabin. These grouse moors are carefully managed to raise and protect red grouse for the shooting season which begins on 12th August – the Glorious Twelfth. Just before the shooting cabin, turn right and walk over the flank of White Brow to follow a wooden sign for a bridleway. On a clear day you should be able to see Kinder Edge with the famous Kinder Downfall. This is the Peak District’s highest natural waterfall. On a windy day it can actually appear to blow back up again! Follow the bridlepath steeply downhill to a boundary wall around Kinder Reservoir. Opened in 1908, it was constructed to provide water for Stockport but it also acts as a flood defence for Hayfield.

9. Turn right and follow a steep cobbled path with a high wall on your left leading down to the entrance drive to water board buildings. Cross the road to a path passing over the infant River Kinder and then follow this downstream as far as Booth Sheepwash.

10. Return to the road and walk down to Bowden Bridge car park where on a rock face at the rear is a plaque to commemorate the Mass Trespass. The procession onto Kinder Scout started here on 24th April 1932.

11. The rivers Kinder and Sett unite at Bowden Bridge to become the River Sett. From the car park head along Kinder Road leading back to Hayfield. A lovely alternative to following the road all the way is to head down a footpath on the left through an impressive opening between high stone pillars. This descends to a footbridge where you can cross over the river to walk down a former track-bed from the railway used in the construction of the reservoir. Snake Path is an old footpath which then re-crosses the river a little further downstream as a return back up to Kinder Road.

12. Continue walking into Hayfield and notice the white-painted building which was Old Hayfield Grammar School built in 1719. Also look out for a blue plaque for Arthur Lowe 1915-1982 (Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army) who was born here, after which is the very popular Rosie’s Tea & Coffee Room. Kinder Road meets up with Market Street and Church Street near the road bridge known locally as The Woolpack. This is at the heart of the oldest part of Hayfield with characterful properties divided by ginnels and alleyways laid with stone setts and cobbles. There are numerous traditional Victorian shop-fronts, which is why Hayfield was chosen as an ideal location for ‘The Village’.

13. The Royal Hotel has a chequered history. It was reputedly built as a parsonage but the deeds were not drawn up correctly and upon the death of the vicar in 1764 it was sold and became an inn. Forty years later and it reverted back to being a parsonage. However, in 1863 the freehold owner disagreed with the choice of incoming vicar and it became a hostelry yet again! To return to the car park, either follow a path beside the church to the main road and cross by the traffic lights or be guided by a fingerpost on Mill Street near the Packhorse Inn for the Calico Trail.