Mable returns to old pastures on Stanage Edge via Hathersage
Time taken: 3.5 hours
This is a Peak District walk I have wanted to do for some time after seeing the millstone grit escarpment, at Stanage Edge, in a Pride and Prejudice film. I cannot say I have ever seen Mr Darcy’s “Pemberley” from the top, but when previously a Sheffield resident I have, with Mable, quite often scared myself silly when looking over the Edge at the climbers who congregate to climb its craggy face.
As ex- city residents we used to look out and over to Hathersage and admire the expanse that was the beginning of the Peak District. Little did we realise that it would become our home shortly afterwards and we would both be able to enjoy the glories of the whole of the Peak District National Park from our doorstep.
This walk, which we took, recently, on a lovely sunny early summer day, started in Hathersage, which allowed us to make the most of the clear stunning views that the whole walk had to offer. Walking up the main street and taking a left passed the Scotsman’s Pack pub on School Lane and then off up The Dale, we strolled uphill heading out from Hathersage via road – more “pawdicure” for Mable. The road was quiet, although with blind corners it is worth taking care as traffic does come quite quickly on top of you.
Once away from village housing you have the freedom and glory of the National Park ahead of you and to each side – Standage lies ahead, to the left there are fells and farm land and to the right Hathersage Moor and Higger Tor. You really feel you are in God’s own country and from here you follow the tracks ahead which lead to Toothill Farm where you again pick up a road – generally quiet – which leads up to the great Stanage Edge, ahead.
Stanage Edge is a playground for climbers wanting to learn and hone their skills and the nearby car park at Hook’s Car is often busy with its arriving walkers and climbers. On our day, Mable attracted her usual attention as being slow, half bald, and of a nosey disposition and friendly nature, she always manages to appeal to many passers by – they are her life’s blood, she loves the fuss! It allowed us a brief respite before continuing closer towards and then up on top of the Edge where we spent time watching the climbers from our elevated vantage point.
From the top you can fully admire the views down over the Hope Valley, as well as those of the Hallam Moors, to the rear. Atop the Edge is truly awe inspiring and well worth its place as a Jane Austin film image. It should also be remembered that nearby North Lees Estate, as you enter the Peak District from South Yorkshire, is believed to have been a source of inspiration for Bronte’s Jane Eyre, so this majestic area is core to some quality English literature.
Walking for nearly a mile along the top, with Mable now back on her lead, you are struck by the contrast in scenery to the left and right - to the right the Sheffield moors that lead to the reservoirs above the city, at Redmires. The land is barren and sparse, rocky with tussocks of grass. It is boggy and totally alien to that which lies below and to the left of the Edge - the Peak District and its more lush grasslands, woods and farmland. The contrast is magical and you need to take care of your footsteps so as not to overturn whilst contemplating the views.
In descending Stanage Edge and and following gthe tracks down to Upper Hurst Farm, we were led through wooded spots and sheep fields, before arriving back in Hathersage via Nether Hurst, where on that day I was ready to partake of a hot coffee (and large bowl of water, for Mable) at a lovely cafe in the village, of which there are a few!!
Pondering the walk, which had, in fairness challenged my old girl, I remembered some years back visiting Redmires and Stanage Edge when Mable was less than a year pld. She learnt to swim at Redmires and first enjoyed the sticks and stones game that she still enjoys today, learnt when walking up to Stanage Pole. To be able to take her back to her old stomping ground and reintroduce her to it, using the Derbyshire approach, gave me great pleasure but also brought home how aged, matured and steady she is now after eight years. That aside, she managed the walk well and enjoyed it for its people, its smells and the sheer joy of being out and about in our beloved Peak District, as did I.