Navigation Content Activities in the Peak District

Panniers Pool and Three Shires Head

Three Shires Head is not easily accessible, and is best approached on foot from a variety of locations beside either the A53 or A54. Whichever route you choose, it will be a walk of more than a mile over very rough and often boggy terrain. Three Shires Head is situated at grid reference 010686 on the border of Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire.

Three Shire Heads
(the O.S. name) is also a point where four packhorse routes meet. There is a fabulous high-arched stone packhorse bridge beside which is Panniers Pool where the little ponies with their heavy panniers or saddlebags would have been allowed to drink.

Back in the 19th century, Three Shire Heads was a place where lawbreakers or coiners evaded capture by crossing into a neighbouring county as years ago it was only possible for police to act within their own county limits. The local settlement of Flash takes its name from the trading in counterfeit money by these coiners, the word flash being associated as dishonest or not of genuine quality i.e. flash men (thieves), flash money (counterfeit currency) or flashy (not as good as it looks.)

This was also said to be the setting for illegal prize fights and cock fighting as the perpetrators of such crimes could escape and soon disappear in this wild and rocky scenery. It is reputed that a court was held on this spot in the 14th century by order of the Black Prince, Lord of the nearby Forest of Macclesfield, relating to tenants of the counties of Derby and Stafford who were accused of trespass into the forest.