LOWLIGHTS: Exposed position on top of Tors.
APPROACH: Leave Buxton on the A5004 to Whaley Bridge, at the summit of Longhill turn left onto Goyt’s Lane following the sign to the Goyt Valley. Follow the single road down into the valley and across the dam. Turn left at the t-junction following alongside of Errwood Reservoir, cross a road bridge and parking is the large car park on the right.
LENGTH: 5 miles.
DURATION: 2.5 hours.
(Based on approx average walking speed 2m/hr)
OS MAP: The Peak District Explorer Map OL24.
The walk starts from the footpath at the south end of Errwood car park, walk up hill between a small plantation of pine trees and a low dry stonewall away from Errwood Reservoir. Pass through the remaining stone pillars of an old gateway and continue to ascend the grassy hill on a well-established footpath until a swing gate on the brow of the ridge is reached. This high point provides a great view down into Shooters Clough; remember to look back as there is a stunning view into the valley just left behind.
Do not pass through the swing gate instead follow the main footpath to the left that has a high dry stonewall to the right of it. Follow the path now ascending the ridge between Stakeside and Shooter’s Clough until almost at the summit and there is a wooden swing gate in the wall on the right. Pass through the gate following the footpath sign to Shining Tor.
The path dips steeply and then rises again over peat moorland to gain the summit of Shining Tor where there is a trig point at 559 metres above sea level. This is the highest point in Cheshire. There is a convenient sheltered bench located here overlooking a panoramic view, taking in the Kinder Plateau, Macclesfield Forest, Lamaload Reservoir, round to the sharp peak of Shuttlingsloe and over the Cheshire Plains to the Manchester skyline. It is also possible to see the giant radio telescope of Jodrell Bank in the distance though only if it is pointing in the right direction.
From this point continue to follow the footpath that has now become laid slabs along the ridge of The Tors passing over Cats Tor until the footpath meets The Street, the lane that ascends out of Goyt’s Valley. This highpoint is Pym Chair and there is another good viewpoint.
Cross the road and turn right to start the descent on the footpath running alongside The Street until a lay-by car park is reached. Here cross the lane and go through the swing gate following the footpath sign to Errwood. Remain on the lower footpath, which descends gradually across Foxlow Edge just high of the tree line. The Spanish Shrine is located here just below the path on the right and is well worth investigating.
Continue along the footpath beneath Foxlow Edge. In the high summer months it is possible to feast on the many bilberry bushes. The footpath descends until a wooden bench is reached perched above a brook. Descend the steps halfway to the brook and turn left crossing a wooden meshed footbridge, following the sign for Errwood. Ascend up steep wooden steps between rhododendron bushes and the footpath emerges at the front of the stunning ruins of Errwood Hall.
Continue on the footpath passing in front of the Hall until there is some steep stone steps on the left descend these and turn left to go down what was formerly the coach way to Errwood Hall. Here a stream runs down on the right until the low point of the footpath when the stream disappears into a tunnel under the path. The path now ascends between a vast jungle of rhododendrons and azaleas; the former occupiers of Errwood Hall reputedly planted some 40,000.
At the top of the gentle rise is a metal vehicle barrier and from here it is possible to look down onto Errwood Reservoir again and it is a short descent to the car park below.
Info on Errwood Hall:
OS Grid Ref: SK 008747
Built by Mr. Samuel Grimshawe, who was head of a prosperous Manchurian family, in the 1830’s and lived in by the family until the early 1930’s when the last remaining Grimshawe spinster sister died. At its height the Grimshawe Estate consisted of a hamlet at Goyt's Bridge, a coalmine, a school, several farms, the Cat and Fiddle Inn and over 2,000 acres of farmland.
The Peak District Hall briefly became a youth hostel in the early 1930’s before being partially demolished in 1934 in order to use the stone from the Hall to construct a water treatment plant at the north of Fernilee Reservoir.
Info on the Spanish Shrine
This beautiful small shrine was built in 1889 by the Grimshawe family as a memorial to Miss Dolores de Ybarguen, a member of the Spanish Aristocracy who met the Grimshawe family whilst travelling in Europe and returned with them to Errwood Hall where she became both governess to the Grimshawe children and teacher at the estate school. Unfortunately she had not been with the family long when she died unexpectedly on a visit to Lourdes. Inside the Shrine there is a memorial tablet dedicated to her which reads in Spanish “No-one prays in vain to St. Joseph”.
The Shrine is still in use and inside is filled with more recent remembrance tokens and candles so please ensure this sacred place is treated with respect.