A Walk up Lantern Pike

Distance  4 ¼ miles.
There are many ways you can tackle Lantern Pike but this is probably one of the better ways for when the days are shorter and colder.  It is only just over four miles, but with the climb up the hill, it is still good exercise.

/images/hayfield-from-lantern.jpgStarting in Hayfield at the car park, situated right next to the Sett Valley Trail, head westwards along the trail and away from the village. The tree-lined path is a haven for small birds; as well as the more common finches and tits, you may even spot siskins in winter, if you are lucky.

Below you on your right is Birch Vale reservoir and as you near the far end you will see a path leading off the trail towards it.  It crosses the river via a footbridge and you can pause here a while to see what birds are on the water; you will, of course, almost certainly see mallards, but possibly goosanders and great crested grebes at the right time of year, as they enjoy these deep clear waters in the winter months.

This route cuts out the corner and therefore avoids the road, although it makes for a steeper climb up the grassy hillside on the other side.  It emerges on the little lane by some cottages where you bear right briefly, before turning left onto the Pennine Bridleway.

The lane narrows into a sandy, stony path, and then, as you reach the base of Lantern Pike you will find another path leading steeply upwards to the ridge of the hill – once there, it is easy going to reach the trig point on the summit.

/images/kinder-from-lantern.jpgWhen you reach it, you will be glad you have made the effort as the views are wonderful and far-reaching; Hayfield nestles far below in a green valley and opposite, there is a patchwork of fields petering out (or should that be peat-ering?) to heather moorland on the lower slopes of Kinder Scout – with the dark bulk of Kinder itself looming above. Whatever time of year you are here, on a partly-clouded day you will be captivated by the ever-changing light on this dramatic scene.

/images/challenge.jpgAfter you have had your fill, descend to the path that skirts the bottom of Lantern Pike; follow it through the fields – usually grazed by Highland cattle (don’t be put off by their shagginess and big horns, their gentle temperament belies their looks) –  towards Blackshaw Farm, where 5 paths meet.

Its easy to get confused here, but our route takes a right hand path following a wall and running roughly parallel to the one you have come down (you could, of course, just cut across the moorland if you are so inclined!).  After a while, you will reach a stile on your left, which begins the descent towards Little Hayfield.  It is a lovely path, leading down through trees and over stiles towards a mill beside the river on the edge of Little Hayfield. A footbridge takes you over the river to end on a lane by the side of the large mill, now converted into very exclusive-looking apartments.  If you are tempted, at this point, you could easily walk up to the main road in Little Hayfield where The Lantern Pike Inn serves cask ales and good food daily. It is open all day at the weekends, but lunchtimes and evenings on other days.

images/sett-res.jpgShould you decide to wait until you have finished the walk, you are on the home straight, with the knowledge that there are plenty of inns to choose from in Hayfield itself. If you opt to do this, continue to the right, high above the River Sett on various paths and minor lanes which take you by pretty houses with gardens leading down to the water.  The last lane emerges onto a back road of Hayfield where, just on the right before the main road, you will find a path leading back to the car park.

Dump your back-packs and head across the road into the heart of the village – here you will find many options for food and drink; The Bulls Head, The George, The Royal Hotel, The Pack Horse and Kinder Lodge are ones that spring to mind.

Simon Corble