The Peak District by Ramble Guides
Ramble designs outdoor travel guides to the UK's National Parks and wild spaces, specifically curated for the modern day explorer. Founder Athena Mellor shares a short guide to The Peak District.
Words & photography: Courtesy of Ramble Guides
An introduction to Ramble Guides
I’m Athena, founder of Ramble Guides. I’m a 24-year old Yorkshire girl currently living in Manchester, England, on the edge of the Peak District. Ramble Guides was launched in April of this year; a website dedicated to outdoor travel guides to the UK’s National Parks and wild spaces, designed for the modern explorer. The ethos behind Ramble is a simple design with a carefully curated list of locations for each outdoor guide, providing the essential information required to get outside but leaving the rest open to the reader, to explore and discover new places for themselves.
Ramble was an idea I’d had brewing in my mind for a while, really since I returned to the UK after travelling. I spent a year constantly on the move in the hills of New Zealand, the desserts of Utah, along the coast of California and in the rich forests of the Pacific Northwest.
It was a time when nature astounded me. I camped beside the ocean and was woken by sun streaming through tent canvas and the sound of waves in the distance. I hiked hills that overlooked lakes and forests and felt overwhelmed by the beauty and wildness of the world.
When I returned to the UK, I was left with a yearning in my heart to be back out exploring. So at every opportunity, I loaded my car with boots, tent and dog and discovered somewhere new; places only two hours from my own front door that for some reason I’d never visited before. In doing so, I discovered a gap in the market for an outdoor travel guide designed for younger people; for the city-dweller who wants a weekend away in the countryside - a scenic campground, cosy, country pub, good walk and even better views. So I decided to start writing one myself, and Ramble came to life.
Living in Manchester means that in less than 45 minutes you can be in the Peak District; rambling through purple heather moorland, standing at the edge of a gritstone Peak, dipping your toes in wild streams. It is something I don’t think enough people in the city take advantage of - or maybe they just don’t know where to go or what to do.
The Ramble Peak District guide is designed with that in mind; encouraging people to get out of the city for a day, facilitating the discovery of nature, guiding you to the wild spaces that leave you breathless.
The Peak District
A landscape consisting of moors, dales, peaks and pikes; vast open valleys brimming with vibrant purple heather, an abundance of sheep and the iconic dry-stone walls unique to the area. The Peak District is situated in Northwest England, suspended between Manchester and Sheffield and at the southern end of the Pennines. It is Britain’s first National Park, created in 1951, and the second most visited in the country.
The Peak District is the starting point of the famous walking trail, The Pennine Way, which begins in Edale before heading onto the grand Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peaks.
As such, the park is incredibly popular with walkers who come to the area for the diversity of terrain; from the green rolling hills in the southern ‘White Peak’ area, to the craggy, gritstone rocks and rough, moorland terrain of the more wild ‘Dark Peak’ in the north.
The Peak District is stunning at all times of year; when covered in a blanket of white in winter, under the rich blue tones of the sky in the summer, even on a cloudy day - which is all too common in this area - the diversity of colours and terrain make the landscape both unique and beautiful.
Edale - Village
Edale; a small village in the heart of the Peaks that is so easy to fall in love with.
The village consists of a couple of lovely, traditional pubs; the Moorland Centre, where you can find maps and information on walks; Cooper’s Campsite with an accompanying no-frills cafe serving Full English breakfasts, beans on toast and other hearty post-walk lunches; the National Trust-run Penny Pot Cafe with delicious cakes and coffee; and a number of B&Bs and guesthouses for avid walkers or city-dwellers looking for an escape in the country.
However, the best thing about Edale is its proximity to the hills; an excellent starting place for some of the Peak District’s best hikes, like Kinder Scout and Mam Tor. After your walk, we’d recommend stopping at the Rambler Inn, a lovely country pub serving traditional lunches with an open fire to cosy-up beside in the winter and a large beer-garden out front - perfect for spending those long summer days in the heart of the Peaks.
Getting there: There is a train station that links directly to Manchester or Sheffield, running once every two hours. There is also plenty of paid parking if you are using Edale as a base for walks. Max £6 for 24 hours.
Mam Tor - Viewpoint
With a name meaning “Mother Hill”, Mam Tor is one of the most iconic and easily accessible viewpoints in the Peak District. Avid photographers will head up to the summit for sunrise in the hope of seeing a rare and unpredictable inversion; when the clouds cover the base of the valley in a blanket of fluffy white, offering stunning views as the mist rises and the vast, green valley becomes visible in daylight. But views from Mam Tor are remarkable at all times of day; Kinder Scout and the Vale of Edale sit grandly in the north, while the Hope Valley and the village of Castleton can be seen in the east. Mam Tor is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or relax in the middle of a long walk.
Getting there: Park at the Mam Tor National Trust carpark for a short but steep walk to the summit. Park in or get the train to the village of Edale for a longer, more strenuous walk. Combine a visit to Mam Tor with a walk along Rushup Edge, Hollins Cross or Back Tor. It is also possible to reach Mam Tor from the village of Castleton.
Lady Clough Forest - Forest Walk
Though the majority of the Peak District consists of moors and farmland, Lady Clough makes for a beautifully rich woodland walk. Consisting of predominantly coniferous trees, with the River Ashop running through the middle of the forest. Venture a little beyond the trail and you’ll arrive at the stunning open moorland of Ashop Moor. Lady Clough is arguably the most varied and accessible woodland walk in the Dark Peak.
Getting there: Park at the Hope Woodland carpark along Snake Road.
Hike: Follow the blue signposts for an easy 2-mile walk, or continue onto Ashop Moor for a longer, more adventurous hike.
Gear: We would recommend walking boots due to the rough, woodland terrain and muddy patches after rainfall.
Food & Drink: Check out the Snake Pass Inn for a no frills pub lunch and pint after the walk, or stop at Duke’s in Glossop if heading back towards Manchester.
Bamford Edge - Hike
Bamford Edge is a beautiful walk along a gritstone edge above the village of Bamford, looking down onto Ladybower Reservoir and across to Win Hill on the other side of the valley. It is popular with climbers and walkers alike, and can be linked with a walk to Stanage Edge.
Getting there: Park on Snake Road by the viaduct or at Heatherdene carpark where the walk begins by following the path through the woods. You can also start the walk from the village of Bamford where there is a train station. There are a couple of car parking spaces on New Road by a gate and stile that leads directly onto the Edge.
Hike: If parking by Ladybower reservoir, walk to Heatherdene carpark and upwards through the forest to reach the edge. If parking in Bamford, walk up the main village road then right onto The Clough. Just after the junction with New Road there is a gate and stile on the left that lead onto the Edge.
Gear: Trainers or boots would be suitable for this walk.
Food & Drink: Check out the Yorkshire Bridge Inn or the Lady Bower Inn for a pub lunch and drink on your return.
Chrome & Parkhouse Hills - Hike
In the southern White Peak - not far from the town of Buxton - there are two famous hills protruding out of the earth, like hump-back whales coming up for air. A striking example of the erosion and evolution of the earth, Chrome and Parkhouse Hills can be hiked on a 5-mile ridge walk from the village of Earl Sterndale.
Getting there: Park in the small village of Earl Sterndale, just off the A515 heading south from Buxton.
Hike: The hike begins from The Quiet Woman pub in Earl Sterndale and is 5 miles. Use OS map OL24 or see instructions here. Note there is a bit of a scramble if climbing Parkhouse Hill from west to east!