Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of a human spirit.

Edward Abbey

This was, quite undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful hikes I had recently done. I started at 5.30am from Fulwood (west Sheffield), which is a mile or two east of the Peak District National Park. The weather was absolutely perfect – cloudless in the morning and sunny for the entire day with only an occasional cloud here and there until 6.00pm when I finished. It wasn’t too hot, though, and when I got higher up into the hills there was a pleasant breeze.

A mere 5 minute walk south from Fulwood takes you to Porter Brook and from here I headed west along the brook and through and on the edge of Whiteley Woods.

After just one mile, my route took me south towards the very small village of Ringinglow, up a very steep first ascent of the day.

The view from the first steep ascent of the day

Out of Ringinglow, the walker can walk south on Sheephill Road and is soon taken slightly uphill past Lady Canning’s National Park past the Peak District National Park boundary. Look below who watched me as I was walking by!

This dirt road is called Houndkirk Road and it’s where the wide spaces and hills immediately come into sight.

It didn’t take long, however, before the trail took me away from the road onto a very small path with vast amounts of fern surrounding me at first, disappearing gradually as the path takes the walker up – this is all directly south for a while.

Eventually (this is now after about 4 miles from the start), the path turns west and soon crosses Houndkirk Road (the first photo below is from the crossroads) and soon Carl Wark (370 m) comes into view (the second photo).

Another 5 minutes of walking took me down to the little valley just below Carl Wark.

I took a short 5-minute break on a little bridge in the valley before climbing the hill.

Immediately from the top, Higger Tor (424 m) can be seen and it’s a short walk to get there.

A view of Carl Wark from the ascent to Higger Tor

By now, the route leads north and it’s another 10 minute walk to Ringinglow Road with very pretty views along the way!

At Ringinglow Road, the route took me west again, just 1 minute on the road and then immediately off it towards Stanage edge, which is a long ridge of incredibly beautiful rock formations, quite popular with rock climbers. Before I got there, I went past a vast moorland, which the second photo is attempting to show.

Entering Stanage Edge

It is possible to walk all the way on the top as in the photo above, but my route took me for a little while onto smaller paths to admire the rocky formation from down below – good thing it did, too – it was specatacular! It was, however, quite easy to miss some of the very small and barely walked paths and I had to keep looking at my map quite a lot.

After that the path took back to the top of the Edge, following it for the next 2 miles – absolutely spectacular breath-taking views all the way!

Whilst walking the Edge, I was generally walking in the western direction, but eventually the rocks finish and the path took me north and down towards Manchester road – this just happens to be walking along the Yorkshire/Derbyshire border.

A short walk on the Manchester Road (less than 5 minutes) and one is again back in the fields past just a few farm houses. I took a break to take off my boots for a while and eat and drink at Ladybower Brook.

Now onwards to the west to Derwent Edge, another rocky formation. This is a steep ascent of over 600ft over 2 miles, with again (did I say it before already?) amazing views on the way.

At the top, of course, one is immediately rewarded with the views of the other side of the ridge (to the west). The body of water you see down below is Ladybower Reservoir.

Now we turn north, first passing the curious-looking Wheeling Stones.

White Tor is 5 or 10 more minutes’ walk, at 485 metres. The photo below shows a view from the peak.

View towards Ladybower Reservoir from White Tor

Now further north along Derwent Edge towards Dovestone Tor (504 m).

View south from the ascent to Dovestone Tor
From the peak of Dovestone Tor

I have now travelled for 14 miles since the morning. I have now decided to keep walk for a little while long to the nearby Back Tor at 538 m through the huge expanse of moorland around here. I would take a more proper break there.

From the peak of Back Tor

After my well-deserved break here, surrounded by the magnificent views of the moorland and the distant hills (forget Netflix, this is the best place to be!), I continued, this time towards north-east for another 2 miles, this time mostly on the flat.

Then, around the area called Greenfield Howden, the trail took me into the wild – a wet, boggy and grassy path to the north west towards the Howden Edge. This was a small path, sometimes barely discernible, and I had to keep to my trail using my map a lot – it was quite easy to lose one’s way.

It is two miles, flat, but a bit tough on the feet and clearly barely frequented by humans. However, upon reaching Howden Edge (where I turned right / north), one is rewarded by such extreme beauty that any hardship is soon forgotten.

Without hesitation I can say that this 1-mile stretch on this ridge must be among the top 10 most beautiful places I have so far seen in Britain. An absolute jaw-dropping experience.

After 1 miles, there is a short path to the right and then soon back to the north-west again. Now, the most difficult part of the walk took place – mostly flat, but very boggy, very soft ground with lots of treacherous swamp-like places here and there. It’s mostly flat and I decided not to take many pictures here as the views were not that exciting here. It was only after 3 miles, just before the path (and by “path” I mean something very muddy or grass-overgrown and extremely elusive) turns north towards A628 (Glossop and Hadfield about 10 miles to the west and Penistone about 8 miles to the east) that I took a photo.

It was now about 15 minutes down to reach and cross the motorway, now the traffic heard from the distance. Some pretty views on the way:

After crossing the motorway, both the difficult parts of the day and the very pretty ones were over. Now, I needed to make 8 miles on the flat towards the train station in Penistone. First, it’s about 15-20 minute walk to the village of Dunford Bridge from where a wide pedestrian and cyclist-friendly path (Transpennine Trail) leads east to where I would finish that day. Upon reaching Dunford Bridge, I had walked 26.5 miles with about 5.5 more to go.

What an incredibly beautiful day that was! Certainly one to truly cherish and reminisce about!

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