The Upper Derwent Valley

We started our walk at the Cutthroat Bridge car park on the A57. I have walked and cycled around the woodland-fringed parts of the Derwent and Ladybower reservoirs many times so I decided a different approach was necessary. 

I have never been up to the Millstone grit escarpment that lies on Derwent Edge and when you get up to the junction and the moors that lie above, it feels altogether different in contrast to the valley, much of which is clothed in woodland and braken.

The steep-sided valley edge gives way to miles of bare and largely featureless moorland apart from the occasionally weirdly shaped rocky outcrops that the locals have given names to. At regular intervals you are faced with extravagantly shaped gritstone that has been weathered over many years to produce extraordinary formations. 

Their names reflect what some would say resemble their shape and outline - The Wheel Stones, Salt Cellar, Hurkling Stones and Cakes of Bread. Some have less prosaic names (but are no less striking) including Dovestone Tor and Back Tor (the name of the first Mamnick shirt!). 

The views from the top are certainly worth the effort of scrambling up there, taking in Kinder Scout, Bleaklow and Win Hill to the west as well as down to the reservoirs. It's a fantastic view this time of year. 

We headed east down the valley side, the path turns into a track that leads to Foulstone Farm and onto The Strines. We stopped for a half of pale-ale and a pork-pie in the Strines Inn before taking the footpath off Mortimer Road, cutting through another farm. By this time the sun was setting, silhouetting Win Hill and the wooden pylons. A nice walk that takes 3/4 hours depending on how long you stay in the pub! 


All words and photos by Thom Barnett.


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