Back from another cheeky Jolly jaunt! This time we fancied another peek at the Peak District.
Crowden, a village lying in the Longdendale Valley of the High Peak area of Derbyshire, north-east of Glossop, was our destination. It’s Derbyshire’s most northerly village and a popular first stop for those walking the 267-mile Pennine Way which begins approx. 16 miles away in Edale and stretches allllllll the way up to Kirk Yetholm, just over the Scottish Border. Anyway, enough about that, I’ve sprung a blister just thinking about it.
There are 6 reservoirs within the Longdendale Valley (Woodhead, Torside, Rhodeswood, Valehouse, Bottoms and Arnfield) known collectively as the ‘Longdendale Chain’ on the River Etherow. There was apparently once a seventh reservoir at nearby Hollingworth but that one was abandoned and became what is today Swallows Wood Nature Reserve.
We stayed for the first time at Crowden Camping and Caravanning Club Site. A site mostly for walkers/cyclists or anyone wanting to get away from it all as it is in quite a remote location compared to many other sites. There are plenty of places to visit that are a drive away, fine if you have transport but we didn’t see anything in the way of public transport in the immediate area.
It’s a lovely little site though, with a recently refurbished toilet block and the staff provide a great food service for weary walkers, etc. in the form of pizzas/burgers in the evening, and breakfasts. We didn’t use this service as we had brought our own food for the first evening and ate while out and about the following day, but it appeared to be very popular with many campers. There was even delivery to your pitch – nice touch!
Crowden is situated on high moorland and was originally created to re-locate people displaced by the necessity to dam and flood the lower part of the valley when the reservoirs were created between 1848-1884. It was once served by a railway station on the Woodhead Line which linked the cities of Manchester and Sheffield and ran through the valley via the Woodhead Tunnel. The station was closed in 1957 and the line used for the last time in 1981.
Part of the old railway line has since been transformed into the 7-mile ‘Longdendale Trail’ (part of NCN62) running from nearby Hadfield to the Woodhead Tunnel. You can walk, cycle or ride ya horse along it.
We joined the trail at Crowden, rode the section to Woodhead tunnel and back before then following the rest of the trail into Hadfield, where we had a wander around the town and a bite to eat, before heading back home along the trail.
The trail is relatively flat, just a gradual incline heading Woodhead way from Hadfield but this isn’t particularly noticeable. It’s a hard gravel surface so is easy to ride but apparently it can be difficult if very wet. Because the trail is exposed, it provides wonderfully uninterrupted scenic views of the surrounding landscape and reservoirs, with plenty of viewing places to sit awhile and just take it all in. We definitely saw this place at it’s best as the weather couldn’t have been better – cloudless skies and not so much as a breeze.
On arrival at Hadfield we just had a mooch around. The town, particularly the main street, was used as the filming location for ‘The League of Gentlemen’. We just happened upon the Pauline’s Job Centre.
After an afternoon of cycling and walking we stopped to enjoy a couple of real ales and a meal in the beer garden at The Peels Arms Hotel, before heading back along the trail to site.
Another great weekend has flown by. Fab weather, hope it continues!
Suzie & Bri