Kinder Scout: A Winters Walk
Kinder Scout loop
Fantastic circular walk taking in the start of the Pennine Way, the summit of Kinder Low and a traverse across the Kinder Scout plateau.
A walk to be enjoyed all year round, though in the winter months gaiters are recommended (particularly for the peat bogs on the Kinder plateau).
Distance: 10 miles (circular walk)
Start and Finish: Edale
Highest point: 633 metres
Map used: Harvey Maps, ‘Peak District Central’ Ultramap XT40
Cafe recommendation: The Penny Pot Cafe
The walk starts and finishes in the small Derbyshire village of Edale. There is good parking facilities and a cracking little cafe well placed near Edale train station (The Penny Pot Cafe - highly recommend their vegetable pastry rolls!).
From the centre of the village the walk begins at the official start point of the Pennine Way.
The path initially heads up a wooded clough and soon opens out into fields. Continue following the Pennine Way which at this stage has flat stones near enough all the way to ‘Upper Booth’ where there is a small farm/outbuildings and one particular property with a red letter box built into the wall.
You will at this stage join a small, single track road which crosses over ‘Crowden Brook’ and heads past ‘Lee Farm’.
Past Lee Farm carry on along the well defined path which eventually joins the stoney and steep climb up ‘Jacobs Ladder’. This is the biggest climb of the day and will have even the most seasoned of walkers out of breath. Depending on fitness, at a steady pace the ascent to Kinderlow (at 633 metres) takes around 25 minutes.
At this stage there is the option to cut the walk short and simply follow the edge of the Kinder plateau round.
To enjoy the full loop head north from Kinderlow to the waterfall of Kinder Downfall. On a clear day Manchester is visible to the West. The walk feels more wild at this stage and there is a marked temperature difference up here compared to the valley below. The terrain also becomes slightly more challenging with large rocks in parts to navigate - nothing that requires anything technical though.
Bear right at the waterfall to now head Southeast. This is my favourite section of the walk. Follow the stream which feeds the waterfall, keeping on the right hand side. There is a small path which at times disappears and then reappears. In winter conditions or poor visibility this section of the walk could be quite disorientating, so a map, compass and GPS/mobile navigation app are essentials at all times - as well as the skills to use them (and spare batteries).
Crossing the Kinder plateau you will enter an undulating world of peat bogs, streams and trenches. I saw one other walker on this section of the walk so you will certainly lose the crowds! If you're lucky you might see some of the wildlife that inhabits this upland environment, including grouse and mountain hares.
Follow the water course down to Crowden Head and continuing you will eventually see the rocky outcrops on the edge of the plateau and you will reach the head of Crowden Clough.
Now heading east the well defined path follows the edge of the plateau and you will enjoy views onto the valley below and across towards Mam Tor. There are a few routes from this point which you can choose to descend back into Edale. I took the path heading south over Grindslow Knoll and eventually rejoining the start of the Pennine Way where I set off from.