Hope Valley in Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park derives its name from the village of Hope. The area was mentioned in the Doomsday Book in 926ad recording that a local battle was won by King Athelstan, and it was also mentioned that Hope village had a church and a priest, quite a rare occurrence at that time in Derbyshire. The nearby Win Hill Pike and Lose Hill are said to be named so after a battle with King Edwin of Northumbria and King Cuicholm of Wessex in 626ad. The ancient trading route The Portway is nearby, and the river Noe snakes through the valley between Lose Hill and Win Hill Pike making for a gorgeous countryside scene.
Being one of my longtime favorite places in the Peak District, Hope Valley is the start of a lovely and varied circular walk, it takes in hills, heather, Ladybower reservoir and a couple of refreshment stops along the route. I personally like to begin the walk from Hope Train Station, great for parking, public transport and close to campsites and accommodation.
Our circular walk takes us over the train bridge then a little stroll across the fields, I find this part of the journey especially nice during the spring months and early summer, because I love to watch the young lambs playing (If taking a dog along, a short lead through this area is important.) At the gate take a right onto the little one track lane towards Aston. Picturesque in itself this little lane has only a couple of farms and a handful of cottages along it, there’s an old stone horse drinking trough to the left where the public footpath begins, this is where the route heads up towards Win Hill Pike.
The ascent uphill is a very gradual one and the views increase as the path climbs upwards and onwards until the whole of the Hope Valley is below and the river Noe can be seen snaking its way through the valley. One feature of the valley you can’t miss is the Hope Cement works which dominates the view in the valley, Lose Hill and Mam Tor can be seen once half way up the track. If you look carefully you may also get a glimpse of Peveril Castle, Mam Tor and the Winnats Pass in Castleton.
Over the stone stile and upward some more through the heather and gorse bushes we go and more scenery comes into view now looking toward Aston and Bamford below us with the river Derwent snaking along the landscape and the Ladybower reservoir in sight very soon. I always find this a peaceful spot for a coffee and time to take in the views while sitting amongst the heather.
Break over and upwards again heading towards the pine trees, by now Bamford edge should be in sight across the valley, and around the corner is a lovely view of Ladybower reservoir that was built between the years 1935 and 1943 and took another 2 years to fill, it has two totally enclosed bellmouth overflows that are locally known as the “plugholes.” When the Ladybower reservoir was constructed the villages of Derwent and Ashopton were abandoned and submerged. Ashopton Village stood near to the Snake Pass road and the Snake Pass Valley, I have written a separate blog about the Snake Pass called Wanders around Snake Pass.
The next step of the journey has the opportunity for a climb up to Win Hill Pike trig point and a chance to sample the views all around 360 degrees. I recommend that you don’t miss this chance, it’s like heaven to me taking in the sights from the top. I enjoy hiking up to Win Hill Pike in the snow and the experience is breathtaking, my blog of Win Hill in winter is called Win Hill Pike – A Snow Covered Pimple. With or without the hike up to the top, the next part of our circular takes the path down through the pine trees to Ladybower reservoir, a beautiful track although a rather steep descent, the alternative path to the left hand side through the trees is easier going but adds another half mile to the walk.
Once at Ladybower reservoir the sights continue to inspire, packed with interesting history if you take a closer look. I can’t think of a more tranquil place to wander and take time to relax before heading over the dam and walking down hill to the right and if you feel like a refreshing drink or a lunch, the Yorkshire Bridge pub around the corner is a beautiful place to stop before continuing downhill on the Ashopton Rd. Once into the village of Bamford my recommended stop is The Anglers Rest, a community owned pub, Café and Post Office. I love this place for great food, good ale and wonderful fresh roasted coffee, not forgetting the helpful friendly staff!
Once refreshed again it’s time to stroll further into Bamford, there’s a train station close to the bottom of the road which is an easy option to return you to Hope Station and adds a little interest to the last leg, or at this point take the little lane to the right, continue until you reach the main road and follow it back toward Hope village. Along the main road The Rising Sun is another lovely pub with lots of space at the rear, followed by the Travelers Rest pub, a good stop off if you have youngsters because of their large play area. The main road will continue to take you towards Hope village but as a personal preference I like to take a short cut by turning right onto Parsons Lane past the Hardhurst Farm Campsite, (a highly recommended camping and touring caravan site, which is still a working farm plus as a bonus at weekends there’s a scrumptious family run café serving hearty full English breakfasts and bacon butties, “the Parlour café, “and yes as the name suggests it used to be the milking parlour! All are welcome, camping or not so it’s a nice spot to begin your day!) If you’re taking my short cut back to the train station, take a left at the Carbolite factory site, it’s a public footpath that runs alongside the factory and returns back to the Train station again.
Lots of fresh air, beautiful sights and good stops along the way. Whichever choices you might decide to make along the route, I hope in some way I’ve inspired you by sharing one of my regular circulars from Hope valley while pointing out some of the most scenic and treasured spots along the way.