Dark Hills and Green Dales – An Edale walk

Dark Hills and Green Dales – An Edale walk 1

A winter’s walk in the peaks to clear the head and lighten the soul. There’s nothing quite so simple, yet so pleasing for me as taking a breathtaking walk in the hills. All of the contrasting colour and texture draws my eye, the bracken is now a burnt umber and is receding for winter, even the grassy pastures that were once a bright vibrant playing field green is now a pale faded sepia tone. The Derbyshire stone walls remain ever the same stone grey with spots of lichen, a constant in this ever changing environment. The tree line is now a collage of colour, burnt orange, muted mustard and with leaves almost fallen, soon to be just a multitude of browns. Overhead is a gorgeous azure blue sky with billowing clouds, I always call this, a “Simpsons” sky!


I couldn’t wait to walk those hilly contours although it was getting a little late in the day for a hill walk with winter light fading earlier than before. We kept the walk simple for ease of return into the Edale valley, and made the best of what was left of the day’s light. When out walking with the family it’s good to keep it fun and safe. Colborne moor is a stunning location for it views and for it variation of destinations that can be accessed once you arrive at the top of the ridge. However I’m aware that Moorland is not a place to be wandering with kids in tow after dark in the winter, also on my mind, stepping into a bog is also not in my to do list! Been there done it, got the T shirt!



The Edale Valley is a stunning area to visit and there’s so many beautiful walks to take, there are variety of hikes, some harder than others, but wherever I look, all around is pure, gorgeous scenery and always without a doubt worth the effort.

Sometimes I take the train to Edale with the family and begin a full day’s walk while other times walking over Castleton ridge from the village of Hope and into the Edale Valley, which is a great walk in itself, even better if you make a circular walk starting at Hope train station.


In past years we’ve taken the circular from Hope train station and over the tops into Edale when our youngest son was just 4 weeks old in a baby sling, an easy going route. As a family we’ve walked all over these hills through the generations, the eldest two sons, now grown up, used to walk these well-trodden trails with us when they were just young uns, now they visit the Derbyshire peaks on occasion with their girlfriends! The eldest not so much, since he lives and works in Malaysia now, trekking through the rainforest to set up camera traps for environmental and ecology studies, most recently a protected species study for clouded leopards. He will be back home to visit for a short while over Christmas and will be back into the Derbyshire hills just to see the views and to visit the famous little gem of a village, Castleton to take in the atmosphere and Christmas lights at that time of year.

On this visit we arrived in the Peak District by car and a little late in the day, so we parked at Barber Booth car park, booted up and headed up toward Dale Head Bunkhouse, a good place to make base camp if you want to take in the area as a group. The bunkhouse is run by the National Trust and sleeps 20 people in comfort and even has a cozy wood burner in the living room.


Once on route following the Edale railway line along the lane to Dale Head Bunkhouse it was just short trek up the side of the ridge to Colborne moor.


This is where the views start, I believe it’s called Lords seat, to one side is the view of Lose Hill to Mam Tor, Castleton Ridge and closer by Mam Nick. To the other side if you have more time on your side is an amazing route to Jacobs ladder and beyond to the woolpacks and Kinder Plateau. Laid out before us at this point is the view of the whole Edale Valley and the railway line, which disappears underneath the hillside below us into a tunnel.


Walking along the ridge is breath taking, I love it here so much, the views are so pleasurable and the quiet simplicity of this place has to be sampled to be understood. It’s just a simple pleasure in life to stand in nature and take in all it has to offer, it’s sights its sounds and the fresh air up there on the hill, in any season, any weather.


Walking back down to Barber Booth is just another snip of a walk, taking the bridle road that winds along the side of Mam Nick. If there’s more time available the bridle way also has a sign posted route to Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Reaching the bottom of the track there’s a lovely little stone barn, just before reaching Dale Head Bunkhouse again.

Light began to fade fast but left a sweet little sunset reflected on the clouds, and a little light mist rose from the valley’s belly as the weather began to change. I believe we returned to the car park just in time to see our way back to the car. A refreshing peak district winter walk, more special family memories and a fun time for Max the dog too. This is my kind of Heaven.


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  1. Janine Moore says:

    A walk to clear the head and lighten the soul indeed, this walk certainly blows away the cobwebs and the views once you arrive on top of the moors are well worth the effort but not so warm as Marrakech I’m pretty sure, Tours from Marrakech. But I hope you enjoyed the blog non the less. 🙂

  2. Tours from Marrakech says:

    A winter’s walk in the peaks to clear the head and lighten the soul.

  3. Janine Moore says:

    Thank you Ross-Barry, I really do enjoy walking this area, it is a pleasure to share the experience. Hopefully I will be able to steer clear of the worst of the weather, although I’m terrible for going out of my way to find it and get myself into trouble. 🙂

  4. Ross-Barry Finlayson says:

    Janine, another brilliant post. You express you feelings beautifully and the accompanying images speak for themselves.
    I hope the expected weather doesn’t affect you too much.

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