Hathersage Moor in the Peak District National Park is a peaceful and stunning location in any season, any weather. The area mainly consists of beautiful open moorland, bracken and dramatic stony outcrops with Burbage brook running through the grassland. For me a favourite spot is the Iron Age Hill Fort, Carl Wark. Carl Wark is a scheduled monument and has been described as “Unlike any other structure found in Northern England.”
Another favourite location close by is the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate and the Old Hunting Lodge, a great place to stop for a hot chocolate or a lovely steaming mug of coffee at the café and there’s a great little shop here too. Parking is available if you want to start your walk from here. Our walk to the Iron Age Hill Fort begins close to the ancient woodland of the Longshaw Estate, in the summer time during weekends and bank holidays this is a very popular spot and I can understand why. Burbage brook runs though the plantation and woodland, a beautiful relaxing spot to unwind on a hot day. Just a short distance across is a stone circle worth investigating. If that’s not enough of a pleasure there’s usually an ice cream van parked here on summer weekends too, you can’t beat a cool brook, beautiful countryside and ice cream! Another relaxing and satisfying walk from this spot takes me through the ancient woodland and on to Padley Gorge near Grindleford train station and Bole Hill Quarry which in time I will be writing about, so watch this space.
The walk to Carl Wark brings us along the brook to the right and over a little wooden bridge, easy walking and easy on the eye. This brings the path to a small piece of woodland, another wooden bridge and soon crossing over the road by the side of a brick bridge. Be careful when crossing here as the traffic can be tricky to judge on the bend and across the road you will see a boulder resembling a toad. Once over the road the path is obvious and marked with a stile next to the brook. Continue along the brook and Carl Wark Iron Age Hill Fort should soon be visible to you.
Cark Wark Iron Age fort stands at 370 metres (1,214ft) above sea level and is over looked by Higger Tor standing at 434 metres (1,424ft) above sea level. The original reason for the fortifications are unknown although there’s plenty of Bronze Age evidence in this area and the fort origins may well date back to Neolithic times. The mystery surrounding this fort makes this place even more interesting to me. For instance the meaning of the name Carl Wark is another debatable topic, a Sheffield historian and Folklorist in 1893 suggested it was Old Norse for Old Man’s Fort, Old Man being the devil. The fort is 230 metres (750ft) Long and 60 metres (200ft) wide and made up of cliffs fortified by man made construction.
For me this mysterious hill fort is a peaceful and relaxing spot to stop and reflect, to take time out and survey the surrounding beauty of this place. A picnic with family, a few photos snapped here and there and of course I like to break out a flask of coffee at this point. Once we’ve relaxed and pondered, explored and finished our picnic, we stroll back the way we came.
This place is special, not just for its history but for the sheer peace, tranquility and beautiful views. Talking of views, another parking area should you choose to use it is at Surprise View, just a short way along the road, and closer to Hathersage Village.
However you arrive at this location I’m sure you will love the area and all it has to offer. I came across Carl Wark Iron Age Fort by accident and it was love at first sight. Enjoy!