Ashop Clough and the Snake woodland are magical places at any time of the year. This wonderland is hidden from view until you venture through the woodland. Snake Pass has a magical feel to it and is surrounded all around by rolling hills, pine trees, heather, and bracken and in higher points moorland and babbling streams.
The Snake Pass road itself is not open in severe weather during the winter for safety reasons because, as the name suggests it snakes through the valley and can become treacherous in icy and snowy conditions. The Snake woodland is Just off the Snake pass road (A57) and near to The Snake Pass Inn, (a lovely and welcoming Inn serving excellent food and drink with great accommodation, some rooms have 4 poster beds and there are dog friendly apartments available too.) Good foot wear and raincoats are always advised for walks in this area since the weather has a tendency to have a mind all its own around here even on a summers day.
The drive through Snake Pass is spectacular which ever direction you drive from, with stunning views all around. The location of my favorite walk is within hiking distance to Kinder Scout Plateau, It’s a gorgeous natural area which is also the highest point in the Peak District at an elevation of (2,087ft) above sea level. In a close by location on the moorland near to Kinder Scout there is a historic crash site, for those interested. On the 22nd of July 1959 two North American Sabre F.Mk 4s XD707 & XD730 of No.66 Squadron, crashed on their return to RAF Linton-on-Ouse near York. The wreckage was not found for three days due to severe weather. The plane wrecks or what is now left of them, can still be seen spread across the moors at the crash site.
The Snake Pass road (A57) connects Sheffield and Glossop, and the Pennine way crosses the snake pass at its summit with scenery that is breathtaking the whole length. I have some special spots I love to visit all the way along the route. The Strines Inn a thirteenth century inn is a treat to visit and is sign posted off the A 57, a beautiful old coaching inn that’s next to open moorland and Dale Dike reservoir with peacocks roaming freely all around. They also serve a gorgeous Sunday roast, and great ales for those who are not driving! There is also a good sized layby on the A57 that is a great place to park when walking near the Cut Throat Bridge area, regardless of its name and gory history there’s some beautiful moorland here which is well worth a visit.
On route is the beautiful and historic Ladybower reservoir which has been a favourite location for me for many years and will feature in a separate blog. From here on is the real Snake Pass section of the A 57 and you will notice the sharp bends in the road and scenery becoming more rugged and magnified.
Through the magnificent woodland in the valley my family and I went strolling and playing silly games along the way, we were very lucky with the weather but I’m still glad we wrapped up warm for the walk, there was some sharp wind across the moorland, and although we didn’t go full out and walk for miles, it was a relaxing and fun day together in the country.
It’s beautiful and calm walking along the river Ashop and with pine trees all along one section of the route there are plenty of spots to break if you want to just chill out for a while with shelter from the wind and a perfect area to bring out a picnic and flask.
Further along the route we came into the moorland and it’s was more bleak and wild looking, we spotted a few grouse while walking and if you’re lucky and very quiet there’s plenty more wildlife to see. Last year I spotted a lizard basking on rocks by the stream, not rare I guess but lovely to see. This year I noticed plenty of frog spawn in the little ponds along the track.
Continuing along this route a hike up to the Northern side of Kinder Scout is possible if you allow yourself enough time and you go prepared. Our day out along the moorland and Ashop river was more of a relaxed affair than a hike and much fun was had by the whole family including Max the dog, although with it being nesting season for birds and lambing time he was kept close by and on a close lead. Even the drive home was scenic and we took the route home via Ladbower reservoir, then through Bamford and Hathersage and later through the lovely Chatsworth estate. I hope I’ve at least inspired you and informed you a little about another of my favorite English gems. What a fantastic day it was and an area I will be returning to very soon for a longer hike. Watch this space…