There’s nothing like good memories to warm the soul and an outing to Stanage Edge in the Derbyshire Peak District and discovering Robin Hoods cave will do just that, what a fun day trip, a memorable stroll with stunning views! Stanage Edge not only has pride of place in the hearts of hikers and climbers but is steadfast in my heart with glowing memories of adventures and romantic views that leave you yearning to return. Kiera Knightly in character as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice once stood upon a rock on Stanage Edge to experience freedom, and to breath in the fresh air. What a fantastic location to experience freedom and fresh air, on the edge taking in the scenery and of course that exhilarating fresh air!
Although Spring had not quite sprung yet, and the air still quite brisk my family and I decided to take a stroll at Stanage Edge in the Peak District to make the most of a bright weekend. Since this was to be just a day trip for us, we drove up to a parking area along the road in the valley and the way up is clearly marked across the road from the toilet block, which obviously is also quite handy. If we had been staying in the area we would have walked up from the nearby Hathersage village along Baulk Lane and taken a left, the Edges are such a dramatic view and for obvious reasons cannot be missed, there are pathways up from here on.
Our stroll took a path up and through a wooded coppice which is great for doing a little bouldering, or even a nice spot to rest on a summers day when looking for some shade. From here we followed a path for a short distance and finally stepped up through a crag in the rocks, steadily weaving up until atop of the edge, this is the part where the cold biting wind catches your breath as is gusts across off the moors, yet so exhilarating, it certainly blows away the cobwebs!
Now it’s the views that take your breath away and on a clear day you can see for miles around, just don’t stand too close to the drop off and keep dogs on leads, not just to keep them safe but because of the expanse of moorland and the grazing sheep.
You will see plenty of climbers here as I’ve previously mentioned, it is a famous location for climbs of all abilities, and despite the chill factor in the biting wind, you’ll discover that they are not put off by the weather, but then neither am I when there’s a chance of a country walk!
Robin Hoods cave was close by and although we knew it wasn’t far from where we stood it was not easy to find, the cave is located part way down the cliff face and there is a rocky trail to follow carefully down to it. We were in luck, one of the regular climbers guided us right to the entrance. We took it in turns to explore the little cave whilst someone always stayed up on top holding the dogs on leads. It’s a lovely spot to stop for a flask of coffee and a sandwich as long it’s not busy, some days you’ll notice that the cave gets quite popular. There are tales of Robin Hood sheltering in that cozy cave and considering that one of his merry men is said to be buried in the churchyard of Hathersage village it is quite fitting. Little John’s grave is obvious when you walk through the church yard because of it’s great length, he was quite a giant in his time. There has been a church on the site for around 1000 years, so it is plausible. If you’re planning to walk up from Hathersage it is well worth visiting Hathersage church and Little John’s grave which is on Baulk Lane on your route.
The highest point along the edge is High Neb at (1,503ft) 458 metres above sea level. The remains of ancient tracks can be seen if you’ve a keen eye, a paved packhorse track running along the edge and the Long Causeway which was once thought to be a roman road taking a route from Templeborough to Brough-on-Noe it crosses Hallam moor and passes Stanage Pole, an ancient way marker on route to Sheffield. Some parts of the edge have been quarried for mill stones and some can still be seen laying where they were carved many moons ago.
You might also notice bowl like carvings in the rock, these are a more recent addition, 20th century, they are in fact drinking water hollows that fill with rain water for the grouse to drink from, I had wondered about these rather deep hollows before I discovered what the purpose was, and dogs thought they made a good spot for a drink too. The most Northerly point of Stanage Edge borders Sheffield, South Yorkshire and if you bring an ordnance survey map with you and follow the long causeway via Stanage pole you can reach Redmires reservoirs. So if you’re up for a good hike or a run there’s so much to explore.
Our time up on the edge was limited because we still had to drive back home again, so after a good wander and explore we headed off back to our car but as always it seemed way too soon. I remind myself there’s always another day, I’ll return for another adventure that’s guaranteed. The views are rugged and spectacular, the history deep and a filming location too, there’s so much to love about Stanage Edge.