If you’re going to go out on the moors on ‘The Glorious Twelfth’, the day the grouse shooting season starts, you’re likely to experience something magnificent, namely the heather in flower. In flower, it transforms the moors into huge swathes of purple among the bracken, grass, rocks and gorse. And, the scent coming off the flowers is strong.
In the second of our ‘Wild Pub Walks’, taken from the book, ‘Wild Pub Walks’, published by CAMRA, Penny and I set out on the Peak District walking route called ‘Bamford Circular’. It’s a 13-mile route which takes in two peaks and a ridge before returning to the starting point through the Hope Valley in Derbyshire.
Approaching Win Hill
As you near Win Hill the path becomes steeper for a stage before levelling off and following the hill’s contours along to some woods, where you turn left and take some steps up to the summit. It’s hard going this early in the walk, so prepare your lungs and legs for a workout.
The hard work is worth it. As you reach Win Hill’s summit, the views open up around you. You can see for miles to the south and west, and over the nearby ridges to the north and east.
It was windy on top and there were showers approaching us. But, the view was spectacular. Furthermore, the top of Win Hill is rocky and offers a little shelter if you want to stop there for a break. We could see over to the next peak on the walk (Losehill) and Mam Tor, in the distance. North of us, in the valley, a rainbow appeared as a shower passed over.
There’s a ‘TRIG point’ at the top, and the path down is to its south, which leads west towards ‘Thornhill Brink’. You take the marked footpath, which leads south-west to Twitchill Farm.
The path drops down a steep slope towards the farm. The sun, by this time, was out and it became too hot to wear waterproofs. We had had on them on for about ten minutes.
Down to Hope
Up to Losehill
We’d set off just before midday. It was now 2PM and we were hungry. Penny and I burnt off around 800 calories by now. Time for an energy refill.
We sat down in the lee of a stone wall to eat our sandwiches and Brunch Bars, plus a couple of cups of tea from our flask. In the sunshine, it’s one of the most wonderful moments when out walking. Just sitting down (on our foam mats from Regatta to keep our backsides dry!) and taking in the peacefulness, the views and the delight of company is priceless.
After lunch, we headed up the footpath, encountering walkers coming down from Losehill. You quickly stiffen up after a break and it took a while to warm our muscles up again.
On approaching the top, it began to rain, and the number of walkers increased due to its closeness to Mam Tor and car parks. The weather had brought out many people’s waterproof jackets. Some walkers had donned their gaiters, waterproof jackets, trousers, wool hats and backpack covers.
Given it was about 16℃, albeit with some wind, and it was mainly sunny, I thought some walkers were overdressed! Some were underdressed too. The odd person wore Dunlop Green Flash trainers, or sweatpants (like wearing sponges on your legs).
Towards Hollins Cross
Here, you turn south-east and take the left hand path. About 200 metres down here, you turn right towards a farm. It also takes you off the main path and away from the masses.
Into the valley
Hope of a pint?
From Dunscar Farm to Hope is about three kilometres. In Hope, the official route takes you into the centre of the village so you can stop for a pint at The Cheshire Cheese Inn.
We decided not to take a break in the pub (it was too warm for an alcoholic drink!) and stopped at bench just above the bridge we had crossed earlier in the day (The route goes back over a short section in Hope) for a cup of tea and a snack.
When I was plotting the route (using the excellent online Ordnance Survey maps, for which I have an account but you can also use for free), Daniel Nielson suggests following the path over a field to Aston and then following the minor road to Thornhill.
To avoid walking on tarmac as much as possible, I plotted the route to follow the River Noe to the A6187. Here, you take an immediate left up a lane, follow it under the railway bridge and turn immediately right onto the fields.
Back to Bamford
From here, the route is a fairly easy stroll through fields (some of which contained frisky bullocks) towards Thornhill. After the hilly first half of the walk, it’s a nice way to finish off the day.
When you near Thornhill the footpath hugs the south side of a small road, which leads to Aston before you have to go out onto it. It’s a few hundred metres from where you join the road and get into Thornhill.
You enter Thornhill and retrace your steps, in part, from the route out earlier in the day, but turn left (north) up Carr Lane. Follow the road until you see a small gate and the footpath sign on your right, just before the road which leads to ‘Carr Bottom’.
Now, you drop down into the floodplain of the Driver Derwent following the footpath across the meadow to Bamford Mill. The Mill is now a set of flats, but it’s lovely nonetheless. You walk over a wooden bridge towards the Mill and below the weir.
From here, you walk around the north side of the Mill, turn right onto a lane, which leads onto Station Road. It’s about a ten minute walk to the station (where we had parked).
The Bamford Circular Wild Pub Walk is a super walk with good variety. It’s challenging at times, so you need to be reasonably fit to enjoy it. The route takes up some good peaks with glorious views (if the weather is good). It can busy when you reach Losehill and walk towards Mam Tor.