Arriving in Edale on the 30-minute train ride from Sheffield is to truly make the transition from town to country. Separating Edale from the Hope Valley runs one of the finest ridges in the Peak District – the appropriately named Great Ridge. Neatly connecting the summits of Mam Tor (though I prefer its alternative moniker of The Shivering Mountain) and Lose Hill, the ridge divides the gritstone studded Dark Peak to the north, and the gentler limestone dales of the White Peak to the south. This walk strides to the top of Mam Tor, before flying along the Great Ridge to the top of Lose Hill.
On the climb up Mam Tor, weather-permitting, you will be rewarded with a spectacular panorama that takes in a good chunk of the Peak District’s 555 square miles. To the north lies the boggy wilderness of Kinder Scout, scene of many aircraft wrecks and the mass trespass of 1932, which paved the way for our freedom to roam these hills. To the south, pastoral fields divide the landscape in neat, serried rows, riven by the scars of quarrying and the gentle meander of Derbyshire dales.
The Great Ridge now leads you east towards our next objective, Lose Hill, though you’ll have to tackle the steep pull up Back Tor along the way. Down below to your right, at the foot of Mam Tor’s impressive south face, lie the post-apocalyptic remains of the old road, which was finally surrendered in 1979 to the recurring landslides that had dogged it for decades. Even more picture-postcard views are on offer from the summits of Back Tor and Lose Hill, before the long descent to Hope.
End the walk with a warming pint by the fire at The Cheshire Cheese in Hope.
- From Edale station, either turn left to explore Edale village or right to begin the walk. At the main road, turn right again.
- Take the first left up the lane, signposted Hardenclough Farm.
- Just before the lane ends at a gate marked private, a gate on the left is signposted Hollins Cross and Mam Tor. Turn right on to the path, towards Mam Tor. Follow this path steadily uphill until you reach the road.
- Turn left at the road, and as you reach the brow of the hill take the gate on the left. Follow the steep steps to the summit of Mam Tor.
- From Mam Tor, continue forwards along the ridge, following it 2 miles to the top of Lose Hill. Stay on the crest of the ridge all the way, avoiding any paths leading off to the right.
- From the summit of Lose Hill (marked by a panoramic viewfinder) continue steeply downhill and climb stiles over two fences, bearing left after the second fence.
- At the farmhouse, follow signs to Hope. The path down to Hope runs through fields, and is marked by yellow paint flashes at gates and turnings.
- On the edge of Hope village, take the left turn signposted Edale Road. Turn right on Edale Road to reach Hope village centre. Either turn right to find shops and cafes, or left to reach Hope station, which lies half a mile along the main road outside the village.
Photo: looking back along the Great Ridge to Mam Tor from Back Tor, by Eric Hildrew.