Birchen Edge and Gardom’s Edge

Route Summary:

A short walk in the Dark Peak that starts by the Robin Hood inn and heads up to the very popular Birchen Edge. The route eventually circles around and returns via the quieter Gardom’s Edge.

Route Information

  • Start: B6050, Bakewell DE45, UK
  • Date:27-05-2018
  • GPX File: Download
  • Summits:N/A

Other POI: Robin Hood, Birchen Edge, Three Ships, Nelsons Monument, Gardom's Edge, Three Men

Route Description:

This walk was designed to give my 3 year old son, Harry, his first taste of the Dark Peak. At this age, I didn’t really want to give him anything that involved too much climbing, or too far a distance. I felt that 3 miles should be about his limit. I also wanted a bit of interest on the walk in the form of gritstone as he, like all kids, love clambering on rock. And a trig pillar is always a bonus! After much studying of the map, I decided on Birchen Edge as it was quick to get up onto the edge from the car park, was short and sweet, and, even better, it was a location that I’d never been to before.

I was warned that the Robin Hood car park filled up quickly so I had to get there early – and whoever told me that wasn’t wrong. We left the house at 8:00am and arrived at a full car park at around 9:10am. Luckily there was somebody leaving just as we got there so I quickly nipped in and took the space. We started along the path towards Birchen Edge. The idea was to get up on the edge as soon as possible and an opportunity soon presented itself to do just that. A track on the right steeply ascended up to Birchen Edge. To an adult, the path was steep and steppy, but to Harry it was more of a scramble which he seemed to be enjoying.

Starting the path to Birchen Edge
Starting the path
The steep climb up to Birchen Edge
The climb up to Birchen Edge
Almost there
Almost there
Looking proud after the climb up to Birchen Edge
Looking proud

It wasn’t long before we were up on the top and we started the pleasant walk north, following the line of the edge. Harry took every opportunity to climb onto lumps of weathered gritstone scattered around but his balance unfortunately isn’t too great at the moment and so he often needed a helping hand to steady himself.

Working his way along Birchen Edge
Making his way along the edge
Playing on gritstone on Birchen Edge
Playing on the gritstone
Chillier than it looks, hence the professional outdoors Paw Patrol jacket.
Chillier than it looks, hence the professional outdoors Paw Patrol jacket

We eventually arrived at the popular end of the ridge. The Birchen Edge walls were busy with climbers, the large gritstone formations known as the Three Ships were busy with boulderers, and many casual walkers were milling around in between. Harry had a go at climbing up onto the smaller of the gritstone shapes, and his efforts were met with success.

Climbers on Birchen Edge
Climbers on Birchen Edge
The Three Ships
The Three Ships
A successful climb up one of the three ships
A successful climb up one of the three ships

Just beyond this area was Nelsons Monument – a 3 metre column of gritstone erected in 1810 by a local businessman in honour of Lord Nelson. The column was restored in 1992. Also in this area was the trig pillar – Harry’s first Dark Peak trig pillar. I felt so proud! 😉

Nelson's Monument
Nelson’s Monument
Birchen Edge trig pillar
Birchen Edge trig pillar

From the end of Birchen Edge, we descended and made our way north, following the path through moorland. Just before we arrived at a road, another track headed off to our left, roughly south-west, and running parallel to the A621 below. This eventually took us to Gardom’s Edge. Harrys legs were beginning to tire and his enthusiasm for climbing was on the wane. He started to need a little more encouragement to keep moving as – being the cruel parent that I am – I was downright refusing to carry him.

Leaving Birchen Edge
Leaving Birchen Edge
Heading to Gardom's Edge
Heading to Gardom’s Edge

Gardom’s Edge was a nice stretch of walking. The views aren’t quite as varied and expansive as they are from Birchen Edge due to the forested areas below and on the opposite side of the valley. It was much quieter though and we didn’t encounter many people along the way. The atmosphere could be described as serene and tranquil as opposed to Birchen Edge which would better be described as bustling with activity.

Chilling on Gardom's Edge
Chilling on Gardom’s Edge
Much quieter on Gardom's Edge
Much quieter on here
Gritstone outcrop on Gardom's Edge
Gritstone outcrop on Gardom’s Edge

Once at the end of Gardom’s Edge, we followed the path slowly downhill back to the road. We passed another large gritstone formation of interest but, by this time, little harrys legs were too weary for more play. The boy done well! It was a decent mileage for such little legs, especially taking into account the ascent up to Bircham Edge and the occasional clambering on the gritstone.

Another rest for weary legs
Another rest for weary legs
Last pose of the day
Last pose of the day
climbing over a stone stile
…and last climb of the day!
Route Map
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