Derwent Edge, Back Tor, and Lost Lad

Route Summary:

A walk in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District that covers the popular area of Derwent edge before making its way back via Back Tor, Lost Lad, and Walkers Clough

Route Information

  • Start: A57, Hope Valley S33, UK
  • Date:15-12-2017
  • GPX File: Download

Other POI: Ashopton, Lead Hill, Whinstone Lee Tor, Derwent Edge, Wheel Stones, White Tor, Salt Cellar, Dovestone Tor, Cakes of Bread, Back Tor, Green Sitches, Walkers Clough, Shireowlers Wood, Hancock Wood, Derwent Dam, Derwent

Route Description:

The Peak District had been the recipient of quite a lot of recent snowfall, which I had yet to experience. According to the weather forecasts, it was due to warm up over the next week and so I headed out to appreciate the snow whilst we still had it. After mulling over various routes in my head, I eventually settled upon Derwent Edge. I parked on the A57 and headed up the small road to Ashopton. From here, I took the footpath to my left and followed it north through the woods, eventually skirting around the base of Lead Hill. At this point, the path takes a turn towards the east and ascends the hill up towards Whinstone Lee Tor – an excellent viewpoint to look out over Ladybower Reservoir. I’m sure many a photo has been taken from here. Most of the snow had melted down below, but up here on the edge, there was still an abundance of the stuff. Being a weekday, it was exceptionally quiet too. This is the main reason I choose weekdays to walk. There was not another person in sight and I was to only pass three people during the forthcoming journey.

Looking across at Crook Hill
Looking across at Crook Hill
Derwent edge from Whinstone Lee Tor
Derwent edge from Whinstone Lee Tor
Looking over Ladybower from Whinstone Lee Tor
Looking over Ladybower from Whinstone Lee Tor

I headed around Derwent Edge, enjoying all the usual points of interest. The Wheel Stones, White Tor, The Salt Cellar, Dovestone Tor all passed me by as I progressed. The snow wasn’t particularly deep along the edge, with the exception of some of the climbs and descents over the tors where the snow had drifted.

On Derwent Edge
On Derwent Edge
Looking back along Derwent Edge
Looking back along Derwent Edge

This changed as I approached Back Tor. The snow suddenly deepened significantly and I was having to lift my knees up quite high to walk through it. I had a brief rest upon Back Tor and enjoyed the views all around. My next destination, Lost Lad, was visible in the distance.

The snow getting a lot deeper
The snow getting a lot deeper
The stretch to Back Tor
The stretch to Back Tor
Back Tor trig pillar
Looking over Ladybower from Whinstone Lee Tor

The sky really brightened up at this point, and the low sun really lit up the moors and created some lovely shadow. Back Tor to Lost Lad didn’t appear to be popular route during these snowy days as I could only make out a single pair of footprints in the snow alongside the paw prints of his/her companion. I had no idea where the path was and so trusted the footprints as a guide. After a few episodes of plunging my foot into a bog, it became apparent that the dog had a much better idea of where the solid ground was and I proceeded to follow the paw prints instead with much better luck.

Looking back at Back Tor
Looking back at Back Tor
Approaching Lost Lad
Approaching Lost Lad
View from the Lost Lad toposcope
View from the Lost Lad toposcope

I crossed the moorland, enjoying the wonderful views around me and wondering what it was like upon Bleaklow. I soon arrived at the descent down to Walkers Clough, which sits between Shireowlers Wood and Hancock Wood. A short while later and I was down on the reservoir track. I followed this back round to the A57 via Derwent, enjoying seeing some of the old buildings on the way. By this time it was dark. Great timing once again!

Almost back - Derwent Edge visible in the distance
Derwent Edge visible in the distance
In the woods
In the woods

It had been a fantastic walk out in the snow, and I only wish I could experience this more often. The feeling of walking across a virtually untouched snowy landscape, and not a person in sight all around, is unbeatable. A perfect way to unwind and forget all about the stresses of life.

Route Map
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