Pike Lowe and Mickleden Edge from Langsett

Route Summary:

A Dark Peak walk up to Pike Lowe from Langsett via Thickwoods Brook and the Midhope Moors, before returning by the way of the Cut Gate footpath and Mickleden Edge

Route Information

  • Start: 28 A616, Sheffield S36 9FD, UK
  • Date:30-11-2017
  • GPX File: Download

Other POI: Langsett Woods, Langsett Bank, Langsett Dam, Thickwoods, Thickwoods Brook, Range Moor Top, Midhope Moors, Pike Lowe, Candlerush Edge, Candlerush Dike, Cut Gate, Mickleden Edge, Mickleden Beck, Hingcliff Common

Route Description:

This walk can be found in the excellent Cicerone book, ‘Dark Peak Walks’ by Paul Besley, a book that I highly recommend if you’re interested in visiting this wonderful part of the country to walk.

The walk started at the car park on the A616, very near the A628 roundabout. From the car park, I headed through Langsett Woods, eventually taking a turn to my left that led to Langsett Bank. It was a nice start to the day as I followed the bank along the northern edge of the reservoir, as far as the dam. I was already feeling the chill as the temperatures were in minus figures – something that I hoped would work in my favour later on if I hit any particularly boggy areas. Frozen ground makes for much faster progress than boggy ground.

The reservoir has an area of 125 acres and has a holding capacity of 1,408 million gallons which makes it the largest of the water supply reservoirs in the immediate Sheffield district (thanks, Wikipedia). The water comes from the Langsett Moors to the west of the reservoir. More random facts: Midhope Cliff Lane, which runs across the embankment, is thought to be the longest single carriageway of any reservoir in Great Britain. The sharp bend where it joins the A616 main road was due to the last minute change in plans as keeping it straight would have meant the demolition of the Waggon and Horses pub.

Langsett Woods
Langsett Woods
Langsett Reservoir
Langsett Reservoir

Six farms in the area were abandoned in the early part of the twentieth century, part of the depopulation strategy to improve the water purity. These included Brookhouse farm and North America farm, the latter of which remain in the form of ruins to the south-west of the reservoir despite it being used for target practice during World War 2.

Conifers were planted around Langsett Reservoir in 1962 with the intention of providing a habitat for many species of wildlife. More recently, many of the conifers have been felled and replaced with Oak and Birch trees in an effort to create a new upland Oak woodland. A pond has also more recently been created at the western end of the reservoir to help dragonflies, toads, and newts establish new colonies (information taken from Wikipedia).

Once over the dam, I took a right turn onto Joseph Lane, heading towards Upper Midhope. After a short distance, I took another right onto a path heading down into the wooded area that surrounds the reservoir. I proceeded to follow the path until it met up with Thickwoods Lane, just before Thickwoods Brook. At this point, I left the track and instead started ascending the hillside, following the line of the wall that marked the edge of the Thickwoods plantation. Down to my right was the brook, and the view looking back to the reservoir became more impressive as I gained height.

Thickwoods Plantation
Following the edge of Thickwoods
Looking back towards Langsett Reservoir
Looking back towards Langsett Reservoir

I eventually met up with a track which, after skirting around Range Moor Top, followed the line of Sugden Clough (which feeds into Thickwoods Brook) as far as the Midhope Moors Shooting Lodge. Before I reached the lodge, I passed an old wall on my right. This was a target used in World War 2. There is another one on the opposite side of the clough. Back in World War 2, Upper Midhope was, more or less, an army camp. Midhope and the dam (considered to be a major target for the Germans) were surrounded by anti-artillery guns, smoke pots and bunkers. Evidence of this can be seen around the moors in the form of old bunkers, targets, ruined defence works, old tracks, and even unexploded shells. See here for more information on this.

The path skirting around Range Moor Top
The path skirting around Range Moor Top
Sugden Clough ahead
Sugden Clough straight ahead

I made my way around the lodge and very carefully crossed over the clough via an ice-covered bridge. I followed the line of one of the groughs until I was closer to Pike Lowe then left what little that remained of a track and made a beeline to the top and to the cairn. From the summit, I descended roughly south south-west to CandleRush Edge before heading slightly north of east to Sudgen Top. The track then veered south-west, crossing Candlerush Dike and eventually met the Cut Gate path. It was pretty easy going thanks to the frozen bog, but I think it would have been a different story entirely had it been a few degrees warmer.

The Pike Lowe cairn
The Pike Lowe cairn
Looking back towards Pike Lowe
Looking back across moorland to Pike Lowe
More open moorland
More open moorland

I followed the Cut Gate path north along Mickleden Edge, enjoying the fine views down into Mickleden Beck. The path eventually left Mickleden and crossed Hingcliff Common before eventually arriving at the footbridge that crosses the meeting of Little Don River and Langsett Reservoir. I was back in Langsett Woods and just in time for it going dark – excellent timing! It was a short walk back to the car to warm up before the drive back to Nottingham.

Mickleden Edge
Mickleden Edge
Further along Mickleden Edge
Further along Mickleden Edge
Route Map
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