This is a walk of two distinct parts which splices high open moorland with lusher woodland and tumbling waterfalls. For a landscape photographer, it combines some of the best aspects of the Peak District and is an area that rewards walkers and photographers alike at any time of the year. It is particularly appealing during late autumn when the beech woodland of Padley Gorge is transformed into a coppery palette and the last days of summer swirl in the brook’s backwaters.
This article is a companion to the one written about Win Hill, and is for those photographers who enjoy walking in the Dark Peak area of Derbyshire. Stretching for many miles along and above the Ladybower, Derwent and Howden reservoir complex, this stretch of ancient gritstone defines in many ways the properties of the High Peak. Blanket bog, sculpted rock outcrops and moorland…its mournful atmosphere concealing the ghosts of several aircraft wrecks. This is not an area I particularly like walking due to the depressing nature of the landscape; each time I visit, its essence seems to permeate my soul staining it with an unquantifiable darkness that requires exorcism by sleep to disperse! Having wrote that, there is no denying its photographic interest, which is the only reason for my occasional return.
For 360 views of the Peak District, it is hard to beat standing on top of Win Hill Pike on a clear day. Guarding access to the Upper Derwent Valley, it rises steeply from the valley floor to a height of 1500 feet. Along its western flank runs what is left of an ancient Roman road that connected two forts; Navio, near Hope and Milandra, Glossop. Its pine clad eastern side borders with the lower section of Ladybower reservoir which, along with Howden and Derwent, forms a trio of dams that serve nearby cities such as Sheffield and Manchester.
For this walk, we took a complete departure from our usual Derbyshire haunts and discovered this stunning hike along some of the Amalfi coast’s most spectacular scenery. This is not a walk for those who are afraid of heights as some sections of the path cling perilously to vertiginous cliff walls, so it goes without saying that a certain amount of sure footedness is prerequisite.
Cheedale…the name given to a narrow section of a carboniferous limestone gorge complex that runs into the more popular Millers and Monsal dales, carved by the waters of a juvenile river Wye. This is an area of stunning natural beauty and interesting geology, feeling a world away from the nearby market towns of Buxton and Bakewell. When viewed from the area around Chee Tor, it can almost be seen as a vertical slice of humanity, underpinned by long dead epochs. At the top are the pastures so important to modern farming, our villages and farms interconnected by modern roads and ancient packhorse trails.
This is PhotoArks’s fourth article in a series illustrating our favourite photography walks. Note that these articles are not intended as walking guides, but merely indicate areas we find photographically interesting.