Hayfield, Derbyshire Sunday April 3rd 2016

Today’s Walk

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: 11.5 miles

Total climbing for the day approximately 600 metres (2,000 Feet)
This classic high hill walk retraces the route of the famous mass trespass onto Kinder Scout on 24th April 1932. Please bear in mind the walk does include some ford crossings.
Having passed the memorial plaque at Bowden Bridge on the River Kinder we head up via Kinder Reservoir and William Clough onto the Kinder plateau. The Pennine Way is then followed, passing the dramatic Kinder Downfall, and topping out at Kinder Low (633m). We descend towards Edale Cross then heading west to Coldwell Clough, and contouring round Elle Bank we pick up the River Kinder back to Hayfield.
With a bit of luck there should be time for a quick well-earned cuppa or a pint (hopefully)!

Moderate/leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey   Distance : 6.50 miles

This is a challenging walk in more ways than one !!
The 1st part of our walk starts as we head towards the Quarry and Stones House. Then we have a very steep hill to climb, which we will take slowly- (It’s not called the High Peak District for nothing). This heads towards the Sheepford and Kinderlow End. Before we reach Kinderlow End we bear to the right and make our way to the Valve Chamber and Stony Ford. We start the second part of our walk here. This is where you will have to bear with me, as the second part that we walked turned out to be unsuitable. So, today’s 2nd part has not been recced – sorry.
We will head toward Coldwell Clough, and continue making our way down to Hayfield going past part of the wood at Elle Bank, then Stubbs Farm and Highgate head.

Easy Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance : 5-5.5 miles

We leave the coach park in Hayfield to set off east through the village and then along the River Sett and past the camp site at Bowden Bridge,- fairly flat for just over a mile. We then turn south along a metalled lane, turning off onto a rough track which climbs steadily, with Mount Famine and South Head looming ahead. Don’t worry we are not going to climb either of these, but reach a col just before these impressive hills, by Higher Heys Farm. Lunch will be up here at our highest point of the walk, on whichever side of the wall is the most sheltered, with stunning views either way. Dropping down now into the valley to cross the A624 at Peep-o-Day, followed by a slight uphill before following the contours past Far Phoside to Phoside Farm. Here we have a choice! We can climb a little higher to almost reach the TV Station tower, followed by a long descent to the Sett Valley Trail in Birch Vale, or we can carry on past Ridge Top to descend into the valley a little nearer to Hayfield. Depends how we feel at the time.

Notes On The Area

The pretty name and rural setting disguise Hayfield’s industrial past; the village once hummed and rattled to the sound of cotton and paper mills, calico printing and dye works. It also resounded to marching feet and cries of protest when in 1830 a mob of 1,000 mill workers gathered to demand a living wage and were dispersed by hussars. Eleven men appeared at Derby Assizes as a result but the cotton industry was in terminal decline and all the anger was in vain.

We ramblers owe much to the famous “mass trepass” of ramblers onto Kinder Scout which took place a century later on 24th April 1932 in order to gain access to the hills. The starting point was Hayfield. It was a peaceful protest, but politically explosive. About 500 walkers took part, climbing the public footpath out of Hayfield to William Clough. A brief scuffle took place when the protestors left the path and were met by a group of gamekeepers on Sandy Heys, but there was no real confrontation and nobody bothered to trespass to the top of Kinder. Even so, six protestors were arrested and thrown into the old Hayfield lock-up on Market Street. They duly appeared at Derby Assizes and were sentenced to up to six months in gaol, which resulted in a publicity bonanza for the ramblers and ensured a place in history for Hayfield and the “right to roam”.

Despite the occasional flurries of excitement, Hayfield is now a peaceful little village, catering for tourists of all kinds. Serious walkers head east out of the village, up and over the green foothills to the russet expanse of the Kinder plateau. Families and easier-going ramblers head west along the Sett Valley Trail towards New Mills. The car park at the start of this three-mile trail, separated from the main village by the A624, was once the railway station, and the trail itself follows the course of the single-track line. In its heyday thousands of day visitors arrived here from Manchester via the New Mills branch line. Hayfield marked the end of the mill towns and the start of the countryside.

The Kinder Downfall is often a focus for ramblers on Kinder Scout – and rightly so – a chasm of dark gritstone topped by blocks and flattened boulders into which the peaty waters of the Kinder River plunge. If a west or south-westerly gale happens to be blowing, you may witness the waterfall being blasted back in a plume of spray, drenching passers-by above! Equally spectacular are the effects of prolonged freezing when the cascade attracts ice climbers.