Following on from January’s “Peaks of Perfection – Chrome and Parkhouse Hills” photo trip I have continued with one of my 2019 projects of visiting my closest National Park – the Peak District once a month. My February trip saw me visiting Shining Tor a prominent summit between the towns of Buxton and Macclesfield, lying on the border between Derbyshire and Cheshire. At 1843 feet it is the highest point in modern Cheshire offering enormous views over the Cheshire Plain. Black Hill near Crowden is the historic county top of Cheshire.
I started my walk close to the Errwood Reservoir in the Goyt Valley following a footpath through sparse woodland leading into a grass trail. This rises fairly steeply through a broad sweep of grassland bordered by woods before entering open moorland. From there it is a steady climb to the trig point on the summit of Shining Tor, with views extending south over Cheshire’s smooth hills and east towards the broad expanse of Derbyshire moorlands and the Kinder Plateau on the skyline.
After a fairly strenuous walk to reach Shining Tor which involved 1000 feet of climbing I discovered that someone had kindly provided a bench so I took the opportunity to take a lunch break before exploring the surrounding area. The summit itself is not particularly photogenic; the views are pleasant, though the relatively flat uplands mean they are not extensive in all directions. After some scrambling down the west face I managed to capture Shining Tor’s Chatsworth Grit, a thick sandstone which occurs widely across the Peak District and which forms the summit and the ridge.
The next phase of the walk was far less strenuous on a flagged path traversing the ridge, which gradually rises to the dome of Cats Tor and passing the rock formation of Oldgate Nick eventually bringing into sight the prominent spur of Windgather Rocks. Windgather takes its name from the prevailing westerlies, and it’s near vertical edges popular with rock climbers. I don’t normally include people in my landscape photos but in this instance with one being a photographer (no it’s not myself) I decided to break the rule so it gives you some idea of the scale of the rocks. Can you spot the face profile in the rocks?
From here on there was a complete change of scenery descending through Ladbitch Wood part of the Goyt Forest – very pleasant in the late afternoon sun. Passing several blown down and broken confers the path drops down to a wooden footbridge over a small stream.
After spending some time enjoying this spot it was then a short climb back out of the valley. Then downhill most of the way to reach the northern end of Fernilee Reservoir from where the path through the forest seemed to go on for ever. This included the “Waterside Walk” which was the alternative to the “Forest Walk” – by then I had seen enough trees. The disappointment was that there was no opportunities for any further photos so hopefully you won’t mind if I include another of the footbridge in Ladbitch Wood. I can’t make my mind up which of these I prefer so maybe you will help me by sharing your preference.
Having walked 9 miles I eventually made it back to the starting point. I really enjoyed the first half of this walk but found the later stages less inspiring due to most of it being along forest tracks with very little to see apart from trees. It also did not help having to spend most of that time out of the sunshine with the temperature dropping as the sun started to set.
Despite my last comments I hope you have enjoyed my second trip of the year into the Peak District National Park. Now to plan the March visit so keep following so you don’t miss the next instalment.