Peak District Walks
Win Hill & Crook Hill
Date: 27th November 2011
Distance: 8.9 miles
Ascent: 1942 feet
Time: 4 hours 20 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SK202859
A fabulous walk to the rocky summits of Win Hill and Crook Hill on a bright and very windy autumn day.
Route Summary: Heatherdene Car Park - Ladybower Dam - Parkin Clough - Win Hill - Hope Cross - Haggwater Bridge - Bridge-end Pasture - Crook Hill - Crookhhill Farm - Ashopton Viaduct - Heatherdene Car Park
1. Win Hill
2. Bamford Edge
3. Looking back down the path in Parkin Clough
4. Derwent Edge from Win Hill
5. The top of Win Hill
6. Looking back at Winhill Pike
7. Lose Hill and Edale
8. Hope Cross
9. The woods above Haggwater Bridge
10. Woodlands valley from Open Hagg
11. Crook Hill
12. The top of Crook Hill's northern top looking to Bridge-end Pasture
13. The Wheelstones
14. Crook Hill's northern top
15. On the top of Crook Hill
16. Looking across Ladybower to Stanage Edge and Bamford Edge
17. Bamford Edge and Ashopton Viaduct
18. Ladybower Reservoir and Whinstone Lee Tor
19. Win Hill and Ladybower Reservoir
20. Crook Hill and Ashopton Viaduct
Walk Detail: It is often remarked that the Peak District doesn't actually have any peaks. This is not entirely true and some of the lower tops especially have summits that would grace many a more mountainous area. This walk linked two of these hills, Win Hill and Crook Hill, both of which rear impressively above Ladybower Reservoir.
I decided to take this route clockwise so as to have a steep climb at the beginning of the walk rather than a steep descent at the end (never a good thing for my knees). The climb up Parkin Clough certainly was steep but it did have the advantage of being completely sheltered from the prevailing wind. At the time I didn't fully appreciate this until I emerged from the shelter of the woods.
Anyone coming over Moscar Flat on the A57 from Sheffield cannot fail to be struck by their first sighting of Win Hill's summit and I personally had been looking forward to visiting it for some time. Unfortunately for me it was an incredibly windy day. I've been out in strong winds many a time in the Dales, Lake District and Snowdonia but the buffeting I got on top of Win Hill equals anything I've experienced so far.
It was a real shame because the summit was everything I hoped it to be but I was too busy trying to keep my feet to really appreciate it. I certainly wasn't going to risk camera or tripod trying to get a picture of myself at the summit. Oh well I'll just have to go back again another time!
From Win Hill I followed the wide path all the way to Hope Cross. Along the way I was able to enjoy views of Lose Hill, Edale and the Kinder plateau, with Jaggers Clough especially prominent. I was also walking almost directly into the wind, at times it seemed like I was almost walking at a 45 degree angle. I'm sure if the wind had suddenly stopped I would probably have keeled over!
After a couple of miles of being so exposed it was with some relief that after passing Hope Cross the bridleway entered the plantation and I could have some respite from the wind. As I descended to the banks of the River Ashop I gave serious thought to missing out Crook Hill and opting for a low level return in the woods. In the end though I decided to stick to my original plan in the hope that the promised easing in the wind speed would finally begin to materialise.
The ensuing climb up past Hagg Farm was enlivened when, on no less than three occassions, I had to take evasive action to avoid mountain bikers hurtling around the bends as they came down in the opposite direction. The following walk over Bridge-end pasture was, apart from some nice views back over the Woodlands Valley, fairly dull but thankfully I still had Crook Hill left to visit and it proved to be the highlight of the walk.
Although modest of height the twin tops of Crook Hill rear impressively and both, especially the slightly lower southern top, feature plenty of gritstone. First of all I took grateful shelter on the leeward side of the northern top so that I could finally eat some lunch and enjoy the fabulous views across to Derwent Edge, with the Wheelstones especially prominent, and further south to Stanage Edge and Bamford Edge. After finishing my lunch I visited both tops before descending to Crookhill Farm and the final drop down to the A57 from where it was a short walk back to the car at Heatherdene.
Despite the wind I still had a thoroughly enjoyable time. The scenery was fantastic, the sun was out and neither Win Hill or Crook Hill disappointed. While there are a lot more places in the Peak District I'd like to visit I would, one day, like to do this walk again.