Walking: Crowden circuit...

Peak district snow by Peter Wolstenholme
Peak district snow by Peter Wolstenholme

A circular walk from Crowden including Rhodeswood and Torside reservoirs

• Start - Crowden Car park

• Grid Reference – SK 072 993

• Map OL1 Dark Peak OS Explorer 278 / 288

• Grade - moors and fields with mostly well marked paths. Gentle climbs. Can be muddy in parts

• Parking - Crowden car park (no charge)

• Public transport – National Express route 350 (Liverpool to Cambridge) stops at Crowden

• Refreshments – none on this route

• Public Toilets – Crowden Car park

• This walk was written and produced by Stocksbridge Walkers Are Welcome for more interesting walks please visit http://www.stocksbridge-walkers.org.uk

Starting from the car park, we head northwards onto moors, before looping back to cross the A628. A circuit of Rhodeswood Reservoir is then followed by the north side of Torside Reservoir before returning to the start.

1. Leave the car park, heading away from the main road (A628). Pass through a metal gate and follow the track.

2. When you reach a junction, just before a bridge, take the right fork. You then progress into Brockholes Wood SSSI.

Brockholes Wood is one of the last fragments of an extensive sessile oak woodland which once occupied much of the gritstone hills. The sessile oak is named because, unlike the English (pedunculated) oak, its acorns are not carried on stalks (peduncles) but directly on the outer twigs (sessile). The wood is owned by United Utilities and managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. It lies within the Dark Peak SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

3. Keep following the track as it passes into moorland, following a wide track uphill. After the track levels out, follow it down leftwards and through a gate towards Crowden Brook. You will reach a metal bridge. After crossing the bridge, the path ascends diagonally to the left.

4. Progress up the hill following the path. You will pass over a stile before turning left and joining the Pennine Way as it traverses southwards.

The Pennine Way is a National Trail which runs 267 miles (429 km) from Edale, in the northern Derbyshire Peak District, north through the Yorkshire Dales and the Northumberland National Park and ends at Kirk Yetholm, just inside the Scottish border.

5. When you reach a T-Junction, turn right, passing through a wooden gate, before taking the immediate right turn, over a stile into fields. The path is indistinct, but there is a depression in the field which rises gently in a westward direction towards a gate.

6. Following the path for about 1 km, you will pass through a number of fields, using gates/stiles as markers. As you approach the A628 at Quiet Shepherd Farm head for the far corner of the field (passing an isolated marker post). Just to the left of the building, there is a hidden old rusty gate leading onto the road.

7. Cross the road and turn right. Take care.

The A628 is a major trunk road and can get very busy. It connects Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire by crossing the Pennines via the Woodhead Pass through the Peak District National Park.

The height and the exposure of the road often creates problems during poor weather. It is occasionally closed due to snowfall or high winds.

8. Take the first left turn down a wide metalled road. Almost immediately, take the narrow footpath, on the left, downhill to a metal kissing gate. You then descend steps towards the dam wall.

9. When you reach the weir, turn right and complete an anti-clockwise circuit of Rhodeswood Reservoir.

10. Returning along the dam wall reascend the steps towards the kissing gate and take the path immediately to the right, following the Pennine Way along the bank of Torside Reservoir.

11. Walking through trees, follow the north bank of the reservoir for 1.5 km. Don’t take the Pennine Way when it bears to the left, instead, follow the concessionary path to the right.

12. Soon after crossing a bridge, when you are in sight of the Crowden turn-off from the A628, take a halfright across a field, cross the A628 and return to your start point

The A628 is mentioned in a Human League track “The Snake” (2001). It is suggested as an alternative route to the M62 or the Snake Pass (A57).

Originally formed in 1977, The Human League are a highly influential Sheffield synthpop band. As David Bowie said in 1979; “I have seen the future of Pop Music, they are called The Human League!”

The Manchester Corporation Waterworks Act 1848 allowed the construction of Torside and Rhodeswood Reservoirs, and an aqueduct to convey the water to the Arnfield reservoir where it would pass through the Mottram Tunnel to Godley.

Rhodeswood Reservoir was constructed by John Frederick Bateman between 1849 and June 1855 as part of the Longdendale chain to supply water from the River Etherow to the urban areas of Greater Manchester. Water is extracted to pass through the Mottram Tunnel to Godley for Manchester.

During construction, landslips were a problem. Bateman consulted the engineer: Robert Stephenson, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Subsequently, pipes were sunk to draw off water from the underlying shale.