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Peak District Walk
Bleaklow & The Longendale Trail from Woodhead

Nat Park - Peak District - Bleaklow Longendale

County/Area - Derbyshire

Author - Andy Chaplin

Length - 10.0 miles / 16.3 km

Ascent - 1600 feet / 485 metres

Time - 6 hours 40 minutes

Grade - mod/hard

Start - OS grid reference SK114998
Lat 53.494783 // Long -1.829633
Postcode SK13 1JE (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Bleaklow & The Longendale Trail from Woodhead Photo from the walk - Bleaklow & The Longendale Trail from Woodhead Photo from the walk - Bleaklow & The Longendale Trail from Woodhead
Click thumbnails for larger images.

I have walked this twice and, on both occasions, have never managed to get to Bleaklow Head which is where I have always planned to meet up with the Pennine Way. That aside, the walk up Near Black Clough and then down Torside Clough is spectacular and the route back along the Longdendale Trail to the Woodhead tunnels is much better than most ex-railway walking. So, the Peak District walk described here is as I have done it - if you want to get to Bleaklow Head - then good luck.

Start at the car park by the Woodhead Tunnels just off the A628 (grid ref. SK114998) and cross the river Etherow and follow the track along its south bank to Near Black Clough. Don't cross the clough at the ford but turn right up the clough side. Some 50m later there is a path off on the right up the hill. If you miss this there is another almost coming back on yourself another 50m further on.

Follow the path along the clough side for another 2.25 miles. It is well defined all the way up and the views behind are worth stopping for as you ascend the 1100 feet to the top. As you get to the top you will see fence posts in front of you at. At SK098965 the path somewhere to your left follows the remains of the clough towards Bleaklow Head. At this point there is also a better-defined path or sheep track heading to the right-hand corner of the wire fence in front of you. If you follow the fence, as this route does, then you will come to the Pennine Way at grid ref. SK091965.

There is some cross country involved but the fence is an easy feature to follow on the top of a rather featureless Bleaklow. The Pennine Way is on the left of the fence that you are following so at some point you will need to step over or through it which can be managed without causing damage. Turn north on the Pennine Way path and enjoy the views as you descend down the west side of Torside Clough. At the bottom pick up the Longdendale Trail and follow it for 4 miles along the southern side of the reservoirs and back to the Woodhead tunnels, old station platforms and car park.

Editor's Note - the Bleaklow landscape can be very confusing especially in mist so this is a walk for walkers competent at using maps. GPS might also be a benefit. I have found Bleaklow Head a number of times using map and compass to navigate across the deep groughs in the peaty wasteland. However it was not an easy task when approaching from Longendale and required plenty of persistence and patience! Finding Bleaklow Head is much easier from the south using the Pennine Way from the A57 at Snake Pass.

Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers

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Recommended Reading

Pennine Way Map Booklet

Pennine Way Map BookletMap of the 270 miles (435km) Pennine Way National Trail, between Edale in the Peak District and Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. This booklet is included with the Cicerone guidebook to the trail, and shows the full route on Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps. This popular long-distance route typically takes three weeks to complete.
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Walking - Covid 19 update

Regular updates on how Covid 19 will impact on walking in the UK More info.

Mountain Weather

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Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.