Peak District Walk
Oyster Clough & Blackden Edge from Birchen Clough
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It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.
Walk Route Description
This Peak District walk comes with several warnings. Firstly, the walk back down Oyster Clough involves some, relatively easy, off path walking. Secondly the path above Blackden Edge involves a section at the side of the steep Blackden Edge. Thirdly the Fair Brook must be waded or you need to go up the bank towards Nether Seal Clough to find rocks to step across. Problems apart, it is a good chance to see more of the northern edge of Kinder after the relatively easy ascent up Crookstone Out Moor.
After parking at Birchen Clough Bridge (grid ref. SK109914) take the path signed Alport Bridge and follow the Roman road south-eastwards through the woods. When you come out of the trees behind the Snake Pass Inn either continue along the track to the sheepfold (grid ref. SK120905) or take the path up Oyster Clough to the shooting cabin at the top of the valley. It is well worth the detour - so if you do go that way then cross over the streams after the cabin then follow a sheep track that runs just below the moor/heather edge on the east side of the clough. When the sheepfolds become visible again make your way down the hillside towards them and pick up the Roman road again and follow it to Alport Bridge.
Cross over the A57 and take the track which goes past the house at Upper Ashop and follow it uphill towards Blackley Clough. As the track bends to the right when you approach the clough look out for a faint path that leads off the track uphill after the Blackley Clough stream - it is easier to see it's route up Crookstone Hill from a distance than when you have got to it. This is a short cut to the main path up Crookstone Out Moor to Kinder. Just head uphill at right angles to the track after Blackley Clough and aim for the trees and signpost that are on the Crookstone-Kinder path.
Just before the top turn right on the path between the two outcrops of rocks then follow the Kinder edge path right and then around Crookstone Knoll. At this point stay on paths along the northern edge of Kinder and follow them towards Blackden Edge. The views are dramatic but, personally, I am always happier when Blackden Brook is behind me and I am not quite so close to the rather steep edge down into the Ashop valley. You can normally rely on an off-the-hill wind at this point too!
Follow the path around Seal Stones then look for a small stile over the wire fence just above an outcrop of rocks. You will be above Gate Side Clough which heads down the Ashop Valley and will see Oyster Clough going up on the other side - so, in good weather it is pretty easy to locate. The path follows an old stone wall straight downhill, part of which has been made into grouse butts, and then, after some plank bridges it picks up a moors track which clings to the side of the clough. Do vehicles drive up here, I wonder?
At the bottom, there is only a ford over the Fair Brook but it was possible to make your way upstream past Nether Seal Clough and get over without wet feet - although it did require throwing some stream bed sand onto slippery rocks to get a grip before stepping over. Come back to the footbridge over the Ashop at SK114902, cross it, then immediately turn off on an unofficial path along the northern bank of the river between the fence and the river bank. Continue to the point where the Snake Path meets the path from the Snake Road and the path from the Birchen Clough car park (grid ref. SK108907). Just after this point part of the path had been washed away in late 2016 - so some care is needed to get around the very narrow part that is remaining - but it is possible. Finally, follow the path back along the Birchen Clough stream for 600 metres back to the car park.
Other walks nearby
Walk 1116 Grains in the Water & Alport Castles - mod/hard - 12.0 miles/19.5 km
Walk 1227 Fair Brook & Kinder Northern Edges from Birchen Clough - moderate - 8.5 miles/13.8 km
Walk 2514 Fair Brook & Kinder Downfall from Birchen Clough - moderate - 8.0 miles/13 km
Walk 2982 Bleaklow & Higher Shelf Stones from the Snake Pass - mod/hard - 9.5 miles/15.4 km
Walk 3238 Fairbrook Naze & Ashop Head from Birchen Clough - moderate - 9.3 miles/15.1 km
Walk 1489 Blackden Brook, Kinder & Upper Ashop - moderate - 6.8 miles/11 km
Walk 3049 Bleaklow Stones from King's Tree, Derwent Valley - mod/hard - 12.0 miles/19.5 km
Walk 1159 Grindsbrook & Edale Head from Edale - moderate - 7.5 miles/12.2 km
Walk 1264 Rushup Edge & Crowden Tower from Edale - moderate - 10.0 miles/16.3 km
Walk 1295 Ringing Roger & Edale Cross from Edale - moderate - 10.0 miles/16.3 km
Recommended Books & eBooks
Walking in Derbyshire
Walking guidebook to 60 circular day walks in Derbyshire and the Peak District. Includes the Derwent, Wye and Trent river valleys, near Derby, Matlock, Glossop, Bakewell and Ripley. Routes range from easy to moderate and are between 4 and 14km (2 to 10 miles). Walks focus on places of interest, from Stone Age forts to castles to grand estates.
Walking in the Peak District - White Peak East
Guidebook describing 42 half-day and day walks in the limestone landscapes of Derbyshire's White Peak, part of the Peak District National Park. One of two volumes, this book covers the east of the region, with potential bases including Bakewell, Eyam, Castleton, Birchover, Matlock and Wirksworth.
Map and Compass
An instructive guidebook explaining map and compass techniques, to help readers enhance their outdoor experiences. Whether you are experienced in map-reading, or have never used a compass before, this guidebook will sharpen your skills and have you exploring new areas in no time. There are also tips for GPS and digital mapping technologies.