Axe Edge Moor, the Cat and Fiddle pub and a Stag Do…..

I wonder how many of you are looking for the juicy bits?

Well, you’re just going to have to read on…..

Anyway, those of you who’ve been following my laat two blogs, Stanage Edge on a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday  and Froggatt Edge, Big Moor and some Stone Circles, will be aware that Axe Edge Moor is one of three places I wanted to visit.

The other two places I wanted to visit were; Stanage Edge and Froggatt Edge.

After bit of careful diary manipulating, I managed to set a date for visiting Axe Edge Moor and make a return visit.

A couple of fellow walkers, both named Andy, one from Leicester and the other from Stoke, joined me for this walk and just as we had met across the road from the Cat and Fiddle pub, Barney made a shout via Twitter to say he was in Buxton and would be joining us.

The last time I was on Axe Edge Moor, was late February 2011, where it snowed quite heavily the night before, resulting in a very pleasant walk in the snow. Not only had it snowed, but we were engulfed in low cloud for most of the day, just as we were on this return visit.

A full set of photos from that day in February 2011 can still be viewed on the Peak Rambler Flickr account;

Axe Edge Moor, February 2011

Guess what, we were engulfed in low cloud, heavy rain and wind for this walk!

Undeterred, the two Andy’s and myself got suited and booted and then we sheltered at the back of the Cat and Fiddle pubs main building so I could share the intended route with them.

With Barney being in Buxton, he wasn’t that far away, so I assumed he was still making his way towards us, so we decided we’ll hold on a while longer for him.

Not long after I had discussed the route with the two Andy’s, Barney arrived. So he too got suited and booted, and then I shared the intended route with Barney and off we set, in the rain, wind and low cloud.

As we set off, a lot of catch up chat took place, along with the discussion as to Barney’s Stag Do.

Yes, Barney is to tie the knot very soon, and with all good weddings, the bride has her Hen Party and the Groom has his Stag Party.

But, we’ve got to have the walk first, before we can contemplate any pub visits…..

Now originally, the meet up arrangement was to meet at the Cat and Fiddle, a suitable landmark, then move on the Derbyshire Bridge where we would get suited and booted, then head off for our walk.

However, the weather must have deterred many folk and parking was not an issue and our meeting point became our start and finish point.

Cat and Fiddle Pub, engulfed in rain and low cloud

As we wandered down the A537, chatting away, Andy from Stoke hadn’t met Barney before, so an introduction was undertaken, then the catching up on the gossip, we took the left fork to Derbyshire Bridge, while I had last seen Barney almost a year ago, Andy from Stoke hadn’t met Barney before.

We followed the road towards Derbyshire Bridge, taking the right turn 400 metres short of the car park, heading in a South Easterly direction to pick up the footpath heading in a nor-nor East direction, eventually meeting back up with the A537.

The left fork off the A537 Buxton - Macclesfield Road, hading towards Derbyshire Bridge

Barney (L) and Andy (R) from Stoke

Looking over to Derbyshire Bridge

From there, we crossed the road taking the footpath on to Axe Edge Moor. Here we pick up the route I took that day back in February 2011.

".....the footpath heading in a nor-nor East direction,
eventually meeting back up with the A537."

The gate leading on to Axe Edge Moor
L-R; Barney, Andy from Leicester and Andy from Stoke

L-R; Me, Andy from Stoke and Andy from leicester

In many respects, the moor looked very different than it did back then, namely because it was green and not white!

Around this part of the walk, Barney and I shared notes on our experiences as leaders for youth organisations. Barney is involved with the Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) scheme, while I have been involved with Scouting.

The path was reasonably clear to follow, in a Southerly direction, crossing the single track road at Dane Head, continuing past Cheek Hill on our right.

"In many respects, the moor looked very different than it did back then,
namely because it was green and not white!"

Dane Head, where Barney almost lost his map, on what was a windy day.
Soon after crossing the single track road at Dane Head, the two Andy’s had spotted a marker, held to the ground by a stone.

Exactly why that was there, we’re not sure, though it is supposed to be some kind of marker.

"....after crossing the single track road at Dane Head,
the two Andy’s had spotted a marker...."

Crossing the River Dane near Dane Head
Soon we crossed a dry stone wall, to pick up a track leading down towards Orchard Farm. 

The view as we walked down the track, particularly to our left down to the river, was quite a pleasant one, considering the weather.

The track leading southwards towards Orchard Farm
Though the planned route was to walk down and through orchard Farm, but a quick route discussion and we circumnavigated Cheeks Hill Southern edge to pick up Dane Valley Way.

Just before the gate, we had a route change taking the track up to the right.
Remember, we’ve a Stag do to accommodate …….

We’re walking across open moorland, which will have peat bogs, rivers and streams, oh, and the occasional post, be it for fencing or signage…..

Lunchtime was getting near and my intended lunch stop would be around Reeve-Edge Quarry. Reeve-Edge Quarry provided superb shelter from the elements back in February 2011; however, I had my doubts this time in view of the wind direction blowing up from the North West, right in to the quarry.

Leaving Orchard Farm and heading for Reeve-Edge Quarry

Entering Reeve-Edge Quarry
So we did a bit of a reccie around to see if we could find a suitable sheltered spot, because there wouldn’t be another sheltered spot from here until the end of the walk.

As luck would have it, Andy from Stoke found a nice deep hollow, which provided a good shelter from the wind, so we set down and enjoyed out lunch stop.

Lunch in Reeve-Edge Quarry

Those of you, who know the Peak District well, will be aware that it has quite a rich industrial and mining heritage.

There have been lead mines, as far back as the Romans, Blue John mines, which are unique to Castleton in the Peak District, limestone and gritstone quarrying and much more.

Just digressing for a moment, the Blue John Caverns, Treak Cliff Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, where you travel through the cavern on a boat, and also Peak Cavern, are all well worth a visit if you get the chance.

I’ve waffled on, so back to the blog……

It’s been too many years since I last visited these caverns as a child, so it looks like a few more places have been added to my list of places to visit!

Well, today’s walk was no different, with Dane Bower Coal Mine, Reeve-Edge Quarry, where we had lunch, where the stone was used for roofing buildings with.

Lunch over; we climbed out of our sheltered spot in Reeve-Edge Quarry, to pick up the trail for the River Dane and Danebower Quarry.

Dane Bower
The crossing point on the River Dane,
was a bit too fast for a safe and comfortable crossing today
Following the clearly defined path, we started our descent down to the River Dane, where on our approach, we found that the river was fast flowing, deep and the stones would be slippery, where normally it would be safe to cross, was this time very dubious.

But, before we would go any further, Barney wanted to show us his new toy in action, a Sawyer Water Filter. So a nice peat coloured flow of water was found and Barney filled a water bottle, attached the Sawyer Water Filter and then enjoyed a drink form it.

We all enjoyed sampling the filtered water, which was as clear as tap water, considering how brown it was in the water bottle, before it was filtered.

So we wandered upstream to find a narrower spot to cross the river, which we managed to do, about 100 metres upstream.

Though an easy and narrow crossing point, remember, the ground would be very wet with the morning’s rain and grass banks are very slippery when wet!

But we all managed to cross safely and then headed back to the path through Danebower Quarry.
Walking 100 meres upstream, we found a safer crossing place

Getting back on route at Dane Bower Coal Mine (disused)

We made our ascent out of Danebower, taking in the scenery around us and looking back over the route we had walked.

Looking back up to Reeve-Edge Quarry, from Dane Bower Coal Mine (dissued)

All that remains of Dane Bower Coal Mine, the chimney!

Leaving Dane Bower and entering the A54 to pick up the path along Danebower Hollow

Continuing along the path in a Westerly direction, towards the road, the A54, we were about to leave the route I had taken back in February 2011.

Back then, we followed the A54 towards Buxton, and then took a right turn on to a single track road back on the Axe Edge Moor.

However this time, we were going to pick up the path through Danebower Hollow back to the Cat and Fiddle pub, which was our planned route last time, but because of the shortened available daylight and the people I was walking with were sceptical about walking in the dark, we cut short our walk.

Once at the roadside, it was time to do a route check and locate where we would pick up the footpath leaving the road and walking along Danebower Hollow.

The day was wet, windy and not very warm, with the wind chill averaging 5.3ºC and the wind was reaching 24.5mph!

As we walked along Danebower Hollow, we were afforded some good views over to Hen Cloud and the Roaches and a little further on, as we gained height, Shutlingsloe.

"....we were afforded some good views over to Hen Cloud and the Roaches...."

"....and a little further on, as we gained height, Shutlingsloe...."

Reaching the peak of Danebower Hollow, we could see the Cat and Fiddle Pub, journey’s end was in sight, but it was a superb walk, from start to finish, irrespective of what the weather threw at us.

We arrived at the A537, opposite the Cat and Fiddle Pub, got our mucky boots off and had our post walk drink.

Journey's end, the Cat and Fiddle Pub

It was a warm welcome as we entered the Cat and Fiddle, a good old open fire burning away with nice views out across the moors, even though it was still cloudy and blustery outside

Now, where does the stag do come in?

Have you clicked yet?

Yes, Barney had a Stag Do with a difference, a walk across the moors followed by a post walk drink with friends in the Cat and Fiddle Pub. No dunking in muddy puddles, peat bogs or any of the rivers and streams we encountered, nor was he tied to any posts we found.

We sat at a table, savouring our drinks, discussing the many traits of stag parties, the tying up of the groom to lamp posts etc. I don’t think I need to go in to detail, I’m sure many of you have a good idea.

Well, Barney escaped those capers; the only de-robing that took place was Barney taking his boots and coat off to enjoy a sociable post walk drink and chat.

I would like to take this opportunity of saying thank you to Andy from Leicester, Andy from Stoke and Barney, for an enjoyable day and being great company. Roll on the next walk guys.

Also, Barney, all the best for your big day.....

The map showing the circuit

Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler

Some references to Reeve-Edge Quarry, Dane Bower Colliery and Coal Mining in the Peak District;

Froggatt Edge, Big Moor and some Stone Circles

Froggatt Edge has been on my list of places to visit for a good while, and during the Spring Week, it was moved to quite a high position on my list of places to visit, along with Stanage Edge, which I visited the previous week (see Stanage Edge on a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday) and also Axe Edge Moor, which I visited a couple of years ago, in the snow.

So Froggatt Edge it was.

I also invited Andy H, a fellow walker who I know from Twitter, @mixedupmessedup along, for he too hadn’t been on Froggatt Edge or Big Moor.

There was no particular route planned, it was just get up there, walk Froggatt Edge, Big Moor and visit three stone circles and a couple of other Bronze Age/Neolithic tumuli.

So I arranged that we meet at the café by Outside Shop in Calver, then move on to Froggatt Edge from there.

Just digressing for a moment, Outside Shop are moving out of their Calver shop back to the main store in Hathersage. The Calver shop will become a Spar and the café will continue under new ownership.

Back to the walk.

From Calver, driving up  through Curbar up to Curbar Gap where we parked up, got booted and suited, then set off up Froggatt Edge.

Froggatt Edge and taking in the first views.....

It was a hot day, with a nice breeze to take the sting out of the heat.

We climbed up Froggatt Edge on to the plateau, taking in the views around us across Big Moor, Calver and further afield, Win Hill, Kinder, Castleton’s Great Ridge and much more.

Incidentally, Big Moor is also known as Barbrook Moor, though it is shown on the Ordnance Survey maps as Big Moor.

We headed off in a westerly direction, for Stoke Flat Stone Circle, passing rock climbers enjoying a pleasant day out on the crags and also fellow walkers enjoying their day out.

The clearly defined footpath on Froggatt Edge

A modernish field system on Big Moor

"......we spotted a small cave, which Andy just had to investigate......"

Looking up Froggatt Edge

Looking down Froggatt Edge
Rock Climbing on Froggatt Edge
As we walked around the edge, we spotted a small cave, which Andy just had to investigate. Well, so would I, but he got there first….

Following the path round, we started to descend a little, passing the first of many cairns before eventually reaching a large enclosure.

The enclosure
Not too long after reaching this enclosure, we would reach the first of four stone circles, Stoke Flat, also known as Froggatt Edge Stone Circle.

This is a rather small stone circle, and like many today, time has taken its toll. The one large stone, which had what could be called an offertory tray dug out on the top, had various offerings left in by passers by.

While we were having a look around, we met with another group that had arrived from the opposite direction, and as all good walkers do, we exchanged friendly chat.

It turned out this particular stone circle was the favourite of one guy in the small group.

Well, we’re all entitled to our favourites, mine is the Nine Ladies, on Stanton Moor.

Stanton Moor is an old favourite of mine, as I mentioned in Alport to Stanton Moor; Sunday 4th March 2012 and also Stanton Moor on a snowy Sunday.

Approaching Stoke Flat Stone Circle

Stoke Flat Stone Circle

" large stone, which had what could be called an offertory tray dug out on the top,
had various offerings left in......

It was time to move on, we have a lot of ground to cover, so we bid each other farewell and a safe journey then Andy and I continued along the path towards the gate to the north of the stone circle.

The gate to the north of Stoke Flat Stone Circle

Looking lovely, the bog ridden White Edge Moor
At this point, we decided to cut across the moor, heading for White Edge.

Now beware when cutting across any moor, particularly one where the map shows that grassy symbol, like below, they can be boggy and dangerous.

The Ordnance Survey marsh/boggy land symbol
My advice, if you’ve the slightest doubt about crossing the moor safely, then head for the gate and follow the path around the moor.

We carried on to the field enclosures to the east of the gate, on Stoke Flat, to continue our trek, or I should say, bog hoping, to White Edge.

From here, we could see Win Hill and a few other places along with the Grouse Inn on the A625. Looking through the binoculars, the pub looked very busy in the beer garden…..

Continuing our bog hoping, we eventually reached White Edge, where we ascended to meet up with the path that would cut across us.

Looking over to Win Hill

Looking over to Bamford Moor

Stanage Edge and Higger Tor

Lunch time was fast approaching; we turned left to head in a north easterly direction to circumnavigate the northern edge of White Edge Moor, to visit the next stone circle and Barbrook Reservoir.

As we followed the path, the breeze had picked up again, but more likely because we had climbed out of a wind sheltered area, and headed for the stone wall that cut across our path, near to Hurkling Stone, where we would stop for lunch.

While walking along the path, we came across some fine masonry handy work, with an inscription on; along with a web address; However, this link does not work; I was merely quoting what was inscribed on the stone.

The path on White Edge

Companion Stone

The Dry Stone Wall, where we had lunch

However, that web address didn’t seem to exist, so a bit of quick and easy research lead me to the following link; and the following link for the actual stone on White Edge;

Now, there is more than one Hurkling Stone in the Peak District. Along with the one on White Edge Moor, there is another on Derwent Moor, which I had come across last year, when I wrote Derwent Moor and those funny shaped stones!. So a little research into what is a Hurkling Stone was called for.

This was proving to be difficult, however, I did stumble across the following; Hurkling or Herklin, means to crouch.

Well, these stones are lying on their sides…..

The views from this high point were fabulous, but then so were the previous views just as fabulous.

We could see Win Hill, Castleton’s Great Ridge, Kinder and Bleaklow, very clearly.

Just past the first set of hills, lies Castleton's Great Ridge, just over to the right

Win Hill and Bamford Moor with Kinder and Bleaklow in the far distance

Bamford Moor and Bleaklow in the distance

Lunch over, we continued along the path until we reached a gate, where we would continue in a easterly direction, eventually joining up with the B6054 at Barbrook Bridge on the northern edge of White Edge Moor.

The gate where we took the easterly path

The B6054 near to Barbrook Bridge

As we followed the path at the edge of the moor, we came across a small herd of Highland cattle, relaxed, watching our every move, complete with some calves.

While passing these cattle, we came upon some wooden holding pens, against the stone wall.

Barbrook Bridge

Cattle Pens

Highland Cattle
Continuing along the path, we started to move away from the road, as we headed for Barbrook Reservoir and the second of our stone circles, Barbrook 3.

Unfortunately, we seemed to miss Lady Cross!

Oh well, next time, we’ll see it….

As we approached Barbrook Reservoir, it became very obvious that the dam had been breached at some time and the reservoir was now decommissioned.

"......Barbrook Reservoir, it became very obvious that the dam had been breached......"

Barbrook Reservoir

Some more research was called for, when and why?

Many thanks to Andy, who also did some research and sent me some links to read.

However, it wasn’t too clear when or why the reservoir was decommissioned, other than a report looking at a selection of reservoirs in the Severn Trent region and their viability.

The reservoir was decommissioned completed during 2003, according to the document “A Biodiversity Action Plan the first five years” from Severn Trent Water.

I quote from this document;
Barbrook Reservoir, Eastern Peak District Moors (19.05 ha) – disused for water supply for many years, for reservoir safety legislation compliance, it became necessary to drain and formally ‘discontinue’ the structure to ensure that it could no longer retain significant volumes of water. English Nature consented to the decommissioning process and agreed on the level of environmental mitigation required, in particular the establishment of new habitats that reflected and complemented those on the surrounding moors. These included wet and dry heath, wetland and open water and the re-establishment of the original streams. The work was completed in August 2003. Penny Anderson Associates were our key consultants and will be monitoring and managing the vegetation to ensure the establishment of the habitats

Anyway, Barbrook 3 stone circle was nearby and is quite small, though larger in diameter than Stoke Flat, with all the stones lying down and quite insignificant with the moorland foliage around it.

You could easily walk past and not see it. However, I’ve a keen eye on tumuli and we managed to pick the stone circle out among the grass around it.

Barbrook 3 Stone Circle, you could easily walk past it!

After a few minutes at the stone circle, we back tracked to the reservoir to pick up the path leading past the house, which was once the pump buildings, and now a residential property.

Walking past the property, there is an access driveway that crosses the path. We carried on across the drive, continuing in a southerly direction, heading for another smaller reservoir and eventually our third and final stone circle.

The access driveway that crossed the path

Looking along the sluice to the breached dam of Barbrook Reservoir

"....and also what looked like some settling tanks, in quite a state of disrepair...."

We could see the old sluice from the dam and also what looked like some settling tanks, in quite a state of disrepair. Hardly surprising considering the fact it is open moorland and the reservoir had been decommissioned in 2003!

Continuing along the path in a southerly direction, we walked through a gate, continuing along the path, where we met a lady coming in the opposite direction.

Now I missed a vital part of the conversation Andy was having with this lady, who had walked from the north of White Edge Moor, down towards Froggatt Edge and was walking back to her car.

However, she hadn’t a map of the area she was walking in and asked if either of us had a map!

Yes, we had maps, and also electronic maps…..

I had two maps, one OS the other was printed on Toughprint waterproof paper while Andy had an OS map and a Harvey’s map. That is as well as the mapping on our GPS devices…..

Anyway, we managed to confirm the lady’s route back to her car. We certainly do meet ‘em out and about…..

Continuing along the path, we finally reach the next, small, reservoir, which was pretty much up to its full level.

Approaching the small reservoir, south of Barbrook Reservoir 
"....we stumbled on another Companion Stone...."

After a few minutes walking the dam, we continued along the path, for the next Stone Circle, where we stumbled on another Companion Stone, but this one had been vandalised.

Someone, or persons, had pushed the top part down the hill. However, this one looks like the one from the Companion Stone web pages, on the following link.

The art work on one side seemed to represent a body, with a head, hand and foot inscribed on one side.

Following the path, we had to pass a left hand curve then an almost right angled right hand bend, where we would almost be right upon the third and final stone circle, Barbrook 1.

Well, sure enough, it was there, clear as day, the third and final stone circle, Barbrook 1, along with a cairn approximately 55 mtrs north east of the stone circle.

Barbrook 1 Stone Circle 
More offerings, this tie for Barbrook 1 Stone Circle

Barbrook 1 Stone Circle from the Cairn, just up the hill

The Cairn near Barbrook 1 Stone Circle

Well, so far so good, fantastic day, all stone circles I had looked at on the map, we had bagged, plus the reservoir.

The next stop was Swines Sty, which is not as you might think, an ancient pig sty but an ancient settlement.

To access this settlement, we would once again need to go off path, across Big Moor.

Now, I had made an error in my navigation here. For some strange reason, I had worked out we needed to head south west, but for some inexplicable reason, had set the compass to south east!

Fortunately, my sense of direction, map reading and looking at the lay of the land, told me the compass setting was wrong and to head in the desired direction.

Our 'off path' route to Swines Sty settlement

This was confirmed by Andy’s gps, which by the way was Viewranger mapping on his phone.

I was puzzled, because the bearing I set and the desired bearing, which we took, was 90º out!

If it was 180º out, that could be reversed polarity, but it wasn’t. My explanation? It was a senior moment.

It just goes to show, how easy it is to make a mistake, but taking all the information in around me, we were able to go with the calculated information and ignore the compass.

We arrived at Swines Sty, a very derelict site, almost looking like a gritstone edge!

Swines Sty Settlement

Inscribed rock at Swines Sty Settlement

Looking over to Froggatt Edge from Swines Sty

In hindsight, I’m guessing it was just a random error, not one I would make normally.

Perhaps a little heat exhaustion, especially as I had consumed virtually 3 litres of water during the walk.

My 3 litre hydration pack was as good as empty when I got home. Fear not, I did have another 500ml bottle as reserve along with a 700ml flask inside my pack.

After spending a few minutes at Swines Sty, we plotted our course, north westerly, for Froggatt Edge and back to Curbar Gap.

The tall stake which provided a good navigation point
This time, I had set my compass correctly….

There was a tall stake in the ground, directly North West, which we aimed for, taking us around the back of the field system by Froggatt Edge, then back up on to Froggatt Edge.

Once on Froggatt Edge, we picked up the path and headed to the left back to the point where we ascended to, ready to start our descent down to Curbar Gap.

We had to walk around the field system on Big Moor, before we could head to Froggatt Edge

Froggatt Edge 
"....we picked up the path and headed to the left back to the point where we ascended...."

Our descent down to Curbar Gap

Once back at the cars, we then headed back in to Calver, to call in at the Outside Shop and also garb a cuppa and a cake, before setting off back home.

I would like to say thank you to Andy, for being great company and I look forward to the next walk, hopefully not too far in the future.

Parking at Curbar Gap

Map showing our circuit around Froggatt Edge, Big Moor and White Edge Moor

Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler

I wrote about Toughprint Waterproof paper and my pleasantly surprising experiences with it. You can read about it here; Toughprint Waterproof Paper from Memory map