Walking Big Moor, White Edge Moor and Barbrook Reservoir

Once again a few friends met at our now usual meeting spot of Monsal Head, for a weekend of socialising, walking and catching up on the gossip.
The friends were, Tim and his wife Chris, Phil, Kate, Alvin, Andy and Shaun.

Oh, I mustn’t forget Bella, Tim and Chris’ dog, who was also with us.

Phil, Tim, Alvin, Andy and myself were at the original meet during the bank holiday weekend of August 2011, where Terry Abraham organised a meet up of backpackers to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Peak District National Park. There was quite a lot more of us that weekend, but it was one fantastic weekend and many great friendships were built up on then and still going strong today.

The follow up to that was when Alvin said he would love to walk on Bleaklow and see the B29 wreckage what he had read from a previous blog of mine; Bleaklow, The B29 Superfortress and I got Bleaklowed!

So I organised a small meet with Alvin, Andy, Medhi a friend of Alvin’s for October 2012 to walk Bleaklow and see the B29, which you can read about here; Monsal Head Camping, Bleaklow and the B29 Superfortress return visit

The camp site we use is a very tidy one and the owners don’t normally permit groups of people camping together at the same time. Though we have a good reputation, I aim to keep numbers down and maintain the rapport earned over time.

For the weather, we probably couldn’t have picked a better weekend, the lead up to the weekend was getting warmer and the weekend itself was no less hot.

...."Saturday morning arrived, looking to be a hot day ahead"....
Apart from Phil, we all met on the Friday, pitched out tents, or in Shaun’s case, the trailer tent, then wandered off to the Stables Bar at Monsal Head for the usual catch up and for one or two, introductions who is who and from where.

Phil’s car unfortunately broke down on the motorway while driving up to Monsal Head and had to be recovered back home. However, Phil did manage to organise a hire car and make the trip, even though he arrived quite late at night.

Incidentally, Phil set up and maintains the Social Hiking website, which no doubt some of you will have subscribed to. Sadly, Phil has had to close the Social Hiking website, which was a free service to all walkers and other tracked activities, after the TGO Challenge of May 2018, which I feel is a great shame.
However, I do understand Phil's circumstances, and though it will be sadly missed by many, including myself, I would like to extend my thanks to Phil for providing such a valuable service free of charge.

Also, the meet up in the bar provided a quick recap of the intended walk for Saturday, the route was one I had done with Andy last year, starting from Curbar Gap, ascending Froggatt Edge, following the path west circumnavigating Big Moor, on to White Edge Moor, past the now decommissioned Barbrook Reservoir, back on to Big Moor via Swines Sty and Big Moor Trig Point then back to the cars at Curbar Gap.

You can read about the original walk in my blog Froggatt Edge, Big Moor and some Stone Circles.

Before I continue, I must post a warning. With any moorland walk there are always bogs to cross or walk around. These can be dangerous places and require extreme care, it is too easy to become a victim and sink in to a bog, requiring help to pull you free.

Becoming bogfast can happen to anyone, including me, and I did not too long ago on the North York Moors. You can read about that in A Heartbeat Walk from Aidensfield on to Howl Moor

Saturday morning arrived, looking to be a hot day ahead, and we started to get ourselves ready for the days walking. So once breakfast was over and everyone had sorted their kit, we drove out to Curbar Gap.

The walk started by a short but steep ascent up to Curbar Edge, once up there, we then turned left and headed North West following the path towards Froggatt Edge, taking in the views around us.

The ascent from Curbar Gap to Curbar Edge

Incidentally, Big Moor is also known as Barbrook Moor, though maps tend to name it as Big Moor.

While walking around Froggatt Edge, we came to Stoke Flat Stone Circle, one of a few stone circles on the moors that we were walking.

Stoke Flat Stone Circle is a rather small circle which like many, time hasn’t been too kind. There is one large stone, which had what could be called an offertory tray dug out on the top, had various offerings left in by people passing by.

This and the next two photos are of Froggatt Edge

Stoke Flat Stone Circle

The biggest stone on Stoke Flat Stone Circle
complete with offerings left by people.

We carried on along the path and soon after leaving the stone circle we arrived at a gate. This time, headed for the road through a short wooded area, not like the last time with Andy, where we trudged across a rather waterlogged moor.

At the end of the path, we reached the A625 main road and taking a right turn to head for the Grouse Inn.

Walking along the road, there is a path that takes you clear of the road rather than following the road around, with little or no footpath. I’ve highlighted the path in green on the map at the end of this blog, to show you where it is and its route.

This might be a wiser option from a safety perspective, so you don’t become a casualty while out enjoying what is a very pleasant walk.

Path through a wooded area to the main road

The A625 heading towards the Grouse Inn

The alternative path appears alongside the A625 just south of the Grouse Inn

Approaching the Grouse Inn

We eventually arrive at the Grouse Inn, which to our surprise, happened to be closed. The opening time for that particular day was 12:00 midday and we had arrived around 11:30.

After a quick chat, we continued up the road in a north easterly direction to pick up the track and head up to White Edge Lodge. White Edge Lodge from a distance looks almost like it could be the Weasley’s house, from the Harry Potter films.

Soon after White Edge Lodge, we start a short ascent on to White Edge Moor.

Arriving at the gate after the short ascent, we turn left then right at the cross roads, to continue down White Edge Moor.

The gate leading on to White Edge Moor from the A625

White Edge Lodge

...."Arriving at the gate after the short ascent, "....

...."we turn left then right at the cross roads, to continue down White Edge Moor"....

Following this path, you walk past Lady’s Cross, which unfortunately has fallen down, and could be easy to miss. Well, we missed it last time walking that very same route.

Lady’s Cross dates back to medieval times and probably earlier, serving as a marker at the junction the boundaries between Hathersage, Holmesfield and Totley.

Lady's Cross

Following the path as it descends towards the road, you arrive at a gate on to the roadside. However, once at the gate, you will see a path that circumnavigates alongside the wall, without the need to walk on or close to the road.

...."once at the gate, you will see a path that circumnavigates alongside the wall"....

Following this path, we eventually reach the second of two sets of gates. I mention this particularly, for before the second gate, the ground is very boggy underfoot, so you need to tread very carefully, not because you will get a boot full or two, that will be guaranteed, more importantly you are at risk of becoming bogfast.

I can assure you that will not be fun; in fact it can be quite dangerous, for it is very easy to sink in a bog.

So extreme care is required negotiating this bit.

We finally negotiated this boggy part and continued our walk the other side of the gate.

Some of the group walked on to the now decommissioned Barbrook Reservoir, while others hand railed the fence circumnavigating the reservoir.

Hand rail the fence alongside Barbrook Reservoir

Barbrook Reservoir

If you decide to walk across the reservoir, remember it was once filled with water and therefore the ground has a very high chance of being boggy, making the walk risky in places.

I mentioned earlier that Barbrook Reservoir had been decommissioned. It had been decommissioned 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

Barbrook Reservoir provided our lunch stop, where we sat on the side, looking over the reservoir, enjoying what was around us.

Close to here is the Barbrook 3 Stone Circle, which we didn’t visit this time, though Andy and I visited on the previous occasion.

Soon it was time to move on, so walking around the reservoir, we walked past the old reservoir buildings and picked up the track that goes southwards, past the front of the breached dam and cross the fairly fast flowing Bar Brook.

Take the track southwards past the water works.
Along the track you approach a small reservoir

Approaching the Companion Stone

The Companion Stone alongside the track

Following the track south, you walk past another small reservoir, maintaining your heading along the track; you reach a stone structure on your right. This stone structure is called a Companion Stone

Following the track further southwards and you reach another stone circle, which is reasonably prominent with a cairn behind it, called Barbrook 1.

At this point, we head off path as we descend in a south westerly direction from the stone circle, to cross Bar Brook and ascend back on to Big Moor.

Here we head for Swines Sty, a Bronze Age settlement, which is nothing directly relating to pigs. Though I guess they would have kept pigs, or hogs for food.

From Swines Sty, we continue to ascend and head for the Trig Point on Big Moor. Here you can look over to Sheffield and see two imposing tower blocks. However, we had a far better view and considerably nearer, deer feeding on the moor.

Approaching Barbrook 1 Stone Circle 
...."head off path as we descend in a south westerly direction from the stone circle,"....

...."to cross Bar Brook"....

...." and ascend back on to Big Moor"....

Swines Sty
Unfortunately they were just out of range for the zoom on my camera to get a decent photo. But I’ve put the photo in any way.

Looking south west from the Trig Point, you can see a path heading towards Froggatt Edge, which we took, walking along side what I called paddocks, or really modern field systems. As we neared Froggatt Edge, the cotton grass was starting to show itself quite clearly.

Last year, this was almost a sea of white cotton heads. Eventually we reached the path that circumnavigates Froggatt Edge, leading to Curbar Edge. Turning left and heading in a south easterly direction, we head for Curbar Edge where we descend safely back to the cars. Be careful not to descend too soon, for the descent could be very tricky. If you can, descend via the same route that you initially ascended by, rather than the route I took, which was a little steep and narrow paths with some steep drops to your left.

Big Moor Trig Point
Sheffield viewed from Big Moor Trig point
Watching deer grazing on Big Moor.
Sadly they were just out of range for cameras zoom lens

...."Looking south west from the Trig Point,
you can see a path heading towards Froggatt Edge

...."Eventually we reached the path that circumnavigates Froggatt Edge"....

Post walk chill out before heading to the pub

Back at the cars, we drove in to Calver and enjoyed a post walk drink in the Bridge inn before returning back to Monsal Head to get ready for our food and a proper post walk drink, particularly for those who had to drive.

Once back at the campsite, we freshened up, had a chill out moment before we wandered to the Packhorse Inn in Little Longstone and enjoyed a superb pub meal and a proper post walk drink before heading back to Monsal Head.

Map showing the area walked.
The green track marked is the alternative route to the Grouse Inn taking you away from the traffic

A superb end to a perfect day. Thank you to Andy, Shaun, Alvin, Tim and Chris, Phil and Kate for being great walking and camping companions, and of course, not forgetting Bella the dog.
Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler

Twitter            @PeakRambler
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Links to some of the areas I’ve mentioned and written about here:


  1. Great looking day that :) I remember how hot that weekend was too. We went out and realised we hadn't thought to take extra water for the dogs, but luckily we managed to find the odd puddle, so didn't end up sharing ours with them!

    1. It was a very hot day. I drank 2½ litres of water!

      You were lucky to find puddles considering the dry and sunny weather leading up to the weekend.