The Edale circular walk
A cloudy day in the Peak District is better than a sunny day in the office.

The Edale circular walk is a great walk and takes you via: Edale, the start of the Pennine Way, Upperbooth, Jacob’s ladder, Browne Knoll trig point, Rushop edge, Mam Tor, Hollins Cross and then back to Edale.

Plan your day for this Edale Circular hike:

Start/Parking: I always start at Edale car park. Grid ref 125854 (OS Explorer SL1). Enter S33 7ZA into your Sat Nav. As you reach Hope you should turn onto Edale road, after a few miles you’ll find the car park on the right just before you turn right into Edale village. The last time I visited (Nov 2013) the parking costs were £3.00 for 2 – 4 hours and £5 for over 4 hours - don't forget your £1 coins.

Walk summary: I started the walk at 9.30am and got back to the car park at 2pm (4 ½ hours). I stopped a couple of times for a cuppa and a little lunch at Hollins Cross. The walk starts at 231m and the highest point is around 569m. There are a number of stys, rough tracks, steep hill climbs and steep descents - you have to be fit to attempt this walk.

Guided walks: We have guides available for this edale circular walk to escort you on your walk. Our guides are very friendly, experienced hill walkers. They are also highly qualified first aiders. Obviously there is a charge for their time; the more there are of you the cheaper it will be. Click here to arrange your guide.

Quick summary for the Edale Circular walk:

  1. Walk up the village to the pub and turn left (just after school) to Pennine way
  2. Follow path to slab path and follow to top of small hill after 5th gate/stile.
  3. Follow path downhill to Upperbooth and farm buildings, pass through and follow road to right.
  4. Follow path to and up Jacob’s ladder to the top
  5. Continue on the path (straight on not right).
  6. You’ll come to a large wooden gate. Follow path on right after gate
  7. Continue on path to first style
  8. Follow path south until Rushop edge
  9. Turn left and follow Rushop edge to mam tor
  10. Follow path past Mam tor to Hollins cross.
  11. Follow path to left at Hollins Cross to road, turn left to Edale car park.

See below - I have attached a PDF below if you prefer to print these instructions.

Start of the Edale Circular walk - Enjoy

As you approach Edale on the main road you’ll see the car park just before the turning to Edale. I always use this car park as it’s impossible to park in Edale itself. This walk took me 4 ½ hours so the car park cost me £5 for over 4 hours. When you pay the left hand machine you need to remember your number plate.

Leave the car park by the steps to the left of the car park pay machines and turn right up the road to the centre of Edale. You’ll see the pub straight ahead on the right hand side of the road; opposite the pub you’ll see the school and opposite the school you see a sign for the Pennine way (on your left). Take this path, through the gate and up the track with the stream on the right and the camp site behind the trees on the left. Be careful, make sure you get the right path, these instructions won’t make sense if you head down the path past the post office!!

Continue the edale circular walk up the path and through the gate at the top and follow the “grey brick road”. At the 5th gate walk up the small hill. For Jacobs’s ladder follow the main path down the hill towards the farm buildings. The path comes to a large gate leading to another large gate. Here follow the path through the farm yard (bends to the left) to a main looking road. Turn right up the road.

You stay on this road for quite a while. There are cows in this area and on the path, I have never had an issue with them but you have to be careful when approaching large animals (as reported in the Bath Chronicle). Eventually you’ll reach a very attractive bridge. A nice spot to have a break, I say this because you’re about to be introduced to Jacobs ladder. I arrived at the bridge at 10.30am

You stay on this road for quite a while. There are cows in this area and on the path, I have never had an issue with them but you have to be careful when approaching large animals (as reported in the Bath Chronicle). Eventually you’ll reach a very attractive bridge. A nice spot to have a break, I say this because you’re about to be introduced to Jacobs ladder. I arrived at the bridge at 10.30am

There are 2 routes to the top from here you can follow the easier path through the gate to the left towards the broken down shack (uphill) and up to the cairn or follow the path in front up Jacobs ladder. If your party splits here you can meet at the cairn halfway up.

When you reach, what appears to be, the “top of the hill” you’ll find a small flat wall. I believe this was put here for hikers, like me, to rest for 5 minutes, take a well-deserved drink of water and take in the view. I remember writing these notes while resting a few minutes and noticed the “loud” silence and saw no-one, what a perfect way to spend an energetic day. There was a little breeze, some misty cloud descending and total silence apart from the cascading water below – should have been a poet. The Edale circular walk is a perfect way to spend an energetic day in the peak district - just think of the 1,000's queuing at Meadowhall?? I reached the wall at 11am.

After your little break continue on the path (straight on not the one to the right) until you reach the large wooden gate. Go through the gate and take the path to the left. Continue on this path until the first sty on the left. Here you leave the brick path onto more rough ground. You’ll see the path which will take you to the Browne Knoll trig point (569m). When I was here it was very boggy so be careful of sinking in holes (and never been seen again)!!

 From here I head cross country to the air shaft in the distance. The Peak District really is a strange place, you never know what’s round the next corner. The dark “castle” shape building was the thing I least expected to see.

When I visited there was steam coming out the top. I presume because of the heat in the Cowburn Tunnel and it was so cold above ground.

From the tower, bear SE to map reference (Peak District OL1) 099829. You’ll see a pole of old wood sticking out the ground, you need to head to this and continue down the path to the T junction. At the junction follow the path east that crosses Rushup Edge. There are some great opportunities for some photos here. You’ll see a line of Mam Tor, Back Tor, Lose Hill and Crook Hill in the distance. As you walk across Rushup Edge to Mam Tor you’ll come to a small hillock (if that’s a word?). The panoramic view from the top is awesome.

You’ll come to a road and it’s hear you need to make a decision. If you have never been to Mam Tor, firstly WHY? And secondly cross the road and ascend to the top of Mam Tor. Or you could walk down the road a little, to Mam Tor bus stop and go through the gate. Here follow the path uphill. The path will lead to the other side of Mam Tor. I like this path because you can see the fortifications that were built a couple of 1000 years ago! It doesn’t matter whether you go to the top of Mam Tor or take the path by Mam Tor bus stop. Both will meet up on the same path to Hollins Cross.

The view between Mam Tor and Hollins Cross is great. On the left you have Edale valley to Hope and on the right is the collapsed A625. I love it because 5 minutes before you walk past a walled settlement that has lasted in better condition that the road built in the last 100 years – bizarre.

The best view - the edale circular walk

To finish the edale circular walk continue on the path to Hollins cross and you will come to a manmade memorial. I had lunch here. From here take the path on the left down to Edale. The path is obvious, it takes you past a disused building on the right and a cow shed on the right. Follow the arrows and footpath signs towards the stream and ultimately the road. When you get to the road, turn left and you’ll find the car park about 500m down the road on your right.

I’ve wanted to do this edale circular walk for a long time and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve done loads of walks around Edale (a place I love) but never walked to Mam tor in a circular direction but presumed you could. So I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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