Kinder Scout is one of those hills in the Derbyshire Peak District that offers many different experiences for walkers. Because of its scale and topography there are numerous ways to approach it. Bisected by the Pennine Way South to North and with trails widely varying difficulties approaching up every clough and ridge makes it accessible and yet constantly intriguing for hikers.
No matter how tough the ascent the views from the top in most weathers are stunning, either in full summer sun or swirling clouds of the constantly changing Derbyshire weather that prevails in the colder months. Of course in fog and low cloud the altitude means the hill is more challenge than vantage point so be prepared for all eventualities.
The route from Edale via Ringing Roger is one that gives great views of the central Edale valley, Mam Tor, Great ridge and beyond. It combines an initial steep ascent with an easy mid-section and quick descent to your starting point Via Grindslow Knoll.
I’ll be giving SK map references for the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL1 map to aid your navigation.
We begin at Edale Station, making this walk accessible via car or train. Car parking is available at the station itself or in the village’s main carpark (SK125854). From there take the pavement next to the road that runs due-north under the iron railway bridge towards Grindsbrook Booth. You’ll pass the Rambler Inn on your left, then Edale’s Church of the Undivided Trinity. Keep walking on the road passing The Old Nag’s Head Pub on your right until you eventually see a footpath branching off to the right as the public road becomes a private drive at SK123862.
The path will dip down to a wooden bridge across Grindsbrook then rise up and take you into open country. Branch off the path almost immediately (SK124863) taking the right fork up the hill towards Heardsman’s Plantation. At the western most tip of this small piece of woodland the path passes through a wall marking the boundary between lower, finer grazing pasture and rougher heathland. Turn around and look back into Edale then North towards Kinder Scount – you’ll see the route of your walk laid out before you. Don’t worry you’re already well into the worst climb of the journey.
The path from here zig-zgs up to the rock promontory that is Ringing Roger. The path splits and sections of it can be indistinct as you approach Ringing Roger itself. The main path shown on the Ordnance Survey map forks several times before you reach the top so it’s up to you which one you take. We enjoyed the western most route into Golden Clough. It’s little more than a sheep track with a few tricky sections but does give you views across to Grindsbrook Clough and Grindslow Knoll.
Depending on the exact path you took up and around Ringing Roger you’ll already have walked 1.5 to 2km the next 2km or so takes you west from the top of Golden Clough (SK126876) to the head of Grindsbrook Clough at SK106876. Every point along this section affords great views into Edale and for miles around to the South and East into the Peak District. You’ll pass Nether Tor, Upper Tor and the Hartshorn on the way offering differing and dramatic phot-ops of the surrounding landscape. Do be careful on the edges as the sandstone and gritstone here is more friable and lose than the rocks on some of Derbyshire’s other escarpments like Stanage Edge and Froggatt Edge.
Throughout the walk look out for wildlife such as hares (if you’re lucky) and kestrels. Binoculars and a long lens for your camera definitely recommended.
From the head of Grindsbrook walk due south to Grindslow Knoll. The last time we did this in late summer it was covered in flying ants so densely that they were crunching under foot despite us trying to avoid them. When you reach Grindslow Knoll at SK110868 you’ll have one of the best views in the Peak District that’s only limited by weather conditions. Do spend some time here taking in the view again as on a good day all of the prominent hills and routes of the central Peak District are visible.
The final leg of your journey is south down the path from Ringing Roger to Edale. The first section is steep, uneven rocky steps that vary in pitch, if you have a short stride a couple of sections may involve you scrambling down on your backside, more for comfort than safety. Next the path becomes gravelly and lose in places and is quite eroded by the number of walkers who use it and the rain with which Kinder Scout is blessed.
Eventually you’ll pass through a stone wall into fields grazed by sheep and the occasional cow joining the last few hundred meters of the Pennine Way at SK119859. You’ll emerge at The Old Nag’s Head where the friendly staff will be more than happy to offer you a little refreshment. It’s then around 500 meters south to your starting point.
This isn’t a very long walk but the initial climb is rather relentless. The effort is well worth it for the views and sense of achievement you’ll get.