Our guide to the best walks, cycle trails and climbing routes in the Peak District.Read more...
Baslow, Curbar, Froggatt and Stanage Edges
Edges and tors provide excellent climbing for beginners and experts alike © Stephen Meese, Shutterstock
The biggest draw for those who love the outdoors are the dramatic edges that stretch for miles with far-reaching views.
From the rocky crags at Robin Hood’s Stride and Cratcliff Tor to the edges of Baslow, Curbar, Froggatt and Stanage, the landscape on the Eastern Moors is full of drama and beauty. Great slabs of rock drop to the valley below, while behind them the moorland plateaus stretch to the skyline. The escarpments, tors and crags are an adventure playground for walkers, boulderers and climbers alike. With climbing routes such as the Black Hawk Traverse and the Flying Buttress on Stanage Edge, Insanity on Curbar Edge or Suicide Wall at Cratcliff Tor, the challenging nature of these climbs is left in no doubt. Famous 20th-century climbers such as Don Whillans and Joe Brown cut their teeth on the Peak District edges before going on to conquer the big boys in the Alps and Himalayas. For the less adventurous, the edges are great for scrambling and simply walking along the top.
Starting with Birchen Edge, the escarpment is adorned with the pencil-thin Nelson’s Monument, honouring Lord Nelson. Nearby, three boulders have been carved with the names of Nelson’s ships: Victory, Defiance and Royal Sovereign. Climbers, in keeping with the nautical theme, have gone on to christen their conquered routes with seafaring names such as Crow’s Nest, Sail Buttress and Trafalgar Crack.
Take in breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape from Baslow Edge © Helen Hotson, Shutterstock
Baslow Edge and Curbar Edge can be accessed from Curbar Gap. Both are worth exploring. Baslow Edge has glorious views over to the Chatsworth Estate and the Derwent Valley and takes in the Wellington Monument, commemorating Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo (echoing Nelson’s Monument over on Birchen), and the Eagle Stone. This exposed gritstone standing in splendid isolation on the moors has come about as the result of weathering. It takes its name either after Aigle, a Celtic god who was rather fond of hurling rocks around the countryside, or from Egglestone, meaning ‘witches’ stone’. Legend has it that the local women wouldn’t entertain marriage until their suitor demonstrated his prowess by climbing the stone, appeasing the witches. It’s also claimed that the witches’ stone turns around when the cock crows. This idea could be linked to the rock’s usage in prehistoric times for astronomical alignments.
Heading northwards from Curbar Gap, Curbar, Froggatt, Burbage and Stanage Edge make for magnificent walking with views across to Stony Middleton, Eyam, Grindleford and Hathersage, while the rocks themselves are a pleasure to walk through with their wonderfully sculpted formations, sprinkled in places with abandoned millstones.