By Sue Thersby
A recent East Cheshire Rambler’s circular walk started from Hayfield in Derbyshire. There were eleven of us, in spite of the rain. The first written record of Hayfield is to be found in the Doomsday Book when it was called ‘Hedfeld’ and was a natural clearing in the vast forest at the foot of the Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District (2088ft) and the southernmost point of the Pennine Chain. It became a mill village from the 17th century onwards and is famous as the birth place and childhood home of Arthur Lowe (Captain Mainwaring in Classic ‘Dad’s Army’) whose home is marked by a blue plaque, which we passed on our way towards Kinder Reservoir.
We climbed up the cobbled path to the west of the reservoir before turning westwards to arrive at the shooting cabin, where we had our morning break. After crossing Middle Moor, our route took us northwards, parallel to the Glossop Road before we crossed it, just before the now closed Grouse Inn. We then passed through a couple of farms before joining the Pennine Bridleway for a short distance. Continuing our way past Higher Plainsteads and Rocks Farms, we climbed gradually up to Cown Edge, from where we had 360-degree views over the surrounding countryside with Glossop to the east and Charlesworth to the north. We walked along the whole of the ridge in a generally southerly direction until we descended to Rowarth, a small village, which is locally famous for the Little Mill Inn, a pub and restaurant in a former candlewick mill, with a waterwheel in the adjacent stream. The Little Mill has a retired Brighton Belle Pullman railway coach which is used as guest accommodation.
Changing our orientation to south-easterly we passed Laneside Farm before climbing up a bridleway which eventually took us to the Pennine Bridleway again and Lantern Pike. Here our party split up and the more energetic climbed up the Pike, which boasts an orientation table and has magnificent views, whilst the others contoured round it. Finally, we gradually descended back into Hayfield via Upper Cliffe Farm. We were lucky enough to find the local chocolatier open at the end of the walk for our usual refreshments.