In the process of looking over the map near the end of last week, looking for a walk for the weekend, I spotted Snake Path. The path heads out form Snake Woodland, situated along the A57 Snake Pass between Ladybower and Glossop, and meets up with the Pennine Way. It looked good, so settled on it. It turned out to be one of those walks where the benefits of getting out there became more apparent.
The parking facilities at Snake Woodland lie next to the A57 Snake Pass in what can only be described as breathtaking surroundings. It sits in a gorge with the forest all around. I unexpectedly ended up having a chat with an American residing in the UK. He was on his way to an American Civil War re-enactment in Sheffield's Norfolk Park and stopped off for a break. I learned quite a few titbits of history about the American Civil War an the re-enactors in that short chat.
The walk starts in the heart of the Snake Woodland. Directly across from the car park, in Birchin Clough, is the path that leads down in to the forest and Lady Cough.
As you come to the small river you take a left turn and head south down to Saukin Ridge and the meeting point with the River Ashop. This section of the walk is through the forest, and a picturesque forest it is. The day I walked here there was a lot of Forestry Commission work on the go and so some paths were closed off to protect the public. So I would consider this if going there for a walk around.
Once at the River Ashop and across the bridge you head west along the northern bank of the river.
The path here is quite rocky and slips are possible in damp conditions. But the views are nice and the path is interesting to navigate, so no dull moments.
There are a large number of tributaries running into River Ashop off the tops and on this particular day the river was in good flow.
It became obvious as I proceeded up Ashop Clough that the conditions in this area had been very damp over the last few weeks. There was lots of evidence of how damp it was even in the open areas once out from under the forests canopy.
Further up the clough the edge of the Kinder Plateau comes into view (Fairbrook Naze and The Edge). Looking at the two sides of the clough it becomes obvious which side is south facing and which side is north facing. From where I was, looking across the river was clearly southerly as the vegetation was much more lush, and so getting more sunlight.
As I progressed further even more evidence of the amounts of rainfall in this area were becoming clear. Fords were quite tough to cross and it looked like at some point an extremely high volume of water had flowed down the clough.
There were signs that the water had been so strong it had up-rooted large clods of earth and grass. Some clods were a couple of feet in diameter. The flow of water had also removed around 50 meters of the path. So be aware that if the path appears to disappear, it does continue a little further up the river. So some care is needed in traversing this missing section.
The path now rises up Ashop Head and crosses the Pennine Way. The sun had decided to start making a visit at this point, meaning my photographs might be a little less dull. At the crossroads there is a fantastic view out towards Kinder Reservoir and Kinder Low.
For this walk I took a right turn which took me a couple of hundred meters northwest to Mill Hill.
Looking east the edges of the Kinder Plateau were just starting to catch the sunlight.
Arriving at Mill Hill and you come across it's very low cairn, two paths leading off the top and a pointer stone.
Taking the right-hand path, following the arrow of the marker takes you northeast up the Pennine Way and towards Featherbed Moss.
The path takes a steady turn to the right, more westerly and the as it reaches Featherbed Top it takes a more northerly turn up to where the Pennine Way crosses the A57 Snake Pass.
Once at the A57 I followed the road for a few hundred meters and then dropped down onto the path at the top of Lady Clough.
The path here is a bit hit and miss and crosses a few tributaries flowing off the tops from the east. On tributary takes some crossing as it appears that the small bridge that was once there has either collapsed or been swept away.
The path eventually meets back up with Snake Woodland and on through the forest.
At one point, more clues to the large volumes of heavy rainfall and damp conditions, emerald coloured stones.
Unfortunately I also discovered evidence as to why wild camping is not allowed in England, signs of people who do not understand the concept of leave no trace. The arrogant folk who think inflicting themselves on the countryside and our rights is their right. Or simply too lazy to clean up their mess.
There were signs of waters destructive power....
And creative power...
Another half kilometre or so and I as back at the entrance into the wood leading back to the car park.
This was an excellent walk with a few challenges. I would definitely say that gaiters are a must, it's extremely wet in places.