A loop of the hills around Edale, this classic challenging hill round takes in some of the most spectacular views of the Peak District, from the lifelike gritstone boulders of the Woolpacks on the Kinder Plateau, and the panoramic views from Win Hill, to the expanse of the Hope Valley from Mam Tor. The route visits several summits, including an optional leg to the top of Kinder Scout, and finishes along the famous Great Ridge between Mam Tor and Lose Hill.
metres / Distance
SK1724084090 Hope is one of the possible starting points, and most logical in terms of making the route circular. Head down Bowden Lane and follow the road around to meet Twitchell Farm. Slog up the steep side of Win Hill and tick off the summit before turning around and heading northeast to Kinder. Follow big tracks alongside Hope Woodlands before turning east at Crookstone Hill.
SK1466788255 From the top of Crookstone Hill, begin the traverse towards Kinder Scout via a long path underneath the Druid Stone and over to Ringing Roger where it's possible to drop down into Edale for an alternative finish.
SK1180187690 Continue along the edge of the plateau, crossing over the top of the stunning gritstone outcrop of Upper Tor. From here, cross over Grinds Brook and head south towards the picturesque viewpoint of Grindslow Knoll.
SK1090986846 From Grindslow Knoll, continue along the well worn track and head through the Woolpack Boulders - a collection of wonderful naturally sculpted gritstone formations that can resemble faces and animals on a foggy day. Take care to find the least boggy section, otherwise you'll be up to your waist! For the summit baggers, it's possible to nip north and tick off Kinder Scout before waypoint 5.
SK0816386785 Gradually begin to head south along a mixture of decent footpaths before it turns to large paving slabs over Brown Knoll. From here, you'll see down towards Edale on one side and into Chapel-en-le-Frith on the other.
SK0998783452 Head away from the large track and follow a wall over the moor. After 500m you will reach a fence which you follow until you regain a larger path.
SK1061983194 Follow the large path along the stunning ridgeline of Lord's Seat, taking time to appreciate the views across to Kinder. Once you reach the road, head up the steep hill to the summit of Mam Tor.
SK1278683638 From the summit of Mam Tor, follow a mixture of slabs and large paths along the ridge to Back Tor and eventually Lose Hill. Take the steep grassy path off the back of Lose Hill and rejoin the road to return to the parking spot.
Start/Finish: The route can be started in a few different places, although it is worth considering starting in Hope where there is decent parking and a train station. Starting here also means there are no extra miles and one less ascent and descent of a big hill, SK171839
Nearest town: Edale or Hope.
Terrain: The circular route takes in classically boggy terrain that you might expect of the Peak District and also large sections of paving slabs used to tackle erosion. The ascent is roughly 1100m when starting from Hope but for the most part, the route is on undulating terrain once up high.
Seasonal variations: Expect severe mud in the winter!
Obviously the race starts from Edale and may arguably be the 'classic' way to run it, but I personally prefer starting from Yorkshire Bridge in order to blast up and down the dreaded Parkin Clough. Downhill isn't easy after running the rest of it!
I did the Edale horseshoe with my son a couple of summer ago. Scorching hot weather - for some reason we started/finished at Yorkshire Bridge. The start/finish via Parkin Clough sticks in my memory as much as going over Brown Knoll in blizzard conditions in the race* a few years earlier. Both made for a memorable outing, which I guess is as good a reason as any.
* If only for the realisation that so many runners seemed to think that you don't need to be able to navigate competently in a fell-race!