Goyt Valley, Shining Tor and Windgather Rocks circular. Walking

A varied, hilly walk in a beautiful corner of the Peak District National Park with great views to the Kinder plateau and over the Cheshire Plain to the distant Clwydian Hills.
Take a whole day over this walk, to enjoy the views and peace, and perhaps do some bouldering on the crags next to Windgather. The first part of the walk has good views of the two Goyt Valley reservoirs. The best views on the walk are from the Shining Tor ridge, towards Kinder Scout and west to the Clwydian Hills. I found the short road sections very quiet. There is a public toilet in the car park near Errwood Dam. From Waypoint 7 there appears to be a public footpath along the shore of Fernilee reservoir, which would probably make a nice alternative route, but I prefer to keep higher up and away from the crowds.

A view east, across the Goyt Valley, towards Fernilee Reservoir, Derbyshire. Taken from the public footpath next to Jep Clough.  © Vanessa Simmons
Looking across the Goyt Valley, near Fernilee Reservoir, Derbyshire.
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Detailed description

SK0238575149 The walk starts at the gate on the south side of Goyt's Lane, just to the west of the small reservoir. Go through the gate and cross the track. Take the signposted public footpath southwest down the hill with the stream on your left until you reach the footbridge at the bottom. Cross the footbridge and follow the track as it curves left and heads uphill to a gate. Go through the gate and turn sharp right, following the drystone wall down to a stream then up the other side. After about 60m you come to another drystone wall at right angles. Turn left here and climb steeply uphill keeping the wall to your right. After about 300m the wall turns to the right just by a track. Keep on following the wall until you see another wall going off to the right.

SK0142974023 Follow the faint path through the heather contouring southwards. If you lose the path, as I did, continue southwards towards the left hand edge of the wood on the opposite side of the valley. As you approach the point opposite the end of the wood, drop downhill to the infant River Goyt and cross it at a footbridge.

SK0156172929 Climb up to the metalled road and turn south for 300m then take the public footpath on the right going north up to the wood's edge. Continue along this path as it curves to the left through the woods (don't take the right turn for Goytsclough Quarry), crossing the footbridge in Deep Clough and continue to the footbridge in Stake Clough. Follow the path uphill to the right until you get to the stile at the top of the ridge.

SK0002972969 Cross the stile and turn right and cross another stile to head north along the ridge for 150m then turn left on to a well used path which descends to a col then climbs to the trig point on Shining Tor. Follow the flagstone path northwards along the ridge for 3km until you reach a signpost just before the road near the Pym Chair car park.

SJ9954476643 Turn half right, following the sign for Windgather. Cross the road and take the public footpath on the opposite side, heading north for Windgather. When the path joins the road, continue northwards along the road for 1km until, just before reaching Windgather, you climb up the steps on the drystone wall on the right to follow the footpath over the top of the rocks. Continue northwards past the rocks, keeping a drystone wall to your left, until you get to the farm.

SJ9961578847 Don't cross the stile on to the farm drive, just turn right by the Peak and Northern Footpath Society's green sign and keep the drystone wall on your left as you head east. Go through a gate and bear left to a stile. Cross the stile and turn right, gently climbing a grassy field with the field boundary on your right. At the top of the ridge, continue straight on down the other side, crossing a road and cattle grid to follow the farm track down, still heading east. Pass the farm on your left then take a sharp right turn to follow the track down to a bridge over a stream. Cross the bridge and continue, uphill now, along the track until you turn sharp right in to a field just before another farm.

SK0100278370 Keep to the left side of the field and when you get to the far end, turn left on to a track. Follow the track past a farm (where a hand-painted sign says 'NSPCC walk') and after the second farm the track continues through the woods for almost 2km to Waypoint 8, where a footpath goes left just before the gate where the track reaches the road.

SK0103176045 Take the footpath going downhill with the wooded valley to your left. The photo above was taken from this path. When the path goes left in to the woods, take the other path right across a field. Turn left on to the road and cross the dam. Follow the road around to the left, past the car park and public toilet. Just after the toilet, at the edge of the wood on the right, take the small footpath which climbs the bank and crosses the little hill of Bunsal Cob. Follow the path down the other side of the hill, into the wood and as it leaves the wood, keep going straight on uphill for about 60m until you reach a path which crosses at right angles in front of you. Contour left on this path, heading for where the road crosses over a stone arched bridge/culvert. Climb up to the road just to the left of the bridge and cross the road.

SK0203575594 The footpath on the opposite side of the road curves right and uphill through a couple of fields. When the path meets the road again, turn right and you will be back at the car park where the walk started.

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Further Routes

by Vanessa Simmons

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