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Home » Walk Cowper Stone & Stanage Edge, Carhead Rocks & Higger Tor from Upper Burbage Bridge

Walk Cowper Stone & Stanage Edge, Carhead Rocks & Higger Tor from Upper Burbage Bridge

An undulating walk with classic views from the popular Stanage Edge before leaving the busy honeypot and taking in the less travelled Carhead Rocks, overlooking Brookfield Manor (‘Vale Hall’ in Jane Eyre), crossing Mitchell Field and climbing towards Callow Bank before diverting over Higger Tor to return to Upper Burbage Bridge

Cowper Stone & Stanage Edge Walk Overview

Distance: 5.74 Miles (9.2km)
Total Ascent: 1324ft / 403m
Time: 3 hr 11min
Map: Ordnance Survey OL1 (The Peak District – Dark Peak Area)
Get this route on the OS maps website & app
The time is loosely based on Naismith’s Rule and will vary depending on the walker.

Getting There

By Car:

Free parking at the Upper Burbage Bridge car park on Ringinglow Road – Postcode S32 1BR

Public Transport:

No easy access by public transport.

Upper Burbage Bridge & Stanage Edge​

From the parking area go through one of the gates that take the path away from the road and head directly west, taking the path which runs parallel with the road, dropping down to ford the two streams which run under the bridge and continuing west, rejoining the road after crossing the streams.

Cross the road and head west beside the road, towards the rocks at the beginning of Stanage Edge that you can see directly ahead.  Cowper Stone, a large block of gritstone marks the beginning of the 3.5-mile-long escarpment of Stanage Edge.

As the road bears left, continue west (straight ahead) along the clear footpath. The path soon climbs up to join Stanage Edge at its southeastern end.

Burbage brook trickles downhill from Upper Burbage Bridge. Bracken and heather line the moorland on each side of the brook. In the distance the iron age hill fort of Carl Wark rises above the valley.
Looking down Burbage Brook from Upper Burbage Bridge

Along Stanage Edge

Head along Stanage Edge, where possible keeping to the gritstone surface to avoid eroding the peat of the moorland on your right. Shortly after joining Stanage Edge walk past a trig point to your left.

This section of the walk is likely to be busy with walkers and climbers especially in the summer or at weekends. Stanage is a classic walk visited by thousands; with the views on offer, it is not hard to understand why.  A classic climbing destination, you will always find enthusiasts tacking the gritstone edge with a wide range of routes for climbers of varied skills and experience.

A set location for the film adaptation of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, starring Keira Knightley, Stanage Edge also sees visitors looking to Instagram their own Elizabeth Bennet moment from the rock featured in the filmThe particular rock is on a sheer edge and I would discourage standing too close to the edge for a photo op. Safety harnesses were used during filming.

The rocks of Stanage head into the distance with the gritstone edge to the left. In the distance are the hills of the Peak District and the Hope Valley
Stanage Edge offers a wide vista across the eastern part of the Dark Peak area

Continue along Stanage Edge for approximately 1.3 miles / 2km, passing the trees of Stanage Plantation below to your left. To your right, you will see a tall pole on the moor (Stanedge Pole).

Continue a little way along Stanage Edge after passing the plantation. Shortly after passing a path which heads off to the right towards Stanedge Pole, look out for a path on your left that almost doubles back as it descends from the escarpment.

From Stanage Edge Walk to Carhead Rocks​

Descend the man-made path as it drops down with the gritstone edge now above you to your left. The path heads south, through Stanage Plantation. Pass between two stone walls and stay on the path as it curves gently right. Head through a gate, descend the path constructed from stone blocks and go through another gate, leaving the plantation and continuing to gently descend.

A group of climbers tackle a route up the gritstone face of Stanage viewed from below
Climbers on the face of Stanage as the path descends to the plantation

The path splits into three ahead. Take the left path and then, as the path forks again, take the option on your right. Emerge on a quiet lane, with public toilets just to your right.

Turn left and head up the road which curves to the right and arrives at a T-junction. Turn right and go through a gate beside a cattle grid. Immediately after the gate/cattle grid take the footpath on your left which climbs up Cattis-side Moor.

After a brief climb up the clear path on the moor, reach Carhead rocks, a short gritstone miniature edge.  Without the status or classification of the other edges, Carhead Rocks is far less busy than Stanage. Although less grand, Carhead Rocks offers views over North Lees below and Brookfield Manor which provided Charlotte Bronte with inspiration for Vale Hall in ‘Jane Eyre’

Broken gritstone marks the beginning of Carhead rocks. A path heads along the top of the rocks on the left. Bracken lines the hillside which drops down to the right
Approaching Carhead Rocks overlooking North Lees and Hathersage

Walk along Carhead Rocks with the ‘mine-edge’ to your right. Towards the far end of the edge, the path forks with a post off to the left. Do not head to the post, instead bear right, descending slightly to meet a junction with another path.

Turn right and descend the path which is clear but rough and steep in places, heading towards a corrugated building

The path goes through a gate and reaches a quiet lane at the bottom. Turn left along the lane, passing Leveret Croft on your left.

Leveret Croft to Mitchell Field

After passing Leveret Croft, continue along the lane which heads uphill until it turns sharply left, with a choice of footpaths through stone gateposts to your right.

Of the two paths heading right, take the leftmost option (i.e. not the one heading through a gate) which heads downhill southwest with a stone wall to your right. Although passing through high bracken the path is obvious as it descends then meets a gate heading half-right.

Go through the gate and descend the field to pass right of Toothill Farm.

After passing the farm follow the path as it turns left and climbs a track to a tree in front of a gate and stile.  Continue straight ahead climbing steadily up the track to emerge at a minor road.

Turn left and walk up to the road to the corner. As the road turns to the left, head right through a gate signposted ‘Mitchell Field’. Cross a footbridge  then at a path junction bear left climbing up to an unsurfaced lane.

Callow to Higger Tor​

Turn right up the lane which climbs to pass new-build cottages on your left. Continue climbing the lane with the imposing landslip of Callow Bank looming ahead.

The track becomes less surfaced and unsuitable for vehicles as it climbs. As the track forks, bear right following the drystone wall on your right, which turns away from Callow Bank. The path climbs the hillside steadily, now bearing south. Follow the path uphill, it then turns left as it reaches a minor road.

Callow bank rises ahead, accessed through a gate. A stony bridleway heads off diagonally to the right alongside a drystone wall. A person is walking up the bridleway which climbs gently uphill
Looking towards Callow Bank after Mitchell Field

At the road, turn left to walk up the road for approximately 400 metres to reach a gate on your right.

Go through the gate and take the path straight ahead which climbs up to the plateau of Higger Tor. Bear right to walk anti-clockwise around the edge of Higger Tor.

Looking west from the plateau you can see the steeple of St Michael & All-Saints Church in Hathersage, reputed to be the site of Little John’s Grave. To the south, the iron age hillfort of Carl Wark and Burbage Rocks to the east.

Following the path around the edge of the rocks as it turns to head north you can see Upper Burbage Bridge ahead.  Take the clear and obvious path north to return to the bridge. Retrace your steps to ford the streams below the road to return to the start.

Burbage Brook runs beneath the stonework of Upper Burbage Bridge
Burbage Brook passing under Upper Burbage Bridge