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Stanage Edge, Hathersage, Derbyshire - longest gritstone edge in England

The Peak District covers much of Derbyshire and parts of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. There are numerous interesting towns such as Ashbourne, Bakewell, Buxton, Leek, Matlock and Wirksworth, plus many enchanting villages

Stanage Edge

opportunities for exercisespectacular scenery

Stanage Edge from the road
Stanage Edge from the road
Stanage is the largest and most impressive of the gritstone edges. Situated on the moors north of Hathersage, and visible from miles away down in the Hope Valley, it stretches for a length of approximately six kilometres (3.5 miles) from its northern tip at Stanage End to the southern point near the Cowper Stone. At about is mid-point the edge is crossed by Long Causeway, the old Roman road from Navio (Brough) to Doncaster. It is a famous location for rock-climbing and a popular spot for walkers.

High Neb, Stanage
High Neb, Stanage
Stanage's situation is high and it can be snowbound in winter. For most of its length it lies between the 400 and 450 metre contours, and the rock face itself attains a maximum height of 25 metres, but for most of its length it is between 15 and 20 metres high. The high point of the main edge is at High Neb, which lies near the north end.

Goliaths Groove, Stanage
Goliaths Groove, Stanage
The edge is made of one of the finer gritstones and is therefore ideal for rock-climbing, and the visitor on a summer weekend will see plenty of evidence of this. The climbers have given the sections of the edge colourful, sometimes fanciful names - Marble Wall, Crow Chin, Goliath's Groove, The Tower, The Unconquerables, Mississippi Buttress, Robin Hood's Cave, Black Hawk, Flying Buttress area etc - and the edge currently has over 800 recorded rock climbs with more being invented every year.

Looking south down Stanage Edge
Looking south down Stanage Edge
It now seems quite far-fetched to record that at one time this was a private grouse moor to which access was forbidden and the early pioneers of rock-climbing were forced to make furtive visits or bribe the gamekeepers with barrels of beer. Despite this, climbs were made here as early as the 1890s by pioneers such as JW Puttrell, joined in the early years of this century by Henry Bishop. For ten years from 1915 a small group led by Henry Kelly and Ivar Berg visited the edge to make numerous climbs. This continued through the 1930s, despite the activities of the gamekeepers.

View north from Robin Hoods Cave
View north from Robin Hoods Cave
However, after the second world war the floodgates opened as access got easier and more climbers visited the edge. This began with Peter Harding's ascent of Goliath's Groove in 1947 and gathered pace in the 50's with the appearance of legendary figures such as Joe Brown and later, Don Whillans. Climbing standards made a great leap forward, and the sport gained more adherents, leading to its present popularity.

Stanage is now suffering from its popularity. The edge, which once had heather and bracken to its foot and heather in many of the cracks, has had much of its vegetation worn away with erosion occurring around it, and many of the more popular climbs are becoming quite polished through the ascent of many climbers.

Stanage Edge
0 - Stanage Edge
Stanage Edge - High Neb
1 - Stanage Edge - High Neb
Stanage Edge - Climbing near the north end
2 - Stanage Edge - Climbing near the north end
Stanage Edge in snow
3 - Stanage Edge in snow
Stanage Edge in autumn/winter colours
4 - Stanage Edge in autumn/winter colours
Stanage Edge - Robin Hoods Cave
5 - Stanage Edge - Robin Hoods Cave
Stanage Edge - Striding out along the edge
6 - Stanage Edge - Striding out along the edge
Stanage Edge - Walker and dog taking in the view
7 - Stanage Edge - Walker and dog taking in the view
Stanage Edge - South end
8 - Stanage Edge - South end
Stanage Edge - Air ambulance taking off
9 - Stanage Edge - Air ambulance taking off
Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK245829 Click here for Google Maps

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How to get there

By Road:
the south (and most popular) end of Stanage Edge lies alongside a minor road which runs from Eccleshall in Sheffield via Ringinglow to Hathersage. There is free parking, but at weekends this quickly fills up. The north end lies a 2km walk from the A57 Glossop - Sheffield road at Moscar Top (parking slightly difficult).

By Bus: The 257 bus from Sheffield to Derwent, via Hathersage, passes the south end of Stanage Edge but only operates on summer weekends and Bank Holidays. The 273 Sheffield to Castleton bus or 275 Sheffield to Hathersage passes the north end of Stanage Edge at Moscar Top, but that's the less interesting end of the edge. The other alternative is to take the 271/2 Sheffield to Hathersage bus and alight at Fox House, then walk up the valley below Burbage Edge and turn left at the top to arrive at Stanage - about 30 minutes but a very pleasant walk.

By Train: train from Manchester or Sheffield to Hathersage - then walk (5km) or pick up the 257 bus.
When is it open?

Access land. Open all year, all day.

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