Alport Moor and Bleaklow Walking Route
This Alport Moor and Bleaklow walk starts from Snake Pass and takes you through some of the bleakest Peak District moorland. You’ll pass the Bleaklow Stones, Hern Stones and can add in a quick detour to the Higher Shelf Stones and the B29 Over Exposed plane crash site if you want to.
This is a challenging walk to navigate and should only be attempted if you are confident navigating. The weather can change quickly, and it’s not called Bleaklow for nothing! There have been numerous call outs to Mountain Rescue teams to help people who have gone out ill prepared onto the moors, so please don’t put yourself at risk. This is not a walk to try in flip flops or trainers – have waterproof boots, layers and some means of navigation.
As part of the Peak District Ethels Challenge we had planned to walk to Alport Moor when we walked to Alport Castles from Fairholmes. On the way we walked as far as the Westend Moor trig point and mistakenly thought that was the summit of the Ethel too, and only realised it wasn’t when we were on our way back from the trig point. We decided to go another day, and that day was a school day (giving us a limited time) and the day we set off driving up to Glasgow for our Isle of Skye trip. The timing probably wasn’t the best but the weather was dry and clear so Joel and I packed our bags and headed out onto the moors!
We parked in the lay-by at Snake Pass and followed the Pennine Way for 1.6 miles. We came to Hern Clough and followed the faint path along the hillside to where it joins the River Alport, a place (rather alarmingly) called The Swamp. It turns out The Swamp wasn’t as swampy when we visited, thankfully!
We crossed the river and followed the faint path, rising gradually up the hillside but following the path of the river for around 0.45 miles. Here we left the path just near some larger rocks and yomped across the moors up to the summit of Alport Moor.
Alport Moor is an especially bleak, featureless summit in the Peak District! It’s 535m above sea level and there are some fabulous views up to Bleaklow Stones, but there is nothing to mark the summit and even on a dry day it was very wet and boggy. You’ll have to use your GPS device to find the actual summit if you want to bag this Ethel, or you could look for a single stone approximately 30cm x 20cm. Not much to go on, I know!
We headed back along The Ridge towards the fence, climbed the stile then set off up the hill to Bleaklow Stones. These are a fabulous place to explore and have a picnic! Look out for the Anvil Stone. Near Bleaklow Stones there is the site where a Defiant N3378 crashed in 1941. I didn’t realise when we did our walk, so I don’t know how much wreckage still survives at the site. From Peak District Air Crashes it looks as though a lot may have been removed to a museum.
From Bleaklow Stones we followed a line of stakes through the peat groughs to Bleaklow Hill, then in turn Bleaklow Head. I attempted a handstand at the pole but I’m not as athletic as I used to be so this was a massive fail.
From Bleaklow Head we went to the Hern Stones, where there were some locals spying on us, and then followed the Pennine Way back to the car parked at Snake Pass.
When you get to the point where we set off to the east following Hern Clough you could head west to Higher Shelf Stones and the B29 Over Exposed plane crash site as per this Bleaklow and Higher Shelf Stones circular walk we did. It’s about 1km away as the crow flies, but again it’s only one to attempt if you are confident navigating over bleak, featureless, boggy wet moorland as the paths are very faint (if at all in places) and the weather can change rapidly on the moors.
On our walk we saw a family who were on their way to the plane crash site and were lost, having set out with no map and no idea of where they were going. Please don’t be like them! We helped them get back onto the Pennine Way and find their way back to the car parking spot.
This is my favourite kind of walk, as we barely saw any other people. We saw more hares than people, as we saw 4 of them running about on Alport Moor with their white winter coats on.
Alport Moor and Bleaklow Head Walk:
Parking: in the lay-by on Snake Pass A57.
Walk Time: 3-4 hours
Distance: 9 miles (14.5 km)
Trig Points Bagged: None (short detour to Higher Shelf Stones possible)
Peak District Peaks Bagged: Alport Moor, Bleaklow Head
Peak District Ethels Bagged: Alport Moor, Bleaklow Head (short detour to Higher Shelf Stones possible)
Alport Moor and Bleaklow Walk Route Map:
You can get the GPX file for this walk by clicking on the map and downloading it from Komoot.