Ashway Moss and The Trinnacle Circular Walk
This Ashway Moss circular walk takes in stunning views (not when we went!) over Dovestone Reservoir and The Trinnacle. At 14km (8.7 miles) it’s a challenging Peak District walk over moorland and with a steep, rocky scramble up Birchen Clough to get to The Trinnacle. Here’s the route for this circular walk around Ashway Moss and The Trinnacle, set on the edge of the Peak District.
Ashway Moss is a summit at 497m above sea level, high on the moors at the edge of the Peak District. There is nothing to mark the summit, however there is the remains of a cairn nearby and the summit is not far from the Ashway Cross. This is a rather grand memorial to James Platt, an Oldham MP who died in a shooting accident.
As well as Ashway Moss and The Trinnacle, this walk also takes in the stunning rock formations at Raven Stones, Dean Rocks, Great Dove Stone Rocks and Bramley’s Cot before heading round to Dish Stone Brow and heading back down the Chew Road. The views are incredible from here (on a clear day, not when we went!).
The route starts at Binn Green car park and follows the side of Yeoman Hey Reservoir before crossing the embankment and climbing up to Greenfield Reservoir. There is a much easier path though! You can see this on my How to Find The Trinnacle route post. We didn’t know this! There is a track along the edge of Greenfield Reservoir however, which leads you to the head of the reservoir where Greenfield Brook flows into it. There are stepping stones to cross just before the weir, which is rather beautiful, even on a misty day.
The path follows the route of Greenfield Brook until it meets Birchen Clough. Here there is a waterfall where Birchen Clough flows into Greenfield Brook, and a bridge. Cross the bridge and go through the gate. You’ll be able to see the Clough in front of you, and there’s a faint path up through the Clough which starts on the right hand side and crosses over to the left. It starts off steep and gradually levels out and becomes less scrambly as you get higher. Be sure to have waterproof boots on, as it can be very wet! It was really murky and icy when we went up.
As the Clough levels out, you’ll be on the left as you go up. You need to be on the right hand side of the Clough and there is a big rock and stepping stones. Climb up the hillside, following the path round to the north-west. Follow the ridge of the hill and you’ll start to see some rock formations at Raven Stones, which is where The Trinnacle is.
Some people like to climb The Trinnacle. If you decide to do this, please take care. If the weather is bad or the rocks are slippery don’t try it – Oldham Mountain Rescue have already had to come out to deal with people falling from The Trinnacle! Climb it at your own risk. It was way too slippery and icy when we went so we didn’t bother.
After we’d taken some photos of The Trinnacle (which looks like something out of Lord of The Rings) we headed up the hill to find Ashway Moss. This involves a trek over open moorland, and can be very wet underfoot. You’ll come to the remains of a large cairn which has been hollowed out in the middle, presumably to act as a wind shelter. Not far from this is the actual summit of Ashway Moss but there isn’t a marker or anything – we relied on the OS GPS to tell us when we got to the top.
From here, we headed towards the Ashway Cross. Visibility was terrible, so we couldn’t see the views from the cross, and it just loomed out of the mist at us.
Photos of the Cross duly taken, we headed along the path towards Dean Rocks and Great Dove Stone Rocks. There are apparently incredible views over Dove Stone Reservoir and Yeoman Hey Reservoir from here, but we only saw mist!
The path takes you along the ridge and you’ll eventually come to Bramley’s Cot, a small ruined building set back into the rock face. According to The Saddleworth Independent, “It is believed to have been built between 1857 and 1889 possibly by workers from Greenfield Mill (now Fletchers) for one-time owner Bramley Bottomley. Bramley and wife Sarah are buried at St Chad’s Church, Uppermill.
Alternatively, it has been suggested tragic MP James Platt, who was killed in a shooting accident at Ashway Gap in 1857, or cotton manufacturer Abel Buckley MP JP, who bought the estate and moor around 1880, had the hut built.” Whatever it’s use, it’s a really cool place!
As we followed the path round the head of the ridge, the mist started to lift in places and gave us glimpses of the views below. We only got glimpses though! We’ll have to come back in summer when the weather is better. It didn’t stop us having a really lovely walk though.
We got to the road just below Chew Reservoir and headed down the side of the old quarry to join it. This road takes you all the way back down to Dovestone Reservoir, and you can follow whichever way around you like to get back to the car park at Binn Green.
We had the choice between extending the walk to include the Alphin Pike trig point or heading back for a pub lunch – the pub lunch won! We headed to our old favourite The Huntsman Inn and had a delicious lunch (huge thanks to Cat and her team for fitting us in as they were really busy!).
Here’s the route details for this Ashway Moss and The Trinnacle circular walk.
Parking: Binn Green Car Park OL3 7NN
Facilities: There are toilets at the Dove Stone Reservoir car park but nothing on this route.
Walk Time: 3-4 hours depending on your speed and fitness
Distance: 14km (8.7 miles)
Trig Points Bagged: None
Peak District Peaks Bagged: Ashway Moss
Peak District Ethels Bagged: Ashway Moss
Ashway Moss and The Trinnacle Walk Route Map: (click the image to download the gpx file for your device)