Bolehill Quarry, Higger Tor and Padley Gorge Walk
This Peak District walk is great for history fans – we explored the site of the abandoned Bolehill Quarry before heading off to Surprise View, Higger Tor, Burbage Rocks and back through Padley Gorge. At 7.5 miles this walk has lots of points of interest, exploring the beautiful Dark Peak moorlands.
In the early 1900s, Bolehill Quarry was a bustling industrial site that provided stone for the nearby Howden and Derwent dams. Evidence of railways for transporting stone away from Bolehill still remain, with the steep incline leading down to the railway line, just west of Grindleford Station. This incline and the quarry are now being reclaimed by nature, with a forest of silver birch trees having taken over, and the quarry is a peaceful place for wildlife and walkers alike.
We started our walk from Grindleford railway station and walked north over the railway tracks, passing Grindleford Station cafe and Totley Tunnel, built in 1893 and at the time of construction was the second-longest railway tunnel in the UK. The tunnel runs for some 3 miles under the moors between Totley and Grindleford.
The path continues past the very beautiful old bridge and mill. We turned right up the hillside, walking until we reached a wooden gate with a National Trust sign for Padley Gorge. Here there’s a building which I presume is something to do with the railway but I’m not sure what for! We crossed in front of it and climbed up the woodland path onto one of the lower levels of Bolehill Quarry, leading to the former winding house (you can see how this used to look on this picture).
Here we joined the route of the former railway incline and followed it over the rocks up to an open area. We then climbed up another level and walked south until we reached a gate leading up on top of another quarry face.
From here we walked north along the main route through the quarry until we reached a wooden gate. We turned right at the gate, climbing up onto the higher terraced levels, and then we came across the quarry pond. This water looked a bit manky and was full of dead trees and branches.
We left the pond and climbed up the hillside, before dropping back down the other side because we’d spotted the huge pile of abandoned millstones. Millstones have been produced here for hundreds of years but the trade declined before these could be put to use, so will remain here – perhaps forever! There are loads of them lying around, with some more dotted in the woods lower down. We always play a game with Hols whereby she gets a sweet if we see any millstones – she was VERY happy with the haul here!
We walked along past the millstones then started to climb back up the hillside, passing through a gate and out onto the road at Surprise View. From here we walked up along the top of Millstone Edge and then along the moorland paths below Over Owler Tor. We climbed up to Higger Tor and had a wander along the top, admiring the view over to Carl Wark, the Iron Age hillfort, and back to Over Owler Tor.
From here we walked along the Fiddlers Elbow path towards Upper Burbage Bridge and crossed the streams under the bridges. We then set off along the path down past Burbage Rocks, looking out for bullet holes in the rock as this area was used as a training ground for WW2 soldiers. The views over towards Carl Wark and Higger Tor are fabulous from here.
We walked through a herd of friendly cows, and then reached a gate out onto the road. We crossed the road, passing the National Trust sign for the Longshaw Estate, and walked through a small woodland to another wooden gate.
Through this gate, we turned left and followed the stone cobbled track down to a wooden bridge over Burbage Brook. We followed the path alongside Burbage Brook, which alternated between stone slabs like the Pennine Way and mud, until we came to another bridge over the river. Here we stayed on the right hand bank of Burbage Brook and followed the path as it wound its way through Padley Gorge.
The path eventually comes back to the mysterious building we passed near the start of the walk, and we retraced our steps back down the hill, past the old mill, over the bridge and back to Grindleford Train Station.
This was a super interesting, varied walk, with lots to explore. If you wanted a shorter walk the old quarry has enough to keep the kids occupied for an hour or two – I want to go back and explore further down the railway incline!
Walk Map (Opens in OS Maps): Bolehill Quarry, Higger Tor and Padley Gorge Walk
Parking: We parked on the roadside near Grindleford Train Station, Hope Valley S32 2JA W3W:///investors.dormant.washable
Facilities: There is a public toilet and cafe at Grindleford Station
Walk Time: 4-5 hours depending on how long you spend exploring the old quarry!
Distance: 7.5 miles (12km)
Elevation: 1,150ft (387m)
Trig Points Bagged: None
Peak District Peaks Bagged: Higger Tor
Peak District Ethels Bagged: Higger Tor
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