Kinder Scout via Kinder Low
This Kinder Scout walk starts from the beautiful village of Hayfield, where the infamous Kinder Mass Trespass started, and heads away from the crowds to Kinder Low before climbing up onto the plateau. It then winds around the southern edge path towards Kinder Downfall, the highest waterfall in the Peak District, before heading back down over the Swine’s Back to Edale Cross and then back down Oaken Clough to Hayfield. This is an 8.9 mile walk exploring the rugged beauty of Kinder Scout.
If you want to escape the crowds on the way up Kinder Scout, this is the hike for you! This was a new way up onto the plateau for us, and it was really nice and peaceful. Kinder Low has so much history as well, the Downfall is impressive and you bag a trig too!
As with all of the walks on this website, there’s a GPX file available for you to download and use with your phone or GPS – I highly recommend doing this so you don’t get lost!
Our walk starts in Bowden Bridge car park near Hayfield Camping and Caravan Site, where there is a handy public loo and sometimes a coffee van. We then set off along Kinder Road, reaching the gates of Kinder Reservoir. We followed the road round to the right, passing the historic Booth sheepwash, and then headed up the hill for approximately 300m. There’s a public footpath which goes up the fields (with a large gate to open and close) to the east leading up to the corner of a woodland plantation. The footpath follows a track which turns south-east for about 3/4 of a mile before reaching a gate. The views of Kinder Scout from here are amazing!
Through the gate the path turns to the right and heads along a stony lane for a quarter of a mile before opening out with a view of Kinder Low in front of you. We followed the wall around to where there’s a gate, but didn’t go through the gate – the path leads up the hill and is very steep, with steps in places.
We climbed up Kinder Low, passing the ancient burial cairn on the top, and headed on towards the Kinder Low trig point. This is what a lot of people class as the summit, however the true summit of Kinder Scout is actually 3m higher and significantly less impressive! There are cairns marking the way.
From here we set off north, winding our way along the edge path to Kinder Downfall, the highest waterfall in the Peak District with a drop of 100m ish. It sounds like it should be a mighty torrent but it’s actually usually just a small flow. In windy conditions the water can be blown back up the waterfall, which is quite a sight! We’ve been up here lots of times and usually it’s covered in mist and fog, or if we come in summer it’s a tiny trickle, but we timed it right and it was pretty good this time!
After a quick snack stop we set off back south, again following the edge path to the Swine’s Back. This collection of rocks usually has amazing views down over Jacob’s Ladder and the valley below, but we had been dodging in and out of the mist all day so typically we didn’t see them! We followed the faint path over the top of the Swine’s Back and dropped down the side of the wall. The path runs next to the little nook housing Edale Cross, a freestanding medieval boundary marker.
We followed the very rough track down the hill alongside Oaken Clough until we reached the bridle path to Glossop. This path crosses a very wet boggy patch, with a large stile, and then heads over Harry Moor across the fields to Tunstead Clough Farm. The path runs around the farm and out onto the road, before winding back around to Bowden Bridge and the car park.
This was a lovely walk up Kinder Scout, with much quieter footpaths than some of the more popular ones such as Jacob’s Ladder. We didn’t see anyone until we reached the trig point, so it’s great if you want some peace and solitude on the moors.
Walk Map (Opens in OS Maps): Kinder Scout from Hayfield
Parking: There is a pay and display car park at Bowden Bridge High Peak SK22 2LJ with some free roadside parking spaces if you get there early enough.
Facilities: There is a public toilet and sometimes a coffee van in the car park. The Sportsman pub isn’t too far away.
Walk Time: 5-6 hours
Distance: 8.89 miles (14.19km)
Elevation: 1,525ft (597m)
Trig Points Bagged: Kinder Low
Peak District Peaks Bagged: None
Peak District Ethels Bagged: None
Kinder Scout Weather
The weather on Kinder Scout can be very changeable – and change quickly. In the course of this walk we had glorious sunshine and thick mist, with a spell of rain as well. We always go prepared and check the weather forecast beforehand on mountain-forecast.com. It’s very easy to get lost on Kinder Scout, so please make sure you’re prepared before you go!
For more Kinder Scout walks, why not try: