Mount Famine, South Head and Chinley Churn Walk
This circular walk takes in Mount Famine, South Head and Chinley Churn. It takes you through beautiful countryside with stunning views from each of the summits, and the old quarry at Chinley Churn is great for exploring. At just under 10km, this walk is lovely if you’re hiking with kids in the Peak District – you can finish the walk after the first two peaks if little legs are getting tired. This walk takes in three Peak District Ethels.
Mount Famine is a peak in the Peak District which stands at 473m above sea level, while South Head is 494m high. The two peaks are about 500m apart so it makes sense to hike up both in the same day! Chinley Churn, standing at 457m high, is also close by on the other side of the valley, so we added it into the walk to create a mini 3 Peaks challenge.
This walk starts in a layby just up from The Lamb Inn on Hayfield Road. After walking a short distance up the road, head off along the public bridleway towards Mount Famine. You’ll come to a bit of a confusing junction – head through the gate and along the footpath signed with a green footpath sign for Edale via Kinder Valley. You’ll see Mount Famine on your right hand side as you walk along the footpath.
Go through the wooden gate and turn right to head up Mount Famine. Over the stile, you’ll start to climb up the steep side of Mount Famine. The path is rocky in places and as it was raining when we went it was a bit slippery.
About 3/4 of the way up to the summit there are some fabulous rock formations – perfect spot for a breather after the climb! They also give you amazing views over towards Kinderlow End and Kinder Scout. We had another misty day so didn’t get many photos of the view but in the brief spells between clouds it looked amazing. There isn’t anything marking the summit of Mount Famine.
Walk along the ridge of Mount Famine and down the other side. Cross the bridleway and head into the field where South Head stands. There’s a quick scramble up to the summit, which is marked by a cairn, and then we headed back down the same way we came up. All over in a flash!
The walk takes you along the Pennine Bridleway for a short distance before heading over the public footpaths through farmland. We saw pretty much every farm animal on this walk, including pigs and alpacas later on, but there were plenty of sheep, ducks and chickens on this footpath. Hols loved it.
The footpath takes you back down to Hayfield Road which you need to cross. Take care when crossing as it is a busy road with fast moving traffic. Climb the stile and follow the footpath down to Otter Brook – it was really muddy here! There’s an old abandoned barn and Otter Brook itself is really pretty.
Head up the other side of the valley and pop out onto Maynestone Road. Cross this and go through a gate which is quite well hidden in the undergrowth – apologies for the really blurry photograph!
It’s a steep climb up to the quarry at Chinley Churn. There’s a stile about halfway up which is useful for a rest stop if you need it.
We were going to head to the Chinley Churn trig point, and you can see on our map that we were heading in that direction looking for a way to get to it. Unfortunately the trig point is on private land and the farmer, busy loading sheep into a trailer, wasn’t keen for us to go to the trig. Please don’t go climbing over walls to get to the trig – respect the landowners wishes!
We set off back to explore the old quarry at Chinley Churn, which has some fabulous old machinery still in place (this forum has a photo of them in their prime!). There are some rock faces which I imagine climbers would love, and some old ruined buildings which I presume are from the old quarry. Apparently the quarry used to produce flagstones and roofing slates until it’s closure in the 1900s. I don’t envy the people who had to work there!
After having a mooch about the quarry for a little while we headed back down the slopes towards the road, meeting the footpath near the Peep O’Day. This house (as well as being beautiful) has a story attached to it with an information plaque explaining the reason for the name of the house.
Once out on the road, we turned right and head back along the road towards the layby where the car was parked. We drove 30 seconds down the road to The Lamb Inn, (we thought it was a lot further away than it was!) in the hopes of getting some late lunch, but they were fully booked so we headed to The Sportsman in Hayfield again (we went there when we walked up Kinder Scout).
Distance: just under 10km (6 miles)
Parking: Layby on Hayfield Road
Facilities: None nearby, although The Lamb Inn is just down the road.
Trig Points Bagged: None – Chinley Churn is on private land and we couldn’t get permission to access
Peak District Peaks Bagged: Mount Famine, South Head and Chinley Churn
Peak District Ethels Bagged: Mount Famine, South Head and Chinley Churn
Route: Click the map to get the Mount Famine, South Head and Chinley Churn hiking route
Whilst this is one trig point we might not be able to get to, we had a lovely walk out and can check these peaks off our Peak District Peak Bagging Checklist. It’s still a nice route to do if you are planning to go hiking with kids in the Peak District – check out some of our other family friendly Peak District walks.