Peak District – Chrome Hill & Parkhouse Hill

There are some fantastic landscapes to be seen in the Peak District, it really does have it all to offer when it comes to views. You have the Dark Peak with its bog, moorland and gritstone edges. The White Peak offers up some fantastic limestone gorges, lush green farmland and its tranquil rolling hills. There are some sites in the Peak that really do look like they are from a different world. I remember the first time I set eyes on the Roaches and Ramshaw Rocks while driving north from Leek. It was like some form of Alien being had dropped these awesome looking objects for us all to enjoy. The wonders of nature never fail to amaze me, the fact that these shapes in our landscape can be formed by the powers of erosion. You don’t have to look very far from the Roaches to find more examples of these Alien looking formations, Chrome Hill & Parkhouse Hill are just a mear hop skip and a jump over in the Upper Dove Valley.

The weather was pretty dire when I looked out over the eastern peaks from my bedroom this morning, I have never let that stop me before so ignored the dark clouds and got my kit together. I had decided that I would walk today regardless of weather, without planning any routes, without checking my maps, there was only one certainty, I was to start from Crowdecote and head over both Chrome and Parkhouse.

Crowdecote - Underhill Farm
Crowdecote – Underhill Farm

I parked up in Crowdecote at around 09:30 after a swift 25 minute drive from home, I chucked my waterproofs on and marched out into the rain heading for Glutten Bridge. I took the footpath that starts from Meadow Farm and takes you across the fields to Underhill Farm. The farmland around was looking rather deserted but that may have been because today was farmers market day over in Bakewell.

I eventually reached the garage at Glutten Bridge after passing through Underhill Farm and walking along the single track road. I turned towards the north for a short while and walked along the road before swinging back to the west again. I was greeted by a view of ParkHouse Hill’s eastern flanks.

Parkhouse Hill from the East
Parkhouse Hill from the East

I made my way across the field just as the rain decided to stop for a short while, in no time at all I was walking through the gate to begin my attack of Parkhouse Hill. Access to this area was once pretty tricky but thanks to the Countryside Rights of Way act 2000 (CROW) thankfully it is no longer a problem. I’m so thankful that I can walk freely here, its all thanks to those valiant campaigners and trespassers that have paved the way for us all.

Parkhouse Hill - Access Land
Parkhouse Hill – Access Land

After a short sharp slog up towards the very top I was greated with a great view around to Chrome Hill. It almost felt like the sheep were teasing as I scrambled my way up the slippy ground, while they moved around with ease 🙂

Parkhouse summit with Chrome Hill in the background
Parkhouse summit with Chrome Hill in the background

The very top of ParkHouse Hill feels razor sharp. It is almost a sheer drop off the northern edge and you certainly wouldn’t want to miss place your footing on a wet and windy day like today. I paused for a short while to take some pictures, record a snippet of audio for the podcast and then I begun my way down the western side.

Chrome From Parkhouse - Instagram
Chrome From Parkhouse – Instagram

 

Chrome Hill from Parkhouse Hill
Chrome Hill from Parkhouse Hill

I arrived back down at the bottom after slip sliding my way down the muddy and rocky western flanks of Parkhouse. Once I set foot on the road I was reminded of the very first time I ever came here. That was back in 2003 when the hunt for a Geocache bought me to the area. It was when Geocaching was in its infancy and there were very few Caches placed at that time. I remember when I was first introduced to Geocaching by my father in 2000 that there were only 3 in the entire British Isles, Now there are around 100+ in a 10mile radius of my home.

Chrome Hill Sheep
Chrome Hill Sheep

After another sharp but short slog upwards I found myself standing at the very top of the awesome Limestone gem. Chrome Hill has always been a favourite of mine, from the first day I clapped eyes on the place I was hooked. The shape of it really does make me think it has been transported from a parallel universe 🙂

Parkhouse Hill & Dove Valley - HDR
Parkhouse Hill & Dove Valley – HDR

The image above is my first attempt at HDR photography, I layered 3 images in Photoshop and tweeked it a little to come up with this one. I have learned a few lessons from this attempt so next time I will do a few things differently, mainly to concentrate on not allowing the camera to get wet and also where to focus on.

Parkhouse from Chrome - Instagram
Parkhouse from Chrome – Instagram

The rain had been intermittent for the last few hours, the cloud base was dropping now and the precipitation intensified. The wind was beginning to pick up too so I decided not to linger long at the top and make my way off the north western side. I began to drop down until I saw the archway which is 30 or so metres west of the summit. This is the area in which the Geocache was hidden all those years ago. I forgot to mention that the very first time we came we ran out of daylight, got absolutely drenched and didn’t even find the cache. Thankfully, we managed to locate the sneaky little hiding place on our second visit 🙂

Chrome Hill Archway
Chrome Hill Archway
Chrome Hill - Mini Cave
Chrome Hill – Mini Cave

Moving on from the archway and heading further downwards you come to another interesting formation. A huge chunk of exposed limestone with a great looking little mini cave.

Chrome Hill from the bottom
Chrome Hill from the bottom
Sheep near Tor Rock
Sheep near Tor Rock

I kept going north westward and joined the concessionary footpath that leads up towards Tor Rock, the rain had all but stopped again thankfully by this point. I passed Stoop Farm and crossed the field towards Booth Farm.

Chrome Hill from Booth Farm
Chrome Hill from Booth Farm

Just before you arrive at Booth Farm you can pick up the bridleway that runs around the western flanks of Hollins Hill. I chose to head downwards instead of along the top of Hollins Hill mainly because I wanted to find some shelter from the elements so I could have a bite to eat. I found what I was looking for when I arrived at the bridge over the river Dove just before Hollinsclough. I’m not sure what the story is behind the sign, I can only assume some work is being done to strengthen the bridge.

River Dove Bridge - Near Hollinsclough
River Dove Bridge – Near Hollinsclough

After a very short break under the tree cover near the bridge I moved on once more. I walked up the muddy field and then joined the road down into Hollinsclough. There was not a sole to be seen in the village today, only the postman urinating against the side of his van. I never saw Postman Pat do that on TV, Mrs Goggins would have given him a firm telling off he had i’m sure 🙂

After passing through Hollinsclough I picked up the track that follows the river down stream towards Glutten Bridge. I crossed the bridge next to the ford and I was back in Derbyshire once again. The river Dove marks the boundary between Derbyshire and Staffordshire and I had just realised I had come out without my passport. Thankfully I had only been an illegal immigrant in Staffordshire for a short time and was now back on home turf in sunny (not today) Derbyshire.

Parkhouse Hill - River Dove Ford
Parkhouse Hill – River Dove Ford

I reached the garage at Glutten Bridge and decided that I would retrace my steps from here back to the car. I took the single track road, I made my way to Underhill Farm and then walked across the wet fields to Meadow Farm. The rain was quite intense at this point so in a way I was glad to reach the car and to be able to get out of it for a moment.

Chrome & Parkhouse from Crowdecote - Instagram
Chrome & Parkhouse from Crowdecote – Instagram

Regardless of the weather I had had a thoroughly enjoyable few hours out walking. It was quite refreshing to have a relatively aimless wander today, Instead of plotting a route in ViewRanger and knowing exactly where I was going. The route I took over Parkhouse and Chrome is considered a classic and it really is. The stunning 360 views from both hills need to be seen and experienced. The weather was rather dramatic today but that only enhanced the experience, I don’t mind a bit of rain, which is a good thing as this summer has been offering up plenty of it.

I’m hoping to head back over this way again soon and to bring you some routes from places further down the River Dove. Its hard to stray from the beaten path in these areas and bring you anything new but a routes a route. Thanks for taking the time to visit and to read my nonsensical rambling about my rambles 🙂

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