Peak District walk from Hollinsclough up Chrome Hill, Derbyshire / Staffordshire
This starts from Hollinsclough on the gritstone of the Staffordshire side of the river and crosses to the Derbyshire side to traverse the spectacular ridge of Chrome Hill before returning. An exciting circuit.
A feature of the upper valley of the River Dove is the row of sharp-edged limestone hills which line the north side of the river almost like teeth. These hills, notably Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill, are the remains of coral reefs which once made up the edge of the shallow lagoon in which the limestone rocks were laid down on the early Carboniferous era, 340 million years ago. They are among the most spectacular sights of the area.
From the centre of the hamlet walk up the road leading west towards Brandside and Flash. It starts to climb immediately and after 200 metres you should pass through a small gate in the right wall and cross a field via a bridleway to descend to the Dove, which can be crossed by a small footbridge. Once over on the Derbyshire side turn left, even though you can see Chrome Hill ahead of you, and climb up to reach a metaled farm track.
Above Booth Farm the angle eases and you move from gritstone to limestone scenery in the space of a few yards. This is a high limestone plateau reminiscent of the Yorkshire Dales, with white rocks projecting from the ground, bright green grass and disappearing streams. Again there is a fine view to the left, with Axe Edge brooding above the limestone dale.
Follow the road up from Booth Farm, but at the first bend fork right along the track leading to nearby Stoop Farm. After one field a footpath diverges to the left to pass above the farm and above the trees edged with rusting abandoned farm machinery which seem to enclose it. You reach the track which comes down to the farm from the other side and almost opposite there is the start of a concession path which leads to Chrome Hill.
Follow the path down the hillside and along the bottom of the next field to reach the start of the Chrome Hill ridge. The climb up the end of this is quite steep but the view compensates, getting better by the minute. The position at the summit is very fine, with an excellent outlook across the Dove to Hollinsclough and a fine view down the valley and over Parkhouse Hill to Earl Sterndale village. Over on your left there is Dowall Hall, a fine 18th century farmhouse, with a stream beside it which comes pouring out of the hillside. Behind the farm lies Dowel Cave which was probably occupied by humans as long as 8,000 years ago.
Continue along the ridge and down the other end, where you meet the tiny road which comes down Dowel Dale. Parkhouse Hill lies ahead was also out of bounds until recently, when the 'Right to Roam' legislation opened it up - so you may continue over it if you wish; it is not as high as Chrome Hill but if anything the ascent is even more spectacular. If you do ascend Parkhouse Hill then descend on the far (East) side and then turn sharp right to take a path which takes you back round the hill to this narrow road.
However, our route turns right down the road and after 200 metres right again along a farm track which leads back to the Dove, which is crossed by a small footbridge. Continue along the track another 400 metres before branching left at the signpost to return to Hollinsclough.
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