Howden Moors & Margery Hill

Looking North from Cut Gate End

The plan for Thursday and Friday was to do an overnight backpack around Cross Fell. A few days prior the weather forecast suggested reasonable weather.  A forecast is just that a forecast, by the time Wednesday came, it was clear that I was going to be blown off Cross Fell and Friday although less windy was going to rain all day. As I seem at the moment to go on walks where I am stuck in clouds – I thought I give it a miss and wait for a more suitable break in the weather.  So what to do now ? The forecast suggested there was a good possibility of some clear weather towards the East on Friday, but some rain later – good I will go for a day walk in the Peaks.

I decided to walk from one of the car parks on the Upper Derwent Reservoir onto the Moors, back down around Upper Derwent and back to the car. If the forecast was wrong about timings (and it was) I could spend some time lower down and I would at least see something rather than of late peering into the gloom !

Route Taken – Fairholmes C.P. – Nether Hey- Howden Moors- Howden Edge-Margery Hill – Cut Gate End-Slippery Stones- Howden Reservoir-Upper Derwent Reservoir -Fairholmes C.P. 

Distance – 18km (11 miles). Time taken – 5 hrs

Weather – Steady rain for most of the walk, briefly turning to snow on Howden Edge – 540m (1770 feet)

Upper Derwent Reservior

The dry weather lasted all of half an hour and then it rained non-stop until I was back at the car. It was a pleasant walk around the shoreline, before ascending to the Moors along the edge of Hey Bank and New Close Wood.  Plenty of mud on the paths, but the walking was fairly easy and there was little wind – unfortunately this did not blow the clouds and rain away.

I saw several Arctic Hares the other side of Row Top, their pure white coats such a  give away outside of snowy conditions. They bolted before I had chance to get the camera out.  For a rare species in the UK, it is surprising how many times I have seen them out in the Peaks.

At the top I turned to the North and followed the Edge up to Margery Stones, the rain turning to snow for a brief period. Taking shelter at the stones I brewed up and had lunch.

Brewing up at Margery Stones

Margery Hill Trig point

Today was not a day for hanging about and after a quick lunch, I passed the trig at Margery Hill 546 m (1770 feet) and met up with the Little Cut path. This path drops down steeply via several fords to the River Derwent and arrives at Slippery Stones at the head of Howden Reservoir.

Looking down into Bull Clough

Little Cut path

River Derwent at Slipperey Stones making it's way to Howden Reservior

A pleasant 6Km walk back along the banks of the Howden and Upper Derwent completed my journey.  I stopped briefly to view the water cascading down the dam before getting back to the car.  It was dismal weather meaning it was almost dark at around 3.30pm.

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20 Responses to Howden Moors & Margery Hill

  1. GeoffC says:

    A well-planned trip there, even if the weather was disappointing. The upper Derwent offers fine walking near the reservoirs even in low cloud and rain with plenty of interest.
    Despite many circuits around there in the winter months years ago, I can’t remember ever seeing the dams with a really thunderous outflow.

    • Thank you Geoff. Interesting, I live in the Lincolnshire Wolds, just two days ago the local news was talking about the lack of rainfall in our area in 2011 and possible restrictions on water use. It take me 1hr and 15 mins to get to this walk, about 60 miles and there is water absolutely everywhere.The reservoirs completely full and water running off the hills in all directions. The Peak District is an amazing water-shed and shelters home from most of the rain !
      A Happy New Year to you.

  2. Always wanted to see the dams like that! 🙂

  3. Hi Mark and a Happy New Year! Good to see you got out again after your decorating, although a shame the forecast hadn’t been more accurate. Funnily enough, I have seen the dam like that before but only a handful of times. Can’t believe how much rain we’ve had over the holidays…

  4. terrybnd says:

    Didn’t know Margery Hill was 1770 m high mate! 😉 (typo you got there)

    I noted only the weekend before last how full the reservoirs were. I’ve always wanted to see them like that – and the plug hole near the Yorkshire Bridge Inn.

    I’m just back from a bivvy up Kinder – got no doubt the waters will still be a flowing. Peed it down for bloody hours with strong winds 😦 Not a nice bivvy at all to see in the new year lol

    Happy 2012 my friend 🙂

  5. alan.sloman says:

    “Weather – Steady rain for most of the walk, briefly turning to snow on Howden Edge”

    Urgh! Thank you for your trip report. I enjoyed it vicariously from in front of the fire with whisky and chocolates. I wonder if your walk counts towards my exercising as well?

  6. backpackingbongos says:

    A lovely area for a bimble Mark. The moors are rather soggy at the moment. Spent New Years Eve Wild camping up on Bleaklow. It was bleak, wet and misty!

  7. -maria- says:

    Thanks for the trip report, enjoyed reading it! The reservoir picture is really nice.

    Happy new year, hope there will be lots of walks!

  8. shame about the weather for you Mark. That Little Cut path looks like it would be a fine walk. the overflowing dam looks impressive as well.

  9. Jules says:

    Hi Mark

    Happy New Year to you.

    “Weather – Steady rain for most of the walk, briefly turning to snow on Howden Edge”

    That reminds me – last time I was on Howden Edge I experienced conditions much like these – rain and sleet, cold and low, mizzly cloud. I even saw an Arctic Hare too – brilliant! – along with other wildlife.

    The only real difference being it was in June!

  10. surfnslide says:

    Belated Happy New Year Mark – well behind catching up on my blog reading what with a new job and all. Shame the weather has been set in a rut the past few weeks. I used to walk the Derwent Edges and Howden Moor alot in my youth but I don’t recall seeing water coming over the Dams like that. Used to love that when we went to the Elan Valley when I was a nipper

    • Happy New Year to you Andy. Doing much the same myself. Lots of days (and nights) away at present visiting customers all around the country, so not much time for blogging. I trust the new job is going well. Back to the walk – yes that was a lot of water going over those dams – sort of brighten things up after such poor weather.

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