The Longdendale Trail is 6.5 miles (10.5km) long. To walk from the beginning and back again is about 13 miles (21km). Add a waterfall trail near the sealed former railway Woodhead Tunnel entrances, and you’ve easily hit 16 miles (25.7km). Factor in prawn sandwiches, a brief sit down to feed Panda, and the best part of 11am to 6.15pm will evaporate. Just add 38000 steps.
The day’s walk began at Hadfield Station, which was weird because I was supposed to be getting off the train at Glossop. It seemed silly to wait for another train, so Panda and I set off at pace. The low gradient path rises and is ideal for cycling, horses, or dogwalking like what we were doing. The trail is part of the Hull to Liverpool Trans Pennine Trail, or national cycle route 62. Several reservoirs line the lower side, and the upper crags, swamps, and Bleakmoor.
You could even use the route as part of Cork (Ireland) to Istanbul (Turkey). The E8 European long-distance path runs past the River Etherow and the picturesque Derbyshire town of Hadfield. Hadfield, like Glossop, is about 40 minutes by train from Manchester Piccadilly. This High Peak Town sits over Bottoms Lake. That man-made reservoir forms part of the Longdendale Chain. The most upper reservoir is Woodhead Reservoir. Since around 1884, millions of gallons of water have been captured and sent to Manchester and Salford as Corporation Pop (drinking water).
Our walk also passed Arnfield, Valehouse, Rhodeswood and Torside Reservoirs. Hollingworth Reservoir has been reclaimed as a woodland. Like the woodland, the whole of the Longdendale valley is scenic and green. Tintwistle and a selection of hamlets make for great places to admire the views. UFOs and strange lights have been noted. The closest we came to this were a few deer on the dusky walk back. That and headlights over the valley on the Woodhead Pass (A628) as the walk reached the final act. Panda earned his ham on the bone treat. I’ll have Coco Pops.
The treat at the far end from Hadfield was a wander up Middle Black Clough to a spread of waterfalls and steep green vales. The walk alone was great. The extra trail at the end was excellent. It was a real challenge for the four legs of Panda and an opportunity to do some rock-scrambling. All in all, it was a lovely day out. So, where next?