Froggatt Edge 7 mile walk
...nice 'n' gentle
This easy seven mile walk along Froggatt and Curbar Edges is one of the most popular “edge” walks in the Peak District...
The walk along Froggatt and Curbar Edges is one of the most popular “edge” walks in the Peak District. This easy seven-mile walk takes in the best of that with a return through the lovely woodlands which flank the River Derwent back to a mill which was used as the unlikely double for Colditz Castle in the TV series of the same name.
Curbar Gap is the prominent “notch” in the skyline above the village of Calver (pronounced “Carver”) and separates Curbar from Baslow Edge. Just below the edge, to the right of Bar Lane, the minor road which leads up from Calver are a series of flat gravestones which mark the burials of five members of the Cundy family, who were all victims of the Great Plague from the village in 1632 - 33 years before the more famous outbreak in the village of Eyam, across the Derwent.
Go through the car park to the gate which gives access to the moorland and edge, which is part of the Eastern Moors Estate, now managed by a partnership between the National Trust and the RSPB. There are many paths along the edge, but the best views are always from those closest to the edge. These extend southwards towards Baslow Edge and the wooded Chatsworth estate, west across the Derwent to Longstone Moor and the quarries in Stoney Middleton Dale, to Eyam and Eyam Moor, with the prominent TV mast on Sir William Hill. Nearer at hand, note the detached column known as Froggatt Pinnacle, and the various climbing routes which ascend these short but steep faces.
After a couple of miles of easy edge-strolling where the track and edge bends north, you pass a small stone circle half-hidden in the heather.
Stoke Flats Bronze Age landscape
Archaeological research has shown that a sizeable population lived and farmed here during the Bronze Age and possibly before. There is evidence of their clearance cairns, field systems, burial mounds, standing stones and hut circles, in addition to ritual monuments such as the stone circle above Froggatt Edge. Although many of the fields were obviously for arable use, opinion is divided as to whether these Bronze Age settlements were temporary or seasonal. Certainly, it is thought the climate then was slightly warmer than today’s.
Descend to a gate and cross a stream near Brookside Buttress and keep to the path heading north and cross the B6054 to descend to cross another small stream. Climb to a stile near the National Trust car park close to the Grouse Inn. Bear left over another stile and descend through Hay Wood on a path which gives access to a lane which leads down to the B6521 near Grindleford Bridge.
Grindleford stands mainly on the right bank of the Derwent, of which it has been an important crossing since medieval times. In the upper part of the village on the Hathersage road at the foot of Sir William Hill, the war memorial is a copy of Eyam’s Saxon preaching cross. The “Sir William” after which the hill is probably named was Sir William Cavendish, Bess of Hardwick’s grandson who fought for the king at Marston Moor in 1644 and lived nearby at Stoke Hall.
Just up the B6521 are the twin villages of Nether and Upper Padley, and in the woods of Upper Padley is Padley Chapel, all that remains of Padley Manor, where, in 1588, two Roman Catholic priests who were in hiding were discovered, arrested and taken to Derby where they were hanged, drawn and quartered. There is an annual pilgrimage in celebration of the Padley Martyrs in July.
Go left through the gate by the traffic lights over the bridge and follow the path to the right into the woodlands of Horse Hay Coppice and Froggatt Woods.
These are delightful, mixed woodlands, full of birdsong in the summer, and the lovely path winds in and out between boulders and across gurgling streams running off the moorlands beyond.
Emerging from the woodland, follow the path across a meadow and into a walled lane which leads past Derwent Farm and into the village of Froggatt.
The name of Froggatt comes from the Old English and means “frog cott or cottage” - a reference to the low-lying ground by the River Derwent in the parish.
From Froggatt Bridge, take the path which leads beside the banks of the Derwent and follow it to the New Bridge, with its large millpond and weir fed by The Goit across on the opposite bank.
Eventually the path joins the Duke’s Drive – a reference to the Duke of Rutland’s route from Haddon to his shooting lodge at Longshaw – which runs into Calver, past the towering presence of Calver Mill.
This imposing late 18th century cotton mill was used to produce stainless steel sinks and equipment, but today has been converted to residential use. It gained fame in the 1960s when it served as the model for Colditz Castle in the long-running TV series about the famous German castle used to incarcerate British prisoners of war with a record of escaping from lesser Stalags.
Turn left from the mill up Curbar Lane and more steeply as it becomes Bar Lane, winding up the hill back towards Curbar Gap and your starting point.
Start/finish: Curbar Gap car park, above Curbar village.
Distance: About 11km/7 miles
Approximate time: Allow 4 hours
Highest point: Curbar Edge 339m/1,112ft.
Maps: OS Explorer Sheet 24, The White Peak
Refreshments: At Curbar Gap (in season); pubs at Curbar or Grindleford
Terrain: An easy moorland promenade, followed by field and woodland paths
These walks have been adapted from Roly Smith’s Rambler’s Guide to the Peak District, published by HarperCollins in 2000.
Copyright Let's Stay Peak District 2010
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015