Hope to Win Hill 5 mile walk
...starting and finishing in Hope
This pleasant half-day walk takes you to the 462m/1,518ft summit of Win Hill Pike, one of the finest viewpoints in the Peak District...
Win Hill from Hope
Although it is now a much smaller village than Castleton or Hathersage, it was the formerly-important village of Hope which gave its name to the valley. This pleasant half-day walk takes you to the 462m/1,518ft summit of Win Hill Pike, one of the finest viewpoints in the Peak District, encompassing the Ladybower Reservoir and Derwent Moors with Bleaklow behind to the north and the wide sweep of the Hope Valley and the first hills of the White Peak to the south.
Although only a tiny village now dominated by the massive cement works at its western end, Hope was once important enough to give its name to one of the key central valleys of the Dark Peak. In 1068, its huge parish took in two-thirds of the Royal Forest of the Peak, including Buxton, Tideswell and Chapel-en-le-Frith. The mainly 13th and 14th century parish church has two 13th century graveslabs which are thought to commemorate officers of the Forest and there is a Saxon cross shaft in the churchyard.
Another echo of Hope’s past importance was the weekly livestock market, granted in 1715, and a famous agricultural show and sheepdog trials in August still attracts loyal farmers from the surrounding hills. There is a pinfold in the Pindale Road where stray stock were impounded until their owners could be traced.
Leave the centre of the village and head down the Edale Road beside the Woodruffe Arms. After about a quarter of a mile, turn right and descend on a lane to Killhill Bridge across the River Noe. After passing under a railway bridge, turn right on a track which ascends towards Twitchell Farm.
Past the farm buildings, climb up the steep pastures to a stile, from where a clear path bears to the right and mounts unrelentingly towards the skyline ridge. Turn right here at the top of Hope Brink, and climb up through the heather on a sandy path towards the beckoning crags of Win Hill Pike.
Win Hill Pike
Seen from the Hope Valley, Win Hill looks like a shapeless lump, so it is always a pleasant surprise to see that the actual summit really is a rocky little “pike.” There are many legends concerning how the hill got its name, the most fanciful of which is that the victors in a Dark Age battle encamped here – hence “Win” Hill – while the losers chose “Lose” Hill across the Noe opposite. Entymologists, however, are less romantic and believe the name comes from Old English for “withy” or willow hill.
The view from the 462m/1,518ft summit is wonderful, looking north deep into the Upper Derwent Valley across the blue waters of Ladybower and on towards the tors of Derwent Edge and Bleaklow, and west to the reigning “Mother Mountain” of Mam Tor at the end of the sinuous Great Ridge which runs west from shapely Lose Hill. Kinder Scout and Brown Knoll fill the background. To the south, the view is across the broad, pastoral reaches of the Hope Valley to the Shatton Moor and Bradwell Edge, and the undulating White Peak plateau.
After admiring the fine view from the summit, retrace your steps down to the col of Hope and Thornhill Brinks and continue west gently descending the broad ridge following a wall towards Wooler Knoll on the edge of the conifers of Wiseman Hey Clough Plantation.
This insignificant 382m/1,253ft summit, almost smothered by the encroaching conifers, marks a narrowing on the ridge which runs down to the ancient guidepost of Hope Cross, where the ghosts of Roman soldiers have allegedly been seen marching up their road from Navio (Brough) to Melandra (near Glossop). The name of Wooler Knoll is though to come from the Old English wulf hlaw, meaning “Wolves’ Hill.”
Just short of the summit and the cross-ridge wall, turn sharply left down the bridleway coming up from Hope and descend to join the Roman Road above Harrop Farm. There are grand views from this airy track across the Noe Valley to the dominating slopes of Lose Hill opposite, occasionally enlivened by the sight of trains plying the Hope Valley line in the valley bottom beneath.
The Hope Valley Line
The Hope Valley Valley, still a vital artery and a spectacular way to reach the fine walking in the Hope and Edale Valleys, was opened for passengers by the Midland Railway in 1894. It was a difficult line to build and involved the construction of the Cowburn and Totley Tunnels, the latter of which was one of the longest in Britain at 5km/3½ miles. Seven hundred navvies worked on the line, and 30 million bricks were used to line the tunnel, from which 2.5 million gallons of water had to be extracted from the workings daily. Today, the line is known as “the Ramblers’ Route” and provides a convenient link across the Pennines between Sheffield and Stockport/Manchester.
Join the walled lane which leads down to Fullwood Stile Farm, which is passed through to a stile which leads south past The Homestead to go under the railway and back to Killhill Bridge again and into Hope along the Edale Road.
Start/finish: Car park in Hope
Distance: 9km/5 miles
Approximate time: Allow 3-4 hours
Highest point: Win Hill 462m/1,518ft
Maps: OS Explorer Sheet 1, The Dark Peak; Harveys, Dark Peak South
Refreshments: Cafes and pubs in Hope
Terrain: A stiff climb to a fine summit
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: 19 Apr 2017