The other weekend I got reminded that a great walk doesn’t have to be up the highest peak, or to a famous summit that everyone wants to tick off their list. I had a brilliant time walking up a hill that’s just lovely for being in a great location, a bit different, and with an interesting character.
Crook Hill is in the High Peak area of the Peak District. It sits at the bottom of the two arms of the Y-shaped Ladybower Reservoir, where the Woodlands Valley splits off from the Derwent Valley. It’s a commanding location that makes it easy to imagine that Crook Hill was the once the site of a hill fort (although I’m not aware that it ever was).
Crook Hill has two summits, with gritstone outcrops on each top. From these tops, you get views over the Reservoir, the fields and woods of the Derwent Valley and Woodlands Valley, and across to Kinder Scout, Derwent Edge, the Wheel Stones, Bamford Edge and Stanage Edge. It’s a stunning sweep of a view.
Getting to that view is straightforward, if unexciting. There are a few directions you can approach Crook Hill, but I started my walk from the car park just up from the aqueduct at Hurst Clough. From there I walked the half a kilometre or so back down the road to the track that leads up to Crookhill Farm. I followed that track steadily uphill until just outside the Farm, and then cut across a field, and through a gate into the open access land that Crook Hill sit in. There is an unofficial path from here that curves round to the little col between the two summits, and is probably the easiest way up. But I didn’t realise this at the time and simply went straight for the nearest summit.
It rained on my walk up, but as I got within a few metres of the southerly top of Crook Hill, the sun suddenly lit up the summit. It was a great way to arrive at such a lovely summit. I had expected a rounded, uninteresting top, I was surprised to find that the summit was a grassy spine with wedges of rough gritstone protruding from it. After enjoying the view for a bit, I had some fun unnecessarily scrambling down the gritstone. It was then an easy walk to the col and on to the next top
The more northerly part of Crook Hill has a flatter top of grass and gritstone, as well as a lower tier bordered with more gritstone. Looking at this, I thought that a more interesting way to do these twin tops might be to approach from the North-West, and scramble up the gritstone of each peak. That’s something I might try next time, because this is such a lovely hill that I am definitely going to come back.
The Ordnance Survey map OL1 covers Crook Hill and the surrounding area. The more southerly summit of Crook Hill is at grid reference SK 1833 8684.
Crook Hill’s location means that it can be included in gentle walks up from Ladybower Reservoir, or longer walks that take in the surrounding moors and hills. I did a relatively short walk that carried on over Bridge-end Pasture, along the top edge of the Hagg Side woods, and then down to the Reservoir. There are some suggestions for longer walks involving Crook Hill on the blog the Hill Explorer. This includes a route taking in Win Hill to the south, and another route going along Derwent Edge to the East.
5 thoughts on “A Lovely Hill”
Great post and a wonderful reminder that a peak does not have to be high or famous to be enjoyable.
One of my favourite mountain days was an ascent of An Feadon (I think that’s how you spell it!), the peak above the Fairy Pools in the Black Cuillin of Skye. It was a delightful scramble, but because it is a side peak of the main ridge and not a Munro, we had it to ourselves. I particularly remember seeing a White Tailed Sea Eagle being mobbed by a pair of Peregrines on our way up, past the magical Fairy Pools, and the wind making my teeth hurt as I smiled for the summit photo!
That sounds like a brilliant day (except maybe the bit about wind-blasted teeth). I think that I sometimes need to look wider for where I go in the mountains, because there’s amazing places I may otherwise be missing near to the places that draw the crowds (like your experience on An Feadon).
It seems that sometimes many things just come together to make a great mountain day. A lot of those are outside your control (like the weather), but sometimes I think you can just make the right choice, even if it’s a choice based on a whim or hunch. I’d see Crook Hill from a distance on other walks, and thought it looked interesting. When the rain meant I couldn’t go climbing, I thought I would wander up and have a look.
I fancy the Spur of An Feadan – I’ll be on my own though which doesn’t make me feel confident as it looks a stiffish- scramble!
Looks a nice walk – some of the small peaks have far more character. I always wonder about Meal Fell in the Lakeland Northern Fells near where I now live – that has interesting looking rocky ramparts and I always think it looks like an old British fort.
Meal Fell sounds fun. I’ll have to have a look next time I’m in the Lakes.