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Aim, Focus, Shoot - The HyPyC blog
Peak District Natural Landmarks

Natural Landmarks of the Peak District

I have spent a great deal of time hiking through the Peak District and exploring the county of Derbyshire. The Peak District is known for its gorgeous and rugged landscapes and I only live an hours drive from places such as Chatsworth, Padley and Hathersage. During the warmer months, I have spent many weekends visiting notable landmarks and driving in my car to find new and interesting places to photograph. During my ramblings I have seen some truly remarkable places and the following constitutes five of my favourite natural landmarks the Peak District.

Mam Tor - Beautiful views across to Hope Valley

The spectacular view from Mam Tor across to Hope Valley

Mam Tor is a large hill in the High Peak and is located close to Castleton and the famous Blue John Cavern. Other notable features and landmarks that surround this impressive natural monument include Winnats Pass, Hope Valley and the Great Ridge pathway. When I visited Mam Tor and the surrounding area I parked in Mam Nick Car Park which is located in a secluded woods on the Sparrowpit Buxton A623 road, just off of Winnats Pass.

For those who love to walk and explore the outdoors, Mam Tor presents some fantastic hiking opportunities - I can remember walking from the car park up to the top of the Tor and seeing the miles of footpaths stretching along the Great Ridge. I only planned to walk a short distance and take some photos of the beautiful Hope Valley, but I ended up hiking for miles across the rugged Bridleway. On either side of the Tor, the landscape spans for miles - when I visited, the fields were bursting with vivid greens and yellows and the peaks of Hope Valley looked mysterious as they were almost wreathed in a light hazy mist.

Looking down from Mam Tor towards Hope Valley 5 bar gate on the walking trail at Mam Tor Looking across towards Mam Tor

Stanage Edge - A stunning gritstone escarpment

Walking up towards the top of Stanage Edge

I had thought about visiting Stanage Edge for years and I had driven extremely close to this beautiful gritstone escarpment on many occasions. Eventually we made the trip, and one weekend headed out to view this magnificent natural landmark. Stanage Edge is located in the western part of the Peak District near Hathersage and there is a car park located just off of The Dale road.

Stanage Edge stretches for miles and it was once part of an ancient trade route used by Romans. You can see the characteristic cliff face from many different points in the peak district and it is a true pleasure to walk along and explore. The hike to the top shouldn't take long, but in hot weather it can be tiring so take plenty of fluids! Once you are at the top, the views are spectacular and the rocks are fantastic to scramble across and climb over. I love the rock formations and although I have never climbed myself, I can see the appeal for those who visit Stanage Edge to conquer its challenging cliff faces.

Sign post promoting respect for Stanage Edge Rock climbers at Stanage Edge Gorgeous rock formations at Stanage Edge

Higger Tor - Magnificent rock formations

Rock formations at Higger Tor

Higger Tor was one of the first Peak District landmarks that I visited and I was captivated by the immense rock formations and the gorgeous landscape that surrounds this part of the Dark Peak. This whole area is practically full of landmarks and just across the way you can see both Stanage Edge and Burbage Edge. The best car park to explore Higger Tor from is Upper Burbage Car Park which is located in Ringinglow Road to the east of Hathersage. From this car park you can head along two different paths - Burbage West and Burbage North, the west path leads to Higger Tor.

The many rock formations of Higger Tor are simply fascinating and I spent many hours photographing the various shapes together with the impressive views across to Burbage Valley. Walking through this gorgeous part of the Peak District was invigorating and I can remember in particular the varied colours of the landscape as the weather changed - whilst walking along Burbage West, the skies were overcast and the scenery had many darker colours whereas when I reached Higger Tor, the clouds had parted and a host of brighter colours emerged instead.

Looking across towards Higger Tor Rock pools at Higger Tor Huge rock formations at Higger Tor

Bamford Edge - Gorgeous cliffs overlooking Ladybower Reservoir

Looking down onto Ladybower Reservoir

Bamford Edge is similar to Stanage Edge in that it commands a domineering position and presents a beautiful gritstone cliff face that you can walk across. This particular natural landmark can be found above the small village of Bamford and next to the impressive Ladybower Reservoir and Dam. When I visited Bamford, I parked in the Heatherdene car park which sits next to Ladybower - from here there is a path that leads from the back of the car park, right up to the top of the cliff face.

I am not sure if you are meant to use the path or not as it passes between telegraph pylons, but the walk was invigorating and challenging! If you visit Bamford Edge at the right time of year, when you reach the top you will be greeted by a sea of purple and pink heather. The colours are amazing and you can find a range of trails to walk along that wind through this rugged landscape.

For me, the most impressive feature of Bamford Edge however was the view - from this vantage point, you can see for miles and the scene that unfolds before your eyes it simply magnificent. You can see rolling hills and fields in a multitude of colours, and the bright deep blue waters of Ladybower and its impressive dam - it is simply breath-taking!

Stunning landscape of Bamford Edge and Ladybower Heather covered fields at Bamford Edge Rock climbers at Bamford Edge

Over Owler Tor - Milestones and unusual rock formations

Milestone markers on Over Owler Tor

Over Owler Tor is one of the first places I ever visited in the Peak District - I had decided to head out in the car one day and literally see what I could find; I hadn't researched any landmarks or looked at the area, I simply drove past Chatsworth and out into the Peaks. I happened to notice some rock formations on the A6187 and made a spur of the moment decision to pull up at Surprise View Car Park. From here I took my first hike in the Peak District and explored Over Owler Tor.

One of the most distinctive features of Owler Tor is the Mother Cap - this huge rock stack has a large tiered body and a slightly larger triangular top section that looks almost like an old school teachers cap. Many people visit the Mother Cap to climb its rock face or as I did, to simply admire its weird and wonderful shape. On the southern side of the A6187 there is an abundance of gritstone rock that you can climb over, whilst on the northern side you can climb up to the Mother Cap. If you continue, you can carry on to Higger Tor and Carl Wark.

Standing stones at Over Owler Tor The Mother Cap at Over Owler Tor Rock formations at Over Owler Tor

I hope to continue exploring the Peak District and discovering new and beautiful landmarks such as the ones listed above. The areas I have explored really only encompass a small section of this gorgeous part of the English countryside and I am sure there is still plenty more to photograph. If you have visited any of the above landmarks then let me know what you thought, or if you have seen any other places of interest in the Peak District I would love to hear about them!

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