Padley Gorge & Bole Hill to Over Owler Tor.
2¾ mi/4½ km
3½ mi/5½ km
3 hrs 15 mins
4 hrs 00 mins
Map: OS Explorer OL24 - The Peak District, White Peak Area
There are two walk options, a 3½ miles walk with a visit to Nether Padley and Grindleford railway station, the cafe here is highly recommended. The shorter 2¾ miles walk is without visiting Nether Padley. Both walks are half day family and dog friendly adventures that explore a ravine as a bustling brook cuts enchanting woodland of moss covered rocks and ancient gnarly oak, birch, holly and wild cherry trees where grey squirrels forage. Wildflowers in spring add colour and insects, magical fungi in autumn. Explore tranquil Silver Birch plantation on the old quarry. Cut through the heather covered moorland to search the rock formations on Over Owler Tor and Mother Cap.
Starting from the ‘Surprise View’ (car only) pay and display car park. There are no facilities at the car park. The car park can become busy as the area is very popular. Cross the A6187 through a kiss gate and along the footpath crossing Lawrence Field.
If access to the kiss gate unavailable, turn left along the A6187 for 160 yards to another gate on the right.
(The path ahead goes to the rocks of Owler Tor then to the woodland footpath of the western bank of Burbage Brook).
The path on the right leads back to the earlier kiss gate. Turn left on the footpath, cross Lawrence Field to another kiss gate to enter Bolehill Wood and down to the woodland footpath turning right to follow the western bank of Burbage Brook.
Padley Gorge is a wooded ravine of moss covered gnarly ancient oak and birch trees along with holly and wild cherry trees and the many wildflowers with bluebells and snowdrops appearing in spring early summer and a variety of fungi in autumn. Burbage Brook separates Yarncliff Wood on the east and Bolehill Wood on the west, the wooded ravine has been a SSSI since 1972. There are pathways down to the brook but great care should be taken as the steep slope is a bit of a scramble and can be slippery when wet. The brook can be safely viewed from the pathway above without getting too close to the edge, or from either footbridge.
At a cross path junction, the path on the left path leads to a footbridge over the brook and in to Yarncliff Wood and on to Upper Padley, with the path on the right signed ‘Surprise View & Bolehill Quarry’ taking a shorter walk to Bolehill Plantation.
After crossing the footbridge turn right on a broad pathway used as a bridleway, if the bridge is washed out, continue for 210 yards to a stepped path on the left to the next footbridge. Follow the path as it climbs the hillside to meet a footpath used as a bridleway down to Upper Padley. Turn right on Windses Estate Road, cross the bridge, then turn right along a track through a few houses, to a gate and in to Bolehill Wood. The footpath bears slightly left and steadily ascends Bole Hill.
The footpath leads through the tranquil Bolehill Plantation of Silver Birch trees of what was the old Bolehill Quarry where stone was quarried from the 14th century up until the mid 20th century for millstones and to build nearby dams. The pathway of the old quarry access road emulates a tree line like avenue with scatterings of millstones piled on the side of the pathway. Though as a site the plantation is not protected, how the habitat that the wood provides is covered by a tree preservation order under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 Section 41 (NERC S.41). Hopefully the woodland will be preserved from development for many years to come.
Crosses the A6187 enters Whim Plantation on a concessionary path of what was the old Grey Millstone Quarry access road, then ascends to the up the cliff of Millstone Edge. The pathway then makes its way through the heather to top of Over Owler Tor and Mother Cap another ideal place for a picnic, with a range of stone formations to be climbed and explored. There are magnificent views to the north across Hathersage Moor, and to the south across the valley and woodland of the Longshaw Estate. Once the exploring is done, the path takes a steady descent through the rocks, heather and Silver Birch trees back to the start at the car park. .