Parking: On street parking in Hollinsclough
Start Point: Hollinsclough Methodist Church
Region: Peak District
Route length: 6.4miles (10.2km)
Time taken: 3:00
Average speed: 2.1mph
Summits: Chrome Hill, Parkhouse Hill
Other points of interest: Tor Rock
Route: Hollinsclough, Hollinsclough Rake, River Dove, Brand End, Stoop Farm, Tor Rock, Chrome Hill Parkhouse Hill, Hollinsclough
Nestled away in the southern part of the Peaks, for the most part, away from prying eyes stand a remarkable pair of hills. Oddly, despite being in existence for millions of years, walkers have only been able to access them (legally) since the introduction of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act in the year 2000. It's a welcome introduction as these two small hills are much too good to be missed and provide one of the most striking scenes in the park. I am, of course, talking about Chrome Hill & Parkhouse Hill.
These two great fins of rock jut out of the ground like the sails of the Sydney Opera house and are the result of something we might not expect to find in the cold, bleak, autumnal United Kingdom. An ancient coral reef. An atoll to be more precise, similar to those you can currently find in the Pacific. The ancient coral algae trapped the lime-mud sediments creating large mounds which, after a bit of differential erosion, lead to the forms you can see today. Both hills are now a joint SSSI, thanks to their unique limestone flora and the large cumulation of fossils that can be found. These two really are not to be missed.
We started the walk in Hollinsclough, a small village sandwiched between the juvenile River Dove and the River manifold. Generally, there are a few parking spaces in a layby to the west of the village though these were full by the time we arrived. Leaving the car on the road outside the primary school, we set off, picking up the path heading north west beneath Hollinsclough Rake, the steep road that leads into the village from the west. Already, the going was difficult as the wet, muddy and uneven path made for a slow, careful plod.
|The parking in Hollinsclough|
|Sara as we cross Hollinsclough Rake|
|The path we followed in error|
|The River Dove|
She doesn't like spiders.
With spirits raised once again, we ploughed on, this time taking a path along the steep valley side and then heading north up to Brand End. Again, the path was difficult to follow in the first instance due to the growth of ferns on the valley side but, once out, its easy enough to follow to the farm at Brand End. A word of note here though, according to our maps, the path heads through the yard of the farm to the south of the buildings yet, recent changes to the property have made this inaccessible now. Instead, the path continues to the west of the buildings and then follows the fence around the north side back to the track where we should have been.
|The path continues along the River Dove|
|A track leads down to Brand End Farm|
|Hollins Hill can be seen in the distance|
|Our first proper view of Chrome Hill|
|The outcrop of Tor Rock|
|Chrome Hill in all its glory|
|The first knoll tempts you into the first climb|
|Sara forges her own way up|
|Sara atop one of the outcrops with Hollins Hill for company|
|The final set of humps to the summit (topped by a small man in this instance)|
|The summit of Chrome Hill looking towards Parkhouse Hill|
|Sara follows the step-like path down towards Parkhouse Hill|
|The afternoon light was perfect at this moment|
|Parkhouse Hill suddenly looks a lot larger from the base|
|Sara tackles the last little climb to the top|
|After a quick 15 minute climb, a breather on the summit|
|A look back along the knife-edge ridge to Chrome Hill|
|Parkhouse Hill and Chrome Hill|
|The steep path down to the base|
|Fording the River Dove|
|One last view of Parkhouse Hill|