Birchen Clough – Peak District

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Me by the memorial cross above Ashway Gap

I hesitate to say this, but the weather could be kind this weekend and not rain, well not too much. So if you fancy a short wander out with some incredible views and a frisson of the sublime, you couldn’t do any better than Dove Stone reservoir in the Peak District near Saddleworth.

A nice quick way up is via Ashway Gap, then heading north near the top to arrive at the memorial cross to James Platt, he used to live at times, at a gothic mansion just where you turn of the reservoir track to ascend to the top. He was unlucky with guns, having being shot by one of his mates the Mayor whilst out walking with guns, America take note, guns are bad for you. More interestingly, to me anyway, James Platt came from the Mather and Platt local business which made special machinery for industry in Victorian times and still does today. But that didn’t save him from getting it in the neck from his mate. It was all just an accident.

Follow the crags round heading generally north then east until you drop in to Birchen Clough. This is a joy, especially after rain. It is to my mind the best Clough for waterfalls in the whole of the Peak District. To add to the beauty there are two sections where a frisson of excitement and death or at the very least serious injury may occur if you are not careful. A footpath that runs high on the eastern  hillside above the stream offers relief from the excitement and safer passage for the sensitive. Take your time and enjoy the place. Its water thunder in your ears, Dippers dart here and there and invariably you have the place to yourself. If you are unsure about this bit of the walk you can always retrace your steps. Personal safety is the better part of valour.

If the Birchen Clough stream is in flood and seems difficult to cross at the top , it will be worse further down, especially at the weir so you may want to retrace your steps.

At the bottom cross the stream, gain the reservoir track and follow it down. Note on your right stones from the gothic mansion making a wall.

At the car park there is usually a stall selling wonderful food and drink. A good day out.

All of the items mentioned in the post can be found on or near Walk No.30 of Dark Peak Walks published by Cicerone Press.

Author: Paul Besley

Writer I have spent most of my life escaping into the Peak District National Park, I have grown to love the solitude it can bring. I also have an interest in the growing field of psychogeography particularly, in post-industrial landscapes. I am the author of Dark Peak Walks published by Cicerone Press. I am also studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University.

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