Peak District National Park
Time for a change from North Wales this month to visit one of the most popular visitor locations in my closet National Park – the Peak District at Surprise View.
It has a very convenient large car park if you want to spend a few hours here. It’s just off the main road about two miles outside Hathersage on the road towards Sheffield.
This was my first visit to this location although I had driven past many times. Probably one of the best times to visit with the heather being in full bloom.
There are many footpaths you can follow in the area but I chose to follow the one at the far end of the car park signed post Surprise View.
For those of you who follow my blog, you will already know that I have a soft spot for a lone tree, and believe it or not the that was the photo opportunity I came across.
From here there is a gently sloping path up along Millstone Edge although if there are millstones here I did not see any till later in my walk. I subsequently found out that there is a footpath along the base of Millstone Edge and it is here that most of the millstones are found.
These huge stone wheels are so synonymous with the Peak District that ornamental versions grace every sign on key routes into the National Park and the millstone features on the logo of the Peak District National Park Authority.
You can read more about these by following intriguing millstones.
Following the path by the edge of the cliff, the stunning Surprise View appears with its breathing-taking view down the Hope and Derwent Valleys.
Over Owler Tor
Moving on further up the path brings you to the highest point of today’s short walk at Over Owler Tor and from there a view over Hathersage Moor to Higger Tor with the first millstone of the day in the shot.
On the above image, I have seen comments on other sites that the right-hand rock shape reminds someone of a dinosaur snout pointed upwards and others have said the head of a dolphin or possibly a duck.
I can certainly see some resemblance it each of those.
I had limited time on this visit but one day I will return and follow that path you can see in the last image to Higger Tor and beyond and back round to the car park.
I believe the short walk to the summit of the imposing tor is rewarded by spectacular views in all directions. To the north and east, the view extends across Burbage Moor and the gritstone edge which hides the skyline of nearby Sheffield.
From the southern edge of the tor, the view looks over the Iron Age Carl Wark fortress and the huge boulder known as Mother Cap (more of that in a moment) which sits on the back of Over Owler Tor.
Further, in the distance, the Longshaw estate leads to the tree-lined valley of Padley Gorge, while to the West, the scenery extends along Hope Valley, towards Mam Tor at the opposite end, as well as Millstone Edge and Stanage Edge disappearing to the horizon.
For now, it is time to head back down via the Mother Cap a natural rock tor of cross-bedded Chatsworth Grit (Namurian). The exact origin of tors such as Mother Cap is not clear but seems likely to be due to the rotting of thick layers in a warm, wet climate. Occasionally, particularly hard cores remained unaffected. Wind and rain have since removed all the loose, rotted material, and left the tors behind. Wind erosion, probably particularly severe in the intensely cold, dry conditions which prevailed over Derbyshire during the last Ice Age, have then picked out weak layers and scoured out the sculptured features we see today.
I have two images of the Mother Cap both of which I particularly like so having your opinion of which you prefer would be greatly appreciated. Just comment in the section at the bottom. One includes surprise surprise a solitary Birch tree and the other a great example of a millstone.
Name this Rock Formation
As I moved on back towards the car park I came across another surprise and this time it wasn’t the view, although that was not too bad either, but a rather unusual rock formation?
I posted this image on my Facebook page a few weeks back to see if anyone could see what I saw and of course, they did and their suggestions were dinosaur or giant tortoise or giant seal. Is it wholly created by wind and water or has someone helped it along? Looks like a giant turtle to me. Bearing in mind what people thought they could see on the rocks at Over Owler Tor the strange thing is that for something so unusual in shape in such a popular location I can only find a couple of other images of it. I would have expected it to be photographed and shared more and even named.
If you have come across any information about this please share it with me in the comments section below or maybe we all have an opportunity to name this rock formation. Again let me have your suggestions.
It’s a short walk back through the birch trees back to the car park after what was a successful and enjoyable short photo walk and one I can certainly recommend.
I also took a quick look across the road in Bolehill Quarry where there are many more millstones and an amazing avenue of birch trees which I will certainly take a closer look at on my next visit to this location.
Some of these images and many more from the National Park can be found in the Peak District gallery where you are able to buy a variety of wall art prints, canvases, and personal and commercial image downloads.