Buxton Circular via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head walk

The vast Axe Edge Moor, the heads of 5 famous Peak District rivers, the popular and scenic Three Shires Head pools and waterfalls, disused quarries and some fine far views

Shutlingsloe in continuation of road by New Lodge Farm, Flash Bar/Hilltop SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

Shutlingsloe in continuation of road by New Lodge Farm, Flash Bar/Hilltop

SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

26-Aug-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Panniers Bridge over River Dane, by Three Shires Head SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

Panniers Bridge over River Dane, by Three Shires Head

SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

26-Aug-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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View down old Macclesfield Turnpike Road to Axe Edge Moor SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

View down old Macclesfield Turnpike Road to Axe Edge Moor

SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

26-Aug-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Solomon's Temple, Folly on Grin Low, Buxton Country Park SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

Solomon's Temple, Folly on Grin Low, Buxton Country Park

SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

26-Aug-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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View from Flash across to Shutlingsloe, past Cut-thorn Hill SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

View from Flash across to Shutlingsloe, past Cut-thorn Hill

SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

26-Aug-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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View down the Dane Valley from Back ‘oth Cross Cottage SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

View down the Dane Valley from Back ‘oth Cross Cottage

SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

26-Aug-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Cut-thorn Hill on left, Danebower and Whetstone Ridge ahead SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

Cut-thorn Hill on left, Danebower and Whetstone Ridge ahead

SWC 387 - Buxton Circular (via Axe Edge Moor and Three Shires Head)

26-Aug-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Length

27.0 km (16.8 mi), with 687m ascent/descent. For a shorter or longer walk see below Walk Options.

Toughness

8 out of 10, with 7 hours walking time.

Walk Notes

You rise steeply out of the spa town of Buxton up the now wooded Grin Low, a formerly heavily quarried hill, with its hilltop folly, Solomon’s Temple, and a viewing platform. Continue through pastures higher up to the vast upland Axe Edge Moor, source of five of the most famous Peak District rivers: the Wye, Dove, Manifold, Dane and Goyt. The tops of all those valleys will be visited. The moor crossings are largely along broad grassy or gravel paths, but not without one stretch with ‘proper’ moorland terrain: bouncy to boggy, at times ill defined, paths passing groughs, cloughs and peat hags. Various remnants of historic mining activities are passed, some quite picturesque. On a good day the moor provides for fantastic views into the surrounding valleys, to neighbouring ridges and quarries and into the Cheshire Plain.
From the top of the Dove Valley, you continue to the lunch stops at Flash Bar and in Flash, England’s highest village, to continue down into the very scenic Upper Dane Valley. Follow a rough track around Turn Edge to the very popular Three Shires Head, the meeting of four former packhorse routes by Panniers Bridge, with several waterfalls and surrounded by high mountains at the meeting point of three County boundaries.
You ascend along the Blackclough tributary up to the base of Cheeks Hill and follow it around to some large disused quarries and a former colliery, where you cross the Dane to begin the long ascent between Dane Bower and Whetstone Ridge to the Cat & Fiddle Road, the watershed to the Upper Goyt Valley.
Cross the quiet moorland valley with long views out to Kinder Scout and Bleaklow, along a former turnpike road from Macclesfield, now a rough track. One last ascent lies ahead, to the pass separating the Goyt from the Wye Valley, and the descent back into Buxton is all that’s left to do.

Walk Options

Buses at the start
· Bus Line 58 (Buxton – Macclesfield via Cat & Fiddle), with an hourly service Monday-Saturday and five buses on Sundays and Bank Holidays stops at:
Ladmanlow, opposite Leek Road, a 340m uphill walk away from the route near the top of the initial ascent out of Buxton (cut 4.3 km and 118m ascent). Continue up Leek Road and in 300m Grin Low Road joins from the left; in another 30m you reach a bus stop for Line 16 on the left. Pick up the directions at the asterisk *) on page 6.
· Bus Line 16 (Buxton, Market Place – Leek – Hanley, 4 buses per day Mon-Sat) stops at:
Leek Road, adjacent Grin Low Road, where the route crosses the A53 (cut 4.6 km and 143m ascent), pick up the directions at the asterisk *) on page 6;
Flash Bar, adjacent Travellers’ Rest PH (aka The Knight’s Table), cut 10.2 km and 320m ascent.
See the route map for the location of the bus stops.

A Shortcut follows the Dane Valley Way around Cheeks Hill and cuts out the middle section of the walk, this cuts 5.7 km and 140m ascent (not walked yet, so map-led).
A Minor Shortcut would be to cut the 350m each-way out-and-back to the early lunch stops at Flash Bar.
An Extension descends steeply from Axe Edge End into the Dove Valley for a stretch along a tributary of the Dove and across the Dove itself. This adds 1.2 km and 125m ascent.
A Minor Extension would be to add an 320m each-way out-and-back to the picturesque Derbyshire Bridge.

Bus Line 58 (Macclesfield – Buxton via Cat & Fiddle), with an hourly service Monday-Saturday and five buses on Sundays and Bank Holidays, offers several stops on the route to shorten the walk by finishing the route early.
· A – Cat & Fiddle PH, 7.1 km from the end of the walk.
· B – Burbage, Level Lane, 3.0 km from the end of the walk: Last bus: 19.08 Mon-Sat, 18.11 Sun/BH (08/2021).
· C – Burbage, Burbage Way or Christ Church, just a few minutes of walking further than the Level Lane stop, but by a pub (The Duke). Note: Mon-Sat the bus stops to the right of the pub (as you approach it), at the Burbage Way stop, while on Sun/BH to the left of it (Christ Church stop)!
See the route map for the location of the bus stops.

Maps

OS Explorer: OL24 (The Peak District – White Peak Area)
OS Landranger: 119 (Buxton & Matlock)
Harvey Superwalker XT25: Peak District South and Central (but only for the urban bits in Buxton)
Harvey British Mountain Map: White Peak

Travel

Buxton Station, map reference SK 059 737, is 22km southeast of Manchester, 299m above sea level and in Derbyshire. Buxton Station is the terminus of the Buxton Line from Manchester, with two trains per hour Mon-Sat daytime and one per hour else. Journey time is 60 mins from Manchester and ca. three hours from London (chg. at Stockport). A faster connection can be obtained by taking a train to Macclesfield and bus 58 to Buxton.

Saturday Walkers’ Club: The walk is doable as a daywalk from London with a train no later than 07.20 hours.

Elenvenses/Lunch

The Knight’s Table A 53, Quarnford Flash Bar, Staffordshire, SK17 0SN (01298 23695). The Knight’s Table is located 10.5 km (6.5 mi) into the walk. This pub is currently closed.
Flash Bar Café and Shop The Annexe, A53, Quarnford Flash Bar, Staffordshire, SK17 0TF (01298 27804). Flash Bar Café and Shop are located 10.5 km (6.5 mi) into the walk. Flash Bar takes its name from the toll bar and house built in 1771 which is still in existence today. It was in operation on the site of the then road from Macclesfield to Longnor via Three Shires Head.
The New Inn New Road, Quarnford, Flash, Staffordshire, SK17 0SW (01298 22941). The New Inn is located 12.1 km (7.5 mi) into the walk and England’s highest village pub (the Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire is not in a village).

Tea

The Cat & Fiddle Buxton New Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 0AR (01298 73711). The Cat & Fiddle is located 7.1 km from the end of the walk. Built in 1813, and long England’s second highest pub, it closed in December 2015 with an uncertain future. Robinson’s Brewery have recently sold it to the Forest Distillery though, who intend to open it as Britain’s highest altitude distillery, with a pub attached.
The Duke 123 St John's Road, Burbage,Buxton SK17 6UR (01298 78781). The Duke is located 2.2 km from the end of the walk. This pub is currently closed.
Numerous options in Buxton, either around the Market Place, or close to the Train Station. Some of the ones on the route are mentioned in the pdf.

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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Sep-21 Thomas G

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Walk Directions  

Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk