Start – Derbyshire Bridge car park SK018716, Distance – 15.5km, Ascent – 450m, Time – 4hr 30min plus stops.
A high-level wander (well, as high as you can get in the White Peak, anyway), taking in the wonderful Axe Edge and the somewhat less than wonderful Cheeks Hill, which is the highest point in Staffordshire. Starting from the Derbyshire Bridge car park, the route quickly diverts from the main path over the moors, following a tumble-down wall south over a hill to the A537. The path then gets even vaguer, tracking east across the boggy moorland of Axe Edge Moor to reach the summit of Axe Edge, the second highest point in the White Peak. After following a path south from the summit, the minor road is crossed and then down to the stream before traversing the hill on another vague path to gain the second flat summit of Axe Edge. The rest of the route is more straightforward, following established paths onto Cheeks Hill and then skirting around to cross the infant River Dane and across the A54. At this point you can either follow the main path across to the Cat and Fiddle pub, or climb the ridge on the left and follow first a fence and then a dry stone wall along the top of the ridge and around Dane Bower, before joining the main path further north. Although there are quite extensive sections of this walk taken off the beaten track, they’re worth persevering with as they take in some lovely but quiet and seldom-trodden ridges and edges.
The first diversion, following an old wall across the moorland to the A537. The building on the horizon is the Cat and Fiddle Pub, the second-highest pub in England (I think) and much-favoured by summer bikers
The trig point on Axe Edge. The bump to the left is the second peak of Axe Edge, forming a ridge traverse that runs parallel to the A53.
A view across to the Dove and Manifold Valleys, taken from the southern summit of the Axe Edge ridge. The hill in the centre is Hollins Hill, with the ragged edge of Chrome Hill poking above it.
Looking down towards 3 Shire Heads, which is at the meeting of the valleys in the centre.
Looking across the Dane Valley and the abandoned Danebower quarries towards the A54. The route described here crosses the Dane and ascends the ridge on the skyline, climbing from right to left. The paths are vague, but worth the effort.
Walking along the ridge around Dane Bower, following an old, tumble-down wall and onto the high-point in the centre of the photo. The hill in the distance to the left is Charity Lane on the border of Macclesfield Forest