Fair Brook & Kinder Downfall from Birchen Clough

This Peak District walk on the quieter side of Kinder Scout provides the basis for a great day outdoors.The outward route takes you onto the plateau crossing wild moorland. Once Kinder Downfall is reached you can enjoy a downhill walk in some of the best scenry in this part of the National Park.

Technical sheet
No. 293195
A Hope Woodlands walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 25/08/16
Calculated time Calculated time: 5h00[?]
Distance Distance : 8.44mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 1296ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 1286ft
Highest point Highest point : 2018ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 1020ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Peak District
Location Location : Hope Woodlands
Starting point Starting point : N 53.41961° / W 1.83732°
Download : -


(D/A)The start is the small car park at Birchen Clough on the A57 Snake Road (Grid ref. SK109914). Cross over the road (south) and go through the gate to follow the path through the woods down to a stream. Continue to follow this downstream turning left when it joins the River Ashop. Do not cross the footbridge on your left but instead stay on the north side of the river following the path that climbs back up to the main road. Follow the main road in the direction of Sheffield past the Snake Inn to take a signed footpath on the south side of the road that leads down to a footbridge (Grid ref. 114902). Cross the bridge and follow the river for a short way before turning right at the first brook, Fair Brook, to follow the tumbling waters upstream on to Kinder (Grid ref 093 891).(1)

As you climb the views begin to open out and although the ascent looks daunting you soon reach the plateau. On arrival at the top you will see to your right the edge sticks out like a nose. This is Fairbrook Naze and it is a good place to eat a sandwich and watch the world go by. Rather surprisingly you will also notice the ground is sandy - a fact that justifies the claim there are "beaches" in the Peak District.(2)

We have now to make the crossing over to Kinder Gates, which comprises of large stones each side of the shallow Kinder River (Grid ref 088 887). It is important you set your compass as at times you will be below ground level. At first follow the streambed as far as you can keeping a regular eye on your bearing. Providing you follow your compass in the general direction you will reach Kinder River and if you are good Kinder Gates! Do not follow any footprints as the owner may have been lost - just put your trust in your compass rather than any hunches. It is also quite easy to see someone ahead and follow them - don't - they may be wandering around in circles!(3)

On reaching the River Kinder turn right and follow it downstream to the Downfall (Grid ref 083 889). This waterfall can be disappointing after dry weather but with the right conditions it can be spectacular. Whatever it is another stop to take in the views.(4)

Now follow the wide path northwest from the Downfall. This keeps to the edge before dropping very steeply down some steps on Ashop Head towards the stake on Mill Hill. Reaching the cross path (Grid ref. 063902) turn right. Note - this is prior to climbing up to Mill Hill. You are now on the Snake Path, a very old right of way connecting Hayfield with the Snake Inn on the Snake Road. The name does not come from the twisting road but from the coat of arms of the Cavendish family, which featured a snake.(5)

Keep on this path reaching a stile into the woods and take the first path on the left climbing up to turn right on to a forest road this leads you back to the stream and the start.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 1220ft - Start: car park at Birchen Clough
1 : mi 1.19 - alt. 1024ft - Fair Brook: turn right
2 : mi 2.68 - alt. 1975ft - Plateau: Fairbrook Naze
3 : mi 3.11 - alt. 2018ft - Kinder Gates: turn right
4 : mi 3.53 - alt. 1900ft - Kinder Downfall: follow path northwest
5 : mi 4.98 - alt. 1673ft - Cross path: turn right
D/A : mi 8.44 - alt. 1230ft - Finish: car park at Birchen Clough

Useful Information

This walk explores the quieter areas of Kinder yet still includes a visit to the popular Downfall. Like any good walk it includes a variety of terrain and begins with a riverside section. The route then climbs up alongside waterfalls ending with a boulder path to the plateau. After that it's the challenge of Kinder, which is why it is one of my favourite walks irrespective of season. A word of warning - care must be taken if Kinder is in cloud as it's so easy to get lost. In addition competence in the use of a compass is required to make the crossing of the Kinder plateau as for some of the time you are walking below ground level with no visible points of reference.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.