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Picture Perfect Peak District Villages: Edale

Views over the Edale Valley from Kinder Scout on a Peak District walking tour.
Taking in the views over the Edale Valley.

Growing up in the Manchester and Cheshire areas means I have been truly blessed to have the spectacular Peak District on my doorstep. The glorious landscapes and countless places to explore mean an adventure is never too far away. England is well known for its picturesque villages and sprawling green fields and the Peak District certainly does not disappoint, with countless villages and country cottages scattered throughout the rugged landscapes. As life returns to some form of normality and we can all get out exploring again, it seems like a wonderful time to explore some of these Picture Perfect Peak District Villages, the stories behind them and the surrounding lands just waiting to be explored.

Edale Village on a Peak District walking tour.
Edale Village, Peak District.

Edale is a ‘village’ in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District, nestled in the shadow of Kinder Scout at the end of the Hope Valley. Although it is referred to as a village it is actually a collection of hamlets which grew from a number of booths (herdmens’ shelters) established throughout the valley from the 13th century. The central booth was Grindsbrook Booth which is now usually called Edale Village. The village is home to around 300 people and while the first spelling of Edale was recorded in 1732, there have been settlements of similar names since the 16th century, the first being Edall.

Kinder Scout on a Peak District walking tour.
Kinder Scout, Peak District.

The village is a popular location within the National Park as it the starting point for countless, delightful walks in all directions including Mam Tor and Kinder Scout. The village lies in the shadow of Kinder Scout and provides numerous routes of varying difficulty up to the plateau where glorious views can be enjoyed in all directions. Kinder Scout is the highest point in the Peak District and is most well known as the site of the Mass Trespass in 1932, where local men protested for the right to roam which resulted in the creation of ‘open country,’ giving walkers access to the countryside and the wonderful walks we can all take advantage of today.

A gate crossing the old Roman Road in the Edale Valley, Pea District.
A gate crossing the old Roman Road in the Edale Valley, Peak District.

There are a myriad of well-trodden paths throughout the valley of Edale including a Roman Road and Jacob’s Ladder, one of the most popular routes up to Kinder Scout. The ladder’s namesake was a Jacob Marshall who transported wool to Stockport from the area in the 18th century. The climb up to Edale Cross was long, steep and rocky so he cut steps into the hillside to create a shorter route, countless feet have tread these steps in the centuries since and taken a similar route up to the Kinder Plateau and beyond.

Old Nags Head, Edale. Start of the Pennine way on a guided walking tour.
The Old Nags Head, Edale.

The actual village of Edale is a delightful place, a quaint English village just 30 minutes from both Manchester and Sheffield , it is home to cosy pubs and cafes, a traditional village shop and an array of local accommodations bursting with northern hospitality. The Old Nags Head in the

village is perhaps the most well known of the landmarks; the stone built country inn dates back to the mid 16th century, has been voted one of the top 20 pubs in the country and is the official starting point of the Pennine Way.

View towards Edale from Jacobs Ladder on a Peak District walking tour.
View towards Edale from Jacobs Ladder.

The Pennine Way was the first National Trail in England, opened on the 24th April 1965, it paved the way for access across some of England’s most wild and less hospitable landscapes. It covers a distance of 268 miles across the ‘backbone of Britain’ from Edale in the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, through the Swaledale Valley, over the North Pennines and Hadrian’s Wall before culminating in the Scottish Border town of Kirk Yetholm.

Edale is certainly one of our favourite places to stop in the Peak District and the perfect base to start a day exploring the hills. A walk from Edale up towards Kinder Scout, across the Plateau and over Kinder Downfall is a perfect way to spend a day, finished off with a well-deserved pint in front of the roaring fires in the Old Nag’s Head, exchanging tales and planning future adventures, as so many have done for centuries past.


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