Birchen and Gardom's Edge
Yet another gem of a gritstone edge, but I admit I have an affection for all of them and will wax lyrical about each and every part. Birchen Edge stands above the Robin Hood public house on the A619 Baslow to Chesterfield road. Gardom's Edge is a more subtle structure surrounded in woodland below Birchen Edge and towards Baslow.
Birchen Edge (also known, incorrectly, as Birchen's Edge) is popular with climbers, especially beginners and groups on outdoor pursuit trips as there are over 200 recorded routes, many of which are relatively straightforward. Having said this there are many comments about that many routes are undergraded given how some of the handholds are now highly polished! Although I personally do not enjoy climbing, I did climb up Birchen Edge several times on different routes many years ago with some friends. I managed it without a problem, had no accidents and felt I had accomplished something, but still that was the last time I did any rock climbing. I now prefer to walk!
(2009-9304) From the path along the bottom of Birchen Edge
(2009-9275) From Birchen Edge looking over East Moor, a barely discernable Dobb Edge at the right hand side
The views from Birchen Edge across the Derwent Valley are wide and far. The rewards far exceed the effort needed to see them as the route up Birchen Edge is a stroll and involves little ascent, so a good one for those who want a great view with little effort!
The rock formation along the top known as the "Three Ships" after their names carved onto them are good for scrambling or climbing. These three pieces of exposed and weathered gritstone are named after three ships in Lord Nelson's fleet - "Royal Soverin" (yes, that's how it is carved in the rock), "Defiant" and "Victory". There's also Nelson's Monument which was erected on the top of Birchen Edge to commemorate the great Admiral after his death in 1805. It should be noted that this monument was erected decades before the column in London's Trafalgar Square! It will come as no surprise that many of the climbing routes along Birchen Edge have related names - Nautical Crack, Mast Gulley, Half Nelson, Trafalgar Wall and so on.
(2009-9271) The Three Ships. From left: "Victory", "Defiance" and "Royal Soverin"
(2009-9304) Nelson's Monument
Access and Walking
The nearest and easiest car park to start off is at the Robin Hood pub, just off the A619 Baslow to Chesterfield Road. From the car park walk back up the road and through a gate on the left hand side. The easy path takes you straight to Birchen Edge and along its base - ideal for climbers! You should turn right off the path up a track that leads to the top and then walk along the top to get to the monument and the Three Ships. From here a well marked path leads to the crossroads of the A621 Baslow to Sheffield Road and the Curbar road. A path crosses the field on the left hand side to lead to Baslow Edge and Wellington's Monument, then through the wood and back to cross the A621 and up through the woods to Gardom's Edge and back to the Robin Hood pub. How convenient!
(2009-9299) Nelson's Monument atop Birchen Edge. This wall is appropriately known to climbers as Nelson's Slab
Maps and Guides
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL24 - The Peak District White Peak Area