Higger Tor, Carl Wark and Burbage
I've never tired of the the views from Higger Tor looking towards Stanage Edge and have visited countless times at different times of day and in different seasons. Higger Tor has the advantage of being easily accessible and if you drive up from Hathersage there is very little climb to get to the top and explore the weather worn rocks that make up its plateau-like peak. It is high enough for snow to linger in the winter, the surrounding fields start displaying different colours during spring, the sunsets are spellbinding during the summer and the colours of autumn make quite a display in the lower fields and valleys. There's great walks or strolls, rock climbing and bouldering, ancient history and even nearby refreshments in the Fox House Inn and the National Trust Longshaw Estate.
(2009-0167) Higger Tor (right) and Carl Wark from Burbage Rocks
(2009-8640) Towards Stanage Edge from road alongside Higger Tor
Duke's Drive (or Green Drive) runs up the valley between Burbage Edge and Higger Tor. This drive was built by the Duke of Rutland in the 1820s to lead to the grouse moors for shooting parties, Longshaw Lodge being built for entertaining and accomodation. There are significant archaeological finds and evidence of Bronze Age cairns and burial chambers, iron smelting, and abandoned and unfinished millstones scattered below Burbage Edge. Carl Wark is commonly understood to be an Iron Age fort - and the stone walls on the hilltop are most certainly arranged by man, but there is scant evidence to determine their exact provenance. The stones in this dry stone wall simply have to be seen close up to appreciate their size.
This area is one of the busiest parts at weekends, holidays and when the weather is good (not that common!) so is best visited early or late in the day or outside "peak" times (no pun...) I have been on Sunday afternoons when there is literally nowhere to park, even the road verges are full.
(2007-3617) Sunset over Carl Wark and Higger Tor
The road that heads towards Rinninglow from the A6187 Sheffield Road out of Hathersage climbs steadily up towards Higger Tor. The views looking north-west across to Stanage Edge are just magnificent and they get better when the sun starts to set. My favourite, however, is to walk to the top of Higger Tor and then to the most south-west corner to watch the sun set across the Derwent Valley. This lights up the valley and Stanage Edge beautifully at any time of year but from September to November it is just magical. I'm one of those standing overlooking the road with the camera atop my tripod...
(2008-0434) The Great Ridge from Higger Tor
(2007-1001128) Carl Wark and Higger Tor from Burbage
(2007-1001171) Higger Tor from Fiddler's Elbow
(2007-1001195) Carl Wark
(2007-3376) Carl Wark
Access and Walking
There is a truly excellent circular walk that starts in the National Trust Longshaw car park, crosses the road to Dukes Drive and then heads up to the top of Burbage Rocks. This follows around the top of Burbage Edge to Upper Burbage Bridge and then to the top of Higger Tor, down the far side and up and over Carl Wark before getting back to Longshaw. Its an easy walk to navigate with plenty of ups and downs, bits of rock and great views across the area and beyond. Given Duke's Drive running straight down the middle there are variations of this walk that provide very different views. It is also well worthwhile exploring below the top edge of Burbage Rocks to see the remnants of quarrying, a number of unfinished millstones and of course views across the valley from a different perspective.
Higger Tor is quite a landmark and appears in many walks across the internet and books. Another great walk starts at Surprise View car park, up and over Owler Tor onto Hathersage Moor, along to Higger Tor, Carl Wark and across from Longshaw to Lawrence Field and back to Surprise View.
(2007-3582) From Burbage Rocks
(2009-0123) Disused quarry on Burbage Rocks
(2007-1001159) Burbage Edge
(2008-0494) Higger Tor
Maps and Guides
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL1 - The Peak District Dark Peak Area