The Longshaw Estate is a large area of land now owned and cared for by the National Trust. Whilst it is centred on Longshaw Lodge and nearby land and woods, it also encompasses Padley Gorge, Lawrence Field, White Edge Moor and Hay Wood. There are no Gritstone edges on the Estate, but it is so connected both geographically and historically it must be included. Indeed, the walk along the Edges runs both through and adjacent to the Estate and gritstone was quarried from Bolehill on the Estate.
With the exception of Lawrence Field, the majority of the Longshaw Estate has a softer feel to it than the rather harsh and bleak landscapes of the Gritstone Edges, due in large part to the many and varied woods. The area gets plenty of weather too, but not as windswept as the higher land. There is lots to see, many footpaths, a huge and rich variety of wildlife and plenty of tourists who visit in droves from the surrounding towns and cities, especially from Sheffield which is only a few miles away yet so different!
(2008-3361) Pond on Longshaw Estate
The Longshaw Estate has a wide variety of wildlife that is worth trying to see and, if the opportunity arises by joining one of the fairly frequent guided tours that are organised by the National Trust on site. A particularly good one is the Fungal Foray that takes place in late autumn; the variety of fungi is huge and there are many very rare species within the estate. Highly recommended. Many common and less common bird species are to be found, particularly through the wooded Padley Gorge and woods. In May there are always bluebells; my favourite place to see these is in Hay Wood.
(2008-2998) Bluebells in Hay Wood
The views both within and out of the Estate range from intimate inner landscapes and woodland views to the big landscapes taking in the more open moorland just outside the walls such as across to Carl Wark and Higger Tor, across Lawrence Field to White Edge Moor and down the beautiful Padley Gorge.
(2008-2254) Across the Longshaw Estate from Lawrence Field
The quarries at Bolehill are now a climber's paradise but in the early years of the twentieth century it was a very different place. Some quarrying was taking place here in the 1880s but from 1901 a massive amount of stone was quarried here to build the dams that are now in the Upper Derwent Valley at Howden and Derwent. A railway line was constructed to take the stone from the quarry which was then taken down a steep incline to the main line. This was transported to Hope station and from there another railway line was built to take the stone up into the Derwent Valley. According to a fascinating account by Alan Jacques some 439 men were working in the quarry in 1905. It is now difficult to imagine just how busy and noisy the area would have been. Millstones were also made from the stone here and there are many dozens left lying around after what must have been a very abrupt halt to their manufacture here.
(2008-3700) Bolehill Quarry and Oxhay Wood
(2009-9358) Abandoned millstones in Lawrence Field
Access and Walking
There are simply lots of possible walks around the Estate and nearby areas and there are plenty of possible car parks to choose from. Buses can also take you to the Estate as can trains via Grindleford Station, albeit a good walk up Padley Gorge to get to the Estate itself. The nature of the possible walks varies from flat and easy tracks and woodland paths to rocky slopes. Sensible footwear and weatherproof clothes are always recommended given the highly variable climate in the area!
Rather than describing, even briefly, each possible route around or across the Estate, here follows a few suggestions that will take in as much of the variety of the Estate as possible. Many walks take in Longshaw Estate at some point as part of the journey (e.g. White Edge to the east of the area) and the National Trust provide a useful guide available at the Visitor Centre that shows many paths and provides a lot more information.
1. Surprise View Car Park, Mother Cap, Carl Wark and Owler Tor
Start by parking in the Surprise View car park and head up through the woods to Mother Cap. Walk across the moors to the path between Higger Tor and Carl Wark. Go up Carl Wark and down the far side to follow the path down to Burbage Brook. Cross the A6187 Hathersage Road to enter the Longshaw Estate and follow the path towards the Visitor Centre at Longshaw Lodge. Take the path that leads through the trees to the pond and follow the track to the top of Granby Wood that soon crosses the B6521 Grindleford Road to cross Burbage Brook once again in the east of Lawrence Field. Follow the track up the field to Owler Tor, along to the edge of Bolehill quarry and Surprise View to get back to the car park.
(2008-3690) Burbage Brook
2. Grindleford Station, Padley Gorge, Longshaw Lodge and back to Grindleford
This walk is briefly described in the Padley Gorge section.
3. Wooden Pole, White Edge, Froggatt Edge, Hay Wood and Sheffield Plantation
This walk is briefly described in the White Edge section.
(2008-1314) Towards Longshaw Lodge, near Wooden Pole
4. Longshaw Lodge, Granby Wood, Sheffield Plantation and Wooden Pole
If you park in the National Trust car park at Woodcroft there is an easy walk down to the Visitor Centre. From there follow the path down through the trees and Granby Wood to the pond. Once you get to the pond avoid the inclination to follow the path round it but turn left to take the path down and through the Sheffield Plantation. This can be followed more or less for a complete anti-clockwise circuit of the Estate and back up the hill to Wooden Pole. Follow the drive past Duke's Seat back to the Visitor Centre and from there back to the car park.
(2008-3669) Granby Wood
(2008-1312) Wooden Pole - used as a guide post along the Dronfield to Tideswell packhorse route
Maps and Guides
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL24 - The Peak District White Peak Area
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL1 - The Peak District Dark Peak Area
This area spans the two maps. The first walk requires OL1, the remaining three require OL24.