The view from Shining Tor

Fabulous panoramic views, a Spanish Shrine and ruins of Errwood Hall

NEAREST LOCATION

Goyt Valley

RECOMMENDED BY
DISTANCE

6 miles (9.7kms)

ASCENT
1150ft (351m)
TIME
3hrs 30min
GRADIENT
DIFFICULTY
Medium
STARTING POINT
SK012748

About the walk

The River Goyt begins its journey on the moors of Axe Edge and Goyt Moss before flowing northwards to join the Mersey at Stockport. An old Roman, trade and salters' route later known as The Street straddled it at Goyt Bridge before climbing over the Shining Tor ridge at Pym Chair. It is likely that an alternative version over the pass climbed more directly (and therefore steeply) through Old gate Nick, leading to the holloway (a sunken track) still visible there.

ERRWOOD HALL

In 1830, Manchester industrialist Samuel Grimshawe chose this remote valley to build Errwood Hall, as a wedding present for his son. The family imported 40,000 rhododendrons and azaleas for the ornate gardens, using their own ocean yacht, the Mariquita. In its heyday the estate had a staff of 20, and included a coal mine, a watermill, housing for the servants and a private school.

THE BUILDING OF THE RESERVOIRS

But even the Grimshawes couldn't resist Stockport's ever-growing need for water, and in 1938 the house was demolished for the newly built Fernilee Reservoir. Thirty years later a second reservoir, the Errwood, was built, higher up the valley. Little Goyt Bridge was dismantled and rebuilt upstream, and the valley was changed forever. For a while it became the destination of seemingly every Sunday car outing from Greater Manchester, until new car parks and a one-way system initiated by the National Park Authority restored relative order to this once peaceful beauty spot.

SHINING AND CATS TORS

This walk takes you back to the 19th century, to the time of the Grimshawes, but first you will get an overview of the valley by climbing the grassy spur dividing the Goyt and Shooter's Clough. You will then climb onto the high panoramic viewpoint of Shining Tor where on a very clear day you can see past Shutlingsloe's pointy summit as far as The Wrekin in the south and across the skyscrapers of Manchester to the Lancashire hills in the north. Stride out along the paved ridgeline to Cats Tor for another great panoramic viewpoint, then descend via The Street to a wild, partially wooded combe.

THE SPANISH SHRINE

Here lies the Spanish Shrine to St Joseph, built by the Grimshawes in memory of their governess, Dolores de Ybarguen (hence D de Y inscribed in the chapel). The circular, stone-built shrine offers welcome shade on a hot summer's day, but is also still used for private religious worship, with many dedications to those no longer alive on display under the colourful mosaic.

BACK TO THE GRIMSHAWES

Returning past Errwood Hall, the garden has been ruffled by nature and the former grand mansion raided by dam builders, leaving little but mossy foundations, limited sections of the lower walls and the occasional arch or portico. But the rhododendrons still bloom bright in the summer.

Walk directions

Just beyond the south end of the car park, take a footpath right to Stakeside. Climb through a small area of woodland then join a stone track heading uphill. Pass through a gateway and continue uphill towards Stakeside, rising up a grassy bilberry-threaded spur between sparse lines of trees.

Stay left of a wall on your right at a path junction, ignoring the path to Errwood Hall through the wall and instead take the ongoing path towards the closed Cat and Fiddle pub. Shortly after a transmitter in the distance comes into view, take a footpath rightwards through a gate in the wall signed to Shining Tor. The eroding path dips briefly then rises to the trig point (just over the wall in Cheshire) on Shining Tor's summit.

At the summit there is a 360 degree panoramic viewpoint with views of Shutlingsloe's pointed peak, Kinder plateau, Combs Hill and Axe Edge. On exceptionally fine days you may be able to see as far as The Wrekin and beyond Manchester's skyline. A line of stone flags now lead along the broad ridgeline and across a slight saddle past Cats Tor, (where the stone flags end) to Oldgate Nick (spot the holloway) and towards Pym Chair –a legendary stone seat of a local highwayman.

Just before Pym Chair, cut the corner rightwards towards Windgather to avoid a short narrow and sunken section of country lane over the pass. Turn right along the lane then follow a traffic-avoiding path beside the road where a path turns left towards Windgather.

At an informal roadside parking area, take a footpath right towards Errwood. At the next waymarker stay right towards Errwood then take some stone steps down to the circular "Spanish Shrine" on the edge of woodland.

The path from the shrine continues back above the trees to rejoin the Errwood path. Descend gently above the forest on your right then more steeply down a clear tongue between woodland, passing a side path to Foxlow Edge on the way towards Errwood.

Turn right (again towards Errwood) at a waymarked junction, then descend a few steps towards a stream. Turn left beside the stream towards Errwood Hall - do not cross the bridge by the junction, you will cross the stream lower down on boardwalk, then rise gently on a stepped path. In early summer there is a good display of rhododendrons, then the ruins of the hall appear to your right. Descend to an oblique junction and turn left. This wide track undulates through rhododendron and oak woodland to a green forestry gate. Continue ahead and through a gap in a stone wall where the track bends right, descending grassy heathland to the car park.

Additional information

Moorland tracks with paved sections, a few places may get boggy in wet conditions; no stiles

Rough pasture, heather moorland and woodland

Keep dogs on lead (access land, livestock and ground-nesting birds)

AA Leisure Map 7 Central Peak District

Errwood Hall car park

None on route

The Goyt Valley road is closed beyond The Street car park on Sundays and bank holidays between May and September, so park at The Street and walk along the lane to the start (adds extra half mile each way)

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About the area

Discover Derbyshire

The natural features of this central English county range from the modest heights of the Peak District National Park, where Kinder Scout stands at 2,088 ft (636 m), to the depths of its remarkable underground caverns, floodlit to reveal exquisite Blue John stone. Walkers and cyclists will enjoy the High Peak Trail which extends from the Derwent Valley to the limestone plateau near Buxton, and for many, the spectacular scenery is what draws them to the area.

The county is well endowed with stately homes – most notably Chatsworth, the palatial home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, with its outstanding collections of paintings, statuary and art. Other gems include the well preserved medieval Haddon Hall, the Elizabethan Hardwick Hall, and Kedleston Hall, whose entrance front has been described as the grandest Palladian façade in Britain.

The spa town of Matlock is the county’s administrative centre and other major towns of interest include Derby and the old coal mining town of Chesterfield, with its crooked spire. Around the villages of Derbyshire, look out for the ancient tradition of well dressing, the decorating of springs and wells – the precious sources of life-sustaining water – with pictures formed from flowers.