“ Offers a great view of the heart of the peak district. 462 m high, Win Hill is almost surrounded by the River Derwent to the east, River Noe to the south west and Ladybower Reservoir to the north. „
The Peak District National Park is as famous for its hills as it is for its picturesque valleys and villages. These hills and mountains form the bottom part of the mountain range known as the Pennines, that vertically dissects England like a scar. These mountains vary greatly in both shape and height, with the dark, barren plateaux and peaks generally being referred to as the "Dark Peak" and the higher more mountainous areas being referred to as the "High Peak". Win Hill is an example of one of the areas within the "High Peak" and this is undoubtedly one of my favourite areas within the whole region.
The first thing to note about Win Hill is its very distinctive shape. It is a very steep sided mountain that tapers to a fine point, giving it a cone-like appearance. This appearance has established it as a very well known landmark. Due to its location within the Peak District National Park it is also one of the most accessible areas and this location, together with its striking, enticing appearance has turned it into a popular tourist attraction.
Win Hill is located just to the north west of Bamford and its peak can be seen from Ladybower Reservoir. It is surrounded by Ladybower Reservoir to the north, the River Derwent to the east and the River Noe to the south west. There is a ridge from the summit of Win Hill that connects it to Kinder Scout, Derbyshire's highest peak. Win Hill rises to a height of 432 metres above sea level.
The A57, which is the main trans Pennine route between Manchester and Sheffield follows the route of an old Roman Road and this crosses the ridge of Win Hill, where another Roman road descends down the other side towards Hope and Castleton. This was originally the route to Navio, a Roman fort at nearby Brough on Noe. At the highest point of this road there is a marker post, known as the Hope Cross. This marker dates from 1737.
It is a steep climb to the top of Win Hill and there are many different points from where your accent can begin from. One of the popular routes is from the main car park at Ladybower Reservoir but personally I find this route a lit bit too crowded. My favourite route does however begin from near to Ladybower, from the Yorkshire Bridge Inn. From here I walk right along the Dam wall and then follow the edge of the far shore of the reservoir for about half a mile or so and then look for one of several steep footpaths sign-posted Win Hill, which climb steeply up the hillside. This far shore of Ladybower is surprisingly tranquil in comparison to the often hectic, crowded other shore.
The climb upwards is very steep and would certainly not be possible for anyone without a reasonable amount of agility and reasonable good health. These paths are narrow but well walked and climb up through the tall coniferous trees that the Forestry Commission planted around here following the Second World War. It is surprising just how quickly that you gain your height and the blue waters of Ladybower are soon left far behind.
After a short time you reach a point where the pine trees end and here the landscape changes dramatically. From this point onward the terrain is rocky with small boulders and the ground is carpeted in a thick layer of heather interspersed with Bilberry. It is at this point that the peak of Win Hill can be clearly seen for the first time. The highest point of Win Hill is actually known as Win Hill Pike and on top of here there is a white, rectangular triangulation point that can be clearly seen. This summit is sometimes referred to as the Old Witches Knoll
The view from the top of Win Hill on a fine day is breathtaking. The shimmering waters of Ladybower are on side and the green, lush Hope Valley is on the other.
If I have travelled into the Peak District on public transport as I often do, then I do not need to undertake a circular route. On these occasions from the summit of Win Hill I drop down the other side and into Hope. From here I can either catch a bus home or a train.
The descent down the south western side of Win Hill is completely different to the approach from Ladybower. It is less steep and rocky and a lot grassier. There are also a lot more sheep on these slopes. As you lose some of your height there are several small farms that the footpath meanders through and during the summer there are lovely meadows full of wild flowers.
Win Hill is a popular destination for hill walkers but it seldom gets crowded once you get towards the summit. I guess that a lot of people must turn round due to the steep climb. For those that persevere the rewards are breathtaking views and some of the cleanest, freshest air to fill your lungs that you will ever find.
Plan a hike and enjoy the view.