Length 7.2 km (4.5 miles), terrain: hilly, gain 132 meters
If you're in Sheffield, earn the title "Fell-Runner" with this run that you'll never forget. This stunning route circles a quiet valley in the Peaks District, a part of the Pennines, just east of Sheffield, accessible via city buses.
NOTE: "Fell" is barren, swampy hill country, taken from the Viking word for mountain.
|This is fell-running!|
This route circles Burbage Valley, a quiet dale surrounded by gritstone-walled ledges and peaks.
It's easy to get to from Sheffield city. Just take the 271 or 272 public bus from the Sheffield Interchange bus station to Fox House near Hathersage. It costs about 4 pounds for a day-ticket, and the buses leave about once an hour, with a 40-minute ride. Look up the schedule here. The double-decker buses also drive through the nice western suburbs, so you get to see a different side of Sheffield.
|Fox House Inn: the run starts just to the left of the pub|
Start the run: right where the road turns right, just past the pub, cross the road and take the public footpath through the stone wall, heading downhill to the little parking lot for Longshaw. Longshaw is an old hunting lodge, built by the Duke of Rutland, now owned by the National Trust.
|The gate to the woods|
Now cross the road and enter the gate and you are on the main trail, the Duke's Drive. Start running north on this wide, fairly smooth trail. You'll run past some upright gate-stones and the valley will open up before you.
|The start of Duke's Drive|
NOTE: You can also take the trail that heads up to the right at the stone gates, running along the top of the "Edge", but it is very rocky and is more of a hike than a run.
|View up to the Edge from the trail|
You will soon see an unmarked spot where the trail forks, with the left-hand trail heading downhill towards the logging area on the valley floor. DON'T head down there. Just stay on the main trail as it heads gently uphill.
|Heading towards the bridge in the distance|
When you reach the pass, at about the 3-kilometer mark, you'll see it has two little stone bridges spanning two streams that pour into the valley from here. You can run over the bridges, of course, but true fell-walkers and runners disdain such bridges: they ford the two streams beneath the bridges, hopping across the big gritstone boulders. The two streams merge into Burbage Brook just below.
|At the bridge|
|A fell runner at Fiddler's Elbow|
|View of Higger Tor, with a few sheep|
|Rock climbers on Higger Tor cliff|
|Descending the cliff|
After a while, the trail you're on will run into a bigger trail that heads to the right, directly downhill towards Carl's Warf. Before the 6-kilometer mark, the trail then rises to that peak, passing along the man-made stone walls facing westwards. The dry wall is made of immense gritstone blocks.
|Approaching Carl's Warf|
When you leave the fort, heading south, you are heading directly back to Longshaw and the Fox House pub. Both are visible ahead, in the distance.
The trail heads downhill through ever-swampier ground. Did I mention yet that you will get your feet wet? Ooops. Well, this is the spot. These high moors are typical in the Pennines. You can even find them on a steep slope, with the water defying gravity by clinging to the mountainside.
|Mud: it gets worse from here|
At the bottom, you'll need to ford a stream, Burbage Brook again, where you can conveniently wash the mud off your feet. On the other side of the stream, you'll rejoin the Duke's Drive trail at the stone gate-posts.
Now just follow the same way back as you originally came. And don't forget: if you have time before the next bus to Sheffield comes, the Fox House Inn is waiting with good Doombar beer on tap, which you can drink inside or sit on tables outside with a splendid view of the surrounding peaks!
|The Fox House Inn beer garden: time to relax!|