In striking contrast to the wild and exposed Dark Peak grit stone edges that loom out across the district, Padley Gorge is a mysterious web of old paths and tracks among ancient woodland. If ever there was a ælfen glen of the Peak, Padley would be the place.
In the gorge your imagination is stirred by the rich peaty water of Burbage Brook as it bustles over dark gritstone rocks covered in green mossy coats. In and out, in and out of Derbyshire and Yorkshire the Burbage goes. Under rickety bridges, over little drops, around exposed roots as they grip fast the ground, the Burbage is a playful and energetic little brook.
Perhaps there is something elvish in this magical hideaway of the Peak.
Stay still long enough and you may hear the scamper of feet skipping from tree to root. Maybe a glimpse of Galadriel herself if you look hard enough.
Padley Gorge is located near the Longshaw Estate, which is owned by the National Trust. It forms a rich woodland stretch rising up from Nether Padley, past Grindleford Station (and café) up to the Estate and views of Surprise View and Mother Cap. There is usually an ice cream van at the top for weary travellers, but the best is at the Botton at the station where tea is sold by the pint.
The gorge itself was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1972 because it was "the best example of the remnant oak-birch woodland that once covered much of the edges of the gritstone uplands of the Peak District”. It still is.
This landscape photograph was captured by me, Peter Nutkins. The location of the photograph is given at the bottom of this page (a Google Map will open when you click the link).
Location: Padley Gorge Trail, Hope Valley S32 2HY.Keywords: forest (15), Peak District (21), waterfall (3).