Cown Edge Wander

The Route

Hayfield – Rowarth – Cown Edge – Monks Road – Matley Moor – Little Hayfield – Hayfield

7.5 miles

Setting off this afternoon, I suddenly realised that this would be the first time since February that I’d gone past ‘the spot’ where I broke my ankle. What a difference though in conditions today, compared to then!

I was walking with friends Kim and Hamish, and their dog Daisy. Dixie stayed at home. These days, I find that I have to be a little choosy about what I do with her, and she’s been looking tired all week. She does very well mind for a dog that’s the equivalent of 77 years old in doggy years…

The start of the walk took us out of Hayfield up the road known as The Sitch, with grand views back towards the village.

This quiet road is followed for about 3/4 mile before picking up a track off to the right which takes you down to Rowarth.

Curving round the back of Lantern Pike, this is a very popular route for mountain bikers, so you do have to keep you wits about you, especially where it drops more steeply towards the village!

Half a mile further, and we came to the spot where I’d broken my ankle.

Looks very undramatic doesn’t it? You have to remember that on that fateful day though, there was a thick layer of sheet ice, hidden by about 6 inches of snow. And as it happens, it was Hamish and Kim who came to my rescue after the event. Geoff had helped me hop back up the hill for about 50 yards, to a point where they could get in with their 4×4 and pick me up!

Anyway, back to today. A bit further down the track and we got a good view  over  to Cown Edge.

Before climbing onto the edge though, we had to go through Rowarth. I always call it a village, but apparently it is officially classed as a hamlet. Many years ago it used to have a Post Office, but not any more. It does tend to be well visited however, because of a particular pub – ‘The Little Mill Inn’ – which not only has a large waterwheel in the stream next to the buildings but also a retired Brighton Belle Pullman railway coach which is used as guest accommodation. Sorry, was talking too much and forgot to take any photos of these…

Did take a photo of some very cute little piglets though

and also managed to snap Daisy when she decided to actually stay still for a few milliseconds.

Climbing up out of Rowarth and onto the Edge, the views started to open out.

Manchester and Marple could clearly be seen to the west, with a very moody Kinder off to the east.

Cown Edge is on the very western boundary of the Peak District and does have a bit of history attached to it. Back in about the year 80 AD, it was the site of a big battle between the Romans and the local people known as the Brigantines. The Brigantines not only lost, but were totally massacred and it is said that on certain moonlit nights they can still be clearly seen, marshalling on the battlefield ‘…waving in phantom hands their phantom axes…’ Not seen them myself, but many apparently have…

The whole edge is a couple of miles long, but at about the half-way point we picked up another track and dropped off down to the right in the direction of Monks Road. Just before reaching this road, we turned right again and made our way across to Matley Moor.

We were all bit peckish by now, so found a sheltered spot for a snack, in a hollow on Matley Moor. The wind was suprisingly cold on uncovered fingers – a total contrast to last Saturday’s heat!

Hunger pangs satisfied, we continued over the moor and then on down  another track towards Carr Meadow,  passing yet more pigs on the way.

The final couple of miles back to Hayfield were through fields and a small plantation known as Hey Wood. Here, we were amazed to come across a huge tree which had obviously come down recently.

And so, 20 minutes later we were back in Hayfield. It had been a very pleasant wander and many thanks to Kim, Hamish and Daisy for their company 🙂


21 thoughts on “Cown Edge Wander

  1. That does look an innocuous spot where you broke your ankle – just shows how easily it can be done. I’m sure the icy conditions were the main cause. My Mum broke here ankle very severely on a similar sort of path, even without the ice! She just went over on it and it had to be plated up.


    1. I know that track really well, but even I’d forgotten just how ordinary the spot looked! Yes it was definitely the fault of the ice, which made my leg slip in a peculiar direction and then bent the ankle at a very weird angle. But you’re right, it does highlight how easily these things can happen. I’m planning on wearing microspikes all winter this year… wherever I am…

      Hope your toe’s coming on ok now. 🙂


      1. I’m a huge fan of microspikes as they weigh nearly nothing and I just clip them on the straps of my pack ready. I put them on at the slightest patch of ice – I’d rather look silly than break anything!


    1. Fancy you living in Simmondley in the 90s! I had an interview for the Deputy Headship at Simmondley school in the 90s…they didn’t want me… Wonder if we ever passed each other in Tescos?
      Did you ever see the phantom hands waving the phantom axes?


      1. I’ve seen a few phantoms in my time but normally alcohol induced. My missus once reckoned she saw ghostly figures in Crosshills near Keighley whenw e used to live round there.
        That was a lovely house I rented up there I could step out of the back garden onto the moors


          1. TBF is well into all that ghost stuff bless her. I’m far tto sceptical.
            Crosshills is about 5 miles NW of Keighley on the road to Colne, the ghosts were in the village and were spotted on a very late night drive home (we used to live in Silsden)


            1. Thought it sounded familiar. Husband no.1 and I went to look at a house for sale once in Silsden, but we eventually settled in Todmorden.
              You can tell TBF that I was brought up in a haunted farmhouse and there were lots of sightings and weird experiences there. Plus I’ve seen a few things in other places too…


  2. I think that I would have avoided the spot where you had broken your ankle, would be afraid to tempt fate and all that. Not a bad walk straight from the front door!


    1. I have to be honest, that’s one of the walks we used to do fairly regularly – a good afternoon wander without driving anywhere – but you’ve also hit on the reason why it’s taken me so long to get round to doing it again! I will admit to feeling slightly on edge as we progressed down that lane…


      1. Ditto. When it does occasionally cross my mind I’m amazed that I could have been so restricted by it for so long and now feel no after effects at all. (Touch wood)


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