Saturday, 7 September 2019

A Walk from Mam Tor to Hope

A view from Mam Tor to Winnats Pass

The Sheffield U3A Geology Group field trip to Rushup Vale ended much earlier than usual and, as we were all preparing to separate at the end of our walk, a couple of the other members of the group asked me if I wanted to go with them on a walk from the nearby Mam Tor to the village of Hope, where we could then catch a bus back to Sheffield. 

A geological map of the area around Mam Tor and Hope

With it being a warm and sunny day, and having no reason to get back home early, I thought that this was a good idea, especially since the last time I had walked here was more than 20 years ago, when undertaking a survey of the Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS) in the Peak District National Park

The trig point on Mam Tor

Starting at Mam Tor car park to the west of the vertical rock face that has been formed by landslips, which gives the name “Shivering Mountain”, we made our way up to the trig point, where there are all round panoramic views, and then carried on eastward towards Back Tor

A view east along the ridge towards Back Tor and Lose Hill

The ridge here is composed of the Upper Carboniferous Mam Tor Beds, a repeating sequence of alternating sandstone and shale, which are turbidite deposits formed on the edge of the continental shelf. These are susceptible to rotational landslides and evidence of this can be seen at the foot of Mam Tor, where they led to the closure of the road that once traversed this ground. 

Landslips have closed the road below Mam Tor

The route from Mam Tor to Lose Hill, at the east end of the ridge, is extremely popular with general tourists and seasoned walkers and is subject to considerable erosion. In addition to the paved paths, large areas along the ridge have been strengthened with large irregular sandstone blocks set into the ground. 

Sandstone blocks used to counteract excessive erosion by walkers

Carrying on to Back Tor, which forms a vertical cliff on the north side of the ridge that overlooks Edale, further examples of landslides and debris flows can be seen in the lower slopes and the turbidite sequence in the Shale Grit is well exposed. 

A general view of Back Tor

At Back Tor, with more than 3 km further to go on our walk, we all decided that we had done enough strenuous walking for the day and, instead of carrying on up the ridge that would eventually take us to Lose Hill, we took the lower path that took us down to Hope. 

St. Peter's church in Hope

With half an hour to wait for our bus back to Sheffield, and with the sun still shining strongly, I took advantage of the well stocked shelves of the local off licence and treated myself to a well deserved bottle of ice cold cider, before having a quick look at St. Peter’s church.

The walk from Mam Tor to Hope

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