Red deer and edges walk
We’re finding that popular spots like Longshaw and the Eastern Moors are getting extremely busy, especially at weekends. We expect our car parks to fill up very quickly on weekends, bank holidays and school holidays, so we encourage people to plan ahead and check our social media channels for updates and visit at quieter times. This will help us keep our places safe and enjoyable for everyone. We ask that all visitors please park safely and considerately in designated spaces and not on roads or grass verges, as this can block access for farm tenants, local residents and emergency services. We also remind people that BBQs/campfires are not permitted and ask everyone to help us look after our beautiful Peak District countryside by taking their litter home with them.
Bring your binoculars to get the best views of the deer
Jointly managed by the National Trust and RSPB as the Eastern Moors Partnership, this landscape is special for the diverse wildlife and is an important place for many people who enjoy walking, climbing, cycling and horse riding.
Curbar Gap car park, grid ref: SK262747
From Curbar Gap car park, head east through a gate on a vehicle track.
As the track forks, take the right fork towards Sandyford Brook and cross the brook over a bridge, with the drystone walled fields on your left.
Climb the steep bank, following the wall on your left to the top of the bank and the corner of the wall.
Big Moor is known for being a place where you could be lucky enough to spot an adder. The adder is the UK's only venomous snake; rarely dangerous, but please treat with respect. These cold-blooded reptiles can be seen basking on spring and summer days, warming themselves in the sun. Identified by the zigzag pattern down the middle of the back, they usually move away when they hear you coming.
At the corner of the wall, a well-trodden path leads you north along White Edge. The Gritstone Edges were once extensively quarried for their rough, coarse stone. Remnants of discarded round millstones can be found around the edges, giving the stone its common name, millstone grit. Many corn and textile mills were sited here.
A deviation to the trig point on the right provides a great place to spot red deer across the expanse of Big Moor, with the redundant Barbrook Reservoir in the background.
The UK's largest land mammal, the red deer is a favourite sight on Big Moor. Sometimes, all you see of the stags (males) are the antlers sticking up above the heather. Along with the non-antlered hinds (females), in their russet-coloured coats, they blend in to the moorland. If you watch for a while, there are always more than first glanced. The best way to see them is with binoculars; trying to get closer will only scare them away, and the best time of year to see them is during the rut (mating season), when stags battle to mate with the hinds.
Continue for some distance along White Edge to the hole in the wall. Turning left, a redundant drystone wall leads from here through fields down to the Grouse Inn.
Heather moorland is common in the uplands of the UK and an internationally important habitat for the wildlife that thrives there. Heather is seen at its best after the 'glorious 12th' (the 12th of August) when the flowers turn the drab moor to vibrant shades of purple.
Have a stop at the Grouse, but don't dally too long, as we are only half-way round. The next section leads you across the fields, behind the National Trust car park at Haywood.
From Haywood car park, head south across a small brook and carefully cross the main road to a gate opposite that leads to Froggatt Edge.
A wooded track leads to another gate, preceded by another brook. As the woodland opens out, with views across to the limestone of the White Peak, a small stone circle can be found on the left.
Follow the track along the full length of Froggatt and Curbar Edges. Once famous for millstones, now known as great places to rock climb.
At the end of Curbar Edge, a small gate leads back to the car park at Curbar Gap.
Curbar Gap car park, grid ref: SK262747
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