Higher Shelf Stones Short Walk (+ Bleaklow Plane Crash Site) | 4-Mile Route

Bleaklow Plane Crash Site

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The Bleaklow plane crash site is located not far from the Higher Shelf Stones summit in the Dark Peaks area of the Peak District. This short walk combines summiting the third highest hill in the Peak District, and visiting the crash site from Snake Pass.

Although it’s a short walk, since it’s one of the highest spots in the Peak District, the weather conditions can vary and navigation can be tough especially in poor visibility, so worth taking a read before you venture out on this walk.

From Snake Pass, you take a lovely quieter route along the path, then over moorlands up to the summit before visiting the B29 Superfortress crash site. Then it’s another navigation challenge back to the Pennine Way path where you pick it up all the way back to Snake Pass.

Block "snake-pass" not found

Here you will find details on how to get to the start of the walk at Snake Pass, parking options, map, GPX file, route information, plus a detailed step by step guide of the walk. Also details for a lovely extended 6-mile walk at the bottom of the post.

Have you done the Higher Shelf Stones short walk or visited the crash site? Let me know in the comments.

Higher Shelf Stones + plane crash site from Snake Pass

Walk information + GPX

Walk type: Short circular walk

Distance: 3.7 miles/5.9 km

Walk time: 1.5-2 hours

Total ascent: 158 m/518 ft

Highest point: 621 m/2,037 ft

Walk highlights: Higher Shelf Stones trig point, B29 Superfortress plane crash site + memorial, views of Lower Shelf Stones.

Trigs: 1 – Higher Shelf Stones

Ethels: 1 – Higher Shelf Stones

Stiles: 0

gpx file

Higher Shelf Stones + crash site walk map

Short walk map to Higher Shelf Stones
Short walk map to Higher Shelf Stones
© Crown copyright and database rights (2022) OS 002572460 Click for OS online map

Walk start point

Start grid reference: SK 08808 92913

Car parking location: Snake Pass (A57), Glossop.

Please note this is free lay-by car parking, it’s a small lay-by so at weekends cars will park along Snake Pass. Update January 2022 – Some sections now have double yellow lines so please check it’s safe before you park. There is no exact postcode to the location so I’ve removed for this location to avoid confusion. Click here for the Google maps pin.

Public transport

Nearest train station: Glossop train station (4 mile/6.5 km)

From the train station, there are no public transport options to the start of the walk on Snake Pass.

Facilities on the walk

There are no public toilets or facilities on the walk.

Water on your walk – I recommend a filter water bottle for your Peak District walks, it saves you carrying extra weight and you can fill up safely and drink water from the streams on your walk.

Other useful information

Although this is a short walk, please don’t underestimate how difficult the section across Bleaklow to the Higher Shelf Stones summit and plane crash site. The paths are merely tracks and it’s very easy to get lost if the weather comes down quickly and everything looks the same!

The moorlands can also be muddy in places, yes, even in summer!

Please show your respect by not climbing on any of the plane crash wreckage, as you’ll read on the plaque, sadly 13 people lost their lives in this accident. You’ll notice poppies and small crosses which have been left at the site.

Check the weather for your walk location and hills

Please check the weather for Bleaklow (the nearest summit to Higher Shelf Stones) as even on a sunny day it can be much cooler at the summit.

Ordnance Survey Walk Map

The map for this walk is the Ordnance Survey OL1 – Peak District (Dark Peak Area).

View the different prices here with Ordnance Survey or Amazon. If you’re hiking in all weather the Active OS maps are good to have as they are laminated so better on rainy days.

And don’t forget your compass, I recommend the Silva Expedition or the Silva Classic compass.

For online maps, I recommend OS Online App (I have been using it for many years and it is worth getting if you want to start walking more). Check prices here for the one-month or annual option with OS Online App. All the walks on the website are created using OS Online + you can download them to the App.

See both maps that cover the Peak District here.

Want to learn more map skills? Check out our Guided Walks with map reading skills here.

Check prices here for the one month or yearly option with OS Online App. 


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Higher Shelf Stones circular walk route

Stage 1 – Snake Pass (Pennine Way) to Higher Shelf Stones

Distance: 1.6 miles/2.5 km

Grid reference SK 08805 92915

Signpost on Pennine Way
Start of the walk on the Pennine Way

From the lay-by on Snake Pass, begin by walking down the wide track, which is part of the Pennine Way path, for about 500 metres until you reach a wooden post. Turn left onto a less established and muddy path, you’ll need to weave up and down to avoid the boggy bits.

Continue down here for about 200 metres then look for a small footpath on the right, it’s almost hidden if you don’t know it’s there. (If you reach the gate then you’ve walked too far, turn around and you should spot it heading along the top). 

Pile of stones next to path
The footpath is just after this pile of stones

It is a narrow footpath that runs parallel to Crooked Clough and from here you’ll get views towards Higher Shelf Stones summit. Walk along the path below and you’ll see a small waterfall, then the path splits. Follow the left-hand path, down to cross the small stream and back up the other side.

Person walking on path
Heading towards Higher Shelf Stones summit

There are numerous trails on this part of the moor, but continue heading in a north-westerly direction, across towards Higher Shelf Stones summit. On a clear day, it’s fairly straightforward to see where you are are heading but in bad weather it can be extremely difficult.

Tracks on hill
Path as it leads up to the summit

The path then does a final steeper uphill, until you come out at the lower part of the summit where there are rocks and you can see across to Lower Shelf Stones. Follow the rocks on the final ascent towards the trig point at the summit.

Trig point at Higher Shelf Stones
Trig point at Higher Shelf Stones (on a sunny day!)

Stage 2 – Higher Shelf Stones to Snake Pass

Distance: 2 mile/3.3 km

Grid reference SK 08894 94785

From the Higher Shelf Stones trig point, walk east to visit the B29 Superfortress crash site (grid reference SK 09063 94874). It’s a well-trodden route, although you might need to bear right or left to avoid the mud! It then brings you out at the top of the crash site, next to the memorial plaque, the debris is scattered over a wide area but you can walk between it.

Plane crash engine debris
One of the plane crash engines

Now here’s the next tricky bit, from the crash site, walk out the far end heading east, and pick up the trail in a south-easterly direction for about 200 metres. You’ll weave in and out across the moorland, then pick up the trail heading east for about 500 metres back to the Pennine Way trail.

Stone sign on Pennine Way path
Stone sign on Pennine Way path

The Pennine Way trail is a more established route, which you’ll be pleased to see. Turn right and head back along the path, past the Pennine Way stone markers until you reach Snake Pass road.

Have you visited the Higher Shelf Stones summit and crash site? Let me know in the comments.

Other options for this walk

Extend the walk

Heather in valley on Higher Shelf Stones walk
Heather in the valley on the 6-mile Higher Shelf Stones route

Are you looking for a longer walk? You can extend this walk by continuing down past Lower Shelf Stones and taking the path down towards Glossop then following Shelf Brook along the valley until you ascend back up via Doctor’s Gate path.

In late summer, the path looks beautiful covered in bright purple heather flowers, it’s worth doing just to see this. There’s more ascent in this walk but it’s very pretty and you get to see Higher Shelf Stones from below (on a clear day!)

Read the full route here, including map and GPX for the walk.

Walk route, map + GPX

More walks in the Peak District

Looking for more short walks in the Dark Peaks? Check out these routes

Or check out all our Peak District walking routes here

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2 thoughts on “Higher Shelf Stones Short Walk (+ Bleaklow Plane Crash Site) | 4-Mile Route

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