Snake Woodlands, Higher Shelf Stones Long Walk | 14-Mile Route

Trig point at Higher Shelf Stones

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A lovely long walk in the Peak District, this route has a mix of everything from woodlands and streams to moorlands and hilltops, you won’t be disappointed with the variety on this route.

There are a few challenging sections on the walk, mostly on the moorland parts near Higher Shelf Stones when in poor visibility it can be hard to find the right route, details for which map you need is included below.

The walk begins from Snake Pass, along the clough and through woodlands then picking up the footpath across the moorlands to Higher Shelf Stones summit. From here you can take a quick detour to visit the 1948 plane crash before continuing to Lower Shelf Stones and down to Shelf Brook.

Next, you head back up to Snake Pass via Doctor’s Gate path, then across the road to the flagstone section to Mill Hill and the base of Kinder plateau. Finally, you walk back via Ashop Clough with views of ‘The Edge’ of Kinder on your right.

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.

Have you done this long walk? Let me know in the comments

Snake Woodlands, Higher Shelf Stones + Mill Hill from Snake Pass

Heather in valley on Higher Shelf Stones walk
Heather in the valley on Higher Shelf Stones walk

Walk information

Walk type: Long circular walk

Distance: 14 miles/22.5 km

Walk time: 6-8 hours

Total ascent: 902 m/2,963 ft

Highest point: 621 m/2,037 ft

Walk highlights: Higher Shelf Stones, B29 Superfortress crash site, Lower Shelf Stones, Shelf Brook, views to Kinder Scout and Ashop Clough

gpx file

Higher Shelf Stones walk map

Higher Shelf Stones + Mill Hill walk map

Click for online map

Walk start point

Start grid reference: SK 10934 91442

Car parking location: Snake Pass (A57), Glossop, S33 0AB

This is a small car park off Snake Pass, called ‘Hope Woodland car park’, even though it’s opposite Snake Woodlands! The postcode is not an exact location and the car park can be easy to miss – here’s the google location

Public transport

Nearest train station: Glossop train station (6 mile/10 km)

From the train station, there are no public transport options to the start but you could start the route at the opposite end and pick up the walk at the bottom of Doctor’s Gate path (about 2 miles from the train station) and do the circular walk starting from there (grid reference SK 06440 94413).

Facilities on the walk

There are no public toilets or facilities anywhere 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

Boggy sections on the path
Boggy sections on the path

The section up to Higher Shelf Stones can be boggy in places and also navigation can be difficult, even in good weather conditions so you can imagine how much harder it is in poor visibility.

The route crosses the A57 road (Snake Pass) a couple of times, cars can go pretty fast on this road so please take care.

A note on Snake Woodlands, sadly there seemed to be excessive rubbish along here when I walked, just wanted to warn you as although it’s pretty you might not see it in its full beauty.

There’s also a lovely swim spot towards the end of Ashop Clough, so if you fancy a dip then this is the perfect place to stop!

Check the weather for your walk location and hills

Ordnance Survey Walk Map

The map for this walk is OL1 – Peak District (Dark Peak Area). Check offers here with Ordnance Survey or Amazon

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

For online maps, you can get via OS Online App or Viewranger App.

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


Snake Woodlands + Higher Shelf Stones walk route

Stage 1 – Snake Pass (Birchen Clough) to Pennine Way

Distance: 3.5 miles/5.6 km

Grid reference SK 10934 91442

From the car park, cross the road and head down the stone steps, next to the sign for Snake Woodlands that zig zag down to a gate into Snake Woodlands. Walk down to the stream (Lady Clough) and turn right walking along the clough.

Stream through woods
Following the stream through woodlands

The path follows the clough for about 600 metres then look for a wooden post and steps that take you on a higher path through the woods.

Steps in woods
Steps up to higher path

Note – I followed the stream beyond these steps only to have to turn back at a waterfall near the end where you couldn’t get past. The alternative is a scramble up to find the path or doubling back. The waterfall is pretty, it’s located here (grid reference SK 10288 92427).

Lady Clough signpost
Lady Clough signpost

Once you’re out of the woods walk until you reach a gate and signpost for Lady Clough, follow the single track and cross over the stream, via the rocks. Keep walking alongside the clough until eventually, the path heads up to a wall.

Wall and metal barrier
Easiest place to climb over the wall

The path does not match the one on the OS map, follow the obvious route and it will bring you out next to the wall and barrier on Snake Pass (see picture above). The best/easier place to climb over is at this spot (grid reference SK 09966 92887). And there’s also a small pavement to walk next to the road.

Walk up the road for 400 metres, then cross over at a small layby onto Doctor’s Gate path. Follow this path across the moorlands, to where it meets the Pennine Way path.

Gate and fence on Doctor's Gate Path
Doctor’s Gate Path

Continue walking straight from here for about 200 metres. On your right, there is a footpath heading along the edge, (if you reach the gate you’ve missed it).

Follow the footpath and you’ll see Higher Shelf Stones in the distance. There’s a small waterfall below then the path splits. Take the left-hand path, heading down, across the stream and back up.

Person walking on path
Heading towards Higher Shelf Stones summit

Cross another stream and continue walking across the moorland heading north to the far edge of Higher Shelf Stones. Head uphill towards the rocks then follow it round to the right to reach the summit and the trig point at Higher Shelf Stones.

Stage 2 – Higher Shelf Stones to Snake Pass

Distance: 4.2 mile/6.8 km

Grid reference SK 08894 94785

From the trig point, walk east to do a small detour to visit the B29 Superfortress crash site (grid reference SK 09063 94874). The remains are scattered over a wide area, along with a small memorial with the story of the plane crash.

Plane crash engine debris
One of the plane crash engines near Higher Shelf Stones

Retrace the path back to the trig point and continue heading west to Lower Shelf Stones, from here you descend on the single path that winds down the moorlands then takes you up again. Keep walking west, now heading back downhill again towards a gate with a small tarn on the right of the path.

Narrow path and small tarn
Small tarn on your walk down

Continue walking downhill, until you reach a track, bear right and follow it all the way to some farm buildings. Then want to turn sharp left, almost doubling back on the path at public footpath sign via Doctor’s Gate and Snake Inn.

Public footpath signpost to Doctor's Gate path
Public footpath signpost to Doctor’s Gate path

The path follows Shelf Brook closely for about 1 km, in late summer the path is in full bloom with purple heather. Walk until you reach a wooden bridge and continue on the narrow path and through a metal gate.

Footbridge on path
Footbridge along Doctor’s Gate path

The path can be boggy in places, even in the summer months. It’s now a steady hike up Doctor’s Gate path, just before the top it does a switchback before reaching a wooden gate. Walk until you reach the Pennine Way path, turn right and you’re at Snake Pass.

Stage 3 – Snake Pass to Mill Hill

Distance: 2.5 miles/4 km

Grid reference SK 08806 92915

Flagstone footpath
Flagstone footpath looking back towards Snake Pass

This is the easier section of the route to navigate, cross over Snake Pass road and through the gate on the other side, now following the Pennine Way National Trail. You then follow the flagstone path all the way to Mill Hill, with Featherbed Top on your left and Kinder Plateau in front of you,

Since this section is all flagstones it can be tough going especially with the landscape being similar and even once you reach Mill Hill it’s little reward with a few stones to signify the summit. But the bonus is it’s easy terrain so you can easily pick the pace up and get it done!

Pile of stones on Mill Hill
Pile of stones on Mill Hill looking towards Kinder Plateau

Stage 4 – Mill Hill to Snake Pass

Distance: 3.6 miles/5.8 km

Grid reference SK 06113 90408

From Mill Hill, turn left continuing on the Pennine Way for a short distance until you reach a crossroads and a wooden sign for Snake Pass Inn. Turn left here and walk down Ashop Clough.

Route down Ashop Clough
Route down Ashop Clough with views to the plateau

You might find this section boggy in places are there are numerous cloughs that run down from Kinder Scout and Featherbed Top on the other side into the River Ashop.

Keep walking along the river all the way until a gate and wooded area, part of Snake Woodlands. Go through here, then across a footbridge and through a gate.

Path into woodlands
Heading back into Snake Woodlands area

Follow the stream (you’re back walking alongside Lady Clough) until you reach a second footbridge, cross over then turn right up through the woods and you’ll be back at the gate and path up to Snake Pass

Do you enjoy long walks in the Peak District? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add some more!

Other options for this walk

Shorten the walk

There are several options to shorten this walk, you can split it up and do the two loops as separate walks. You can read the route for Higher Shelf Stones and crash site, a 6-mile option from Snake Pass by the Pennine Way.

Or you can simply miss out the walk to Mill Hill and Ashop Clough and do the Snake Woodlands section as an out and back, handy if you want to do the lower route by the clough and explore the waterfall on the way there. If you do this you’ll shorten the walk by about 4.6 miles/7.4 km so it’s worth knowing about if you decide halfway through the walk you want to change your route.

More walks in the Peak District

Want to do more long walks in the Peak District? Check out these walks

Also, this Fairbrook walk to Kinder Scout walk starts from the same location at Snake Pass.

Or check out all our Peak District walking routes here

View walks directory here


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One thought on “Snake Woodlands, Higher Shelf Stones Long Walk | 14-Mile Route

  1. Pingback: Kinder Scout Walk From Hayfield (Via Red Brook Scramble) | 9-Mile Route - Peak District Walks

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