HikesPeak District

Blackden Brook Scramble with Kids

If you’re looking for an adventure, look no further. This route will guarantee an amazing day in the Peak District, with a Grade 1 scramble, stream jumping and fantastic views all round. We did this route with the kids (13, 10 and 9) and nobody moaned, grumbled or gave up when the going got tough. Now that, is a success! Read on to find out more about the Blackden Brook scramble with kids.

One of many waterfalls on the route

A few disclaimers first. I feel like these are important.

*Although the route I tracked should have only taken about 2.5 hours, it took us much longer. We didn’t rush ourselves, but the ascent slows you down, and the water crossings sometimes get a bit tricky to navigate.

*We took this route in April. Early spring. The majority of the mud had disappeared, but there were still soggy spots. I would recommend doing this in as dry weather as possible, especially if you are taking the kids. There are some tights edges to walk along, which could be really dangerous if they are muddy.

*This route involves a grade 1 scramble. There are some high spots to tackle, so be warned if you are wary of heights. Even I felt a little woozy at the top! Don’t look backwards until you are ready. But definitely appreciate how far you’ve come and the glorious views.

*Parking is limited, but if you use the coordinates on Google Maps, they will get you to the right place.

* This route is NOT suitable for wheels. Suitable footwear is a must.

OK, on to the good bits.

*There are SO many waterfalls to find if you go in spring. They may possibly reduce as the warmer weather comes in. There are definitely parts to dunk your feet in, so prepare yourself with a towel and change of socks.

*This route is fun. Really fun. It is easy to navigate and rewarding. If your kids are adventurous, they will love the scramble, and exploring the rocks at the top of the plateau.

*A paper map is easy to follow, as is the OS maps App, which is what we use (until my phone runs out of battery). Then we switch to the paper method.

Off you go.

Park up on the layby, which is right at the starting point. You will see a sign on a gate to Blackden View Farm. Head straight through the gate and down into the field, through the trees.

Cross the bridge over the River Ashop. Play poo sticks if you’d like, or carry on through the next gate and up the carved out steps ahead. Walk on to the stone wall, there is a gate on the left. Walk ahead with the wall to your right. You will see the path trodden into the hillside to follow.

The stream starts to appear, hop over it when needed to follow the path round the bend. (as marked on the map). Here, the edge is quite exposed, so be careful if it’s slippy.

The brook will be on your right side. Keep following the water. The first waterfall comes up here. It is deep enough to have a paddle in, but not overly wide.

Follow the Water

The path follows the water all the way up. You will need to cross at certain points to either avoid VERY muddy spots, or because the edges aren’t walkable and you need to walk one side or the other. This took us the longest time as we kept hopping across!

As you get deeper in, mini waterfalls cascade down the sides of the hills. The sound of the water is calming, and you are fully immersed in the wilderness of the Peak District. We stopped for a bite to eat to energise for the scramble, and to just listen the sounds of nature around us.

The path is fairly easy to follow for a while, it zig-zags across Blackden Brook until you reach the next waterfall. We missed the slight turn off before the waterfall, as it is easy to follow the brook to the waterfall. The path you need to take leads to the right up a brow of a hill, with the waterfall to the left. I have shown it on the photo below. If you get to the big waterfall, you’ve gone too far. Come back and find a tread in the grass, up the hill to your right. This takes you up and over the waterfall, but this is VERY VERY close to an edge. Please, be careful here.

The Main Event

Again, head straight on, following the water. You will come across a stile. Jump over that, then it’s almost time to start the scramble. Buckle up, it gets high! It probably looks more daunting than it actually is. In the dryer weather, it’ll be better, but sometimes the rocks get slippy. Follow the course straight up onto Kinder Plateau.

Once on the top, take a moment to enjoy the view and to see how far you’ve come. I promise, it’ll be worth it.

The Next Section.

When your second wind hits, head to the right, with the scramble behind you. There is a gate to go through and a footpath to follow. This is a nice straight part to meander on. Let the kids explore the large smooth gritstone that sits on top of the plateau. Keep on until the road appears down to the right, far in the distance. You will come across a stile, over which leads down to a small cluster of rocks and a gravel path that leads to a valley. Take this path.

Down, down, down.

This is quite steep, so, as Molly says, walk like a crab! Feet to the side and take it slow. The path winds off to the left, around Gate Side Clough. It is marked really well so keep on here, until you reach the bottom.

The Final Stretch.

Here, you have a few options. You can hop over the stream in front, to cross the footbridge ahead and walk back to the layby with the stream on your right. This crosses a few boundary walls. OR, walk on the lower path, back on yourself after coming down the hill. Keep with the boundary line to your left. The routes dips up and down and you will cross a few streams along the way. Cross the stile and head towards the farm building. Just before here, turn right and go past the brook and the wall. Cross the water again and you’ll see the bridge to the left that was at the start of the route. Relive the earlier memories and gather your last moments of strength to get yourselves back up to the car in the layby!

There are longer versions of this route that gives access to a few more waterfalls, but I think this length was perfect for the kids stamina. And probably mine too, after having a bit too much Easter chocolate for breakfast!

Top Tips.

As is always the case, the weather at the bottom is never the same as the weather on the top. Dress in layers. Normally, the top is colder than the bottom, but in summer, the top of Kinder is very exposed. The sun can heat you up quite quickly. Always make sure you factor in weather conditions for walks like these. You can check the weather on the Met Office website.

Other handy tips include:

  • Keep a big bottle of water in the car for after the hike.
  • Or, even better, use a water filtration system to top up from the stream on the way round. Something like this.
  • Take lots of snacks. Little and often keeps energy up. Keep extra shoes/crocs in the car for the drive home. And extra socks!
  • On that line, maybe extra clothes too. We had a little one fall in the river, so he had to ride home half naked. Oops!
  • I would highly recommend using the OS Maps app. And not just because I am a champ. We have been using it for years. You can grab a subscription here. It has definitely saved our bacon a few times.

Parking coordinates: On a layby on A57 Snake Pass – 53°24’08.0″N 1°48’20.3″W
There is room for about 10 cars. I would recommend getting in early. Snake Pass is also a very busy road, where cars and motorbikes like to pick up speed. Please, be careful.

And I think that’s about it. Have fun, take it at your own pace and take lots of photographs! I’d love to hear if you take on the route. You can tag #hikerkidz on Instagram to inspire other little hikers, and so I can follow your adventures too. You can comment here on the website too!

For other routes in the Peak District, have a look at Lud’s Church or Milldale for a good cave exploring route.

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