Peak & Northern Footpaths Society (est.1894)

Book Review: Dark Peak Walks by Paul Besley (Cicerone £12.95)

Phil Lally

This article is from Signpost 54, Summer 2017

Paul Besley clearly knows this area of the Peak District well. He is a volunteer Ranger for the Peak District National Park and a member of Woodhead Mountain Rescue. I have always found Cicerone guidebooks to be well produced with excellent introductions to the area in question and containing detailed descriptions of well-chosen walks. This new guide is no exception. The guide presents route descriptions and 1:50,000 OS mapping for 35 half and full day walks. In addition, route summaries are provided for 5 longer walks of between 25km and 45km, including the classic circuit of the Kinder Scout skyline.

I did the walk from Old Glossop to Bleaklow Head with a couple of friends to test out the guide, as this was a new route to me. It was an interesting walk taking in Cock Hill, Clough Edge, Torside Clough, Bleaklow Head, Wain Stones, Hern Stones, the B29 aircraft wreck, Higher Shelf Stones, and James’s Thorn. The route information was clear, with helpful compass directions where necessary. As the author says, it is always useful to carry the OS Explorer Dark Peak Map OS1 with you when walking in this part of the world. If you have a GPS enabled device to navigate, GPX files are available for free download via a link in the book.

My previous Cicerone guide to this area was ‘High Peak Walks’ by Mark Richards, first published in 1982. This was a Wainwright-style book, with hand-drawn maps and illustrations and thus had lots of detail that the new book lacks. However, the new guide has almost twice as many walks in about the same number of pages and, as I’ve indicated, contains sufficient detail to find one’s way – the key requirement of any guidebook. The new book also has the advantage of being completely up-to-date in terms of route finding and promises to provide many more pleasurable days if the Bleaklow walk is anything to go by. I look forward to taking it with me on future excursions in the Dark Peak.


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Page title:Book Review: Dark Peak Walks by Paul Besley (Cicerone £12.95)
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