Big Stone and Cracken Edge
9.46 km and 440 metres of ascent
Section 1 – To Peep-O-Day Farm
Leaving the car park head towards the village and cross the main road. Pass the church and turn right up Church St. After about 100 metres follow the road forking to the left and then fork immediately right. This is Highgate Road. Follow the steep uphill for about 1km and take the sign posted bridleway which branches to the left. Continue uphill for another 500 metres until you reach the Pennine Bridleway. At this point turn right and follow the track downhill to the main Hayfield to Chapel road. On meeting the road, turn left keeping to the verge and take the first right to Peep O Day farm. Originally this was called Hills House, but is known as Peep O Day locally, because of the small window that gets the early morning light.
Section 2 – Big Stone via the Quarries.
As the road bends sharply go straight ahead through the metal gate. You now head west, uphill on a good track for about 800 metres. There is a wooden bench on the right with a T John Foster verse carved in it, this is a lovely spot to rest and enjoy the expansive views towards Chapel-en-Frith and Combs Moss and on your right Cracken Edge and the quarries below. Continue until you see a gate on the left and a public footpath leading to the quarries. The path works its way up among the quarries – first mentioned in 1628, following the dissolution of the monasteries, although probably older. You can see how the hillside has been cut away to produce the gritstone roof and floor tiles that give the local villages their distinctive look.
Beyond the main quarrying area, slowly work your way upward, until the path takes you to the upper tier of the Quarries near Chinley Churn. This is your furthest point from Hayfield and you should now head back keeping to the high level, with views back to Hayfield and Kinder Scout and westerly over to New Mills and Manchester. After about 400 metres (SK03709 84337) you will reach the high point – with a crag facing east, locally called “Big Stone”.
Section 3 – Return to Hayfield
Continue north for a further 500 metres, to re-join the bridlepath from Peep O Day that you were on earlier. At this point, you turn left (West) and then work your way down Foxholes Clough, turning right on the bridleway which leads into the wooded valley and down to Phoside Farm. Walk round the front of the farm, and follow the footpath across three fields to Ridge Top, where you turn right following the road back to Hayfield.