Crowden is a small and isolated village in the upland valley of Longdendale, on the A628 Manchester–Sheffield Woodhead Pass road that crosses the Pennine moors from west to east. Crowden's main interest to travellers is as the traditional first-night stop on the northbound Pennine Way (Edale–Kirk Yetholm, 268 miles). It lies 16 miles from the start point at Edale; the first day's walk crosses Kinder Scout and Bleaklow (the two highest hills in Derbyshire) before descending to the reservoirs of Longdendale. The village is also close to the west–east Trans Pennine Trail (Southport–Hornsea, 207 miles), part of European walking route E8.
There is no public transport to Crowden. The nearest railway station is at Hadfield (4 miles via Longdendale Trail), on the Glossop line from Manchester Piccadilly (40 mins). Taxis are available from Glossop (about 6 miles by road).
By car from Manchester, follow A57 (signposted Sheffield) then M67 beyond the M60 orbital motorway, which continues as the A57 and then the A628; from Sheffield follow A61 north, then A616 and A628. From the M1 motorway leave at junction 35A (northbound) or 36 (southbound) and follow A61/A616/A628 as above. For a scenic drive from the north, follow the A6024 Holme Moss road from Holmfirth (part of the 2014 Tour de France route). The Holme Moss and Woodhead Pass roads are often closed in snowy conditions.
- 1 St James Chapel, Woodhead (½ mile east). Grade-II-listed mid-18th-century chapel. Among Victorian slate gravestones in the churchyard are the unmarked graves of navvies who died working on the Woodhead Tunnels. A simple and affecting building (interior usually locked) in an atmospheric spot, with a well-preserved cobbled quarrymen's track leading up the hill behind the church to Loftend Quarry. Occasional Anglican services.
- 2 Woodhead Tunnels (2½ miles east). Three railway tunnels, closed to rail traffic since 1981. Woodhead 1 was one of the world's longest railway tunnels when it opened in 1845. The imposing tunnel entrances are at the end of the Longdendale Trail.
- If you're doing all 267 miles (429 km) of the Pennine Way end-to-end in a single sortie, then the usual direction is northbound to have the sun and weather at your back, and Day One is from Edale across Kinder Scout and Bleaklow to Crowden. There are two routes out of Edale: the traditional route is to ascend Kinder Scout immediately up Grind's Brook, then head northwest across the plateau. The alternative route, more scenic and less boggy, is west across the fields to ascend by Jacob's Ladder, then north along the scarp edge. The two routes meet at Kinder Downfall, from where you trudge on north gradually descending. The plateau is crossed by A57 but with no nearby facilities, so you continue north over Bleaklow before the last descent into Longdendale, with a zigzag around the reservoir to reach Crowden. The route is well marked and has boardwalks over the worst bogs. 13 miles done, only 254 to go.
- Hill walking. Apart from the Pennine Way and Trans-Pennine Trail, moorland day walks are available to Bleaklow, Black Hill and Holme Moss. The Longdendale Edges walk is a 17-mile high-level route from Crowden Youth Hostel (route in Peak District Walking Guide No.2, published by the Peak Park Planning Board). Lower-level walks are available on permitted paths around the reservoirs of Longdendale, and along the Longdendale Trail (below).
- Walk/ride/cycle the Longdendale Trail. 6½-mile cycling and horse-riding trail from Hadfield to Woodhead Tunnels along former railway line. Free.
- 1 Sail at Glossop Sailing Club, Torside Reservoir, ☏ , email@example.com.
- Rock-climbing. Experienced rock-climbers will find recognised gritstone climbs at Laddow Rocks, Brockholes Quarry and Crowden Great Quarry, among others. See Peak Rock Climbs vol.2: Kinder and Bleaklow (BMC, 2001).
There is a small shop at the campsite.
There are no pubs or restaurants in the village; the nearest public eating places are at Tintwistle (3½ miles west) or even further afield (e.g. Glossop, Hollingworth, Hadfield).
- 1 The Old House, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. B&B accommodation, 600 yards from Pennine Way. £35 pppn (double sharing).
- 2 Crowden campsite, ☏ . Camping and Caravan Club site. £4.50–£7.30 (adult).
|Routes through Crowden-in-Longdendale|
|Edale (16 miles) ←||S N||→ Marsden (11 miles) → Kirk Yetholm|