Gritstone outcrops ripple above the few cottages, farms and church that constitute Flash, at 462m (1,518ft) the highest village in England.
Views from the highest village pub, the New Inn, sweep across the moors to the striking ridge of the Roaches, continuing to distant prospects far into the Peak District. Such views aided coiners in the 18th century, whose activities debased the currency. Their counterfeit coins, known as Flash Money, travelled with innocent merchants to markets throughout the Midlands and beyond.
A. Pub start
Starting at the New Inn, with the pub door at your back, turn left. Pass the former chapel and fork right up the gravelled drive. Beyond the last house turn right over the stile. A line of waymarked stiles leads into a walled track, then a markerpost offering a left-turn option. Take this and walk over Wolf Edge, then along a declining path by a fence/wall to the lane below.
B. Meeting of three counties
Turn left, then first right and follow this tarred lane to its end just before a secluded house. Go left on the rough walled track, dropping over a bridge; turn left into the ravine at Three Shires Head.
The graceful packhorse bridge marks the junction of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Cheshire; coiners could escape arrest in olden days simply by crossing the bridge because Staffordshire police had no right of arrest in the other two counties.
Turn left (not over the bridge), cross the secondary bridge and rise out of the Dane Valley, with the river down to your right. Bear left from the gate, continuing to climb gently. Ignore any side paths here as the track widens and becomes sandy and walled below a copse, before passing a remote cottage.
C. Wooded gorge
Continue to a parking area; here turn back-right down a concrete drive, then drift left, wall-side, to use a handgate well-left of Wicken Walls cottages. Now turn left to cross a footbridge in the wooded gorge. Ascend the steep path (signed Flash) via stiles, before levelling out across pastures to a driveway. Turn right, then in 65m slip left over the stile, rising to a higher lane. Finally, go left back to Flash and return to the New Inn, where you started.
How to get there
Flash is four miles south-west of Buxton and signed off the A53 road to Leek.
Find Out More
1 Market Place, Leek
The Knights Table
Quarnford SK17 0SN
Stoop Farm B&B
Hollinsclough, Buxton SK17 0RW