Follow in the footsteps of the Bronte sisters with a 9.5km walk from Hathersage to Stranage Edge in the Peak District National Park.
Walking boots laced up – says outdoors writer Helen Moat – and I’m on the trail of Charlotte Brontë.
1. Out of Hathersage
From Hathersage’s George Hotel – where Charlotte alighted from her carriage – I head up Main Road with its cafés and outdoor shops. I wonder how it looked when Charlotte walked on to the vicarage to stay with her friend Ellen Nussey in 1845. Up Baulk Lane, Stanage Edge stretches out bleak and dramatic under billowing clouds. It’s a fitting landscape for a gothic novel.
Follow the path north for about 3-4km.
2. On the edge
From Dennis Knoll car park, a rough track climbs to the edge stacked with weather-contorted gritstones. Overhead, the sweet song of a skylark fills the air. A fingerpost points to a path leading through rocks, woodland and meadow to Long Causeway again.
I follow the path parallel to Hood Brook as far as North Lees Hall (Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre). The foreboding tower house sits in moorland isolation, a splendid location for a dark tale of romance and betrayal. This is where Jane meets Mr Rochester. At the valley bottom, I detour over the brook to St Michael’s Church with its memorials to the Eyre family dating back to the 15th century.
Click on the map below for an interactive version of the route.