Walk: Hathersage, Derbyshire

Step into the eastern fringes of the Peak District National Park and explore the landscape said to have inspired Charlotte Brontë to pen her novel Jane Eyre

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Charlotte Brontë is believed to have used the Peak District as the setting for her classic novel after a visit to Hathersage in 1845.

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The BBC’s acclaimed 2006 dramatisation featured Ruth Wilson as the eponymous Jane Eyre, the orphan girl who, against all the odds, forges a relationship with tormented hero Edward Rochester. Filming took place at Bolsover Castle and Haddon Hall, while many of the stunning outdoor scenes were shot on Stanage Edge, the four-mile long gritstone escarpment above Hathersage, better known for its climbing.

Millstones can be found on Hathersage Moor in the Peak District
Millstones can be found on Hathersage Moor in the Peak District ©Getty
1

Rise to the tor

From the roadside parking at Hook’s Car, follow the popular path to the south-eastern end of Stanage Edge and turn right. Take the rocky track across the moor, crossing the road to reach Burbage Bridge car park. Go through the gate and take the upper path on the right, to the summit of Higger Tor.

Stunning Autumn Fall landscape of Hope Valley from Stanage Edge in Peak District
Hope Valley from Stanage Edge in autumn ©Getty
2

Footpath to the farm

Turn around and take the wide path (north-west) back down to the road. Go right, then quickly left, for a path down the bottom of a small side valley. When you finally emerge on a bend in the road, go left, then take the gated track on the right up to Toothill Farm. Just before the buildings, go left, diagonally down across pasture, and follow the tree-lined ditch downhill to join a driveway. As you approach a house, go right at a footpath sign.

3

Brontë’s inspiration

Veer left beside a fence, then after 100m go right again down a steep, stepped path to cross a stream. In the open field opposite, veer right at the waymark for a route across the fields above Cowclose Farm until finally you drop down to a lane. Go left, past the campsite entrance, then right up the drive to North Lees. It’s believed that Brontë used this handsome, late-16th-century manor house as the model for Thornfield Hall, where Rochester’s demented wife was locked away in the attic.

Engraving from 1885 featuring Charlotte Bronte, the English poet and writer. She lived from 1816 until 1855.
Charlotte Brontë sought inspiration from the Peak District landscape ©Getty
4

Jane Eyre country

Continue up the hillside on the main track, and after woodland, go left on the road by the toilet block. Take the bridleway opposite, up through a small plantation, on to the top of Stanage Edge. There are stunning views across the Dark Peak from the path along the top, with miles of wild moorland, such as those where Jane Eyre is found wandering, destitute, after her wedding to Edward Rochester is called off. To return to the start turn right along the edge-top path.

Map

Click on the map below for an interactive version of the route.

Hathersage map

Find out more about the Peak District National Park.

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Main image ©Getty