Higger Tor and Carl Wark

Carl Wark

An easy walk in the Dark Peak that gives you a sense of open space and wilderness for very little effort. The first half of the walk follows the route of the Sheffield Country Walk long distance footpath as it passes the impressive Burbage Rocks. The halfway point sees the path cross Burbage Brook at Upper Burbage Bridge. The return leg traverses Higger Tor with its unique weathered gritstone rocks then crosses the pre-historic hill fort of Carl Wark. This unique hill fort is a recognised nationally important archeological site, though its origins are still unknown. This is a great walk for anyone who is short on time. It can be busy during summer months but on a moor with an abundance of huge gritstone rocks and cliffs, it isn't hard to find a peaceful spot for lunch. Most of the walking is easy terrain though there is a tricky crossing of Burbage Brook and a few short scrambles descending Higger Tor and Carl Wark.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts from the National Trust's Longshaw Estate car park at grid reference SK 266 800. To get to the Longshaw Estate follow the main A6187 road from Sheffield or the Hope Valley to the sharp bend at the Fox House Inn.
  2. At the sharp bend by the Fox House Inn turn off down the adjacent minor road following the National Trust signs to the Longshaw Estate car park just a hundred metres on the right.
  3. There are opportunities to get to the start of this walk using public transport. There are a few bus stops on the main A6187 road and bus stops near the front of the main gate way to the Longshaw Estate on the minor B6521 road.
  4. From the car park walk along the path through the woods to the Longshaw Lodge. The path cross a stone packet horse bridge over a stream before reaching the lodge. When you reach the lodge turn right along the road, away from Longshaw Lodge and towards its gate house.
  5. After two hundred metres you will reach the gatehouse to the minor B6521 road. Here cross the road with care. On the other side pass through a small gate next to a larger gate. Walk along the path through the woods for three hundred and fifty metres, until you reach a split in the path.
  6. At the split turn right and head up towards the main A6187 road. Pass through a gate in a wall to the main road. Cross the main road and head through a small parking area then through another gate. You will now be on on the track that will lead you into the Burbage Valley.
  7. Follow this track for two hundred and fifty metres and then follow it round a bend to the right. Looking straight forward before you round the bend you will see Carl Wark with Higger Tor behind it on the other side of the valley.
  8. The track now heads north east then north into the Burbage Valley. To your left will be the dense forest at the bottom of the valley. To your right the eye catching gritstone escarpment of Burbage Rocks.
  9. The track eventually skirts the foot of the rocks. Here I would highly recommend you go explore the rocks. Close up they are their size is completely over powering. You will often see climbers and hear the clanging of their carabiners, nuts and hexes.
  10. When you reach the northern end of Burbage Rocks the track rises to the minor road at Upper Burbage Bridge. Here the north western and north eastern tributaries of the Burbage Brook merge after passing under two small stone road bridges.
  11. You need to cross the two tributaries. You can do this by heading up the road and turning left over the bridges. It is far more fun however to head straight down to the tributaries and cross them below the bridges.
  12. Once on the other side head up the ascent path to the top of the Fiddler's Elbow. Head south west then south along the top of the Fiddler's Elbow and head towards the obvious bulk of Higger Tor to the south.
  13. A short but steep ascent up a rough path, with large steps in places, will get you on to the summit plateau of Higger Tor. A walk over to the fascinating weathered rocks on its western edge is highly recommended. There is also a good view from here towards the Hope Valley.
  14. From Higger Tor head south down a short scramble over large boulders. Cross the moor on the wide path to reach the next prominent bulk of Carl Wark. Again a short but steep ascent will get you on to the summit. As you reach the summit you will see a part of the impressive stone fort wall.
  15. The summit area has many fascinating weathered rocks. If you use your imagination you can make out many strange shapes among them. One rock on its north eastern facing edge seems to take on the shape of a Giant Turtle.
  16. Descend from Carl Wark by its south eastern edge. An obvious path descends to Burbage Brook where a tricky crossing is required. I would recommend moving up stream slightly where the brook has a few narrower sections.
  17. Once on the other side of Burbage Brook, make your way across boggy ground to reach the track you used to enter the valley earlier. Turn right and head back to the main road.
  18. Cross the main road, head through the gate into the wood and retrace your footsteps back to the gate house of the Longshaw Estate. Turn left just before Longshaw Lodge to return to the car park.
  19. For refreshments after the walk you could nip into the National Trust visitor centre cafe at Longshaw Lodge on your way back to the car park. Alternatively you could visit the Fox House Inn for seasonal food and cask ales or head into Hathersage for a wider choice of places to eat and gear shops to browse.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer OL1 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 110 Map Click to buy Collins Ramblers Guide Peak District Click to buy Pathfinder Guides Peak District

GPS files for this walk

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Higger Tor & Carl Wark

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.