Shining Tor via Cats Tor

Shining Tor

This is a moderate walk to the highest point in Cheshire, Shining Tor. The walk starts in the beautiful and easily accessible Goyt Valley just an hour from the suburbs of Greater Manchester. There is a wide variety of landscapes including the reservoirs, woodlands, forestry, farm lands and high peak moorlands. This walk takes in several unusual features including the most popular feature of the walk, the ruins of the old Errwood Hall and its surrounding estate. This vast estate, its varying landscapes and unique buildings were all created and owned by the wealthy Grimshawe Family. They certainly left their mark on this incredible area. There are the unique buildings of Errwood Hall, the Spanish Shrine and the ruins of many others. The surrounding woodlands are enchanting and bursting with the colours of the Yellow Azaleaa and Purple Rhododendron shrubs the Grimshawe's brought back from their many travels. The upper section of the walk involves a long traverse of the Cats Tor and Shining Tor ridge which is typical peat moorland and gives great panoramic views.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts from the Erwood Car Park in the Goyt Valley. The car park is situated on the west side of the reservoir at grid reference SK 012 748.
  2. To reach the Goyt Valley turn off the main A5004 Whaley Bridge to Buxton road near Longhill Farm where the Goyt Valley is clearly sign posted down the minor Goyt's Lane road. After descending to the reservoir drive across the dam then turn left on the other side, ignore the first car park, instead head along the road and after a kilometre you will reach the Errwood Car Park.
  3. From the car park head head west up the main path which is sign posted to Errwood Hall. The path ascends a field then reaches a gap through a stone wall.
  4. Head through the gap on to a track. Turn right and pass a metal anti motorised vehicle gate. The track now heads through the woodlands. After two hundred and fifty metres a stream passes under the track and is then on the left side.
  5. After another hundred metres there is a track that switches sharp right and is clearly sign posted to Errwood Hall. Turn right here and head up the track to reach an opening in the woods where you will find the ruins of the old Errwood Hall.
  6. Errwood Hall was built in the 1830's by a wealthy and well educated Manchester business man by the name of Samuel Grimshawe. He gave this impressive stone built mansion and surrounding estate to his son as a wedding present. The hall was a happy home to two generations of the Grimshawe Family for over a hundred years. The estates comprised of two thousand acres of land with workers cottages, a private school, woodlands, moorlands, farmlands, farms, a small hamlet, a private colliery and several other small buildings and features.
  7. Sadly the hall was demolished in the late 1930's when the Fernilee dam and reservoir were constructed to provide water for the growing industrial town of Stockport. All that remains of the hall now is its stone floors, a few steps and the impressive stone arched window frames of the last remaining wall which luckily for us are all preserved by the Peak District National Park Authority.
  8. Head to the northern end of the ruins and turn left, heading west along a path through the woodlands with a stream down to the right. After just over a hundred metres the path descends to the stream and crosses it over a lovely curvy wooden bridge.
  9. You will soon reach a crossing of footpaths. Here you need to go straight on to head north to north west on the clearly sign posted footpath to Pym Chair.
  10. The path ascends through a field with the valley on the left and a stone walled woodland on the right. After three hundred metres the path passes through a stone wall. Here the Foxlow Edge path ascends to the right. If you want you can choose the higher route here over Foxlow Edge which will also take you to Pym Chair.
  11. Continue along the path as it ascends through the valley. After a while the path will pass the ruins of the old Withinleach Farm buildings on the right. Just eighty metres on from the farm ruins you will come across a most bizarre building between the trees. If you chose the higher Foxlow Edge route you may miss out on this unless you turn back before you reach the road.
  12. The Grimshawe family built this Spanish Shrine in 1889 in memory of Dolores de bergrin. Miss Dolores was governess to the children at Errwood Hall and teacher at the estates small private school. Sadly she died in her early forties on a visit to Lourdes.
  13. The shrine is usually open to the public so you should be able to open the wooden door to reveal its inner delights. The wall of the shrine has a beautiful tiled mosaic. It also has a pulpit, religious items, candles, letters and remembrance items.
  14. Continue the ascent of the main path. The Foxlow Edge path will join from the right. You will eventually reach the tarmac minor road known as The Street. Pass through the gate and cross the road to reach a safer footpath on its far side.
  15. Turn left and ascend the steep road side path for just under a kilometre until you reach the top of the pass known as Pym Chair. Head back to the other side of the road here and go through the gate to start the ascent of Cats Tor.
  16. Looking back as you ascend Cats Tor you should start to see views opening up towards the higher peak areas and out towards Manchester and Cheshire. An eight hundred metre ascent will find you on the top of Cats Tor.
  17. From Cats Tor continue the ridge walk along the now paved path for another kilometre to reach the col between Cats Tor and Shining Tor known as The Tors.
  18. From The Tors continue heading south along the main paved path to ascend the bulk of Shining Tor. After another kilometre long ascent you will reach the summit of Shining Tor, at 559m above sea level the highest point in the county of Cheshire. A county with a reputation of being completely flat!
  19. The summit has a trig point pillar that can be reach by heading through the gate in the stone wall at the summit area. There is also a bench on one side of the stone wall sheltered from the prevailing winds. The summit of Shining Tor is fairly featureless but does have some fantastic views. The most noticeable being the view towards its shapely neighbour Shutlingsloe which often steals the headlines as it is a lovely shaped hill.
  20. From the summit head in a south east direction along the path that skirts the head of Shooter's Clough. The path dips down then up again then passes through a gate in the impressive stone wall on the top of the Stake Side ridge.
  21. On Stake Side you can, if you have a spare hour or so, turn right and take a detour to the Snake Pass Inn which is now in view. If not heading over to the Inn then turn left and head north to north east down the Stake Side ridge with the impressive stone wall now on your left during the descent.
  22. After a kilometre of descent you will reach a gate on your left. Head through the wooden gate and turn left on the path that descends through more impressive and enchanting woodland to Shooter's Clough.
  23. After two hundred metres the path switches hard right and turns in to a wider track that continues the descent in to Shooter's Clough. After another three hundred and fifty metres the path switches back left on itself and heads down to the stream at the bottom of the valley.
  24. The path crosses the stream over stepping stones. On the other side turn right and follow the path now with the tumbling stream on the right. The path passes man made stone walls and waterways of the old colliery and then reaches a path junction below a knoll.
  25. Here below the knoll there are many old ruins and walls, these are mostly the houses of the workers and servants of Errwood Hall. Here head up on to the wooded knoll to find the Grimshawe's family cemetery which is well worth a look.
  26. From the cemetery head back to the track and head east along it with the stream down to the right. The track will soon bring you back to where you left it earlier below the old Errwood Hall ruins. From there continue to follow your footsteps back to the car park.
  27. On your way home there is the Shady Oak country inn at Fernilee on the main A5004 road for a warm walker friendly welcome with well earned tasty food and guest ales.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer OL24 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 119 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

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.