Peak District: Getting to Kinder Scout from Sheffield now 'virtually impossible' without car, say walkers

Countryside campaigners may have just marked the 90th anniversary of the famous Kinder Trespass.

Thursday, 19th May 2022, 12:01 am
Updated Thursday, 19th May 2022, 9:56 am

But veteran walkers say that although there may now be public access to the famous Pennine peak, it is now virtually impossible to get there unless you have access to a car.

Robin Parrish and Karin Hessenberg have been taking in the Peaks for decades since moving to Sheffield in the 1980s. But they believe that parts of the Peak District are now beyond the reach of those who do not drive, because of the lack of bus access.

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Aida Morris things public transport from Sheffield to the Peak District is generally good

The couple, who live near Ecclesall Road, decided to sell their car and stop driving – but now they say that means they cannot get places such as Bleaklow, or the well known Fairholmes area near Derwent Reservoir. Derbyshire transport bosses, however, say there are now services to Fairholmes.

The couple have lived in Sheffield since 1989 and have been frequent visitors to the Peaks. But Karin said they could no longer get the Kinder without a four hour walk since the X57 bus over the Snake Pass ended.

Kinder Trespass

She said: “There is a distinct irony in the celebration of the historic Kinder Trespass, which was a truly inspiring event. The courageous people who took part changed access to the countryside forever.

Florence Lee would like to see more trains to the Peak District

“The irony, however, is that in 2022, while we don’t face armed gamekeepers to prevent access to the countryside, we face a different sort of access problem. For those of us who use public transport to get to the Peak Park from the city, as generations of working people have done, it is now impossible to use a bus to get to Kinder Scout. The X57 was recently axed. Even the Peak Park ‘honeypot’ of Fairholmes is now inaccessible by bus because that service (257/8) has also been cut.

“The reason for this shows that we, Derbyshire and Sheffield Councils and the Peak Park Authorities have got our priorities completely wrong.

“In a time of climate crisis everyone should be encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint and try alternatives to the private car. It seems that the Peak Park and local councils have given up on an aim to provide good access to places such as Kinder Scout and Fairholmes from Sheffield by bus.”

Karin Hessenberg on Bleaklow near Kinder Scout

She said she had been told a Fairholmes bus link had previously been cancelled was there were too many cars, causing problems due to bad parking or traffic jams, which means the bus operator is unable to run a reliable service.

She thinks current transport means people on low incomes, as well as many foreign students, miss out.

Derbyshire County Council says it is working with partners to encourage sustainable transport options in the area as it knows how popular it is and wants to encourage people to get out and about and explore all that Derbyshire has to offer.

Hope Valley Explorer service launched

Karin Hessenberg walking near Kinder Scout. She is concerned it is now inaccessible to many because of the lack of public transport

It said in a statement: “While any change to services would be a decision made by the bus operators themselves, there are options available to get into this part of the Peak District, and the start of the seasonal Hope Valley Explorer this weekend is welcomed and will increase the opportunities to visit the area.

“The service 272 could be used from Sheffield to Bamford Station to link up with the Hope Valley Explorer (H1) up to Fairholmes, or the train from Sheffield to Bamford to link with any of the H1 journeys to Fairholmes and back.”

A Peak District National Park spokesperson said the National Park Authority understood public transport options were vital for many visitors to the Peak District, especially those who may have been inspired to reconnect with nature and the outdoors following the pandemic.

The said in a statement: “Whilst the Authority itself isn’t a transport provider and does not operate services directly, we continue to work with regional stakeholders to encourage sustainable transport options for all. The running of services such as the X57 and their chosen routes remain at the discretion of commercial operators and these services are not subsidised by the National Park.

“Road routes around Edale are particularly challenging for most larger capacity buses and this includes the seasonal Hope Valley Explorer.

Robin Parrish walking in the Peak District

“Edale remains accessible by train into the village itself, from both Sheffield and Manchester and also by connection from the Explorer service via Hope/Castleton station. The service also serves the Upper Derwent Valley via Fairholmes.”

The Hope Valley Explorer began on Saturday May 14 Operated by Stagecoach, the route is a seasonal three-year pilot supported by both the National Park Authority and Derbyshire Dales District Council.

Links between Sheffield and Peak District

Sheffield residents had mixed views over the quality of links between Sheffield and the Peak District

Chris Chadwick from Broomhill said he would not know how to start.

Florence Lee, of Walkley, said: “It depends where you’re going. From my experience, if you want to go to somewhere like Castleton or Edale, it's quite straightforward, because there’s a train. But I think otherwise, you’re dependent on the buses. They’re subject to traffic and stuff so it can be quite difficult. I wish the trains were more frequent

Aida Morris, of Crosspool said she thought it was quite easy to get to the Peaks from Sheffield. “There is a very good bus service,” she said. “You can catch it on Ecclesall Road and take it to Bakewell and many other different localities. You can get it on Manchester Road too.

"Then you can go to all sorts of places – you can go to Castleton, Hathersage, you can go to Eyam. You can go to Tideswell and Bakewell. It’s a very good service that was full of young people and parents with young children, and grandparents as well like me and my husband.”

Robin Parrish points to a line of parked cars near near Bleaklow