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  • Chris Nowell

Derwent edge

Over the last few days we've experienced some heavy rain and serious wind conditions. This makes it somewhat difficult forgetting out with the camera and to be honest February can be a difficult month anyway. However it's made me think about some previous adventures in the Peak District National Park over the years. Mostly with fellow landscape photographer friends however sometimes on my own just enjoying the peace and quiet that nature offers. Two of my absolute favourite locations are that of Bamford and Derwent edge. Fairly easy going in that it can take some effort to get to these Highview points however there is no major climbing or dangerous scrambling to be had therefore with my site limitations and knowing the area it's an easy one for me to complete.

Therefore whilst we are staying indoors as more named storms Battle of Britain let's take a look at some of these adventures beginning with Derwent edge.

Towards the back end of August early September this location really comes alive with the return of the flowering Heather. However that is not to say you will not enjoy yourself throughout the whole year. This photograph for example was taken in February a year before the pandemic and I achieved a wonderful photograph of which I'm very proud of. A little bit different to the weather right now I know.

This area is also a fantastic home for all different types of wildlife. Further down on the hillside can sometimes offer decent views of scattered deer out on the Moreland however this really isn't easy going. More often it is birds that you will experience out and about in this natural environment. Hovering birds of prey silently flying above you and the cheeky Grouse birds creating that funny sound in and amongst the heather.

The high ground and landscape around this area offers fantastic classic Peak District views. Plus from this area there are lots of well-known locations to enjoy including that of Ladybower Reservoir Derwent and Howden reservoir or looking the other way towards Bamford and Stanage edge. It's not all about landscape photography there really is something for everyone to enjoy along this incredible plateau.

Whether it is landscape photography hill walking climbing bird spotting responsible camping there really is something for everyone in this area. Over the years I've witnessed lots of mountain bikes in the evening/darkness for me this is a truly adventurous landscape.

Over the years I have completed many great adventures in this area both on my own or with good friends. Although camping is not allowed in the Peak District National Park I have happily and more importantly very responsibly completed a number of wild camping trips. Never having a fire always taking every bit of rubbish home with me and only using my own and with a friend individual one person tent.

Unfortunately it is the stupidity of a small amount of people that ruin it for us responsible outdoor enthusiasts.

We complete these adventures for the hope of coming home with that rememberable photograph something that we would be proud of to frame and have at home. Plus giving escapism to those people wanting to also have the photo for themselves. So to finish off let's have a look at some of my favourite photographs taken at this truly beautiful part of the peak district National Park.

As previously mentioned this location really comes alive at the end of August early September with the arrival of the flowering Heather. This makes it very popular for all landscape photographers with a decent walk to arrive at this location you are then gifted these truly fantastic high views. It is after that decent walk I have often decided to camp off the path out of the way causing no damage. It's not necessarily a fantastic place for landscape photography in the morning with the Sun rising light over the other side of the hills. However it just makes it a little bit more enjoyable and relaxing if you can get comfortable after a decent evening of landscape photography and get your head down ready for a nice gentle walk.

Last year I only visited this location the one time plus I chose to only stay at the area of lee Tor as I have never actually photographed this viewpoint. The friend I visited the area with chose to go further to Derwent edge however I was happy staying at this area for sunset as I've captued lots of great compositions already of the obvious saltcellar of Derwent edge.

2020 was a good year for this location and my landscape photography of course it wasn't the best year overall for the pandemic and personal sadness for many people but I did have a decent adventure with my good friend James pictures when we was allowed back out in August September time. My wife kindly dropped me off early at the location and I made my way slowly along the yellow footpath up towards the area of the saltcellar. From there I slowly set up my tent waiting for James to arrive and we captured a decent sunset however the following morning visibility was non-existent with low cloud but as previously mentioned this location in the morning isn't always spectacular it is for sunset and the side light that works at its best

We completed our photography that evening made our way back to our own individual one person tents had a Pot Noodles a beer and a good laugh always being respectable to the landscape and made sure again to not cause any damage and take every single piece of rubbish with us.

Check out some of the imagery of James pictures below

I hope looking at these images it gives you a good idea of this area. Especially if you've never visited this area of the Peak District National Park before looking through these photographs gives you a sense of scale a bit of an idea of the land and something towards goals that you can achieve yourself. However if you did want to find this location and visited yourself below are a few helpful tips links and how to get to this area.

Firstly parking

Personally there are three different locations that I choose for parking then they give me three different options of how to get to the saltcellar and other viewpoints of Derwent edge. My favourite although not the shortest is the car park of cutthroat bridge car park on the A 57. From this car park it's easy to walk 100 m down the road before crossing over and joining the overused path. From here however there are two options you can either take the right direction crossing over the river and walking a mile and a half along the path turning left all of this being uphill you will soon arrive at coach and horse rocks with Derwent edge being another mile and a half along the path.

Turning left from the car park along the road however will also take you up to lee Tor before you would need to carry on past the coach and horse rocks then follow onto the saltcellar. Both of these I believe give you about 4 miles of walking.

The second option is to park along the side of the road at the bottom of ladybower Reservoir cross the road and walk up past the house on the tarmac before arriving in the pine forest. This is a much more difficult scramble however the shortest in distance I just dislike coming back down this way with my site limitations it's a real challenge.

The final option and probably the worst is to park at the visitors centre at Derwent Reservoir. Walk past the tall tower before climbing the steps on the right hand side of the tower walking along the woodland before following a path up the hill straight to the saltcellar. However I would say this is probably the worst option unless you really wanted a good day out. this link will take you to cutthroat car park

As always thank you to everyone who takes the time and checking out this blog. I've been doing landscape photography for a long time now and know the Peak District very well however I remember what it's like not having a clue where to go and where to get the best viewpoint. Which is why hopefully this blog can give people a bit of idea of how to find some of these locations and if this isn't helpful just contact me directly via the website email or social media.

I continue to be a proud ambassador of Vanguard photo UK plus Community advocate for Kase filters UK. You can check out the link to these companies of which I am proud to use in the imagery below. Plus I am proud to announce I will have a live interview on the 6th of March at 7 pm with the Kase Sunday evening interview connected with photography online and Kase filters. You can find this on YouTube or via the link below.

Thank You

Chris Nowell photography


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