Coming back to the UK, it’s been really useful to call on the advice of other travel blogging friends about visiting areas that are new to us, and slightly interrogating them on their must see things. On popping over to meet Brutus (obviously not his real name, but believe me it suits him!) and have a quick bite of lunch with us recently (one really good thing about moving back!) my friend Trish from Mum’s Gone To happened to mention that whilst we were in the Peaks, we had to put The Devil’s Arse on our list of things to see. That’s not the kind of recommendation you get every day obviously, and of course, once mentioning the name of this place to the Small People it was nudged very firmly to the top of our to do list (as is the tradition in our house it seems)…
We decided to make a day of it by scaling the wild and beautiful Mam Tor first however, as it’s just a stone’s throw up the road, and it would have been rude not to.
The name Mam Tor translates pretty much to what you imagine it might – Mother Hill – and at only 517 metres high, it’s not too much of a struggle to scale from the National Trust car park below…
When you get to the very top, the views are worth any amount of huffing and puffing, stretching out over the Edale Valley and Kinder Scout on one side, and the Hope Valley to the other. The ridge along the summit can be made a lengthy walk of if you’re feeling really energetic, and having seen several amazing sunrise images on instagram, I am more than tempted to go back and trek much further to see if I can capture the same myself!
Mam Tor is also aptly known as the Shivering Mountain thanks to frequent shale landslides on its eastern side. In fact, if you get lost (like we did) on the way there, you might happen upon a road that suddenly brings you to the now abandoned A625 – the government was forced to close back in the late seventies after a number of landslides over the years took their toll… It has quite a surreal and rather eerie feel to it now, but is super popular with mountain bikers and ramblers today…
My mountain goat children didn’t find scaling Mam Tor much of an effort thankfully, probably because it’s nothing in comparison to what we have made them climb in the past, but there’s plenty to keep less enthusiastic climbers (however old they might be) occupied on the way up… As it was home to both Bronze and Iron age hill forts, keep an eye out for the visible barrow at the top (there is another one, but it’s under the summit now), and the little tiny bronze inlays that line the route with symbols harking back to such times.
It does leave you wondering how they fared back then… Whilst down in the sheltered car park it can seem like you are visiting on a calm and tranquil day. Half way up, and towards the very top of the Tor and beyond however, it can be blowing an absolute gale, with the kind of freezing wind that can leave you feeling dizzy and disorientated. Trust me when I say you must bring a hat and ear muffs if you own them (and a kite if you fancy it, I hear it’s good for that!), and ignore any and all funny looks – you will be the one laughing at the top… Please see a picture below that illustrates how windy this particular day was…
We had time to defrost afterwards at the super friendly Old Hall Tea Rooms for a very decent cream tea (our first back in the UK – bliss!), and the small baby made great friends with a waitress who presented him with his first taste of miniature marshmallows – all good sustenance for our visit to the bizarrely named Devil’s Arse just up the road!
If you are wondering about the name… In days of old, most dark places were associated with the devil, and the entrance to this place does look somewhat like a giant crack to put it politely… Add to that people say they heard loud and “flatulent” noises caused by a vacuum of water leaving the caves, and you can kind of figure out why they came to call the place the Devil’s Arse. In Victorian times it was quite the attraction, along with other big UK show caves such as Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole (although Queenie herself didn’t approve of the name obviously, and it’s now also known as Peak Cavern) where it was customary to let off massive fireworks inside the caves to be able to see them properly!
Although this particular cave wasn’t mined for anything in particular, it was used by rope makers for years, and you can see this ancient skill demonstrated today before you are led through to explore the depths… It’s also used for the odd concert throughout the year as the entrance to the cave makes an excellent natural amphitheatre, and the acoustics are incredible – as the Small Baby discovered, and quite expertly proved to us all…
If you are in a cavey mood, there’s also Speedwell up the road, an old lead mining cave where you can take a boat through silent watery caverns, and Treadwell. We decided against this as with the Small Baby, there would be absolutely nothing silent about it. Believe me.
And after all that fresh air (and not so fresh air underground), I can heartily recommend the Bull’s Head for a decent lunch. You have to keep your energy levels up on such a packed day in the Peaks and all that…
Karen Langridge says
haha I am sure my two boys would like to see this attraction given its comical name! Looks like a lovely day out fresh air and adventure my favourite x
Thanks Karen! :)
Agness of aTukTuk says
This place is just awesome for hiking with amazing scenery! I am adding the Devil’s Arse to my bucket list, Emma!
It is such a great area for hiking, and climbing! Thanks Agness! :)
What a great name! Love the Peak District, my daughter’s off there with the school in a couple of weeks. Not been for years, really need to visit again soon.
It was a first visit for us Kizzy, it’s soo beautiful! Hope she has a lovely trip! :)
So pleased you thought my suggestion was a good one! Can’t beat a bit of rudery with kids! We really need to go back to the Peak District as it was such a beautiful and interesting area of England xx
Thanks for all your help! Went down very well with the children, even the baby! :D xx
That little town is so pretty and reminds of something I’ve only seen on puzzle boxes and computer desktop backgrounds! The Devil’s Arse sounds like a great place to visit.
Thanks so much Marina! It’s very picturesque!
JuggleMum, Nadine Hill says
hahaha I had to love the name ‘the Devil’s Arse!’ – that would be on my to do list as well – it’s interesting how these things get their names!
Love how history gave lots of English places such funny names! :D Thanks Nadine!
There are so many good places in the UK to visit. Glad you are back!
Thanks Susanna! :)
The Devil’s what?! You have to love old English naming traditions… Looks like a lovely day out.
I know right! :D Thanks Sam!
Erica Price says
I love strange and funny place names. My son would love the idea of going to the Devil’s Arse too. The walk looks an interesting one with plenty to see along the way.
Definitely lots of places to keep kids happy here! Thanks Erica!