The Goyt Valley is a beautiful place for a walk with a wide variety of scenery packed into quite a small area - open moorland and gritstone edges at the top of the hills, wooded hillsides, deep-cut streams and reservoirs in the bottom of the valley. This walk takes in all these changes of scenery along its route. The walk described has an extension which goes over Windgather Rocks and takes about 4 hours 30 minutes, but this can be shortened by turning down the road at Pym Chair (see description below) - reducing the walk to around 3 hours.
Start from the car park two-thirds of the way along the western side of Errwood dam, about 1km from the dam itself. At the left-hand (south-west) corner of this car park there is a footpath signpost. Follow this path uphill in a south-westerly direction heading away from the reservoir and pass between a pair of stone gateposts up to an area of open grassland with a fine view of Errwood reservoir.
Keep going directly uphill to reach a gate and stile with a fine view of Errwood behind you. The path continues climbing to arrive at another stile which is on the crest of a broad ridge which leads from Errwood up towards the Cat and Fiddle Inn.
Don't cross the stile but instead turn left to follow the ridge uphill along a track which becomes wider as you ascend. This gradually levels off and at the point where you have virtually finished climbing there is a gate and stile in the wall on your right. This leads down across a clough and up on the far side to Shining Tor.
Shining Tor Summit
Cross the stile and follow the well-made track to Shining Tor - this used to be an extremely boggy route, but erosion has forced the construction of metaled track - a pity but probably necessary. The trig point at the summit of Shining Tor lies just the other side of the wall and from here there is an excellent view of the the Cheshire Plain, with Jodrell Bank and Shutlingsloe clearly visible if conditions are right.
Return to the east side of the wall and follow the crest of the ridge northwards. This was once extremely boggy but has now been largely paved to combat erosion. It is a splendid position with good views in all directions and you can follow the ridge easily for about 3 km to Oldgate Nick and Pym Chair, where the road from Saltersford crosses over into the Goyt valley.
If you wish to follow the shorter circuit, turn right here and follow the road down 600m (path follows the left-hand side of the road) to a point where it levels off. Then cross the road to follow a good path down which branches right from the road and follows the clough below Foxlow Edge.
On the way down this path note the tiny conical chapel in the woods below you. This was built by the Grimshawe family who owned Errwood Hall and were ardent Roman Catholics.
Continue down to a stream which you cross by a small bridge, climbing up the other side and making a detour right to skirt the woods which hide Errwood Hall. Then turn left and follow the good track downhill alongside the stream (possible detour left to visit the ruins of Errwood Hall) until the track crosses the stream and you emerge near the car park where you started.
If you wish to do the longer route then turn right at Pym Chair towards the Goyt valley and descend a few metres before crossing a stile on the north (left) side of the road to continue northwards towards Windgather Rocks. The path runs parallel to the road which runs along the crest of the ridge and continues right over the top of the rocks, which are often busy with teams of rock-climbers.
From the top of the rocks take a line which descends parallel to the edge of the plantation for 400 metres to reach a track with crosses in an almost east-west direction. Follow this east over a slight rise and then descend quite steeply parallel to the north edge of the plantation. You should reach a narrow road and continue on this down the hill past a farm to a sharp bend at the bottom.
Turn right. From here a well-made farm track contours around the hillside heading south, across a brook and past some cottages to arrive after a kilometre at Fernilee dam. Take the forestry road which heads uphill to the right for 200 metres and at a bend in the road turn left over a stile to pick up a track which leads into the forest and contours around the western edge of the reservoir.
After another 2 kilometres this pretty path emerges near the foot of Errwood reservoir. Climb steeply up the side of the dam and follow the road alongside the reservoir to return to the car park from whence you started.