Edale lies within the ‘Dark Peak’ area of the Peak District National Park, bathed in the beauty of the surrounding hill sides. Located along the river Noe the village is surrounded by settlements called booths, areas where herdsmen of old were able to protect their livestock. Over Booth, Nether Booth, Barber Booth, Lady Booth, Grindsbrook Booth and Ollerbrook Booth, all reflect the agricultural heritage which gave birth to Edale.
There are many old paths, packhorse routes and even a Roman Road leading through the Vale of Edale. One of the most popular paths onto Kinder Scout from Edale ascends Jacob’s Ladder. This was evidently named after Jacob Marshall who in the 18th century lived at Edale Head House, although at that time it was known as Youngit House. Jacob was a bragger which was a name given to a pedlar. He took wool to Stockport and traded it for other goods. Because the climb up to Edale Cross was long and stony he cut steps in the hillside and took a shortened route whilst his packhorse ponies followed the longer and winding lane.
The River Noe which runs through the Vale of Edale started life as rain falling on Kinder Scout which accumulated in the deep groughs and trickled off the high moors to unite with Crowden Brook before flowing down to merge with the River Derwent at Shatton.
Stout foot wear is the order of the day as Edale is walking country with a variety of walks that offer easy strolls to challenging hikes. Many walkers are tempted by the challenge of Kinder Scout, but be aware that the weather conditions can change rapidly on this noble mount. With this in mind it is reassuring to know that Edale is also the home of Edale Mountain Rescue; the first organised rescue team in the country. After incidents in the 1920’s, a rescue team was identified as being essential. But it wasn’t until 1955 that the first rescue post was established. The team can now be spotted fundraising around the Peak District most weekends, rescues allowing of course.
Edale Mountain Rescue was established following incidents in the 1920’s resulting in a Mountain Rescue Committee being formed which then became the Mountain Rescue Council. In September 1955 a Rescue Post was established at the Nags Head that became the first Edale Mountain Rescue base, its first exercise taking place on February 20th 1956. Edale Mountain Rescue operations are required throughout the year in all weather conditions, day and night.
Edale is accessible via road or rail. By car, it can be located along the road from Hope taking in a glorious drive through the Hope Valley following the course of the River Noe. Alternatively, there is a steep winding road which navigates its way through Mam Nick, a natural gap in the hills between Mam Tor and Rushup Edge; the view from this approach is by far one of the grandest that the Peak District offers. If you are travelling by car, Edale has an easy to locate central car park which has its own toilet facilities.
As you travel west into Edale from Hope there lies the site of Edale Mill. Hidden away from site the only clue to its existence is a row of mill Cottages. The Mill was a major employer in the area up until the 1940s and was renovated in the 70s into apartments some of which are available as holiday lets.
The Railway Station, which is a 5 minute walk from the centre of Edale and offers a treat to rail enthusiasts. It was opened in 1894 on Mildland Railways old ‘Dore to Chinley’ line which is now the Hope Valley Line. Sadly, it became unmanned in 1969, but the views from the platform certainly let the traveller know they have arrived in the Peak District.