I grew up about 45 minutes away from the Peak District, so I like to think that I know it fairly well. However, I was never aware of Chrome Hill or Parkhouse Hill until recent years when I started seeing a lot of photos of them shared on Instagram. Keen to explore this area, walk off my Christmas over-indulgence, and test out a new camera that I bought in the Boxing Day sales, I headed up to the Peak District between Christmas and New Year to find out what all the fuss was about. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed, so here are my 4 reasons why Chrome Hill should be on your bucket list.
It’s Incredibly Photogenic
It’s not hard to see why Chrome Hill, and the adjacent Parkhouse Hill have become firm favourites of landscape photographers and Instagrammers over the last few years. These hills rise steeply from the ground and create a unique mini-mountain look that is incredible to both the eye and the camera. The limestone hills form a sharp row in the landscape that can be described as a dragon’s back shape, and there are multiple locations around both hills to get a great composition for a photo.
One of my main reasons for choosing this place for a Christmas time adventure was it’s well noted photogenic angles, and the fact that I had a brand new mirrorless Sony camera to test out.
Despite the Sat Nav sending me on a 20 minute detour on the way, I still arrived before sunrise, eager to find some golden light and some good spots to take a snap or two. Even at that time I wasn’t the only one with that idea, as I started hiking towards Chrome Hill I could already see the silhouette of a couple of photographers setting up tripods high up on the hill.
You Can Catch an Amazing Sunrise
If you’re up for an early morning adventure, then Chrome Hill is a great spot to catch a sunrise. There are a few options for parking nearby, and if you’re keen to see the sunrise, head straight for Chrome Hill and leave Parkhouse Hill for the way back.
About half way up Chrome Hill there’s a great spot to sit and wait for the sun to rise to the right of Parkhouse Hill.
This spot is no secret, and there were a few other people around doing exactly the same by the time that I arrived there, but that doesn’t make it any less special.
There was a definite sense of satisfaction to be found, knowing that the majority of the people were still tucked up, asleep in bed, while I was enjoying an incredible sunrise on a cold, frosty morning. You’ll never remember the times you had an extra few hours sleep, but you certainly remember epic sunrises on cold mountainsides.
You’ll Have Time for Another Peak District Adventure After
Although Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill have all the characteristics of mountains, it’s important to remember that they are just hills, with Chrome Hill rising to 425 metres, and Parkhouse Hill just 360 metres. This means that you can get to both hills and back in just a couple of hours, leaving the rest of the day for more adventures in the Peak District.
Of course, you could find a longer circular route around Chrome Hill but if you’re only visiting the Peak District for a short time and want to tick a few of the ‘must dos’ off the list then you can jump back in the car and head elsewhere.
I did exactly that, and drove from the village of Earl Sterndale to Buxton, stopping there for a quick coffee before heading further north to Castleton where I parked up and visited both Mam Tor and Winnats Pass.
The possibilities are endless with some incredible places within a 30 minute radius, so do some research and you can easily enjoy a few different places in one day.
The Hike Starts and Ends with a Pub
For me, the difference between a great hike and a really great hike, is the option to have a refreshing pint at the end of it. You can’t beat a route that ends with a country pub.
The Chrome Hill walk is exactly that, with the start and end point being The Quiet Woman pub in the village of Earl Sterndale. There is plenty of street parking around, especially in front of the church opposite the pub, which is where I parked for the day. To start the route to head around the side of the pub, through the gate and then head directly for Parkhouse Hill that you will be able to see in the distance.
On this occasion, I was far to early in the day to have a post hike pint, but if you’re heading there later in the day, or making a longer route around Chrome Hill, then I hear on good authority that The Quiet Woman serves a good beer.