Stretching between Manchester and Sheffield, Snake Pass is a road that brings drivers within reach of some of the gems of Northern England. Plus, with an elevation reaching 512 metres or 1679 ft above sea level, you’re guaranteed some stunning scenery – especially on clear days.
Find out why a Snake Pass road trip should be on your bucket list of UK road trips…
What is Snake Pass?
Winding its way through the Derbyshire section of the Peak District, Snake Pass takes drivers through some of the best vistas in England’s East Midlands.
Formally known as the A57, Snake Pass runs to 26.1 miles (or 42km) long, crosses the Pennines between Glossop and the Ladybower Reservoir at Ashopton, and passes through the National Trust’s High Peak Estate.
The pass starts to the east of Glossop, a market town, and climbs to the Pennines’ watershed. At its maximum, the pass reaches a gradient of 10.2%, but sits at an average of 5.2%.
On a clear day, you’ll be able to see as far as Manchester and beyond, making for an incredible viewing experience.
However, Snake Pass can be dangerous in winter months. Its occasional steep gradient, blind summits and winding course can become wet and icy. The pass is consequently closed during winter months, when snow may settle on the road and weather conditions become dangerous. On the worst days, this can even lead to landslides.
As such, you should plan your Snake Pass road trip during the summer months.
What to do on a Snake Pass road trip
If you’re feeling enthusiastic about a chance to road trip through Snake Pass, then be sure to include these highlights.
Don’t forget about the cities of Manchester and Sheffield, too. From excellent food and drink through to vibrant cultural scenes, both Northern cities afford hours of entertainment and are ideal spots to bracket your road trip.
The highest point in the Peak District, Kinder Scout is a highlight of any Snake Pass road trip. You’ll be able to enjoy stunning scenery as you yomp across the moorland.
In 1932, around 500 walkers performed a mass trespass by walking from Hayfield to Kinder Scout in protest against land enclosure. The protest was an important one in helping to secure access rights to open country for all.
Today, you can start your walk from either Hayfield or Edale, taking either the Grindsbook Clough route or following the stepped-path of Jacob’s Ladder. You can even stop off at Kinder Downfall, the tallest waterfall in the National Park.
Just be sure to have proper kit, as Kinder Scout is known for its challenging walks.
Plan to walk or cycle a 5.5-mile circular route around Ladybower Reservoir. This Y-shaped artificial reservoir is dog- and cycle-friendly, offering well-made paths, a picnic site and fantastic views from Bamford Edge.
You could even book into a guided walk around Ladybower and Derwent Edge, learning about the history and enjoying a day spent with likeminded hikers.
You’ll wind your way around Hope Valley during the course of a Snake Pass road trip, so be sure to take advantage of the area.
Visit the village of Eyam, known to both residents and visitors as ‘Plague Village’, having sealed itself off to the outside world in the seventeenth century.
Wander famous paths like National-Trust owned Mam Tor, the Great Ridge or the valley of Cave Dale. Don’t forget to detour along one of the UK’s most photographed roads by travelling Winnats Pass road.
Situated at the head of Hope Valley, Castleton has a history reaching back to 1086, when Peveril Castle was built by the son of William the Conqueror. You can still wander these imposing ruins, which were mentioned in the Domesday Survey and remain one of England’s oldest Norman forts.
Be sure to visit any of the four nearby caverns to learn all about Blue John stone. You’ll discover stunning caves with unique stalactite formations, and learn about the stone, which is only found in this special location.
You’ll also be able to rest and refresh yourselves at any of Castleton’s delightful pubs.
Finance a road trip-worthy car
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