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I grew up about 45 minutes away from the Peak District, so I like to think that I know it fairly well. However, I wasn’t 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, I headed up to the Peak District earlier this year to find out what all the fuss was about. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed, so here’s everything you need to know about Chrome Hill and why you need to visit.
9 km return
Chrome Hill is 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.
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.
Chrome Hill is a Great Place to Watch the 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 halfway up the 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 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 of sleep but you certainly remember epic sunrises on cold mountainsides.
You’ll Have Time for Another 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 the hills 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.
Chrome Hill Walk
There are a few options for walking routes to Chrome Hill but, for me, the pick of the bunch is the circular route that starts and finishes in the village of Earl Sterndale.
Making the most of the on-street parking near the village church, this route heads behind The Quiet Lady pub (currently closed down) and heads over the fields towards Parkhouse Hill and then up and over both Parkhouse and Chrome Hills before skirting around the back Hollins Hill and back towards the village.
The walk will take you a couple of hours but you’ll also want to allow a bit of time for taking photos and a little bit more time for sitting on the summit of Chrome Hill while you enjoy the view.
The path is relatively easy to follow but there is a particularly steep section as you head back down Parkhouse Hill. Pick your line well on this section or you’ll end up on a slippery scramble as you make your way down the last little section (I made this mistake, as you can see below).
You can view the full route on OS Maps here.
Chrome Hill Parking
The best place to park for this walk is the village of Earl Sterndale. There are plenty of on-street parking spaces near the village church, opposite the village pub.
Use postcode SK17 0BX for your sat nav.