Traditionally, a weekend away for the wife away involves a significant amount of precipitation, and so it was an unsurprisingly grey and damp Saturday when we found ourselves in Glossop, on the top edge of the Peak District national park. Whatever the delights of the town, there’s little argument that what makes Glossop so exciting is its location. Head 15 miles East and you’re in the centre of Manchester; the same distance South and you pass along the high Hayfield Road to the spa delights of Buxton. Due North and you’re into the disputed trans-Pennine territory that is partly in Greater Manchester but, with placenames like Slaithwaite, Tintwistle and Mytholmroyd will be forever Yorkshire. This way lies the infamous and bleak Saddleworth Moor, famous for all sorts of wrong reasons. Head East and you’re in really dramatic territory, and one of the reasons I wanted to explore this region – it’s traffic report territory. You can keep your Forth road bridge and your Scotch Corner, I’ve always wanted to drive along the Woodhead and Snake passes. They’re the first to get snowed in, the first to cause massive delays between Manchester and Sheffield, and in the latter case, maybe the best name of any geographical feature ever. So head slightly North-East and you’re up on the smooth, high tarmac of the Woodhead Pass towards Penistone and Barnsley. Slightly South-East and you’re in the craggy ridges and looming hills of the Snake Pass, emerging at the Western edge of Sheffield. These are wonderfully barren, isolated places, and give charity shop shopping a run for its money in the tourism stakes.
However: a sniffly nose and a soggy day do not great Peak walking make. So we toured by car and stopped for coffee and a poke in Glossop. We got in into Costa just in time before the rain started again, and before the crush started in the small shop. From here we could look out onto the Norfolk Square with what I presume to be the Town Hall opposite. The main shopping area extends along the High Street, up and East, and down and West of here, and can be cheerfully covered in an hour.
On the square itself you’ll find twin Oxfams next door to each other, one standard, one for books. You’ll also find AgeUK, Debra, and Cancer Research along the main drag – while none of these are revelations, it’s a fair haul for charity shops. There’s also a miscellaneous style shop with some young staff utterly enthralled by a robotic dog, and possibly a furniture shop housed in an old Connexions branch. There may be others, but these weren’t apparent.
Glossop itself isn’t a particularly exciting town, compared to the likes of Manchester or Buxton nearby. But it’s a decent stop-off and, given a bit of time to explore its industrial history and gorgeous surroundings, you wouldn’t regret a visit.
Find: Glossop @ Google Maps
Get there: Glossop is very well connected from Manchester, though if you can, come in through the mountains somehow.
Consume with: Costa is a safe bet, can’t really elaborate I’m afraid.
Visit: get walking – head up Kinder Scout for an authorised trespass.
Overall rating: three silver spoons