Kinder Scout is a high windswept upland gritstone plateau, most of which stands at around 600 metres above sea level. The highest point is Crowden Head, which at 631 metres is also the highest point in the Peak District. This is the largest and grandest of the great upland areas of the so-called ‘Dark Peak’ and it forms an imposing and fascinating area.
The Kinder plateau rises steeply from the surrounding ground and the edges are studded with rocky outcrops and crags. At the western side the Kinder River flows straight off the edge of the plateau in a spectacular waterfall, Kinder Downfall, but this is just the largest of a whole series of crags. The northern edge of the plateau is a long series of rocks and there are several crags on the southern edge too. To the east the level of the plateau gradually lowers and tapers to a narrow neck of high land at Hope Cross which connects Kinder to Win Hill.
The edge of the plateau is scored by deep cloughs or river valleys – on the west side the Kinder River and William Clough lead down to Hayfield, on the north side the Ashop and Fairbrook streams and on the south side the various branches of the River Noe – Crowden Brook, Grindsbrook, Lady Booth Brook and Jaggers Clough.
Kinder is most popularly approached by walkers either from Edale village, up Grindsbrook, or via Jacob’s Ladder and on to Kinder Low, or from Hayfield up William Clough and on to the north-west corner of the plateau. In general the eastern and northern parts of the plateau are less accessible and therefore less busy. A circuit of the whole plateau is a long day by any standards but a very enjoyable outing.
Unfortunately the peat layer is suffering from serious erosion because of overgrazing by sheep and because so many walkers are coming to the area – this is especially true along the Pennine Way, above Edale village and around Kinder Low, where the peat has disappeared in a radius of 150 metres around the trig point.