The Shivering Mountain

Last week we saw how the road west from Castleton, Derbyshire, climbs a tricky, steep gorge while the newer, by-pass road appears to have been abandoned.

The road through the gorge of Winnat’s Pass was originally a packhouse route linking Sheffield with Chapel-on-the-Frith. However, in 1819, a new route was constructed with a more gentle gradient.

The new road gradually gained height by crossing the lower slopes of Mam Tor, then swinging round and re-crossing at a higher level before re-joining the old packhorse route.

Good idea in theory, but the gently sloping new road was built across the active landslide that gives Mam Tor its other name of Shivering Mountain.

And so began a battle between man and nature.

Keeping the road open required constant monitoring and regular repairs. Major roadworks are documented for 1912, 1933, 1946, 1952 and 1966. Further movement in the 1970s resulted in traffic being restricted to a single lane and in 1979 the road was permanently closed to vehicles.

However, you can still walk the route and it is fascinating. You can see the layers of a road construction as well as road on top of road, where it had to be re-built.

The road also gives a reference line. We know where it was and so we can see how the Shivering Mountain has moved. I’ll give you some more detail on that next week.