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Exploring poignant Peak District plane wreck sites on foot

Jo | The Wandering Wildflower

Exploring poignant Peak District plane wreck sites on foot

Hiking Collection by Jo | The Wandering Wildflower



23:28 h

61.7 mi

9,950 ft

This Collection of challenging hikes takes you high onto the rugged moorland of the Peak District to discover the remains of some of the region’s many plane wrecks. These evocative remains are often hidden in plain sight and visiting them is definitely a thought provoking experience.

There are over 200 plane wreck sites in and around the Peak District. The majority of incidents took place during wartime, although not always in operational time. Most were training accidents and involved the notoriously changeable weather that often sweeps across the wild moors. In some cases, not much remains, while in others – such as the RB29 Superfortress ‘Over Exposed’ – large amounts of wreckage endure as a poignant memorial to those who lost their lives in the tragedies.

The hikes are between 5 to 14.5 miles (8 to 23 km) in length and some contain sections of tricky scrambling, up to a maximum of Grade 2 on Wildboar Clough and Shining Clough. These more technical sections are indicated in the Tour descriptions. If you’re new to scrambling, it’s a good idea to try the Grade 1 routes before graduating to Grade 2 terrain.

As mentioned, conditions in the Peak District can be temperamental, so it’s always a good idea to carry warm layers and waterproofs, even when there’s a decent forecast. Sturdy hiking footwear is essential, especially for the solid grip you require on scrambling terrain. In winter conditions, some of the scrambles may only be suitable for those with mountaineering experience and equipment.

I hope you enjoy the hikes and the history as much as I have. I look forward to seeing your Peak District adventures.

On The Map



  1. Blenheim plane crash site via Wildboar Clough and Torside Clough – Peak District plane wreck sites

    5.14 mi
    2.8 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,050 ft

    This is a challenging loop featuring the classic Wildboar Clough scramble, a tricky Grade 2 route.


    The hike starts from Torside car park and follows the Longdendale Trail for a short distance, before scrambling up onto the open moorland of Bleaklow to find the crash site of the Bristol Blenheim.




  2. This loop takes you up onto the wild moors of Bleaklow and Higher Shelf Stones to the most visited plane crash site, the RB29A Superfortress ‘Over Exposed’. The site itself is a very poignant place, with a memorial plaque and remarkably well preserved wreckage.


    The route also discovers the fabulous Hern


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  4. This is a challenging hike which starts with a straightforward scramble up to Middle Black Clough waterfall, before heading up onto the rugged wilderness of Bleaklow. Here, you find two plane crash sites, the Blackburn Botha Mk1 W5103 and the Boulton Paul Defiant.


    The route also explores the atmospheric


  5. This is a challenging day hike exploring some of the Peak District’s finest moorland.


    You start in Glossop and climb up onto Higher Shelf Stones, visiting the site of the Avro Lancaster Bomber on James' Thorn before the RB29A Superfortress ‘Over Exposed’ at Higher Shelf Stones. The route then continues


  6. This is a fabulously fun way to get up to the summit of Higher Shelf Stones, avoiding the crowds on the Pennine Way. At James' Thorn, you discover the wreckage of the C47 Skytrain Dakota, which crashed in 1945.


    We scrambled up Ashton Clough (Grade 1) and then down via Wigan Clough, before heading back


  7. This was a walk I've wanted to do for ages! The waterfalls at Tintwistle Seven Falls are beautiful.


    The hike involves a lot of scrambling about, especially down to the first waterfall, which was slippery and muddy. There are lots of off path sections and yomping over the moors to the three plane wrecks


  8. 03:51
    9.41 mi
    2.4 mph
    1,600 ft
    1,575 ft

    This was a solo trek to explore Crowden Little Brook, before heading up to Black Hill. It was WET!


    However, it was a brilliant walk and I didn't see another person all day. There was a lot of off path hiking, especially getting to the wreck site of the Gloster Meteors, which would be hard to find in


  9. This is a very challenging hike that starts with the gentle Longdendale Trail before heading up Shining Clough onto Bleaklow. Shining Clough is a Grade 2 scramble over nice water washed rock. You have to start the scramble with a bit of a climb up the eastern side of the Clough as there’s a rocky overhang


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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    61.7 mi
  • Duration
    23:28 h
  • Elevation
    9,950 ft

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