Black Hill is most northerly of the three great gritstone and peat plateaux which dominate the Dark Peak region. Smaller in area and lower than either Kinder or Bleaklow (it nowhere attains a height of 600m), it nonetheless is a remote and bleak place to be in bad weather, and it has peak bogs which are a match for those on either of its larger neighbours to the south. However, Black Hill has few of the eroded rocks which are such a feature of Kinder and Bleaklow.
Black Hill summit and Holme Moss
Black Hill takes up the area between the Longendale valley and the Saddleworth - Holmefirth road, forming a large dome which is deeply cut on its south side by three large streams - Crowden Great Clough, Crowden Little Clough and Heyden Clough. Up the last of these the Woodhead - Holmefirth road passes, crossing a shoulder of Black Hill at Holme Moss and cutting off the eastern flank of the hill from the remainder. Near the summit of the road, which is one of the most exposed in England, the BBC have erected the Holme Moss television transmitter, which forms a major landmark.
Crowden Great Brook
The summit area of Black Hill from Holme Moss westwards is a featureless expanse of moorland and peat bog, nearly all over 500m above sea level and extending west to the Chew valley where it descends 250m in a distance of less than 500m. The summit itself is known as Soldiers' Lump after the army force which first came to survey here and erected the first trig point, after having great difficulty finding solid ground on which to plant it. Thirty years ago it was impossible to approach the trig point without wading up to the knees in peat, but erosion has now made the approach much easier. This erosion has removed large amounts of peat over the last 30 years and consequently the Pennine Way path has been paved for most of its length across the upper part of Black Hill.
Approaching Black Hill summit
The Pennine Way passes across Black Hill, traversing from Crowden in the Longendale valley to Wessenden and Standedge to the north. On the southern side of the hill it broadly follows the western side of Crowden Great Clough, climbing up to the top of Laddow Rocks along the way. This was one of the places where Peak District rock-climbing was born - this edge was popular in the early days because it was in an area which was not gamekeepered - and rock climbers can often be seen here in summer.
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