Froggatt Edge is a very popular gritstone escarpment for rock climbing situated in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire, England. Gritstone is hard, coarse-grained sandstone used for building materials. Froggatt Edge was a source of millstones and a number of half-completed stones can be found at the bottom of the slopes. The escarpment is the northernmost of the three main ridges in the area, Curbar and Baslow Edges being a mile or so to the south. The heather moorland, a purple haze in summer, is managed by burning.
a millstone round the climber’s neck no place to fall
from disorder the phoenix rises
the bleak tor God’s own rock
A mile or so to the south of Froggatt Edge is the equally impressive Curbar Edge which allows spectacular views across the Derwent Valley. The following haiku were mostly conceived on a ginko walk on 7th June 2014 accompanied by fellow poet Judy Kendall. A storm had just passed through and we stood on the precipice of the escarpment in mist and low cloud. The clouds then cleared opening up magnificent views. We watched as the storm clouds made a hurried retreat across the open moorland.
on the edge a stone tumbles into the abyss
gritstone heather thriving against all odds
chameleon sky a marriage of joy and despair
The escarpment of Baslow Edge is the last significant exposure of gritstone to the south of Curbar Edge from which it is separated by Curbar Gap. Baslow Edge has two impressive landmarks: the Eagle Stone (also known as the Witches’ Stone) and Wellington’s Monument. It is said in local custom that men had to climb the Eagle Stone to prove their worth before they could be eligible to marry!
a man stands atop the witches’ stone soon shackled
white dog wallowing in cotton-grass happiness again
I sit on the mossy hummock with just my thoughts
To the south-east of Baslow Edge is Gardom’s Edge. The escarpment has the most well-known archaeological feature in the area, this being a cup-and-ring marked stone (also known as a petroglyph) from the prehistoric era. The uniquely carved stone was discovered in the 1940s and has been buried under a replica to protect it from weathering and damage. The other significant landmark of the Edge is the seasonal sundial stone. In 2012, Daniel Brown et al. postulated that the standing stone could be a gnomon of a seasonal sundial (indicating the change of season as through the winter the north facing side is in permanent shadow) possibly from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age period (2500–1500 BC).
a depression of cup marks prehistoric echoes
down Gardom’s Edge green ribbons pour
sundial shadow the season shifts
Nelson’s Monument can be found on Birchen Edge, an iconic gritstone column with a ball on top. It was erected in 1810 by a local businessman to honour Lord Nelson. Three nearby boulders are carved with the names of Nelson’s ships: HMS Victory, Defiance and Royal Sovereign - spelled Soverin. Birchen Edge is renowned for easy climbs for the novice, two of the most notable being Orpheus Descent and Stoker’s Wall.
Stoker’s Wall a bat dances in moonlight
Orpheus descent lover lost in a glance
three gritstone ships Nelson’s pride anchored in a dry dock