Bowden Bridge Car Park (or the absurdity of high car parking prices)

Published 22 October 2017. Last updated 20 May 2020

Bowden Bridge car park – the former quarry where the Kinder Trespass set forth from

At 165 Kinder Road (pronounced Kind-er Road if you believe Google Maps’s satnav feature) in Hayfield is Bowden Bridge Quarry. It’s a quarry with history for in 1932 it was where the Kinder Tresspass set out from. There’s a plaque there and everything.

This moment of history is marked by a plaque high up on the rocks, although few people come to see it. Instead they come to quarry for more practical reasons for it’s now a car park.

Parking here gives you a good starting point for a trek up to Kinder Scout, and the area’s other landmark hills. If you live in Greater Manchester and want to do a slither of the Pennine Way, there are worse places to set off from. And a lot of people do just that. We recently arrived for a Sunday morning family jaunt (sadly not up to the big KS) and duly pulled into the car park.

And quickly pulled out.

Not because the car park was full. Far from it. It was pretty empty at the time. I pulled out for the price.

I’m not anti paying for parking. I will pay for parking. Struggling to find a spot on the roadside is too much hassle. It often takes ages, and you generally have to parallel park. And oh boy, do I dislike parallel parking. Also parking on the road means you reduce the space for people driving.

But a £3.50 fee for the two hours we’d be there? That’s bonkers territory.

The Mass Trespass Woz Here

And I didn’t have that much change on me. I hadn’t expected to need that much money. And naturally cards and notes were not accepted. Because why would you want to offer people the ability to pay by card when they’re at a remote car park near no shops or facilities where you might be able to get some


So I pulled out of the car park. And noted then why the car park was empty. For Kinder Road’s quite long and there’s a lot of places you can park up quite legally for absolutely no cost. And that’s what everyone does.

By the time we got back for our two hours walk, the road was absolutely rammed with parked cars. The car park was still half empty.

The car park’s operated by the Peak District National Park Authority, and clearly in an attempt to increase their cashflow, they’d priced themselves out of the market. All they’d done was make Kinder Road hard to drive down due to the copious amount of parked vehicles.

Still, this does have one happy side effect. If you want to pay homage to those who set off on the Kinder Tresspass, and who fought for your right to roam the nearby hills, at least you can do it in peace.

[1] – yes I know there’s a shop at the nearby campsite. But it was too early for it to be open. And certainly too early to buy an ice-cream in order to get the right change.



23 July 2018 at 7:52 pm

If its private land i.e. NOT owned by by the council then the charge is practically unenforceable. Park. Don’t pay. Smile.
(Same applies to those NT piranhas)


12 June 2019 at 2:04 pm

Well done mate. I would have done the same. Most walks are well over 2 hours but of course the accountsnt thieves know this and gets them a higher turnover and of course their necessary profits and bonuses. A charge of £2.50 for 6 hours would be more reasonable. Also why dont ‘they’ build some more car parks to make the hills more accessable?

David Vickers

2 January 2021 at 1:08 pm

Please note ……….

There is NO PARKING anywhere East of the Bowden Bridge car park.

If parking on Kinder Road (West of Bowden Bridge), please be considerate of residents and other road users(bulky agricultural machinery uses this road).

During Tier 4 restrictions, you should not be driving here at all.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

2 January 2021 at 1:36 pm

To partially correct David’s final sentence, there is absolutely nothing in the current England tier 4 rules that says people living locally cannot drive for exercise.

To quote from the Tier 4 rules:

If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live


outdoor recreation or exercise. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your Tier 4 area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)

Exactly what “a short distance” is, is not defined. But to be realistic, if you live within a couple of Bowden Bridge car park, and drive there then under the current Tier 4 rules (quoted 2 January 2021) it’s unlikely anyone is going to worry. If you’re 50 miles away, you definitely are not.

(All of which was obviously irrelevant when this post was first published in 2017.)

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