Stand and listen. You can probably hear the wind in the few rowan, elder and buckthorn trees that find a foothold among the rocks; but is there another, more distant sound?
Far below, to the right, the River Lathkill emerges dramatically from the subterranean gloom of Head Cave. At the very least you should be able to trace the river’s rocky course, bounded by a drystone wall, but only during rainy seasons will you hear its tumbling progress.
From here atop Parson’s Tor, you’re looking down into a deep gorge, so how did that tiny, intermittent stream below carve out Lathkill’s massive form?
Turn to your left and look all the way to the head of the small side-dale to find a clue. It is not hard to picture that low cliff, its broken lip and polished, undercut face with a great cascade flowing over it. This is a fossil waterfall – not a drop ever flows there now.
It was the end of the last Ice Age, around ten thousand years ago, which created Lathkill. Meltwater from retreating ice sheets came thundering through this area of the Peak District carving out its narrow dales, exploiting the limestone’s cracks and fissures.