From riverside strolls to challenging hikes there are plenty of walks in the Peak District National Park and Derbyshire to suit your mood and ability. So I asked my fellow travel bloggers to help me whittle down our favourites to come up with this list of the top 15 Peak District walks. I hope this is just the inspiration you need to explore more of your backyard on a microadventure.
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Whilst in the Peak District, you might also like to check out:
- 10 Best Airbnbs in Peak District
- One day in Castleton Peak District
- Top National Parks in the UK
- Best Hiking Quotes to Inspire You
Where is Peak District Located?
The Peak District is an upland area in England at the southern end of the Pennines.
The national park spans 555 square miles and is located within five English counties – Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.
The Peak Districts central location means it’s one of the most accessible National Parks in the UK and is within a four hour drive for 80% of the population.
This makes it no surprise that over 10 million people visit a year.
How to get to Peak District National Park
There are several ways to visit the Peak District National Park, but the most common are by train, car or bus.
Getting there by Train
Neighbouring cities all have regular rail services that connect the Peak District by train to the rest of the country.
- The Northern Railway Hope Valley Line, connects Manchester and Sheffield with the Peak District stations of Grindleford, Hathersage, Bamford, Hope and Edale.
- The East Midlands Railway Derwent Valley Line, connects Derby and Matlock, which have regular bus services to Bakewell and White Peak.
- The Northern Railway Manchester to Glossop line, connects Kinder Scout and Bleaklow.
- The Northern Railway Manchester to Buxton line, ends at Buxton where you can use the bus services to reach White Peak and the Staffordshire Moorlands.
- The TransPennine Express Manchester to Huddersfield line, stops at Greenfield and Marsden for access to Dove Stones and the Wessenden Moors.
I use the Trainline to plan and book my train travel as they often have discounted fares compared to booking directly with individual rail companies.
Getting there by Car
If you’re driving to the Peak District and Derbyshire the area is within close distance of the UK’s main motorway network.
From the north and south, both the M1 and M6 provide easy access. The M62, M42, M60, M56, M67 and M18 can also be used to reach the area.
Getting there by Coach and Bus
Coach travel is often the most affordable way to visit the Peak District National Park.
The National Express runs coach services between most major cities in the UK including London to the Peak District.
Once you are within the National Park, there’s an extensive bus network providing regular services across the region. Click here for local bus routes and timetables.
When to Visit the Peak District and Derbyshire
The Peak District and Derbyshire can be visited all year round, but the weather does vary throughout.
Don’t let this put you off as the scenery is spectacular whatever time of year you decide to visit.
This is when the flowers start to bloom, making the villages and gardens even prettier than usual.
Spring is also a great time for walking, as the daylight hours start to increase making longer distance walks in Derbyshire possible again.
Summer is the busiest time of year due to the school holidays and the number of festivals and events taking place in the National Park.
The weather in summer is often the warmest and driest, however the evenings can be cooler and rain isn’t off the tables, so pack accordingly and layer up!
For a short period of three weeks or so, at the end of August/early September, many of the Peak District moors are taken over by pink and purple shades of heather.
The burst of colour really transforms the countryside views, so if you want to see something really special, it’s worth planning a trip to the Peak District to coincide with heather season.
My favourite time of year to visit the Peak District has to be Autumn.
The views of the warm golden colours flowing across the countryside are incomparable, and the weather is often still mild enough for hiking.
Winter is the perfect time for a cosy trip to the Peak District.
However you can still go walking in winter in the Peak District as long as you’re prepared for the crisp cold weather and the possibility of snow.
Where to Stay in the Peak District
15 Best Walks in the Peak District
Whether you’re looking for short, long, easy or difficult day hikes, one or more of these 15 best hikes in the Peak District will have you covered.
Mam Tor Walk
The Mam Tor walk is one of the most famous day hikes in England. Overlooking the village of Castleton, Mam Tor is a 517m (1,696 ft) hill and is commonly known as the Shivering Mountain.
This relatively easy hike is only 3 miles/5 km long and takes only two hours to complete.
The circular trail begins at the Mam Tor Car Park, and follows a stone footpath all the way up to Mam Tor and over the Great Ridge.
The path is well maintained making the Peak District Mam Tor walk a popular choice for families (and dogs!) as well as seasoned hikers.
For the best and most affordable place to stay I can personally recommend YHA Castleton Losehill Hall, set in a gothic mansion and surrounded by acres of countryside.
It is located only a few minutes from the village and is perfect for those planning to do walks in Hope Valley including the Winnats Pass Walk.
Stanage Edge Walk and Bamford Edge Walk
Starting in the village of Hathersage, this 10.5 mile/17 km Peak District walk takes you along the incredible cliffs of Stanage Edge and Bamford Edge, and provides superb views of the Derwent and Hope Valley, Mam Tor and Kinder Scout.
On the way to the Stanage Edge, you will pass North Lees Hall, a 16th century manor that is thought to have been the inspiration behind Mr Rochester’s home in Jane Eyre.
Once past the Hall, you will continue onto Stanage Edge itself, one of most impressive gritstone escarpments in the Peak District, and a favourite amongst rock climbers.
As you walk along the edge you’ll notice the abandoned millstones and grindstones that are now iconic to the landscape of the Peak District National Park.
After hiking Stanage Edge you will go off the beaten track and cross the rough moorland onto Bamford Edge where you will be blessed with panoramic views over Ladybower Reservoir.
The final part of the walk takes you through the quiet meadows on your way back to Hathersage, where you can enjoy a hearty meal at The Scotman’s Pack.
Higger Tor Walk
From Longshaw, the Higger Tor and Burbage Rocks walk takes in a number of beautiful views in only 3 hours.
This half day Peak District walk is full of contrasts from moorlands to open valleys and rocky viewpoints, making it a walk that everyone can appreciate.
This 5.3 mile/8.6 km easy walk starts from the Longshaw Estate car park, where you’ll explore the woodland surrounding the estate before heading onto Hathersage Moor.
Walking in the direction of Carl Wark, an ancient fort, famous in the Peak District, you’ll soon reach the bottom of Higger Tor.
The ascent is steep but it only takes a few minutes to reach the top where there are panoramic views in all directions.
Next it’s onto Burbage Rocks, a popular spot for climbers, followed lastly by a riverside walk past Burbage Brook and back to Longshaw Lodge.
Here you can enjoy some refreshments, as well as the beautiful views of the estate especially at sunset.
Winnats Pass Walk
The two hour Winnats pass walk takes you along the ridge of the spectacular mountain pass of Winnat Pass, short for ‘Windygates’, which becomes apparent as soon as get to the top!
The Winnats Pass walk takes you through Castleton village, and past the famous Speedwell Cavern before heading into the open fields and up onto the pass.
The uphill section is very steep, and requires some scrambling.
Thankfully there is a rope in place to help you, but for this reason this Peak District walk is considered intermediate difficulty, and wouldn’t suit children.
However, once you’re at the top of the pass you’ll be blessed with views of the limestone pinnacles, and open countryside on all sides.
The vistas are phenomenal and whilst the scenery is similar to the views from neighbouring Mam Tor, it’s likely you’ll see only a handful of hikers on Winnats Pass compared to the busy walk to Mam Tor.
This short Peak District walk is the ideal choice for those who want to get away from the crowds, and enjoy the trail all to themselves.
Note: if you’re an early riser (or even if you aren’t), hiking the Winnats Pass trail for sunrise is highly recommended.
Curbar Edge and Froggatt Edge
Another brilliant Peak District walk is the 6 mile/10 km hike along Curbar Edge and Froggatt Edge.
The three hour route then proceeds through the woods and past the Grouse Inn pub, the perfect place to rest and use the facilities.
The circular walk then continues along White Edge, where you can detour slightly to stop off at the trig point a short distance from the path.
This beautiful Peak District walk can be extended to an 8 mile option taking in Baslow Edge or if you fancy an even longer walk, you can hike the 9 Edges walk, which takes 10-12 hours but includes 9 of the beautiful Peak District edges, including Curbar Edge.
Submitted by Becky Angell from Peak District Walks
Baslow to Chatsworth Walk
This 10 mile/16 km circular walk takes in some of the most beautiful views of the Peak District National Park.
The Baslow to Chatsworth Walk takes four hours to complete and is fairly easy, except a few sections which require scrambling at the beginning of the hike.
The walk starts and ends at the Nether End car park in the village of Baslow, and follows a route into woodlands before opening out to some spectacular views from above.
Once you’ve finished, make your way back down to Chatsworth and take the riverside route back to Baslow. If the weather’s good you can even take a dip!
When you arrive back in Baslow, there are plenty of places to stop. The Prince of Wales pub is dog-friendly and you’ll get a warm welcome when you arrive.
There’s also a great selection of artisan beers and wines (perfect for a post-walk pint) and warm hearty meals made from locally sourced ingredients. Just what you need after this beautiful walk in the Peak District.
Submitted by Samantha Wragg from Coco Travels
Ladybower Reservoir Walk
Ladybower reservoir in the stunning Derbyshire countryside has plenty of hikes that can be done from the car park, but the most popular is the Ladybower reservoir walk.
This 5 mile/8 km route is great for beginners, as it’s fairly flat and has no gates.
Making it suitable for wheelchair users and people with pushchairs.
The Ladybower walk takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, and passes one of the highlights of the Peak District, the iconic Derwent Dam.
Along the walkway there are plenty of picnic benches and tables, perfect for a lunch stop but if you prefer hot food, visit the famous Ladybower Inn, which also offers rooms if you wish to extend your stay.
Submitted by Kathryn Bird from Wandering Bird
Three Shires Head Walk
The Three Shires Head walk is a perfect low-level walk to do in the Peak District.
Starting from Gradbach, this 8 mile/13 km route takes you via the Dane Valley Way following the River Dane to the Three Shires Head in only 3 – 4 hours.
In the past this spot was used by packhorses to stop for water next to the boundary of the three English counties – Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire.
During the summer, the Three Shires Head is the perfect place to cool off and take a dip in the pools beneath the waterfalls.
This easy Peak District walk, follows a figure of eight, crossing back via Three Shires Head before heading past Cut-thorn hill with views of Shutlingsloe in the distance.
If you’re looking for accommodation in the area, the lovely town of Buxton is situated about eight miles away from the walk and has plenty to see and do.
Submitted by Becky Angell from Peak District Walks
The Monsal Trail runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8 miles/13.5 km between Chee Dale (close to Buxton) and Coombs Road in Bakewell.
It follows a section of the former Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway, which was closed in 1968, and remained unused for twelve years before being taken over by the Peak District National Park authority.
The Monsal Trail is an easy and flat walk, perfect for those with prams and wheelchairs.
However be warned, on a sunny weekend and school holidays it gets very busy with cyclists, so visiting off peak is advised.
Along the Monsal Trail there are a series of long tunnels (up to 400 metres long) that are operated by light sensors from dawn to dusk, so hikers can use them safely.
If you’re looking for a short walk, there is a 4 mile/6.4km stretch from Hassop Station up to Monsal Head and back again which passes through what’s left of Great Longstone Station, through the Headstone Tunnel, and onto stunning views from Monsal Head.
Enjoy the Peak District views and treat yourself to a Peak Ale at the characterful Stables Bar at Monsal Head Hotel before returning to Hassop Station.
Submitted by Jenny Lynn from Peak District Kids
Edale has plenty of famous hikes but the most impressive one is the 10 mile/16km circular walk to Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District at 636 metres above sea level.
This fairly challenging hike takes around five hours to complete and starts from the visitor centre where you will take a small path down to the river and eventually onto Jacob’s Ladder.
This is both the best and most challenging part of the walk.
The way up is very steep but once you get to the top, you will experience stunning views over the Peaks including a peek at Mam Tor (one of the other beautiful Peak District best walks mentioned in this post).
Following the plateau, you will walk down to the Old Nags Head Pub, perfect for lunch, dinner or even a stay as there are two cottages on site.
Submitted by Pauline from BeeLoved City
Dovedale is a great place for walking in the Peak District. There are plenty of different routes in the area, but a favourite is the beautiful 10 mile/16 km circular Dovedale walk.
The Dovedale walk starts and ends at a small car park in Thorpe near Ashbourne in Derbyshire and takes you up to the summit of Thorpe Cloud with stunning views down to Dovedale.
The route is then downhill to the River Dove and the popular Dovedale stepping stones.
After hopping over the stones, you pass along Dovedale, stopping off at the various caves along the way until you reach the bridge near the quaint village of Milldale.
After this you’ll looping over fields and back via the Tissington Trail.
The route takes approximately 4 to 5 hours to complete and is relatively easy, however the section up to Reynard’s Cave can be quite slippery when it’s wet so you might want to miss this bit out if it’s bad weather.
If you’re planning a weekend trip to the Peak District, the best place to stay near the Dovedale walk would be Ashbourne, a small market town not too far from the start at Thorpe.
Submitted by Becky Angell from Becky The Traveller
One of the best walks in Peak District is around the Derwent Reservoir.
With wide gravel paths and zero chance of getting stuck in a bog, the trail can be a good choice if the weather is a little gloomy.
If you make a full circuit of the reservoir, you can expect a fairly level 10 mile/16 km walk that takes you through the lush English countryside.
This Peak District walk should take 3 to 4 hours on a good day, and you can expect a fair amount of foot traffic as well as mountain bikers.
Dotted along the route, you’ll find notice boards that give information on the history and engineering of the Derwent Dam and reservoir that began in 1902 and information about the practice Dam buster flights that occurred during WW2 over Derwent reservoir.
For £5 you can park all day at the Upper Derwent Visitors Centre, where you’ll also find toilets, food, and hot drinks to warm you up after your walk.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, be sure to ask at the Visitor Centre about alternative walks.
There are plenty of circular routes to choose from, catering for a wide variety of abilities.
Submitted by Nick and Ashley from Illness To Ultra
Padley Gorge Walk
The Padley Gorge circular walk is situated between the Longshaw Estate and Grindleford station.
This Peak District walk can be as short or long as you like as there are plenty of bridges along the way where you can cross over and return back if you wish.
However the full walk from Padley Gorge to Grindleford station and back takes only 90 minutes so if you wish to extend it further you can carry onto the Longshaw Estate which will add another 30 minutes to the walk.
There are several highlights of this Peak District walk, including the stream in the middle of the gorge, which is perfect for swimming in on a hot day and of course the adventurous tree swing which you’ll stumble across only 10 minutes into the walk!
Making this a great walk for when you just need to get away.
There are plenty of places to eat and stay nearby such as The Fox House Vintage Inn.
Submitted by Charlotte Blackburn from Bursting My Bubbles
Tissington Trail (Circular)
The original Tissington Trail is a 13 mile/21 km footpath near Ashbourne in Derbyshire.
Whilst it is a beautiful walk, there is also a circular version of this walk that takes in the open fields which the Peak District is so famous for.
The Tissington circular walk starts and ends in the car park of the small estate village of Tissington, on the southernmost tip of the Peak District.
This fairly easy 6 mile/9.6 km hike, takes around 2 to 3 hours depending on your pace – and how many times you stop for photos of the views!
After your walk, treat yourself to a piece of cake and a cuppa, or even a glass of prosecco at the lovely Herbert’s Tea Rooms on the village green.
This café is dog-friendly and serves meals as well as drinks and cream teas.
Plus there’s outdoor seating, perfect for people watching on a summer’s day.
If you’re staying overnight in Tissington, the Bentley Brook Inn is a great place to stay.
It’s a traditional country inn which serves hearty meals, perfect for refuelling after a day of hiking.
Submitted by Samantha Wragg from Coco Travels
Eyam Moor Walk
The Eyam Moor walk boasts stunning moorland views, but unknown to many it is a hidden gem for walking in the Peak District.
On a clear day you can see Hathersage and the craggy escarpment of Stanage Edge, one of the more popular hikes in the Peak District.
The 4 mile/6.3 km circular walk takes you across the moorland and then descends into the woodland along Highlow Brook, before climbing up again through open pastures.
Due to the steady climb out of the vallely it is considered a moderate difficulty walk but only takes 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.
Meaning you can spend the other half of your day exploring the fascinating village of Eyam.
It’s dark history is centred around the bubonic plague in the 17th century, which today is commemorated with small plaques outside the cottages detailing the names, ages, and date of those individuals who died in that specific home during the plague.
Submitted by Jenny Lynn from Peak District Kids
That’s 15 of the Best Walks in Peak District and Peak District Hikes
I hope these Peak District best hikes picked out by myself and my fellow travel bloggers has convinced you to grab your hiking boots and explore one of Britain’s most iconic National Parks.
Just remember to check the official travel advice before you set off.
If you need a little inspiration, then check out these 80 hiking quotes that will get you off the sofa and planning your next hiking adventure.
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