Peak District Walking and Route Guide

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The Peak District is one of the most popular walking areas in England. A network of paths and bridleways provide countless opportunities to explore the wild hills and moors. From bog trotting Kinder Scout in the Dark Peak to the stunning Roaches in the White Peak, this really is a hill walkers paradise!

Kinder Scout

Kinder Scout is an impressive upland plateau in the Dark Peak and the highest point in the Peak District at 636 metres above sea level. Its moon-like surface is exposed and strewn with rocks, boulders, bogs and heather – a walk here can feel almost otherworldly.

Kinder is favoured with day walkers and ‘pennine wayers’ (see below) whose efforts are rewarded with awesome views reaching as far as Snowdonia on a clear day.

A popular lunch and selfie spot is Kinder Downfall, a waterfall which flows over the edge of the plateau. During a dry summer the waterfall is a mere trickle, however with the right weather conditions jets of water blow spectacularly back up and onto the plateau drenching walkers who get too close!

In the depths of a winter deep freeze kinder downfall is transformed into a frozen ice wall, attracting experienced ice climbers from afar.

It’s often said that Kinder has its own micro-climate, a seemingly dry and warm day on the approach can quickly become wet, cold and very windy on the plateau. If the weather closes in, navigation can become difficult – a map, compass and suitable clothing are a must.

Walking Guide – Kinder Scout from Edale

You’ll need your bog trotting skills as you take on this popular 10 mile circular walk starting from Edale and incorporating the Pennine Way, Kinder Scout and notorious Kinder peat bogs! Sweeping views of the Edale valley and Great Ridge provide endless photo opportunities on this half day adventure in the heart of the National Park.

Walking Guide – Kinder Scout from Hayfield

Traverse the Kinder Scout horseshoe via Snake Path and the Pennine Way, paying homage to the site of the famous 1932 mass trespass on this 9 mile circular walk starting from the High Peak village of Hayfield. Highlights include Snake Path, Kinder Reservoir, William Clough, Kinder Scout plateau, Kinder Downfall and Hayfield village. Parking, pubs and cafes in the village.

Hope Valley & The Great Ridge

Hope Valley is a long wide valley running East from Mam Tor, in the heart of the Peak District. This area of great beauty is much photographed and amongst the most popular for walking. The picturesque villages of Castleton and Hope are a great base for exploring on foot.

Above the valley to the North is the Great Ridge, the name given to the ridge-line that stretches between Rushup Edge and Lose Hill. This is the highlight of walking in this area, and offers expansive views in all directions. Points of interest along the Great Ridge are:

Hope Valley is a long wide valley running East from Mam Tor, in the heart of the Peak District. This area of great beauty is much photographed and amongst the most popular for walking. The picturesque villages of Castleton and Hope are a great base for exploring on foot. Above the valley to the North is the Great Ridge, the name given to the ridge-line that stretches between Rushup Edge and Lose Hill. This is the highlight of walking in this area, and offers expansive views in all directions. Points of interest along the Great Ridge are:

  • Mam Tor – one of the most iconic and popular hills within the Peak District. Also known as the Shivering Mountain due to its unstable layers causing frequent landslips below, as though shivering in the wind!
  • Hollins Cross – an intersection of paths marked by a round stone pillar. From here you could head down to Edale or Castleton.
  • Back Tor – an unmistakable and much photographed rock strewn protrusion whose short steep path is sure to get your heart pumping!
  • Lose Hill – a grassy flat summit with exceptional views and whose trig point is topped with an orientation plate with pointers to various distant landmarks.

Walking Guide – Mam Tor Circular

Tick off all the must see landmarks in and around the village of Castleton, situated in the Hope Valley. This 6 mile circular walk starts in Castleton, following a public footpath through farmland to eventually reach the summit of the looming Mam Tor via the eerie broken road. From the summit its all downhill via farm tracks and open fields, finally descending to the village through the Cave Dale limestone valley.

Walking Guide – The Great Ridge and Winnats Pass

You’d be forgiven for taking endless photos on this 8 mile circular walk which includes a traverse of the iconic Great Ridge. After walking from Mam Tor to Lose Hill, you’ll descend into the pretty village of Hope before walking over fields to the busy village of Castleton. An ascent of the majestic Winnats Pass will get your heart racing before a final uphill push back to the start. This classic Peak District walk has everything and will undoubtedly leave you wanting more!

Edale

Famous as the starting point of the long distance pennine way walking trail, the rural village of Edale is surrounded by majestic hills, accessible by train and is a mecca for walkers.

Walking Guide – The Edale Valley Epic

Our Epic routes are designed to deliver a triple espresso of adventure, and this walk is no different. This tough 14 mile loop traverses the popular Great Ridge from Mam Tor to Lose Hill before heading up to Win Hill and around to the wild side of the Edale Valley for a truly epic day in the Dark Peak!

Pennine Way

The long distance Pennine Way walking trail is a multi-day yomp beginning in Edale in the Peak District. The trail runs north for 267 miles, ending in the village of Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders region of Scotland. If you don’t have the luxury of a spare 2-3 weeks, simply set off from Edale (accessible by train from Manchester and Sheffield) and follow the trail for day 1 of the walk.

A sign for the Pennine Way in Edale, Peak District.
The Pennine Way is well signed however a map and compass are a must, along with the necessary navigation skills!

A day on the Pennine Way

Pennine Way Day 1: Edale – Crowden 
Distance: 16 miles
Starting Point: The Old Nags Head, Edale.

The Old Nags Head pub in Edale is the official start of the Pennine Way. Fast forward 5-8 hours and you arrive in the village of Crowden, the traditional first stopover on the trail. Highlights include:

  • The ascent of Jacob’s ladder, a traditional pack horse path which also attracts downhill mountain bikers looking to test their nerve on the technical rocky descent.
  • The traverse of the Kinder plateau via Kinder Downfall.
  • The ascent of Bleaklow Head, with fine views on a clear day.
  • Reaching Crowden, happy in the knowledge you’ve tasted the Pennine Way in all its glory!

Stanage Edge

Stanage Edge is a 3-mile long gritstone escarpment popular with walkers, climbers and mountain bikers. Its high point is called High Neb which tops out at 458 metres above sea-level.

Its a great location for a short walk, or as part of a longer walk. The rocky faces and boulders below are a climbing mecca, and in dry weather you’ll be able to watch the climbers with interest as you wander along the edge.

In terms of walking the surrounding approach routes are all relatively easy going with the steep paths being short. The summit path is rocky though fairly level, one can climb on or jump between the boulders or just marvel at the great views all around.

Stanage Edge was a filming location in the 2005 BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice – don’t be surprised if you bump into some film buffs on a tour of the area!

Chrome Hill & Parkhouse Hill

The much photographed Chrome Hill (425 m / 1394 ft) and its neighbour Parkhouse Hill (360 m / 1180 ft) are rugged limestone protrusions situated close to Buxton in the White Peak.

This 5 mile circular walk is certainly no endurance test, however it will fill a morning and undoubtedly leave you wanting to explore more of this beautiful area. The walk includes both hills and starts from the remote village of Earl Sterndale. After the walk head to The Quiet Woman, the villages only pub.

View of Parkhouse Hill with walker in foreground
View of Parkhouse Hill from the lower section of Chrome Hill.

The Roaches

Rising to 505 metres The Roaches is an unmistakable rocky ridge situated high above the historic market town of Leek in the White Peak. The gritstone escarpment which includes Ramshaw Rocks and Hen Cloud is very popular with walkers and climbers. This 9 mile circular route includes Hen Cloud, Ramshaw Rocks, Lud’s Church and the Roaches.

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