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Best Walks in the Peak District

By Dave Roberts   

on February 22, 2018    5/5 (1)

Best Walks in the Peak District

The English Peak District National Park has plenty of varied walking, and choosing a list of the best routes isn’t easy. With walks varying from peat moors to scenic river valleys, we think we’ve chosen a good cross section of walking routes that rank among the best walks in the Peak District.

The highest point in the Peak District is Kinder Scout, with Bleaklow Head – only slightly lower at 633 metres in height. Yet it’s the lower summits that don’t reach 600m that captivate walkers to the Peak District. Mam Tor just across the Edale Valley from Kinder is one example as are the more southerly Shutlingsloe,  Shining Tor and The Roaches. While the best walks in the Peaks will undoubtedly include these hill walks, there are also numerous lower level rambles that are among the best walks. The Dovedale walk stands out, as do a few more that you’ll read about below.

Recommended Maps for the Peak District Walks: We recommend that you check the individual routes as to which map you specifically need – as the Peak District National Park is generally split into the Dark and White Peaks on maps. If you’re looking for the best walks in the Peak District then you won’t go far wrong buying both the OS Leisure Maps:ORDNANCE SURVEY Explorer OL1 The Peak District – Dark Peak area With Digital Version,  and the ORDNANCE SURVEY Explorer OL24 The Peak District – White Peak.

We also recommend both the Dark Peak BMC (British Mountain Map) and White Peak (British Mountain Map) from Harvey.

Recommended Peak District Guidebooks: Cicerone – Dark Peak Walks: 40 Walks Exploring the Peak District Gritstone and Moorland Landscapes and the White Peak Walks: The Southern Dales.

Check the weather forecast before you set off –  Met Office Peak District Weather

Kinder Scout from Edale

Height Gained – 620 metres ,  Distance – 18 km, Time –6 hours 

The highest mountain in any walking area is going to draw the crowds and Kinder Scout is no exception, with the routes from Edale being particularly popular. The edges around Kinder plateau are where the best walking and scenery is found, but you’ll need to venture into the vast unknown interior to actually bag the Peak District’s highest summit. It’s a worthwhile exploration on spongy peat, and with any luck and a bit more precise navigation, you should find yourself thereabouts.

Dovedale Circular Walk

Height Gained – 600 metres ,  Distance – 14 km, Time –4 hours 

Dovedale is the classic White Peak walk. It’s an exceptionally popular walking area and you’ll struggle to find it to yourself. Yet wander a little further than the average tourist, who may not wander too far from their vehicle lest it turns back into a pumpkin, and you’ll leave some of the crowds behind at least! The paths are wide and manicured, which makes for some excellent walking. This walk from Mud and Routes Local Expert Allen Hudson starts from the village of Alstonefield, with the busiest area being down near Ilam – and the car parks!

The highlights of any walk in Dovedale are the iconic stepping stones and the various limestone features such as the Tissington Spire, Ilam Rocks and a number of caves that make the area unique. We also have an Easy Walk to the Dovedale Stepping Stones that’s only 1.5km long and is the usual route taken to the Dovedale Stepping Stones. You can also walk the nearby Tissington Trail and divert to Dovedale from there.

Mam Tor from Castleton

Height Gained – 500 metres ,  Distance – 13.5 km, Time –4 hours 

The summit of Mam Tor may not be the highest point in the Peak District, but it’s certainly one of the most popular! There are easier and shorter options to ascend this hill such as from the Mam Nick car park at just over 1 km all in, but that’s selling this wonderful little hill short.  It’s best to either ascend Mam Tor from Edale, or Castleton; and including the pleasant ridge walk towards Lose Hill for good measure.

Circular walk to The Roaches and Lud’s Church

Height Gained –650 metres ,  Distance – 20.5 km, Time –6 hours 

This Peak District walk from Mud and Routes Local Expert – Mark Barrett – takes you to The Roaches, the gritstone escarpment and well known climber’s crag. This is in the Staffordshire part of the national park, above Leek and the Tittesworth Reservoir. It’s owned by the Peak District National Park, who bought it to protect it from over development. The walk also takes you to Lud’s Church, a fascinating chasm in the rocks overgrown with moss and a cool respite on even the hottest days.

Bleaklow Circular Walk from Old Glossop

Height Gained – 600 metres ,  Distance – 20 km, Time –6 hours 

A local expert walk by Dave Chick to the summit of Bleaklow Head from Old Glossop. Bleaklow head at 633m in height is the second highest point in the Peak Distric and has the Pennine Way running along it, which this walk follows. You’ll also see the remains of a B29 Superfortress bomber – “Over Exposed” – that tragically crashed here in 1948.

Hathersage to Stanage Edge Walk

Height Gained – 525 metres ,  Distance – 15 km, Time –4 hours 

Stanage Edge means simply Stone Edge, so that’s Stone Edge Edge then. This is a popular walk from Hathersage to this gritstone escarpment high above the Hope Valley, to the high point of High Neb at 458m.

The Monsal Trail

Height Gained –100 metres ,  Distance – 13 km, Time –2.5 hours – ONE WAY.

This is a walking and cycling track along the former railway line between Buxton and Bakewell, and almost stretching between these two towns, including a number of lit tunnels. Both of the next walks make use of this trail as part of a circular route, but it certainly deserves to be included in it’s own right.

Monsal Trail - Best Walks in the Peak District

Millers Dale to Monsal Head

Height Gained – 400 metres ,  Distance – 15 km, Time –4 hours 

This is a local expert walk by Allen Hudson that includes the Miller’s Dale section of the Monsal Trail as part of a circular walk starting from the hamlet of Milller’s Dale.

Chee Dale

Height Gained –250 metres ,  Distance – 8.3 km, Time –3 hours 

Similar to the walk above is another local expert walk by Allen Hudson which is another circular route on the Monsal Trail, this time via the scenic gorge of Chee Dale. You could easily combine both routes to create a more challenging day route. The route takes you deep into Chee Dale, with sections being along stepping stones.

Manifold Valley and Thor’s Cave Walk

Height Gained – 400 metres ,  Distance –12 km, Time –3.5 hours 

In the far south of the Peak District you can find this gem of a walk to Thor’s Cave which is probably named after the nearby Tors rather than the Norse god of thunder. This walk starts from the village of Wetton and also explores the Manifold Valley

Thor's Cave Walk - Best Walks in the Peak District

By Iankelsall1Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Shutlingsloe and Shining Tor

Height Gained – 1040 metres ,  Distance – 29 km, Time –10 hours 

This epic walk by Mud and Routes Local Expert – Mark Barrett – takes you to the Matterhorn of CheshireShutlingsloe and then on to Shining Tor – the highest point in Cheshire at 559m in height.

Shutlingsloe from Macclesfield Forest

Height Gained – 320 metres ,  Distance – 8 km, Time –2.5 hours 

If the route above is too demanding, then here’s a shorter route to Shutlingsloe that shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. This route starts from Macclesfield Forest.

For more walks in the Peak District, visit our Peak District Page to see them all.

Local Information and Recommended Maps and Guidebooks

Recommended Maps


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Dave Roberts

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2 thoughts on “Best Walks in the Peak District”

  1. Great list, one for the The Committee for the Liberation and Integration of Terrifying Organisms and their Rehabilitation Into Society to explore

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