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10 fantastic Peak District walks holiday cottages

10 fantastic Peak District walks

Walks and hikes around the Peak District figure highly on the ultimate list of things to do here, so we have put together a handy guide of ten of best in the region. These walks meander through beautiful villages and take in some of the most fantastic views the Peak District landscape can muster. Remember, whenever you are exploring, it is important to come prepared. A map, a compass, good, sturdy and comfy shoes plus plenty of water and snacks will do you well, but planning your route is the best safeguard for a successful walk.

Why walk?

Walking is one of the leading activities for promoting all-round fitness and the easiest way to ensure regular and beneficial exercise. Did you know that by simply walking for just 30 minutes a day, you significantly reduce the chance of heart disease and strokes? It can boost your mood, improve your balance, strengthen bones and muscles and very importantly, is inexpensive. Alone or with loved ones, walking somewhere beautiful simply exemplifies and illuminates the whole experience. The proof is in the pudding as they say, so cue Bakewell.... 

Bakewell - Edensor - Chatsworth

A good walk to start with is one that ends with grandeur and tea rooms at Chatsworth House. This isn't a challenging one and you'll jaunt along the Monsal Trail from Bakewell, through some woods and on to the picturesque village of Edensor. This lovely village isn't far from the Chatsworth Estate and the walk varies between 6 - 8 miles depending on which route you take.

Chatsworth Bridge

 

The longer walk includes a stroll along the banks of the River Derwent and is more picturesque, plus if you choose to go this way, you'll see a ruined corn mill and an Iron Age fort. 

See the full route here

Mam Tor - Shivering Mountain 

Mam Tor is a deliciously named mountain near Castleton and walks around it are very popular. It is also known as Shivering Mountain, most probably from the shivers down your back you will receive once you set eyes on the view at the summit. At over 500 metres high, on a clear day, you can see as far as Manchester. When visibility is less, you can only see idyllic countryside and some of the best landscape vista around. You may well meet photographers queueing up to capture this iconic aspect.

Mam Tor is the main link between the eastern end of Rushup Edge and the western end of the Great Ridge. There are a number of caverns below to explore too and if you walk from nearby Edale, you are officially at the start of the Pennine Way. This walk is steep, but well worth the energy and you will most definitely have earned yourself a local ale by the end of it.

Castleton - Mam Tor

So good, we've mentioned it twice. This is a mapped-out walk as opposed to the guerrilla-wanderings advocated above. At just over 6 miles, it starts in the main car park in Castleton and will take you through some stunning scenery and onwards to survey the delightful view towards Edale. You will pass the caverns of Treak Cliff and Blue John if you walk this way and if you can spare the time, they are worth a gleg, and there is the option to extend the trail to take in a river stroll on the way back.

Once you reach Mam Tor, walk up to the top of Back Tor and then on to Lose Hill Pike. Get your breath back, savour the views and breathe in the fresh mountain air. On the return journey, the longer route takes you via Hope and along the river as mentioned, but if you are angling for that pint, the Cheshire Cheese Inn in Castleton is one of the most well-known and respected pubs in the area.

See full route here

Kinder Scout

Not only does Kinder Scout have a cascading waterfall called Kinder's Downfall - on a windy day the water is blown back on itself resulting in a cloud of spray that can be seen from miles away - but it is also the highest point in the Peak District.

This fabulous walk takes an historical route that encounters the serene Mermaid's Pool, Pym's Chair - where you'll see compelling rock formations - gentle streams, moorland and unique peat. The path follows the way of a very important, peaceful protest known as the Mass Trespass that took place in 1932. It helped to change legislation and allow people to walk freely across access land, and was also was a major factor in the creation of the first ever National Park, as in the Peak District National Park in case you were unsure! This is a challenging, but highly rewarding trek across some amazing landscape.

Hathersage to Stanage Edge Walking Route

This area is littered with literary and history, literally! If you are a fan of the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Kiera Knightley, then this 9-mile walk should be on your pilgrimage trail. The very rocks above are where she stood as Elizabeth Bennet, all windswept, wistful and whimsical. It also passes a 16th century manor named North Lees Hall, which is thought to be the inspiration behind Mr. Rochester's home in Jane Eyre. A family of Eyres did actually live there until they were driven out in the 17th century by Protestants, being Roman Catholic. The remains of their chapel from 1685 can still be seen. 

Once past the hall, you can continue on to the impressive gritstone escarpment of Stanage Edge. The landscape around is scattered with old millstones and grinstones, a nod to the once flourishing industry and now monuments to simpler days, they are very much part of the Park. 

See the full route here

The Limestone Way

If you would like to walk the length of the Limestone way, it could take you 3 - 4 days, but the path is easy and waymarked. It is 45-miles long and for the most part snakes through the Derbyshire Dales and through a number of farms in the Peak District. It passes several villages and travels across sheep-replete fields and country tracks. 

Although marked for most of the way, the section between Rocester and Thorpe in Staffordshire will require a map as the markings are few and far between. The northern half of this walk between Castelton and Bonsall is especially edifying.  

Hartington Walking Route

The archaeological site of Pilsbury Castle lies on this route and takes in 7.5 miles of wonderful Derbyshire countryside, plus the picturesque village of Hartington. Home to one of the best cheese shops in the county, you can buy delicious and locally made cheese here with Hartington Stilton, Peakland Cranberry and Orange, and Peakland Blue popular purchases. Hartington is full to the brim, or 'bossin' with charm as 18th century houses line the lanes centred around an idyllic, village pond. 

Upon arrival at Pilsbury Castle, thought to have been built by the Normans in 110 and one of the best surviving examples of a motte and bailey castle in the whole of Derbyshire, have a rest, have a sit down and a cheese sandwich and watch the world go by.   

See full route here

By the Heights of Abraham to Matlock from Matlock Bath

Heights of Abraham cable cars

 

Short and sweet, this walk starts at the Peak District Mining Museum in Matlock Bath and ends at Matlock. It is under two miles total distance, but the workout is strenuous, up hills and dales via the Heights of Abraham and Masson Hill. We guess you could always cheat!

See full route here

Cromford Mill and the Village Walking Route

What do Florence Nightingale and the Industrial Revolution have in common? Cromford. This picturesque village is soaked in Derbyshire history and the best place to learn about it is opposite Cromford car park. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arkwright's Mill is the world's first ever water-powered cotton spinning mill and includes an interactive exhibition that immerses you in the every day life of an 18th century day's work at t'mill. There are plenty of shops and a café to set you up nicely for the walk ahead. 

Arkwright's Mill in Cromford

 

From the Mill, walk through the village, that was originally built for the workers, through the inviting village market square. Eventually you will reach the High Peak Trail , a former railway track that leads to High Peak Junction and the Cromford canal. If you take the longer route back that extends the walk from 6- to 8-miles, you can walk along the canal and past Lea Hurst, a summer house that once belonged to Florence Nightingale. 

See full route here

Birchen Edge - Chatsworth Walking Route

As is the way with most walks, we end where we started at Chatsworth House. This 7-mile circular tour includes some real gems of the Derbyshire countryside. Birchen Edge and Dobb Edge are home to stunning views in the area, whichever direction you look.

Sunset over Birchen Edge silhouetting Nelson's Monument in the distance

 

You can start this perambulation around the Peaks either at Birchen Edge car park, by the Robin Hood Inn, Chatsworth car park or Baslow Village car park. Wherever you choose to start, make sure you end with a mash and some snap in the tearoom once more as you'll already have walked off the calories!

See the full route here

Need a rest?

When you can walk no more and are tea-ed up and caked out, you will need somewhere to go and relax for the evening. We have many delightful cottages in the Peak District. See if anything takes your fancy?

Little Pudding in Bakewell, Peak District
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