If you are a lover of chasing waterfalls, then keep on reading…
A place of stark artistry and isolated grace, the Peak District is teeming with life and winsome contrasts. On the one hand, the region draws visitors in that wish to tackle the daddy of all national walking trails, the Pennine Way; others come to conquer the peak of Mam Tor; a considerable group come to take part in the endless choice of outdoor/extreme sports activities available to them, and then there’s the waterfall enthusiasts.
There’s something about waterfalls that attracts all the senses at once, quite unlike any other landmarks. Like the sea, a weir, or even running a bath, standing at the foot of a waterfall stirs up an all-encompassing and mesmerising feeling in some of us. Perhaps it’s the ability to stand close to a such a show of natural force – the spray of the water, the wall of sound, amd the scent of earth, rocks, moss and wood all combine to unleash a sensation quite unlike any other that we can witness close-up.
Chasing waterfalls makes the perfect goal for a day out - you know where you are going, you have budgeted the time and you end up with a sense of accomplishment with the added bonus of getting your nature fix! If you’ve never encountered a waterfall, there’s no place quite like the Peak District to begin. Here is our guide to the most picturesque rapids and waterfalls.
Please note: some waterfalls flow perpetually, but others only appear after heavy rain or snowfall. Be safe when exploring!
This famous waterfall is located on the edge of the hill Kinder Scout and can be reached from the villages of Edale and Hayfield in the High Peak – the Hayfield circular walk is a particularly good route. To make the most of your day along the River Kinder, follow the flow to the Kinder Reservoir and Kinder Scout’s second cascading waterfall at Grindsbrook Clough.
- Kinder Downfall is the tallest waterfall in the Peak District with its 30-metre drop.
- During high winds, the water blows back on itself creating a steam cloud that can be seen from miles around.
- Below the falls, the Mermaid's Pool is supposedly inhabited by a beautiful mermaid who lures men to their death with seductive singing on Midsummer's Eve.
A cottage nearby: Kinder Cottage – sleeps 4
A pub nearby: The Sportsman Inn, Hayfield, High Peak SK22 2LE. The cosy log fire and yummy food will refuel you after your adventures out and about
Panniers Pool and Three Shire's Head
Although it is not easily accessible, people like the adventurous wild walk to this beautiful spot, over the rough and boggy terrain! There are a few locations off the A53 and A54 which you can use as a start point. The effort is well worth it when you reach Panniers Pool, a small and deep body of water with tumbling low-level waterfalls flowing through. Here you will also find Packhorse Bridge, a beautiful stone-built arched bridge sitting over the small waterfall.
- Three Shires Heads is the point where four packhorse routes meet. In the past, pack ponies once could drink, having a rest from carrying their heavy panniers or saddlebags.
- This moorland area is of interest to conservationists for its diverse population of moths and butterflies.
- Back in the 19th century, Three Shire Heads was a place where lawbreakers or coiners evaded capture by crossing into a neighbouring county as years ago it was only possible for police to act within their own county limits.
A cottage nearby: Otters Retreat – sleeps 4
A pub nearby: The Knights Table, Buxton SK17 0SN. You won’t be disappointed by its choice of beer and home-cooked meals.
Monsal Dale Valley
The striking beauty of the White Peak is the home to the Monsal Dale Valley. The River Wye runs through its centre and you can enjoy the waters falling past as you stand on the footbridge that spans the statuesque weir. The subject of many regional calendars and postcards, this beauty spot is the perfect destination for a trek in the Peak District.
- Monsal Dale is a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
- The Monsal Trail is a cycling, horse riding and walking trail.
- When the Headstone Viaduct was built in 1863, it was seen to be destroying the beauty of the dale. Today it is considered elegant and impressive.
A cottage nearby: Orrs Barn – sleeps 4
A pub nearby: The Packhorse Inn, Little Longstone, Bakewell DE45 1NN. Locally sourced food
Lumsdale Valley and Mills
Head into the Lumsdale Valley and it’s here you’ll be able to delight in the breathtaking waterfalls that tumble through the ancient woodland past ruined mills. Rising at Matlock Moor, Lumsdale Falls is found along the course of the fast-flowing Bentley Brook. You can still see there are the remains of three mill pools and six waterwheels. If you take the excellent short walk through the valley starting in Tansley you will enjoy lots of woodland adventures and find all these hidden treats along the way.
- Matlock played an important part in the Industrial Revolution and remnants of that period have left an indelible impression on the landscape.
- There are tours you can take part in and learn about the haunted Bone Mill or Paint Mill.
- Close to Matlock and Matlock Bath, there’s plenty of visitor attractions in the area including the Heights of Abraham.
A cottage nearby: Matlock View – sleeps 6
A pub nearby: The Thorn Tree, 48 Jackson Road, Matlock DE4 3JQ. This award-winning inn is a small, comfortable, traditional pub dating from the 1800s which serves a variety of local ales and has a diverse and tasty menu!
Falling through the rock, deep in Edale, Crowden Brook is 10 feet high. It can be approached by taking the walking route via Crowden Clough on Kinder Scout (the Peak’s highest hill). In the summer time, in periods of dry weather, you can actually scramble up the long waterfall enjoying the pools you come across, but in the wetter months you can enjoy walking alongside its tumbling waters. With immense visual appeal, it’s a superb choice for photographers as the rock formations offer a colourful and photogenic spot for all to enjoy. Bring your walking boots!
For more inspiring views in the Peak District, check out our guide today.
- There is a path that runs the entire length of the perimeter of Kinder Scout – thought to be a relic of ancient travellers.
- When you reach the top of the waterfall, there is an amazing view of the Great Ridge peeking through the slopes of the Clough.
- The route takes in Edale, Upper Booth, Crowden Clough, Pym Chair, Kinder Low, Edale Rocks, Jacobs Ladder, Upper Booth, Barber Booth and Edale Car Park.
A cottage nearby: Mercia House – sleeps 8
A pub nearby: The Rambler Inn – locally sourced food cooked and served in a warm friendly environment. Perfect for hot grub after a hard scramble!
Explorer's kit list
Be prepared for everything…
- GPS or map. Or both – you can’t always rely on signal.
- First aid kit. It is best to carry plasters at all times.
- Walking boots.
- Head torch.
- Swimmers – you may want to take a dip!
- Sandals, for wading in the water and climbing up cliffs.
Explore our range of holiday cottages in the Peak District
We have a variety of holiday cottages which provide the perfect base to return to after days out adventuring. Take a look through our sophisticated range of large houses, cosy cottages and hidden gems located all over the Peak District.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.