Top views in the hills and dales of the Peak District

Rural

Posted by Ed Roberts on 11th August 2020

The Peak District National Park inspires wayfarers and climbers from all over the globe to come and revel in its natural beauty. Despite being a land of summits, there aren’t any mountains in the Peak District but there’s still an abundance of places to head to for a walk into the clouds. The best way to see this stunning region is on foot, so we’ve decided to compile a guide to help you pick the perfect walking trail for you. The Peak District is home to a long section of the Pennine Way, England’s first national trail, and one of the highest points in England, Kinder Scout. Become familiar with names like the White Peak, the Dark Peak, Dovedale, Monsal Head, Parkhouse Hill, and Lathkill Dale, as you are bound to discover their joys first-hand. Prepare responsibly and obey the country code and you are all set to enjoy a fantastic, unforgettable break in this spectacular, untamed region of the UK.

Before setting off, buy comfortable walking shoes, socks, hat, maps, a light rucksack, torch, healthy snacks and drinks. Plan your route, check the weather forecast and leave plenty of time to complete your chosen walk in daylight too! It’s smart to prepare for a long walk! Some of the Peak District’s trails can be quite challenging (in a good way!)

Stay in a self-catering holiday cottage in the Peak District, it’s the best way to tackle one of the national park’s trails in sections. Our accommodation is located all across the Peak District, close to the action, so after a day of touring you have a cosy home-from-home to relax in. Features like wood burners, comfortable couches, restful bedrooms and alluring gardens to kick back in all combine to enhance your Peak District holiday. Whether you are looking for a country cottage, a farmhouse, a chic barn conversion or a townhouse, we have the perfect holiday getaway waiting for you.


Kinder Scout – best for elevation

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

Distance: 9 miles

Kinder Scout is the highest point in the Peak District National Park. It’s a moorland plateau of tarns and streams that can be reached via the Pennine Way National Trail. Set in the Dark Peak, it doubles as a National Nature Reserve and the views from the highest point (there is no summit) are spectacular, when the weather is clement you can see Manchester and Mount Snowdon to the west. Kinder Scout stands at a whopping 636 metres above sea level and can be reached from the southern end of Edale – the muster point for those embarking on the Pennine Way from its lower terminus.

Kinder Scout is famous too as it was the location of the Mass Trespass Protest in 1932 which centred around the ‘Right to Roam’ debate. Now much of the area surrounding Kinder Scout has been designated as open country. After walking up to the Kinder Scout plateau and back down to Edale, treat yourself to a pint at The Old Nag’s Head.

Highlights:

Kinder Downfall

Pym’s Chair

Mermaid’s Pool

Stay at: The Pepper Pot | Sleeps: 2 guests plus 1 dog


Parkhouse and Chrome Hill – best for strange landforms

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging

Distance:  5 miles

Nicknamed the ‘Dragon’s Back’ this pair of distinctive hills and instantly recognisable twin peaks are located in the Upper Dove Valley. Set off on the trail from The Quiet Woman in the village of Earl Sterndale to reach Chrome Hill first, followed by Parkhouse Hill which is directly behind it. Once coral reefs made of limestone that date back 340 million years, these ancient hills are much loved by wayfarers and photographers alike. The hills have SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status due to the presence of diverse limestone flora and the uncommon Jacob’s Ladder plant.

Highlights:

The Quiet Woman pub

The Jacob’s Ladder plants

Stay at: The Tannery | Sleeps: 4 guests


Monsal Head and Monsal Dale - best for easy gradients

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Distance: 8.5 miles

The gorgeous Monsal Head (close to Bakewell) stands above Monsal Dale, making it one of the most striking viewpoints in the Peak District. Characterised by the iconic Headstone Viaduct and the steep-sided dale through which the River Wye winds, a place like this deserves a walking trail to match it. The Monsal Trail follows the path of an old railway course, and it’s a great way to enjoy the Peak District countryside completely traffic-free on a paved byway. Stop at the Monsal Head Hotel for a drink after a gallant stroll on the trail. There is a path to the top of Monsal Head, and an annual competition called the Monsal Hill Climb. You acquire quite a bit of early elevation as you continue along the path, it’s quite a climb to the top!

Highlights:

Monsal Head

Headstone Viaduct

The Monsal Head Hotel

Stay at: West View | Sleeps: 4 guests


Stone Edge – best for a historical climb

Distance: 9 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Across the valley from Chesterfield, this trek is perfect for those with an interest in the Industrial Revolution and exploring the remnants of its mills, foundries and huge chimneys. The centrepiece of the walk up to Stone Edge is the Cupola, which is a huge chimney pot which was a component of a smelter at the lead mine on the hill. The Stone Edge Cupola is the UK’s oldest free-standing chimney, having been built in 1770. Hunt down the remains of other mining buildings in the vicinity, the hill is strewn with the ghosts of Stone Edge’s considerable industrial past. Look out for Chesterfield’s signature twisted spire on its 14th-century parish church.


Mam Tor - best for a family day out

Difficulty: Easy to moderate (suitable for young families)

Distance: 11 miles

Also known as the ‘shivering mountain’, Mam Tor’s peak is 517 metres above the rooftops of nearby Castleton. A walk to the top has to be on your bucket list, as it’s one of the best-loved and busiest treks in the Peak District. Sat on the boundary of the White Peak and the Dark Peak, the views are amazing. Seek out Winnats Pass, the area’s iconic dry cove. The main path follows the ridge of a hill between Rushup Edge in the east and Great Ridge in the west. Several of Castleton’s famous show caverns burrow below Mam Tor such as Treak Cliff Cavern, Peak Cavern, Blue John Cavern and Speedwell Cavern.  Enjoy exceptional views on the return to Castleton via Back Tor and Lose Hill Pike.


Other walks

Surprise View – This designated ‘Dark Skies’ spot above Hathersage is a sensationally fresh viewpoint.

Solomon’s Temple – The climb up to this fortified day mark on Grin Low Hill is a must for anybody staying in Buxton.

Stanage Edge – Amazing views await atop this very striking gritstone 4-mile-wide landform above. Famously used in a pinnacle scene in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, it’s a great spot for a sunset. Close to North Lees Hall, the supposed inspiration for Rochester Hall in Jane Eyre, it’s got a dramatic literary pedigree. Keep your eyes peeled for millstones.

The Roaches – High above Leek this natural compendium of craggy rocks and gritstone edges yields winning rewards for view hunters. Find out about its (now extinct) colony of wallabies!

Map to the views


Stay in the Peak District

After a challenging set of walks and climbs to put you through your paces, why not book a holiday at one of our holiday homes? Our collection of Peak District holiday cottages is situated in some wonderful and wild locations across the national park. Visit our range today to find your dream getaway.

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.