The Peak District has some of the most stunning scenery in the Midlands. Wedged gently between Manchester, Sheffield and Derby it really is a true wonder to come across. It’s steep valley and rising hills make it a haven for anyone who enjoys spending a summer’s day walking through the English countryside. Edale, a small village in Hope Valley, marks the start of the 267-mile long Pennine way, stretching all the way up to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. I’m not going to promise that I will cover this route anytime soon but I can imagine it provides some lovely scenery.
My first visit to the Peak District was in 2016. It’s a much shorter car journey than the one to the Lake District or Snowdonia and the walks are just as fantastic. I’ve put together a very short guide on two great places to visit while in the Peak District. I’ve only been a handful of times so this is by no means coverage of the two best places as there is still so much to explore but they are definitely a good place to start!
Castleton & Mam Tor
Castleton is a bubbly little village in the heart of the Hope Valley sitting in the shadow of the ruins of Peveril Castle. It’s full of great places to eat, quaint gift shops and spectacular walks. One of the most famous in the Peak District is the circular Mam Tor Ridge walk.
Starting in Castleton you walk west towards Winnat’s Pass a deep Limestone valley created after an old cave system collapsed. There is still evidence of these caves around the Pass including Speedwell Cavern that offers tours of the underworld.
You can climb the north side of Winnats pass and walk across the grasslands towards Mam Tor, also known as the shivering mountain, and the tallest hill in the High Peaks standing at 517m. Once at the top you are treated with spectacular views of Edale and the Hope Valley. The ridge takes you along the north side of Hope Valley towards Lose Hill and then you can drop back down into Castleton. It’s definitely one for the summer as the high ridge can get extremely windy! We visited at the end of August, just in time to see the blankets of heather that annually cover the fields.
Padley’s Gorge & Stanage Edge
This circular walk starts at the Longshaw Estate, a National Trust property about 3 miles south-east of Hathersage. There’s easy parking and great walks around the estate if you don’t have a lot of time, it even boasts a lovely cafe if you need a pick-me-up. You can find out more about the Lodge here if you wish.
From the car park you can walk through the grounds of the Lodge and follow the path across the road to the Burbage Brook, this marks the start of Padley’s Gorge. Heading south through the trees you can follow the bank along the gorge down to Upper Padley. Turning left at the bottom of the trail will take you past the famous Totley Tunnel to the Gindleford Station Cafe if you need some refreshments.
Heading right will take you north along a trail past various cottages, churches and farmland. You may even see the beautiful cat we came across! We followed a route that took us north-east along the bottom of the Stanage Edge cliff. Taking the path to the top, we were faced with amazing views out towards Hathersage. There’s no coincidence that this place is also known as Surprise View.
We also visited Stanage Edge at the end of the summer when the heather was blooming across the moor creating a blanket of purple hugging the birch trees along the route.