Three main landscapes make up the Peak District; the wild, rugged Dark Peak, the limestone dales and meadows of White Peak, and the South West Peak's moorland, pastures, and farmland. Walks in the Peak District will bring you close to wildlife as you explore the areas of conservation, and at night you can see the stars in all their glory from the area's three dedicated Dark Sky Places.
If you're heading out to the Peak District National Park to enjoy its stunning views and walks, make sure to take a good pair of walking boots and a waterproof jacket – the ground can be uneven and the weather in England can always be a little unpredictable, it's best to be prepared.
Mam Tor Circular Walk
4.8km / 2 hours
The hike up Mam Tor is the one of the most popular Peak District Walks. Its name means 'mother hill', inspired by the frequent landslips that made a series of mini hills beneath the tor. It's easy to see why the impressive views have inspired so many photographers and artists; the lush green of the hills in summer are a dramatic contrast to the cold, wild winter winds that can howl through the peaks, and each season brings more beauty than the last.
This circular walk around Mam Tor offers some of the best views across the Peak District. The climb to the top of the hill is made easier by the addition of stone steps. Keen eyes might spot special stones in the steps, which hint at the iron age settlers who lived here years ago.
Once you've had your fill of the stunning views across the Edale Valley from the top of the tor, the walk continues past a series of caves and mines. The Blue John show cavern here has a fascinating history; it is named after the famous Blue John mineral, one of Britain's rarest minerals that were coveted by the Romans 2000 years ago.
This is one of the shorter Peak District walks, but it should definitely still make it onto your Peak District bucket list. More details are available in our full walking guide for the Mam Tor.
The Vale of Edale and the Pennine Way
5.4km / 1.5 - 2 hours
This is a gentle, low-level Peak District walk starting and ending a short distance from the Penny Pot Cafe. Along the way, you will be surrounded by the hills of the Dark Peak. Cattle graze freely in the countryside here, eating grasses while letting flowers and heather thrive. Take care when walking here, particularly with dogs.
As you hike this route and explore this Peak District valley, you will see Edale Church and have the opportunity to visit the fascinating Moorland Centre. The building was designed to become part of the landscape with its living turf roof that doubles as an eco-friendly insulator. If you do pass the Moorland Centre on any Peak District walks, it's a good idea to pop in as they have facilities for walkers including fresh drinking water and toilets.
Part of this route follows the Pennine Way, which was the first national trail in England. It runs from Edale to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland. When following the route in Edale, you'll head uphill for a few miles, following a little stream, before leaving the trail to explore open fields and crossing a series of footbridges, then heading back to the cafe for a well-deserved cup of tea.
Check out our full Vale of Edale walking guide for more details about this route.
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6.4km / 1.5 - 2 hours
This is one of the most interesting hikes in the Peak District; it is rich with nature, including rare bats that roost near the Howden dam and some of England's only mountain hares at Pike Low. These adorable creatures turn white in the winter, helping them to camouflage in the cold, frosty weather.
When following this route, you'll be taken along Ladybower Reservoir, which is at the heart of the Peak District National Park. The reservoir was built between 1935 and 1943, and during construction two villages were flooded to provide water for the industrial towns surrounding the Peak District. The countryside around the reservoir has grand views of the water, moors and woodland, making it a truly wonderful place to walk.
This Peak District walking route runs through all kinds of terrain, including farmland, moors, and a stunning heavily wooded clough. At the highest point of this valley walk, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of Derwent and much of the Dark Peak area. These views certainly make this a competitor for one of the best walks in the Peak District.
More details about the start and endpoints of this nature-rich walk are available in our full guide to the Derwent Valley walk.
Grindleford Station Walk
7.2km / 2 - 2.5 hours
Starting in Padley Gorge, the Grindleford Station walk explores ancient woodlands and wild areas of moorland. The views on offer here are simply perfect, and arguably some of the best in Derbyshire, despite the fact that this is among the more moderate of the peak district walks listed here.
The walk starts at Padley Gorge. It's the perfect place for children to explore in the summer months with shallow streams, pretty footbridges, and plenty of large flat rocks that act as makeshift stepping stones. This area of the Peak District is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the flourishing oak-birch woodland that is rarer in other parts of the UK. It's also home to beautiful endangered species of birds like the Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler.
Despite being a moderate walk with very few steep inclines, this walk takes three to four hours to complete, but of course, that will depend on how many times you stop to take photographs of the beautiful views and wildlife.
Find out more about this walk in the Padley Gorge area with our Grindleford Station walking guide.
13.7km / 3 - 4 hours
This trail is one of the best traffic-free leisure trails in the UK, accessible for walkers, runners, and cyclists of all abilities. The path is paved and has ramps at various points along the way, making it accessible for wheelchair users. The trail runs between the village of Buxton and Bakewell, but you can choose to walk just a small part of it.
When it was constructed in 1863 to form the Midland Railway, this trail faced a lot of opposition. At the time, cutting through the limestone cliffs was seen as an awful idea, but today the vegetation has grown over the man-made embankments, softening them and allowing the banks to gently blend into the landscape. Near these paths is an old cotton mill, the Cressbrook Mill. In the early 1800s, the power of the River Wye turned the water wheels, but now the building has been converted into apartments.
The Monsal Trail itself is steeped in history and only became accessible after the railway was closed and the path opened to the public. Enjoy views of Water-Cum-Jolly Dale, a stroll through the well-lit tunnels, or a cup of tea at the ticket office cafe at Millers Dale.
The long tunnels provide plenty of shelter so if you've got a wet day during your visit to the Peak District National Park, grab your waterproof jacket and head out for a stroll.
Get to know this walking route with our full Monsal Trail walking guide.
Hathersage to Stanage Edge
14.5km / 4 - 4.5 hours
Explore the gritstone escarpment of Stanage and enjoy views over Kinder Scout with this classic nine-mile Peak District walk. The route starts in the quaint village of Hathersage, before passing North Lees Hall, a building surrounded by history and literary connections. The manor inspired the home of Mr Rochester in Charlotte Brontë's famous novel, Jane Eyre.
The more adventurous walkers may want to explore Robin Hood's Cave that is near this walking route. A short crawl/scramble will bring you to a cave hidden halfway up the cliff face. It opens up to reward you with beautiful views of the landscape. This cave has no signposts, so take a map to check that you're in the right place!
If you'd still like to enjoy the fantastic views from the top of Stanage Edge but aren't looking to fill your whole day with hiking or have little ones in tow, this easy walk is just two miles long, perfect to complete in a few hours.
Find out more about the Hathersage to Stanage Edge walk with our full route guide.
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