In 1951, the Peak District – comprising most of Derbyshire and parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and Staffordshire – became Britain's first national park.


The park is made up of two contrasting regions. To the north is Dark Peak, a wild and open landscape of heather and bog and black granite outcrops. While to the south lies White Peak, where picturesque mill towns sit among lush valleys and limestone caves.

Discover the national park – from the valleys of Dovedale and Lathkill Dale to the heights of Kinder Scout – with our guide to the best walks in the Peak District.

Looking for more walks in Britain’s national parks? Check out our favourite routes in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

The Peak District was designated as a national park in 1951/Credit: Getty

Peak District walks

Derwent Reservoir and Howden Reservoir, Derbyshire

10.5 miles/16.9km | 6–7 hours | moderate

Howden Reservoir in summer
Howden Reservoir in summer/Geograph

A 10.5-mile circular walk around the majestic reservoirs and through the mixed woodland of the glorious Uppzer Derwent Valley in the Peak District.

The route
  • 16.9km/10.5 miles
  • 6–7 hours
  • Moderate
Derwent Reservoir walking route and map
Derwent Reservoir and Howden Reservoir map

The Roaches, Staffordshire

5.8 miles/9.3km | 4 hours | moderate

Late-summer heather on the Roaches ridgeline in the Peak District/Credit: Getty

Look out for wallabies while enjoying folklore and oatcakes amid striking Staffordshire gritstone outcrops with this 9.3km walk in the Peak District National Park. Late summer is a wonderful time of year to walk The Roaches ridgeline as it flushes purple with flowering heather.

The route
  • 9.3km/5.8 miles
  • 4 hours
  • Moderate
The Roaches walking route and map
The Roaches map

Chrome Hill, Derbyshire

6.2 miles/10km | 4 hours | moderate

Park House Hill from Chrome Hill, Derbyshire
Park House Hill captured at sunrise from Chrome Hill/Credit: Getty

The Dragon’s Back range are often cited as the only true peaks in the Peak District; a line of pinnacles said to resemble the ‘plates’ along the spine of a stegosaurus dinosaur. This exhilarating 10km walk includes seven short, steep climbs to each summit.

The route
  • 10km/6.2 miles
  • 4 hours
  • Moderate
Chrome Hill map and walking route
Chrome Hill map

Mam Tor, Derbyshire

8.7 miles/14km | 5 hours | moderate-challenging

The road past the Cheshire Cheese Inn was a key trade route for salt sellers and sheep drovers in medieval times/Credit: Carys Matthews

Traditionally, the sign of a Cheshire cheese swinging in front of a pub was used to show it offered a warm welcome, and that a roaring fire, hearty meal and tankard of ale awaited within. This is certainly true of the Cheshire Cheese which lies nestled in the village of Hope in the Peak District. This is the sort of cosy pub you long to stumble across after an invigorating day in the hills.

More like this
The route
  • 14km/8.7 miles
  • 5 hours
  • Moderate/challenging
Mam Tor walking route and map
Mam Tor map

Kinder Scout, Derbyshire

16.3 miles/26.3km | 9 hours | challenging

Kinder Scout in snowfall/Credit: Getty

Sandwiched between Manchester and Sheffield in Derbyshire, the bleak but beautiful upland plateau of Kinder Scout is a landscape of wind-swept waterfalls and rocky crags, perfect for hikers and scramblers alike.

The route
  • 26.3km/16.3 miles
  • 9 hours
  • Challenging
Kinder Scout walking route and map
Kinder Scout map

Padley Gorge, Derbyshire

2.3 miles/3.7km | 1.5 hours | easy–moderate

No matter what the season, Padley Gorge is a magical place/Credit: Getty

The river Derwent arcs through the eastern Peak District in a wooded vale with looming moorland shoulders. Tributaries tumble from the tops, foaming amid wizened woodlands little-changed in centuries.

Padley Gorge has the best of these, draining Burbage Moor to the Derwent at Grindleford. An enchanting stroll explores this chasm, pausing midway along to route at a cosy inn, before looping up through woodland-shrouded industrial heritage.

The route
  • 3.7km/2.3 miles
  • 1.5 hours
  • Easy/moderate
Padley Gorge walking route and map
Padley Gorge map

Saddleworth Moor, West Yorkshire

7.3 miles/11.7km | 4 hours | moderate

Butterly Reservoir, seen from the path, is just a short walk from the main route/Credit: Getty

Enjoy this inspiring 12km walk across England’s great watershed, the Pennine Divide, linking the villages of Marsden and Uppermill via boat-horse trails.

This walk links the Colne and Tame valleys, typical South Pennine countryside with distinctive architecture and robust history. Local trains make this linear walk between white and red rose camps a real pleasure.

The route
  • 11.7km/7.3 miles
  • 4 hours
  • Moderate
Saddleworth Moor walking route and map
Saddleworth Moor map

Chee Dale, Miller's Dale and Wye Dale, Derbyshire

4.2 miles/6.8km | 3 hours | moderate

In early summer, the banks of the River Wye bloom with meadowsweet/Credit: Neil Coates

Deep in the White Peak east of Buxton is a captivating area of countryside; a union of natural bounty and majestic engineering that together create a truly astounding landscape.

Although it may have its challenges, this 6.8km loop walk is readily accessible to all with a measure of agility and a sense of adventure.

The route
  • 6.8km/4.2 miles
  • 3 hours
  • Moderate
Chee Dale walking route and map
Miller's Dale map

Bakewell to Chatsworth, Derbyshire

7.3 miles/11.8km | 4 hours | moderate

Bridge over the River Derwent In Chatsworth Park, Derbyshire
The old bridge at Chatsworth, Peak District/Credit: Getty

One of our favourite mid-winter rambles is this easy 12km circular walk from the home of the delicious Bakewell pudding and across Calton Pastures to visit the Duke of Devonshire's home and parklands.

Winter is one of the loveliest times to take this walk, because you’ll often have the frosty meadows to yourself, and have a better chance of seeing wildlife, such as the herds of deer that graze in the mature Capability Brown-designed grounds.

The route
  • 11.8/7.3 miles
  • 4 hours
  • Moderate
Bakewell to Chatsworth walking route and map
Bakewell to Chatsworth House map

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire

5.5 miles/8.9km | 3 hours | moderate

Haddon Hall in winter, Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Haddon Hall in winter, Derbyshire/Credit: Getty

Roaring fires, glimmering lights and verdant garlands transform the austere atmosphere of this ancient manor house and its stern fortifications into a place of warmth and cheerful celebration.

Leaving the manor house behind, you can follow the meandering River Wye to Bakewell for more delights at All Saints Church and Vernon Chapel.

The route
  • 8.9km / 5.5 miles
  • 3 hours
  • Moderate
Haddon Hall walking route and map
Haddon Hall walking map

Monsal Dale, Derbyshire

4.6 miles/7.4km | 3 hours | moderate

This walk takes you through the River Wye's twisting, wooded gorge, deep in the White Peak/Credit: Getty

Ramble the high tracks and waterside paths of Monsal Dale in the Peak District National Park to revel in an explosion of seasonal colour, especially in autumn.

The route
  • 7.4km/4.6 miles
  • 3 hours
  • Moderate
Monsal Dale walking route and map
Monsal Dale map

Birchover, Derbyshire

5.3 miles/8.6km | 3 hours | moderate

Robin Hoods Stride in autumn
Rock formation near the village of Elton in the Peak District/Credit: Getty

Surrounding the Peak District village of Birchover is a haunting landscape of gritstone bluffs, standing stones, burial mounds and Bronze-Age stone circles, hidden in inky woodland or exposed on windswept upland.

The paths here are littered with the history and mythology of the south-east Peak, from the hermit of Cratcliffe Tor who led travellers to safety off the ancient Portway trail, to the notorious outlaw who leapt across the soaring pillars that straddled Robin Hood’s Stride. Explore this prehistoric landscape on a 8.6km walk.

The route
  • 8.6km/5.3 miles
  • 3 hours
  • Moderate
Birchover walking route and map
Birchover map

Ilam and Dove Dale, Staffordshire and Derbyshire

5 miles/8.2km | 3 hours | moderate

Heavily wooded slopes in Dove Dale, Peak District National Park
A beautiful landscape of deep green woodland on steep hillsides on the border of Derbyshire and Staffordshire/Credit: Getty

Explore Dove Dale and its surrounding countryside with a three-hour walk, starting at the pretty village of Ilam. Along the way you will discover the Church of the Holy Cross, beautiful Peak District meadows and stepping stones across a the River Dove.

The route
  • 8.2km/5 miles
  • 3 hours
  • Moderate
Dove Dale walking route and map
Ilam and Dove Dale map

Earl Sterndale to Hollinsclough, Derbyshire

5.5 miles/8.7km | 3.5 hours | moderate

Hollinsclough, Derbyshire
Farmland around Hollinsclough, Derbyshire/Credit: Getty

A 8.7km hike through the Peak District, starting at Earl Sterndale then climbing over Parkhouse and Chrome hills towards the village of Hollinsclough. The route starts at the Quiet Woman pub in Earl Sterndale, a 400-year-old inn with hand-painted signs of a decapitated barmaid.

The route
  • 8.7km/5.5 miles
  • 3.5 hours
  • Moderate
Earl Sterndale to Hollinsclough map and walking route
Chrome Hill map

Middleton to Youlgreave, Derbyshire

2.6 miles/4.3km | 1.5 hours | easy

Bradford Dale and bridge, Derbyshire
Bradford Dale and bridge, Derbyshire/Credit: Getty

Enjoy a 4.5km poetry walk from Middleton to Youlgreave, a literary treasure hunt created as a millennium project by Middleton and Smerrill Parish around its boundary.

The route
  • 4.3km/2.6 miles
  • 1.5 hours
  • Easy
Middleton to Youlgreave walking route and map
Middleton map

Hollins Cross, Derbyshire

5.2 miles/8.5km | 3.5 hours | moderate

Hollins Cross and Lose Hill ridge, Castleton, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire
Hollins Cross and Lose Hill ridge, Castleton, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire/Credit: Getty

An 8.5km hike from one of the Peak District's most beautiful villages to the top of Hollins Cross and Mam Tor. The route begins by crossing pastures alongside the Odin Sitch stream to meet the ‘Coffin Road’.

The route
  • 8.5km/5.2 miles
  • 3.5 hours
  • Moderate
Hollins Cross walking route and map
Hollins Cross map

Hathersage and Stanage Edge, Derbyshire

5.8 miles/9.4km | 3.5 hours | moderate

Stanage Edge, Peak District Nat. Park,Derbyshire
A sunny day below the rocky edge with a group of children taking part in a rock climbing exercise/Credit: Getty Getty

Follow in the footsteps of the Bronte sisters with a 9.5km walk from Hathersage to Stranage Edge in the Peak District National Park. In spring and summer the sweet song of a skylark fills the air.

The route
  • 9.4km/5.8 miles
  • 3.5 hours
  • Moderate
Stranage Edge walking route and map
Stranage Edge map


Daniel Graham of COuntryfile magazine on a hike with wet hair and blue coat and hills in background
Daniel GrahamOutdoors editor, BBC Countryfile Magazine

Danny is the outdoors editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, responsible for commissioning, editing and writing articles that offer ideas and inspiration for exploring the UK countryside.