The Peak District – Out & About

Each cottage has a wide selection of information on place to visit or explore during your stay and here are some ideas to help you plan your visit to the Peak District.

Carsington Water, Carsington:   Carsington Water is a local centre for outdoor activities – there is a sailing club active next door to the Visitor Centre, and there are many opportunities for walking and cycling around the reservoir and the surrounding villages. Cycle hire is available and there is plentiful car parking. For young children there is a children’s playground near the visitor centre.

Derwent Valley:  The Upper Valley of the Derwent is a deep valley surrounded by gritstone edges and dominated by three great reservoirs, constructed by the Derwent Valley Water Board primarily to provide water for Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham and Leicester. A great area for walking and cycling.

High Peak Trail, Cromford: The High Peak Trail takes the line of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway between Parsley Hey and Cromford. Cycle hire is available at Parsley Hay (tel: 01298 84493) and Middleton Top (tel: 01629 823204).

High Peak Junction & Leawood Pumphouse, Cromford: Nestled in the Derwent Valley it was the hub of transport activity, now a true haven of heritage and wildlife. The junction is literally the junction of the Cromford Canal and the High Peak Trail. It lies a mile to the south east of Cromford village. It is in the beautiful Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. It is a haven for wildlife and is the ideal location for a stroll or a heritage or nature walk.

The Monsal Trail, Bakewell:  The Monsal Trail is a traffic free route for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users through some of the Peak District’s most spectacular limestone dales. The trail runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale and Coombs Road, at Bakewell. Most of the route was opened to the public in 1981 but four former railway tunnels had to remain closed due to safety reasons, with public footpaths taking people around them. From 2011 the four railway tunnels – Headstone Tunnel, Cressbrook Tunnel, Litton Tunnel, Chee Tor Tunnel – were opened for trail users. Each tunnel is about 400 metres long and will be lit during normal daylight hours. Two shorter tunnels – Chee Tor No.2 and Rusher Cutting – already formed part of the Monsal Trail.   You can now experience the full length of the former railway route at their own pace and see breathtaking views at places like Water-cum-Jolly Dale that have remained hidden since the railway closed in 1968.

Tissington Trail, Ashbourne / Tissington:  The London and North-Western railway opened its line between Buxton and Ashbourne in 1899 and closed it in 1966. The line was purchased by the Peak National Park and Derbyshire County Council in 1971 and reopened as the Tissington Trail, for cyclists and walkers. The southern end of the trail starts just out of Ashbourne, on the Mapledon road.

Arbor Low, Parsley Hey / Youlgrave:  Arbor Low is the finest Stone Age ‘henge’ monument in the North of England, a site of unique archaeological and cultural interest. The site is situated on a high point 375 metres above sea level and, though it this not an impressive hill, the view on a fine day is stunning. It can be a bleak place in bad weather and a gorgeous spot on a fine spring morning, so the monument and its situation can hardly fail to impress the visitor.

Buxton Crescent, Buxton:  In the late 18th century Buxton followed the fashion of Bath and other centres and was developed as a spa by the great local landowner, the 5th Duke of Devonshire. At the time, he was making vast profits from his copper mines at nearby Ecton in the Manifold valley, and these are reputed to have paid for his building work in Buxton.

Mam Tor, Castleton:  Mam Tor is a famous viewpoint and landmark, rearing up above the valleys of Hope and Edale. Known as the ‘shivering mountain’, it is comprised of shale and the East face is a dramatic and loose expanse of crumbling rock. The area below the face is constantly on the move and each period of heavy rain undermines the loose shale and causes it to slip further down the valley.

Stanton Moor, Stanton in the Peak:  Stanton Moor is in a fine position overlooking both the Derwent and Wye valleys. Possibly it is for this reason that it was chosen as a centre by the Bronze Age inhabitants of the area, who have left so many traces of their occupation upon the moor.

Dovedale, Thorpe near Ashbourne:  Dovedale is the name given to the section of the Dove valley between Milldale and Thorpe Cloud, which contains some of the most spectacular limestone gorge scenery available in this country. Everywhere the river is flanked by steep cliffs, with numerous caves and rock pillars, of which Ilam Rock is only the most spectacular. Below Ilam Rock the valley narrows, and the path even has a short stretch where duck-boards have been erected to save walkers from having to wade the river. Then it opens out again and high on the left lies Reynard’s Cave, a large cave with a natural arch in front. From the cave you have a fine view of the Dale.

Peveril Castle, Castleton:  The imposing ruins of Peveril Castle stand high above the pretty village of Castleton in the heart of Derbyshire’s Peak District.  Mentioned in the Domesday survey, Peveril Castle is one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses. The keep was built by Henry II in 1176. A climb to the castle at the top of the hill to enjoy the breathtaking views over the Hope Valley is a highlight of a family day out in Castleton.

Monsal Head, Monsal Head:  Monsal Head is a famous beauty spot with a magnificent view down Monsal Dale and up the Wye valley. The position is at a spot where the Wye, on its passage eastwards to meet the Derwent, encounters a band of harder rock and is forced to make a sharp turn southwards and carve its way through a high ridge of limestone. The view is spectacular, with the river far below, winding through a steep-sided and often rocky valley.

Stanage Edge, Hathersage:  Stanage is the largest and most impressive of the gritstone edges. Situated on the moors north of Hathersage, and visible from miles away down in the Hope Valley, it stretches for a length of approximately six kilometres (3.5 miles) from its northern tip at Stanage End to the southern point near the Cowper Stone. At about is mid-point the edge is crossed by Long Causeway, the old Roman road from Navio (Brough) to Doncaster. It is a famous location for rock-climbing and a popular spot for walkers.

The Roaches, Upperhulme:  The Roaches, with Hen Cloud and Ramshaw Rocks, form a gritstone escarpment which marks the south-western edge of the Peak. Best viewed from the approach along the Leek road, they stand as a line of silent sentinels guarding the entrance to the Peak District, worn into fantastic shapes by the elements.