8 Jan 2018

My Favourite Peak District Hikes of 2017

2017 was a year filled with some pretty wonderful hikes in the Peak District.  Almost every weekend and a lot of weekday dog walks saw me pack up my camera and head out of the city to another beautiful destination.  Hikes like these fill me with such inspiration, but also act like a reset button if I'm ever stressed or anxious.  They've become such a regular part of my life and I couldn't be happier for it.

I thought I'd share some of the locations that I loved visiting as some inspiration for locals and visitors alike.  If you've never visited the Peak District, you need to add it to your list for 2018!

1. Winnat's Pass, Castleton, Derbyshire.
2017 was the first time I'd hiked up the side of Winnat's Pass, which in itself is a bit ridiculous seeing as it is such a popular location for local photographers.  I managed to get up there during three of the four seasons, which let me record the wonderful changing landscape and colours.

During the summer be aware that you'll be greeted with a forest of nettles, so don't do what my boyfriend did and wear shorts; jeans are a must!

There are lots of different routes you can take, including walking alongside the road in the pass and on either side at the top.  My personal favourite is the above, which has access through a stile on the left as you reach the junction at the top of the pass.


2. Lathkill Dale, Derbyshire.

Lathkill Dale is utterly beautiful in the summer months.  The paths are lined with wild flowers such as roses, forget-me-nots and cow parsley, and the sound of the gently flowing river fill the air.  As well as natural beauty, the walk sees the remains of old industry as the area was once used for mining lead.  You can still climb down an old mine shaft and see the water that runs underground.

Old mill ponds are home to plenty of fish and waterfowl and are perfect to sit alongside and enjoy a picnic.

I like to park in Over Haddon and follow the steep hill down from the car park.  The routes are signposted.


3. Bamford Edge, Derbyshire.

Some of my favourite views are found from the rocks that line Bamford Edge.  You can see Win Hill, Ladybower reservoir and so much more.  It is another area that is beautiful year-round, but in late August, early September the moors turn purple with the flowering heather and it is definitely a sight not to be missed!

I usually access the route via New Road which is on the way into Bamford.


4. Cave Dale, Derbyshire.

Cave Dale is another fantastic walk that you can access from Castleton.  It is a steeply sided, limestone valley where you can access an amazing view of Peveril Castle.  I like to walk up the right hand side towards the castle, then across fields above.  From there you get wonderful views of Mam Tor, Lose Hill, Winnat's Pass and Castleton.  If you walk towards the castle, there is a path that runs alongside a patch of woodland, which leads to a gate back into the village.  If you fancy a much longer walk, you can even go all the way from here to Winnat's Pass!

Access via a narrow entrance between Bargate and Pindale Road.


5. Wyming Brook Nature Reserve, Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

I love Wyming Brook because it makes me feel like I'm a million miles from the city, when in reality it is only a short drive from where I live.  It is a beautiful wooded valley with the prettiest river running through it.  My favourite route includes narrow bridges and rocky scrambles right on the edge of the river, however there is also a much easier bridleway further up the side of the valley.

You can access Wyming Brook either from the car park off Redmires Road or Manchester Road.  I prefer the latter as the second half of the walk is downhill!


6. Thor's Cave, Staffordshire.

Thor's Cave had been on my list of places that I wanted to visit for ages, so I was so glad to have been able to visit last year.  As it's in Staffordshire, it is a bit of a longer drive from Sheffield, but totally worth it.

In parts it is a fairly steep climb up to the cave, but there are steps.  Getting into the cave is an entirely different matter.  I'd recommend trying to go when it isn't wet because I had a real pain trying to get in there (and in front of an audience of other hikers of course...).  Once inside though, it is beyond stunning.

Whilst there we found out that the cave was used for shelter by ancient humans and animals.  The remains of Giant Red Deer and Bears have been discovered in the area and it was also a Bronze Age Burial site!

We parked in a lay by off Leek Road, crossed a bridge and followed the path from there.


7. Lady Clough Forest, Derbyshire.

Lady Clough was a late discovery in 2017.  Before Christmas we drove out along Snake Pass looking for a new walk to go on, but didn't anticipate stumbling upon an area where the snow we'd had earlier in the week had yet to melt.  Wandering amongst the tall pines with a thick blanket of snow underfoot, we could have easily been in an Alpine forest, high in the mountains.

Access to the forest is easiest if you park in Hope Woodland car park on Snake Pass and cross over the road.


8. Ashop Moor, Derbyshire.

I suppose this technically could be included with Lady Clough Forest seeing I had to walk through there to get to it, but it is certainly deserving of its own mention.  Ashop Moor is bleak, wild, isolated and breathtakingly beautiful.  The sprawling moorland looks out over towards the Kinder Scout Nature Reserve like something out of a fantasy novel.

The couple of paths that I've hiked have been one higher up the moor and one that runs alongside River Ashop.  Seeing as when I visited the snow was melting, the moorland was alive with the sound of water running through the grasses and heather, as well a decent dose of wind and rain!

It is definitely an area where I'm going to explore more this year.



I'm now compiling a list of lots of new locations and routes to explore in 2018.  I want to try and go on as many totally new ones as I can, but also I'd really like to plan ahead a little more so that I can visit some amazing places further from home.  Last year I was getting to grips with my work/life balance, so when it came to planning weekend activities I pretty much sucked.  Needless to say I'm so excited for this year!


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4 comments

  1. So beautiful, I really want to go back, it's been years since I've had the chance to walk the Peaks. Such wonderful photos too!

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    1. If you get the chance to you must! Thanks so much x

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  2. Oh this all looks so lovely. The Peak and Lake Districts are places very high on my list to visit. It's funny I live on Dartmoor and probably take it for granted. Time to head out more!

    K.

    www.wonderingthrough.co.uk

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    1. That's how I feel about the Peaks to be honest! Need to make more of an effort to go elsewhere, although it's hard when it's this lovely and so close by. x

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