5 bucket-list walks in the Peak District

Lukas Saville from travel company 10Adventures tells us his five bucket-list walks in the Peak District.

The United Kingdom may not be famed for its high mountains, but when it comes to beautiful natural spots, this small country really packs a punch! With 15 national parks to choose from, visitors are spoiled for choice: you’ll find towering cliffs, beautiful beaches, deep forests, unique medieval settlements, and breathtaking mountains and valleys.

The Peak District is the UK’s oldest national park, and is situated in some of England’s finest countryside. This beautiful spot provides spectacular opportunities for hiking, with accessible, well-marked trails through dramatic peaks and lush valleys. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular hiking destinations in the UK.

Looking for inspiration for your next hiking trip? Here are five amazing walks in the Peak District to add to your bucket list:

1. Padley Gorge
Distance: 3.7 mi, elevation: 643 ft, time: 2h, difficulty rating: 2/5

Padley Gorge is an amazing trail suitable for the whole family. At just two hours, it’s perfect for walkers of all levels, and passes through dense woodland with views of magnificent gritstone ridges. Aim to complete this walk in spring, when Yarncliffe Wood is covered in a carpet of magnificent bluebells, and you may catch a glimpse of the rare Pied Flycatchers, which stop off in the Peak District on their return from their annual migration to West Africa.

2. The Roaches and Lud's Church
Distance: 7.1 mi, elevation: 1,230 ft, time: 3-4h, difficulty rating: 3/5

This walk to the Roaches and Lud’s Church is a perfect introduction to the myth and majesty of the Peak District. The Roaches is the name given to the craggy ridge that rises above Leek and Tittesworth Reservoir, known for its unusual rock formations and spooky legends. Don’t tarry around Doxley Pool, near the top of the ridge, as you may fall prey to the local malevolent mermaid, famous for ensnaring local walkers! The mossy trench known as Lud’s Church is another important piece of local history, reputed to have been a hideout for Robin Hood and his band of merry men. Whether the stories are true or not, this spectacular walk is sure to delight.

3. Dovedale Circular
Distance: 7.2 mi, elevation: 1,444 ft, time: 2.5-4 h, difficulty rating: 3/5

The Dovedale Circular is one of the most popular walks in the Peak District, and it’s certainly not hard to see why. The route is a little strenuous, but the rewards are abundant: expect spectacular panoramic views, impressive natural caves known as the Dove Holes, and unusual rock formations such as the Tissington Spires. The River Dove snakes through the valley and is a popular spot for trout fishing. Marvel at the remarkable limestone features of the Peak District, and enjoy one of the region’s best circular walks.

4. Stanage Edge
Distance: 6.5 mi, elevation: 1,690 ft, time: 3-4 h, difficulty rating: 4/5

This Stanage Edge walk is a reasonably challenging hike through some of the Peak District’s finest landscapes, famous for providing inspiration to English literary figures such as Charlotte Bronte. Walkers can enjoy fabulous views over Mam Tor and Kinder Scout, and the breathtaking valleys of Derwent and Hope. Along the way you’ll pass important sites of local history, including North Lees Hall, and the legendary grave of Little John, Robin Hood’s loyal follower and friend.

5. The Great Ridge and Win Hill
Distance: 13.1mi, elevation: 2,625 ft, time: 5-6 h, difficulty rating: 5/5

Looking for a real Peak District challenge? The Great Ridge and Win Hall walk is a challenging trail and one of the most popular ridge walks in England. The route offers magnificent views over the Upper Derwent Valley, and the Vales of Edale and Hope. This is a wonderful way to fully appreciate the picturesque gritstone ridges of the enigmatic Dark Peaks.

These five walks are some of the best in the Peak District, but there are plenty of other routes to discover! For more inspiration and tips for bucket list hikes, check out this guide to walks in the Peak District.