With winter behind us, and the perks of spring arriving in Derbyshire, it is likely that days out in nature will be high up on many people’s to-do lists. Filling your lungs with a breath of fresh countryside air can do wonders for not just your physical health but also your mental health.
Spoilt for a choice is an understatement when trying to pick a walking route in the Peak District – the sheer spectrum of choice for unique walking routes is immense. From abandoned train lines to dried-up reservoirs, there is a new trail waiting for you behind every nook and cranny of the stunning national park.
With the Peak District being a short drive from Derby, as well as being exceptionally accessible for the rest of Derbyshire, it is no surprise that the park is popular with locals and tourists. And this year three routes in the area have been named in the top 51 UK walks by consumer researcher Which?.
Read more: The Peak District stargazing spots named as some of the best in the UK
Only the Lake District had more routes included in the list, which judged walks on factors such as wildlife, scenery and accessibility.
The highest placed spot in the Peak District is Stanage Edge, a popular spot for climbers and walkers, the scenery this route provides was the reason for the high ranking. With awe-inspiring views of the beautiful Hope Valley, this route is fairly exposed, so bring a jacket if it’s windy or sun cream if visiting on a particularly warm day.
Located just north of the village of Hathersage, the gritstone edge stretches roughly four miles, making for a great day out walking. The views are so stunning that parts of the classic film Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley were filmed along the edge.
Although Which? provides a low food and drink rating for Stanage Edge, there are still pubs within the area to finish your day. A personal recommendation is to finish your expedition at the Norfolk Arms pub at the top of Ringinglow Road, which makes a delicious pie to warm you up after a hard day’s walk.
Sat guarding over the picturesque village of Castleton lies the stoic monument of Mam Tor. On clear days you can see as far as Manchester. The “shivering mountain” is one of the most famous hills in the country, known for the frequent landslips on its eastern face that have resulted in a multitude of “mini-hills” beneath the hill.
With steep, unforgiving peaks, Mam Tor is a great day out for anyone looking for a challenge that provides rewarding sights along the entire journey. Like Stanage Edge, Mam Tor was ranked highly for the scenery encompassing the route, such as fantastic views of the limestone parts of the National Park, including the dry gorge of Winnats Pass.
And if you don’t fancy a trek up the famed landmark, perhaps going underneath the ground would be better. Being near Castleton, Mam Tor has a number of caverns just below it, such as: Treak Cliff Cavern, Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern and Peak Cavern.
Dovedale to Milldale
A gentle three-mile walk with plenty of alluring highlights connects Dovedale to Milldale. Beginning from the quaint village of Milldale, a stroll along the meandering River Dove leads you to Dovedale.
With Wildflower meadows, impressive limestone rock faces and untamed woodland, Dovedale has a lot to offer for photographers. You would be forgiven for thinking you had been placed into a scene from Lord of the Rings with how impressive the hills within Dovedale are.
The Dovedale caves with their impressive geological formations provide an interesting sight for both kids and adults. And if you feel the caves might be too claustrophobic, perhaps hop and skip across the stepping stones which run along one of the numerous serene rivers in the valley.