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Escape the Crowds

Rachel Bolton Peak walking adventures

Peak Walking Adventures Guide, Rachel Bolton, shares her great Peak District escapes…..

“The Peak District, the UK’s first national park, is a popular area of high, wild country, lowland moors and villages. It provides solitude and stunning views with abundant history; there are also great public transport links into the heart of the park. 

Trains to the Dark Peak

Trains from Sheffield and Manchester stop at stations including Edale, Hathersage and Hope, giving easy access to the Dark Peak Hills – and you can even walk between stations: try Edale to Hope station via Kinder Scout and/or Win hill; or start at Grindleford and walk down to Padley Gorge and by the side of the majestic river Derwent to Hathersage station. The Trans Peak bus service connects the major towns of Buxton, Matlock and Bakewell with Derby.

A Quieter Ramble

For a quieter ramble of five to ten miles, I’d head for moorland areas such as Abney Moor, Eyam Moor and Offerton Moor, all near to Hathersage. The moorlands offer a variety of paths and for a longer walk – I often link the three moors together. Nearby pubs with great food and accommodation include the Barrel Inn at Bretton and the Plough Inn near Hathersage.

Eyam and the Plague

Eyam, the plague village of 1666, has many off-the-beaten paths to explore close to the village and linked to the remarkable history of the communities’ survival during the plague. Visit Eyam Tea Rooms for coffee and cake.

The Limestone White Peak

Further south is the White Peak area, so named because of its limestone geology. Elton village is a good base for a gentle five-mile stroll to Gratton Dale, a great place for a quiet picnic. It is a secluded limestone dale with an abundance of wildflowers and trees.

Wirksworth – a Gem!

On the fringe of the park is the lesser-known but historic former lead mining town of Wirksworth, a gem of a town with a creative spirit and surrounded by hills. It boasts a Stardisc for sky watchers – a 21st-century stone circle and celestial amphitheatre. A short walk from the town brings you to the family- and dog-friendly National Stone Centre Museum and its excellent Blue Lagoon Cafe, all close to the High Peak Trail (a former “trans-peak” railway line with cycle hire). There are great walking connections to the Derwent Valley Mills Unesco heritage site at Cromford, where Richard Arkwright established his famous Cromford Mill.

For evening activities in Wirksworth try Le Mistral, a French bistro and wine shop or the Feather Star Inn for local beers (and vinyl – it’s also a record shop!). The Northern Light is Wirksworth’s tiny, unique and excellent cinema. The hills surrounding Wirksworth are easily accessible to visitors from the south of the country and the area is also an excellent escape from the crowds, including woodland walks near Black Rocks and Bow Wood above Cromford (where there is a rail link to Derby). Alport Height, Middleton Moor and Brassington Moor are also a delight to walk to, with far reaching views and open spaces.

Harborough Rocks and Carsington Water

Good food is available at the Olde Gate Inn in Brassington – a good base to enjoy walks up to Harborough Rocks (two hours/five miles), with stunning views over Carsington Water (itself a family-friendly facility). Good self-catering accommodation includes nearby Hopton Hall Holiday Cottages.

For information about our Guided Walks visit: www.peakwalking.com

We also offer a number of wellbeing and team walks for Corporate or Private Guided Walk Groups. If you would like to find out more, do contact us

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