If you’re looking for a list of easy walks in the Peak District, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, I share 12 of the easier Peak District walking routes as well as all the relevant info you’ll need to help plan your visit.
It’s no secret that the Peak District is a walker’s paradise. With its enchanting dales and adventurous peaks to its dramatic ridges and picturesque reservoirs, there’s endless fun to be had on the never-ending trails.
You don’t need to be an experienced hiker to enjoy walking in the Peak District, either. While, of course, there are plenty of challenging hikes, there are also flat trails, accessible routes, and family-friendly adventures for all to enjoy.
In this guide, I’m excited to share 12 of the most beautiful easy walks in the Peak District. Some are entirely flat, others involve minimal climbing, and most will take less than an hour or 2 to complete. So be sure to read until the end to find the walking routes that suit you best. Let’s get to it.
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Top 12 Easy Walks in the Peak District
Okay, let’s jump into what you came here for. I have done every walk on this list and can assure you that these are some of the most beautiful easy walks in the Peak District.
From gentle reservoir walks and scenic hiking trails to accessible routes with breathtaking views, I hope you enjoy these 12 easy walking routes.
1. Stanage Edge Circular Walk
Time: 1-2 hours
Starting Point: The Dale Parking
I’m kicking off the list with one of my favourite easy walks in the Peak District. This one is perfect if you want to experience one of the Peak District’s best viewpoints but without a gruelling hike.
Located in the heart of the Hope Valley, Stanage Edge is a famous location in the national park. Thanks to its appearance in the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, fans visit from far and wide to have a photo on what’s now known as the ‘Keira Knightley Rock’.
This circular walk of Stanage Edge doesn’t take you to that particular viewpoint; however, the views are equally impressive. It involves a short climb onto the ridge, but it’s relatively flat from that point onwards. If you have the time/energy, you could also visit Robin Hood’s Cave.
2. Dovestone Reservoir Circular Walk
Time: 1-2 hours
Starting Point: Dovestone Car Park
Those looking for a family-friendly walking route in the Peak District should consider this circular walk of Dovestone Reservoir. It’s less popular than other beauty spots in the Peak District, but the views are out of this world.
Anybody of a reasonable fitness level will enjoy this walking trail. Not only is it paved and of even terrain, but there is also minimal incline. You can easily push a pram or pushchair around, and it’s also suitable for cycling.
There are plenty of opportunities for those looking to up the intensity of their walk. There are two neighbouring reservoirs to walk around (Greenfield and Yeoman Hey), as well as the adventurous Trinnacle Trail for those up to the challenge.
3. Monsal Trail
The Monsal Trail is one of the most popular easy walking routes in the Peak District. A flat, accessible trail that runs between Chee Dale and Bakewell, it’s suitable for walkers, cyclists, horse riders, prams and wheelchairs.
What’s interesting about this route is that it used to be a railway line. The old tunnels remain part of the trail alongside a spectacular Headstone Viaduct. The flat route traverses some of the Peak District’s most scenic limestone valleys.
The Monsal Trail is 8.5 miles long from end to end, but you can make your walk as long or as short as you please.
4. Monsal Head Circular Route
Time: < 1 hour
Starting Point: Monsal Head Car Park
A slight detour off the Monsal Trail is Monsal Head – one of the best and most accessible viewpoints in the Peak District. From here, you can enjoy jaw-dropping views over the Monsal Valley featuring the iconic Headstone Viaduct, one of the most impressive in the UK.
You can drive to Monsal Head and enjoy the views without any walking at all, but this circular walking route is well worth a try. It does involve a fairly steep ascent and descent into the valley, but it’s short, so it will be achievable for most.
Highlights of this easy Peak District walk include the River Wye, a waterfall, and walking beneath the enormous Headstone Viaduct. There are also plenty of areas by the river that are perfect for a picnic.
5. Mam Tor
Time: 1-2 hours
Starting Point: Mam Tor Car Park
You wouldn’t expect one of the highest and most famous peaks in the Peak District to be on this list, but the classic out-and-back walking route of Mam Tor is, in fact, a fairly easy walk.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s a bit of a leg burner to get to the top, but oh so worth it for what awaits at the summit.
It’s the spectacular panoramic views from Mam Tor that entice walkers of all ages and capabilities to tackle the climb. On a clear day, you can see for mile upon miles – the lush English countryside at its very best. The unobstructed view also makes this a prime sunrise and sunset spot.
To tackle this easy Peak District walk, you’ll want to park on Mam Tor Road, where the trailhead begins. As I say, it is quite an incline to get to the top, but the path is well-maintained and easy to follow. Most will get to the top in under 30 minutes.
6. Ladybower Reservoir
Time: 4-5 hours
Starting Point: Ashopton Viaduct
Another reservoir walk that’s proven to be a family favourite is Ladybower Reservoir. One of three reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Valley, the popular circular walk is often considered one of the top things to do when visiting the Peak District.
The classic waterside route takes you through some flat woodland paths and over the Derwent Dam while providing stunning views over the reservoir. It’s well-paved throughout, so suitable for cyclists, prams, and wheelchairs.
If you prefer a more challenging hike that allows for views of the reservoir from above, I recommend this circular walk of Ladybower Reservoir via Derwent Edge.
7. B29' Overexposed' Crash Site Walk
Time: 1-2 hours
Starting Point: Snake Pass Summit
The B29′ Overexposed’ Crash Site walk is up there with one of the most unusual hikes in the Peak District. Its highlight the wreckage of a B-29 Superfortress and a memorial site standing amidst the moors.
The fated plane was part of the United States Air Force 16th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. It tragically crashed on 3rd November 1948 whilst descending in poor visibility, killing all 13 crew members.
I class this walking route as one of the easier walks in the Peak District. That’s because the trail is well-trodden, paved, and easy to follow, and there isn’t much of an incline to worry about either.
8. Cave Dale
Time: 1-2 hours
Starting Point: Castleton Village
Cave Dale is an awesome, easy walk in the Peak District because it has incredible views and an adventurous feel, but you don’t need to walk far to experience it.
The trailhead starts directly in Castleton, one of the prettiest Peak District villages, and opens into a dramatic limestone valley.
The easy 2-mile circular walk is suitable for all the family. It allows you to explore the entire length of the dale, taking in views of Peveril Castle and the craggy limestone cliffs and ends in the village, where you can stop for refreshments.
Regarding the terrain, it starts mostly flat and then gradually ascends. Some rocky and gravelly sections can get slippery, but other than that, it’s easy to manage. Unfortunately, the path isn’t suitable for prams or wheelchairs.
9. Bakewell Village Walk
Walking around the charming streets of Bakewell was one of the highlights of our time in the Peak District. It may not be your typical Peak District walk, but I thought it deserved a spot on this list nonetheless.
There are many things to see and do in Bakewell, from trying the traditional desserts and shopping in the unique local shops to walking along the scenic River Wye and visiting the Love Lock Bridge.
You must also visit the All Saints Church when visiting Bakewell. An impressive medieval structure overlooking the town, this is one of England’s most beautiful parish churches with a fascinating history.
10. Thors Cave
Time: 1 hour
Starting Point: Wetton Car Park
No Peak District itinerary is complete without a walk to Thors Cave. An 80-metre-high cavern with an unmistakable arched entrance, the famous viewpoint overlooks jaw-dropping views of the Manifold Valley.
There’s also a mythical legend attached to the cave. Some believe the cave connects to ‘Thor’ – the Norse god of thunder. Others, more logically perhaps, believe that ‘Thor’ relates to ‘Tor’ meaning hill.
Either way, Thors Cave is well worth a visit, and this easy walk from Wetton is a firm family favourite. It’s a reasonably flat, manageable trail, but it wouldn’t be suitable with prams because of the terrain. Also, take care inside the cave because it is very slippery.
11. Manifold Way
Another way to access Thors Cave is via the Manifold Way – An 8-mile trail between Hulme End and Waterhouses. This route is a bit like the Monsal Trail, as its flat and well-maintained surface attracts cyclists, riders, wheelchair users, and walkers with prams.
Again, you don’t have to cover the entire length of the trail in one day. There are various parking areas throughout the route, which passes through stunning countryside, atmospheric limestone hills, lush woodland and wildflower meadows.
I should point out that while Thors Cave is accessible via the Manifold Way, it does involve quite a strenuous climb up some stone steps, so it wouldn’t be suitable for those with prams, wheelchairs, or bikes.
12. Wolfscote Dale
Time: 1-2 hrs
Starting Point: Beresford Lane
Last but by no means least on this list of easy Peak District walks is Wolfscote Dale. A gorgeous walking trail that snakes alongside the River Dove, it’s one of the most peaceful routes I encountered whilst exploring the national park.
The riverside trail is also one of the most family-friendly, with a manageable gravel path that’s flat and well-maintained.
The out-and-back route encounters epic limestone gorges, cool natural caves, and lush countryside. All with the serene sounds of the river as the soundtrack. Beautiful.
Hiking Essential Items
Here are some essential items I recommend you have in preparation for your walk:
- Sturdy worn-in hiking boots
- Twin Skin Socks
- A waterproof hiking backpack
- A refillable water bottle
- A waterproof jacket
- Life straw
- Hiking snacks
- Blister plasters
- First aid kit
- Power bank
Here are some other essential for your adventure:
My Top Tips for Easy Walking in the Peak District
Are dogs allowed on the trails? All of these Peak District hikes are suitable for dogs. We had our 11-year-old Jack Russell/Chihuahua with us the entire time. He loved it. But please keep dogs on a lead around livestock.
Facilities on the trails: It’s rare to find any facilities on the trails unless you pass through a village. Take enough food and water for your hike, and take all your rubbish home.
Weather: The weather in the Peak District can change quickly and dramatically. You’ll want to come prepared for all of the seasons.
Hiking Essentials: Don’t leave home without the hiking essentials. These include hiking footwear, a waterproof jacket, a power bank, a water bottle, hiking snacks, and a head torch. Check out my full list of hiking essentials here.
Enjoy these Easy Peak District Walks!
I hope you have as much fun as we did on these easy walking routes in the Peak District. The national park is a playground for nature lovers, and the countless trails provide endless opportunities for adventure.
If you’re visiting the area soon, you might find some of these Peak District articles interesting. They include the best Peak District Walks, the Best Viewpoints in the Peak District, and the Best Peak District Villages.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out! Otherwise, happy and safe hiking!