A Stanage Edge walk is considered one of the top things to do in the Peak District. In this guide, I share a family-friendly walking route to Stanage Edge, as well as all the essential info you’ll need before visiting.
Stanage Edge is an impressive gritstone ridge in the Hope Valley, stretching for 4 miles and providing some of the best views in the Peak District. It’s popular amongst hikers, climbers, and adventure enthusiasts. It also appeared in the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.
There are several attractions to look forward to when walking Stanage Edge. As well as the iconic viewpoints and rock formations, there’s what’s believed to be Robin Hood’s Cave – an epic little sunset spot that remains quite the hidden gem.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about this fairly easy peak district walk. I’ll include how to get there, where to park, and the best time to visit so you’ll be well prepared for your Stanage Edge walk. Let’s get to it.
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Stanage Edge Circular Walk at a Glance
Time: 1-2 hours
Stanage Edge Walk FAQs
Before I share my experience walking to Stanage Edge, let’s cover some key information to help you plan accordingly.
How to Get There
Stanage Edge is situated in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District. It’s 2 miles north of Hathersage, 5 miles southeast of Ladybower Reservoir, and 8 miles east of Castleton. It’s also just a 25-minute drive from Sheffield.
While several routes and trails lead to Stanage Edge, the quickest and easiest way to get there is to park here on The Dale. This is the most effective way, as it allows you to walk the entire length of the ridge end to end. You can also try this Stanage Edge Car Park if that one is full.
Getting here by public transport is tricky but doable. The 272 bus runs between Sheffield and Castleton, stopping in Hathersage village. It’s a 1.5-mile walk from there to Stanage Edge, but it’s all uphill, so it won’t be convenient for everyone.
Best Time to Visit
Since Stanage Edge is one of the more accessible viewpoints in the Peak District, providing unrivalled views over the surrounding hills and landscapes, it is a very popular spot. It’s also one of the best places to watch the sunset in the peaks, which also draws the crowds.
We stayed nearby in our campervan for a few days, and there was a consistent flow of people heading to the rocks from morning through evening. Though, like most places, mornings are always quietest. So if you prefer to be alone on the trail, aim to arrive before 9 am.
Of course, the weekends and during school holidays will always be the busiest. The walk to Stanage Edge is one of few that are family-friendly in the area. We saw hikers of all ages enjoying the views from the ridge.
I would avoid visiting Stanage Edge during high winds, heavy rain, or poor visibility, especially if you’re with young children or are less abled on your feet. The rocks can be slippery and there are some steep-drop offs that could be fatal.
Stanage Edge Walk Difficulty
As I mentioned earlier, this is one of the easier walks in the Peak District. While a bit of climbing is involved to get to the top of the ridge, it’s mostly flat once you’re up there. The climb to the top is manageable too. Anybody of a reasonable fitness level will handle it with no issues.
There are several trails in this area, allowing you to increase the length and intensity of your hike should you wish to. Of course, you could walk all along Stanage Edge and back again. You could start your hike in Hathersage. Or you could incorporate other neighbouring peaks like Higger Tor.
Stanage Edge Walk Map
Other Things Worth Knowing
Dogs: The entirety of Stanage Edge trail is dog-friendly. Our 11-year-old Jack Russell/Chihuahua handled the route with no problems.
Kids: Your kids will love this hike too! Stanage Edge is child-friendly, but keep a close eye on them when walking along the ridge.
Pushchair/Wheelchair Access: Unfortunately, the route to Stanage Edge is not accessible with a pushchair or wheelchair.
Footwear: Supportive footwear with a good grip is a hiking essential for this walk.
Weather: Be mindful that the weather can change quickly in the hills. Be prepared for all the seasons.
Facilities: You will find bins, shops, pubs, toilets etc. in Hathersage village. Other than that, there are no facilities. Bring enough food and water for your hike, and take all your rubbish home.
Map: It’s always good to have a map handy should you get lost or lose the trail. We use All Trails for this purpose.
Hiking Essential Items
Check out our Hiking Must Haves Blog for a list of hiking essentials for each and every adventure. Alternatively, 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 essentials for your adventure:
Our Experience on the Stanage Edge Walk
After a consistent few weeks of great weather (unheard of in the UK), we were buzzing for our sunset mission to Stanage Edge. We’d already seen photos of how epic the sunsets can get here. Looking at the sky, we were confident it would be a good one.
We set off from where we’d parked the van on The Dale. Despite it being a weekday, there were quite a few other people around with the same idea. We weren’t surprised. It’s an unspoken rule in the UK that when the weather is good, you have to make the most of it.
We followed the obvious trail toward Stanage Edge whilst the setting sun cast a magical golden glow on the surrounding scenery. The mighty gritstone ridge stood invitingly in the distance.
Approaching the foot of the rocks, we could see a few different trails leading to the top. Some looked easier than others, but it’s hard to tell when you’re that far down. We took the track on the left, which appeared to be the most defined and well-trodden.
It was a straightforward route up with just a minimal amount of climbing as we neared the top. From there, the trail is fairly linear. Although, you’ll need to dodge over and around some rocks as you traverse the ridge.
The sky was starting to put on a show, and I took tons of photos as we walked. There are plenty of incredible viewpoints and cool rock formations, so if you find there are lots of people at the start, don’t worry. Just keep on walking, and you’re sure to find a spot all to yourself further along on Stanage Edge.
Our mission was to make it to Robin Hood’s cave, which we got to just as we were about to lose the sun behind the horizon. Other than one other person, we were completely alone. It’s a famous location, but it’s actually quite hidden. You would only notice it if you were looking for it.
There weren’t enough clouds to get the expl0sion of colours we were hoping for, but it was still up there as one of the most unforgettable sunsets we had in the Peak District. The clear evening allowed for astonishing views stretching for miles and miles. In the distance, we could make out other famous peaks, such as Mam Tor and Kinder Scout.
I talk more about Robin Hood’s Cave, how to find it, its history etc., in this blog post. For now, I will let the photos do the talking of this magical sunset spot.
Enjoy This Stanage Edge Walk!
I hope you enjoy this breathtaking location as much as we did. It’s one of the best Peak District viewpoints, in my opinion, and makes for a one of the best Peak District walks. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.