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All About the Peak District National Park

The Peak District National Park is 55 sq miles which forms the southern side of the Pennines and includes 1600 miles of public rights of way to explore by foot.

Amoungst the stunning landscapes and changing scenery from heather moorlands to limestone plateaus is pretty villages and market towns to enjoy.

The area is widely thought of as having some of the best climbing in the country with its stunning views across the limestone faces amongst other beautiful vistas.

Climbing and rambling are just two of many activities to be enjoyed in this nature lovers paradise, horseriding, caving, cycling fishing are all enjoyed in the area.

The Peak District in Derbyshire – Image by @alysha.tse via Twenty20

Top 5 Beautiful Areas in the Peak District

Devil’s Arse (or Peak Cavern), Castleton

You may not have thought a place called Devils Arse would make it onto a Top 5 Beautiful list.. however, a walk through this stunning cave makes for a memorable day out.

You can also take a boat trip around the nearby Speedwell Cavern.

Stanage Edge

A popular spot for climbers who flock to this spot, you can still fully enjoy Stanage Edge without the ropes with several little pathways carved out. Once you have made it to the top, you can walk along the ridge to enjoy some spectacular views.

One of the best spots to take a picnic and enjoy views of the Peak District as you can see for miles down into the valleys and hills below.

Thor’s Cave

An incredible 60ft tall cave entranceway with amazing views over the Peak District. Thor’s Cave stands 350 ft above the valley and requires you to hike up to it, care also needs to be taken as there are some steep drops from the entrance.

There have been findings around the cave to support the thought that it was used as a shelter by human ancestors during the later Stone Age, around 11,000 years ago. Tools, pottery, amber beads and at least 7 burial sites have been found here.

Padley Gorge

A magical spot, these incredibly photogenic falls covered in lush green grass with flowing streams and hundreds of years old trees are a must-see in the Peak District.

Due to its popularity, its well worth going to view Padley Gorge outside of school holidays or early in the day, although there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy a picnic or bbq and is surrounded by great walks to enjoy.

Nine Ladies Stone Circle

An easy spot to stop by as its just a 5 minute walk from the car park, the Nine Ladies Stone Circle is a historical landmark which is well worth a look.

Although it may look like just a circle of rocks it is believed to date back to the Bronze Age and depict nine ladies turned to stone as a penalty for dancing on Sunday. It is part of a complex of prehistoric cycles and standing stones on Stanton Moor.

If you want to make a day of it there are two other prehistoric sites nearby. Arbor Low, a Neolithic henge is just 6 miles to the west and the Hob Hursts House burial chamber is just 3 miles to the north east.

Padley Gorge in the Peak District – Image by @ne_cru via Twenty20

Activities to Enjoy

Cycling

Enjoy the traffic free bike trials with a number of varied tracks from gentle gradients to more challenging tracks amongst the beautiful scenery.

A range of hire biycles are available including electric bikes, tricycles and at some centres, wheelchair bikes. Most centres are close to bus routes so leave your campervan or motorhome at the campsite for the day and walk or hop on a bus to the local rental shop for a car free day.

Walking

As probably the most well known activity in the Peak District National Park, you are not short of choices of walking routes from short stroll with the buggy to week long adventures.

With a huge 1,867 miles of rights of way and 202 sq miles of open access land, walking the Peak District takes you through a diverse range of landscapes from rugged limestone valleys to calm lakes and reservoirs.

If you’re looking for a hiking challenge then join the Derbyshire Three Peaks Challenge, where participants attempt to climb the highest peaks in Derbyshire in 10 hours. Or for a more relaxed experience take your time and climb one a day.

Horse-Riding

The perfect way to relax and soak up the beautiful scenery along the 65 miles of off road tracks.

The Black Harry Trails project aims to enhance the existing bridleway network with new links and improve the surfacing with 10 routes that cover nearly 20km.

If you’re looking for a horse-riding centre make sure they are accredited by the British Horse Society to guarantee high standards and good practice.

Caving

Explore the hidden gems of the Peak District National Park, which is home to the highest natural cavern in the UK (Titan Cave, Castleton) and delve a little deeper by exploring the Peak District caves with a certified caving instructor such.

Find beginner caving day experiences and a host of other outdoor adventure days with Pure Outdoor based in the heart of Hope Valley.

Trails to Explore

Hope Valley To Hope Cross – 6.7 miles of country lanes, grassy footpaths and hill trails with stunning views of the Hope Valley, the Edale Valley and at times the Derwent Valley.

Tissington Trail – 13 miles from Parsley Hay in the north to Ashbourne in the south. Dedicated route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Kinder Scout – Boasting unforgettable views, beautiful moorlands and even a waterfall, this walk takes you to the highest point of the Peak District. This is a challenging hike.

Mam Tor – Sitting on the edge of the Dark Peak in the Peak District, the Mam Tor trail is a 517 metre high hill and is one of the most well-known walks and a favourite ridge walk in the area.

High Peak Trail – 17 miles from Dowlow near Buxton to High Peak Junction near Comford. The trail is a traffic-free path so suitable for all levels of walkers, runners, cyclists and riders.

Manifold Track – This route takes you to the steps of Thor’s Cave for a tick list Peak Districts photo op. A favourite route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders as the track is surfaced and fairly level throughout which also makes it a great choice for wheelchair users or families with pushchairs.

Limestone Way – One of the most picturesque routes in England with 46 miles from Castleton down to Tissington and ending up in Rochester. Long distance hiking track.

Peak District Boundary Walk – If you love a challenge then what better hike then to circumnavigate the Peak District National Park, set up in 2017, this circular 192 mile trail starts and finishes in Buxton Market Place so book in a spa day for your return. The route follows footpaths, tracks, quiet lanes and closed railway lines as well as the canal towpath for a varied, beautiful route.

Check the local visitor centres for leaflets of promoted routes and recommended trails.

Two Climbers on top of a ridge in the Roaches, Peak District – Image by @Hannah.twist via Twenty20

5 of Our Favourite Campsites in the Peak District

Waterside Farm Camp Site

A small and friendly family run campsite which has been in the same family for over 50 years. It’s a peaceful and quiet site, for those who are looking to relax and take in the views of Mam Tor, The Vale of Edale and Kinder.

Farditch Farm Caravan Site

A beautiful and peaceful site with only 11 caravan pitches available in the heart of the Peak District and surrounded by picturesque surroundings. Perfect for those looking for a quiet retreat.

All pitches are hardstanding, dogs are welcome but must be kept under control and no children under 18.

Upper Hurst Farm

A rural caravan and camping site in the heart of the Peak District National Park, with 260-degree panoramic views.

A family and dog friendly location, there’s a mowed field for the kids to play around safely and paths around the 2-acre field for dog-walkers to stroll in. The local pub is also within walking distance!

The team at Upper Hurst Farm have a nature-based ethos and the majority of their energy is provided from sustainable sources or directly from the sun.

Barn Farm

A growing campsite dating back to the 1500’s and close to the Derbyshire towns of Matlock and Bakewell for easy access to services and local attractions.

The Limestone Way is easily reached from the farm, which is situated on the junction of four major footpaths in the area so perfect for the keen walker.

It was also voted in the Top 5 British family campsites by the Telegraph and in the Top 10 campsites for wildlife by the Guardian.

Lime Tree Park Buxton

Situated in its own valley on the edge of the historic, old market spa town of Buston is the Lime Tree Park Buxton. With a beautiful viaduct and surrounded by farms and fields, its an ideal place for discovering the Derbyshire countryside.

The pitches are mostly hard standing with electric hook up and great views.

There is a large choice of walks and cycle paths in the area as well as Go Ape, Freshfields Donkey and the miniature world of Gullivers Kingdom for the kids.

Lime Tree Park Buxton

For more information and to see what campervans and motorhomes are available to hire check out our location page on the Peak District.