Walks from train stations blog image

Car-free walks: Great walks from train stations in the Peak District and Derbyshire

Leave the car at home, pull on your walking boots and hop on the train to discover some of the best walks in the Peak District & Derbyshire that can be easily accessed by train.

Leave the car at home, pull on your walking boots and hop on the train to discover some of the best walks in the Peak District & Derbyshire that can be easily accessed by train. Explore iconic beauty spots in Britain's original National Park, find hidden Derbyshire gems on foot and enjoy great places to eat and drink along the way.

Here, Lucy Thorpe rounds up some of the best walks that start and end at train stations in the Peak District & Derbyshire.

The Peak District & Derbyshire has excellent public transport links to the cities of Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Nottingham and Derby and regular local train services provide a wealth of opportunities for walkers.

The Hope Valley Line runs between Manchester and Sheffield, giving direct access to popular outdoor stops like Grindleford, Hathersage, Bamford, Hope and Edale. The Manchester to Glossop Line offers access to the dramatic reservoirs and wild moorland of the Dark Peak; the Derwent Valley Line between Derby and Matlock covers the highlights of the UNESCO Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site; and the Manchester to Buxton Line allows you to explore the tranquil yet dramatic Goyt Valley on the fringe of the National Park.

Edale car free blog post

Hope to Edale: 4 miles

Both of these idyllic villages are situated on the Hope Valley Line (easy to access from Manchester, Stockport or Sheffield), offering beautiful scenery, impressive hikes and quality places to eat and drink, whichever way around you choose to do the walk. The route takes you through Castleton, famous for its show caverns and caves, and offers great sites to explore along the way such as Treak Cliff Cavern, where you can head in search of Blue John Stone.

It’s a pleasant 4-mile walk between the two villages, with a moderate climb and beautiful views of the Hope Valley along the way. Starting out at Hope near the Church, head south to a public footpath alongside Peakshole Water (part of the River Noe) towards Castleton.

Once in Castleton, head north west and pass Dunscar Farm, climbing to Hollins Cross. This is the lowest point of the Great Ridge between Castleton and Edale and is very popular with walkers, so we recommend enjoying this walk during the week or at quieter times of the year if possible. Don't forget to take your camera to capture the iconic views of Mam Tor and the Hope Valley.

You then start to descend to the idyllic village of Edale, crossing the River Noe en route. From here, you can either catch the train from Edale station back to your starting point, or extend your walk on one of the numerous paths that climb to the Kinder Scout plateau - the highest point in the Peak District National Park.

Hadfield to Longdendale: 9 miles

In the dramatic northern reaches of the Peak District, this walk start at Hadfield train station (accessible on the Glossop Line from Manchester). The route takes you up the Longdendale Valley, across the route of the old Woodhead Railway.

After leaving Hadfield station, go left into the car park and join the scenic Longdendale Trail, a popular walking and cycling route. Follow the trail up though the valley where it meets the road near Woodhead Dam.

You’ll see some amazing views as you head down to leave the trail, following a concessionary footpath that crosses a weir by the dam. You’ll then turn east by the shore of Torside Reservoir for just over a mile, intersecting with the Pennine Way (England's first long-distance footpath) briefly.

Don’t follow the Pennine Way, instead take the lower of two tracks to the north of Rhodeswood Reservoir. You’ll see Bramah Edge and the Devil’s Elbow above you. Once you reach the dam, cross it and follow the tarmac lane by Deepclough.

Follow this until it crosses over the Longdendale Trail, following the signposted path on the right, passing through fields to a walled lane between houses at Padfield. Go right, then take the second left onto Post Street to a T-junction. After this, go right again on Platt Street which leads downhill back under the Longdendale Trail and back to the railway station.

High Tor blog image

Matlock Bath to High Tor and Riber: 3 miles

Starting at Matlock Bath Station (on the Derwent Valley Line), this walk soaks in the pleasant scenery of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. From the station, walk the route marked ‘To the Cable Cars’; you might choose to extend your trip with a visit to the iconic Heights of Abraham.

Pass the cable car pay booth and go through the pedestrian gate on the right, following the path and turning left through woods and up the step. Bear right and follow the path to the left, going uphill.

Just after passing some protective barriers around a deep chasm, take the path on your left-hand side. This stepped path leads up to a grassy area with a fence and a radio mast on your right. Continue ahead to the High Tor summit viewpoints and take in the incredible views (taking great care to stay well back from the edge).

Take the steps down to the grotto with a seat in it, and bear left down hill. Turn right at the High Tor gates and continue straight ahead along the lane, coming out onto Church Street. Cross over the road and turn right. On your left, between the Highfields School entrance and Netherclose Farm and Cattery, you will see a footpath. Turn left here. At the end of the path go through the stone squeeze stile into the field, follow the footpath and climb until you reach a stone stile. Continue uphill, bearing left. Continue ahead to cross a wooden stile, then pass an isolated house. Continue through another stone stile while following the path which runs round the perimeter fencing of the Riber Castle grounds. Bear left down the lane. Turn right at the junction, by Riber Manor.

Descend the steep hill until you reach a road signed ‘unsuitable for motors’ on your left. Go down this road (White Tor Road) which emerges on Starkholmes Road. Turn right and go along the road as far as the White Lion pub. Look for the footpath sign on your left just before you reach the pub.

Go down this tarmac path and when you reach a fairly open piece of ground, bear left. Keep the fence and the more open fields to your left whilst keeping to the edge of the wood. You rejoin a tarmac path and go through a stile. This path takes you back to the Cable Car base station at the beginning of your walk. Go through a stone stile with a gate next to it, under the railway bridge and then turn left to return to Matlock Bath station car park.


Grindleford to Hathersage: 6 miles

Two of the Peak District's most popular hubs for outdoor-lovers, the villages of Hathersage and Grindleford sit on the Hope Valley Line, accessible from Manchester or Sheffield. Starting out at Grindleford Station, head towards Hathersage, a village known for its literary links (it's thought to have inspired Charlotte Bronte when writing Jane Eyre).

Continue along the lane to the end, where it meets the main road. Turn left and head down the road (which has a pavement all the way) towards Hathersage. Just after a right-hand bend you will see a footpath sign to the left.

Continue straight along the road into the town. Follow the road through Hathersage and turn left at the junction opposite the George Hotel at the bottom of the hill (signposted for Grindleford and the David Mellor Cutlery Factory). On the edge of town, you will see a left turn signed Station Approach which leads to Hathersage Railway Station, where you can hop on a train back to your starting point.

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New Mills River & Canal Walk: 5 miles

Close to Manchester and Stockport, the heritage-rich town of New Mills is situated in a dramatic position alongside the River Goyt and near to the Peak Forest Canal. From New Mills Central Station (on the Hope Valley Line - there’s also a station at New Mills Newtown on the Buxton Line), follow the trail along the Torrs Riverside Park and cross over the magnificent Millennium Walkway, a 160-metre long aerial walkway spanning the cliffside above the River Goyt. Soak up views of the dramatic railway arches, Torrs Hydro and bridge walkway, whilst looking out for information boards explaining more about the area's industrial heritage.

From Torrs Riverside Park, head south along the Goyt Way towards the canal. Follow the path west past Newtown and Brunswick Mill to Woodend, where you can rejoin the river and walk through the peaceful Mousley Bottom Nature Reserve. After passing through the nature reserve, you either head back to the main road and back to the station. For a longer walk, continue along the tranquil canal path towards Marple Canal Locks and hop on the train there.

Stay Peak District Proud: Help us keep the Peak District special for the next 70 years and beyond. Whether you live locally, or you're visiting for a day or two, ensure your visit is a responsible one by following our visitor charter. Stay #PeakDistrictProud by always sticking to the Countryside Code: remember to keep dogs on leads, take your litter home, don't 'wild camp', and never light BBQs or campfires, as they are a risk to public safety and the wildlife that live here.

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