We first discovered the Peak District in 2017. We broke our Peak virginity with the one and only Mother Hill and have been in love ever since. It is a mesmerising part of England, with green rolling hills and rock faces to crane your necks at. The children love to explore and have hiked many miles across the countryside. Read our 10 Best Hikes in the Peak District for Kids for some of the places we love the most.
Mam Tor is wonderful little hill in the Peak District. It is very accessible for little legs and is a nice easy achievement. Once you reach the trig point at the start of the walk, carry on down the ridge line towards Lose Hill. For a circular walk, head on down the south face of Mam Tor and on to the broken road. See the huge tarmac pieces jutting out of the ground after a huge landslide caused the road to be abandoned in 1979. This route is great if you want to take your bikes for a spin. With jumps and winding roads offering a natural route for any keen cyclist. Pass the underground cavern on Windy Knoll and back to the car park for a refreshing walk around the base of the Mother Hill.
Budding superheroes may be a bit disappointed to learn that Thor doesn’t actually reside here. But there may be some consolation in that bears and humans accommodated the cave at some point in history. The cave is located high in the rock face, offering fantastic views across Manifold Valley. Access to the top of the cave is easy and rewarding. Kids can imagine that Thor stood wielding his hammer, waiting for lightening to strike. The entrance to the cave can be slippery when wet, but don’t let that hold you back. Kids will love exploring the caverns, shouting for echoes and sourcing any bones or fossils that may have been left behind.
If you are into old English Literature, be sure to read the Arthurian poem of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, before your journey to Lud’s Church. Caused by a landslip in the Gradbach area of the Peak District, the cavernous structure is sure to please kids and adults alike. Green, moss encompassed walls, climbing nooks for kids to wander in and out of, and the knowledge that it has set the scene for a famous 15th century poem, gives Lud’s Church an air of mystery. Full of chivalry, lust and loyalty.
We have hiked through The Roaches on a few occasions. It always give us something new to look at, each time we go. Starting from the road, walk up towards the rock face and though a fairy tale wood. Mossy carpet lines the floor, with large abandoned stones and tall empowering trees. Pass climbers forging their way to the summit and follow the winding path up to the top of the sandstone wall. Views open out towards Tittesworth reservoir. Walk along the ridge line, bag another trig and have a picnic while looking out towards Hen Cloud. Doxey Pool sits on top of the Roaches. A small pond which is said to inhabit a mermaid called Jenny Greenteeth who will entice you into the murky depths.
A large cliff face looms in the distance. Formidable looking from the ground, you wonder what the attraction is. Once on top, the beauty of the Peak District opens out and the views carry for miles. Millstone carvings are strewn across the landscape and the Cowper stone trig point stands proud on top. The stones are smooth and glitter in the sunlight. Robin Hoods cave nestles in the face of the rocks. After a little climb and exploration, it can be accessed with a shimmy through an opening. Great for little minds to imagine themselves as a young Robin Hood, hiding from the consequences of being a highway robber. Couple this with Little Johns grave in nearby Hathersage, and you’ve got yourself a real man hunt to explore.
Dovedale has many attractions for little ones. First, is the river which has to be crossed by the famous stepping stones. In the height of summer, there may be a queue; but not for long. If you’re brave enough to withstand the cold, the river can be walked across with bare feet. Walk along the river and to your right there are caves hidden on the banks. If you can find Reynard’s Cave, this is a great scramble for kids to climb and release some energy. They will receive a sense of achievement for climbing to the top, and test their determination along the way. After scrambling in caves, Thorpe Cloud is a test of the legs, with a steep climb up a green hill face. Views are superb and the river Dove can be seen stretching out in the landscape.
We experienced Solomon’s Temple at the height of the snowy season. The Peak District in snow is a complete Narnia experience. Woodlands around Poole’s cavern give a variety of trails to follow up to the top of Grin Low Hill, where the temple is situated. The temple has no official purpose other than a possible lookout point, but it’s interesting to explore nonetheless. A circular structure stands proud with unobstructed views over Buxton and beyond. Kids will enjoy following the markers on the trails and if you do catch it in snow, have a go at sledding down the hills. Pure, simple fun.
Bleaklow is one for history and aviation buffs alike. Starting on the Pennine way, follow the path up to Bleaklow moors. Turn towards the plane wreckage that encompasses the plateau. A somber and humbling experience, the disaster crash of 1948 somehow feeds the weather, disallowing the grasslands to shine or the fog to lift. The ‘Overexposed’ Superfortress is recognisable, and large pieces of aircraft easily identifiable. There is a lot of history in this area so I think it’s worth having a read about, to answer any questions the kids may subsequently have. Also, take a poppy with you to lie with the others. 13 people lost their lives in that one crash and visitors have kindly paid their respects.
For flatter expanses, Ladybower is a large dam that sits in the Derwent area of the peak district. Impressive displays of water feeding the plug make for a great photography shot. But, did you know there is a village underneath the reservoir? As the dam was built and filled, the village of Derwent submerged and ended up flooded from the reservoir. If water levels reduce dramatically, as they did in 2003, the village rises from the depths to reveal a ghost town stuck in 1946.
Another Pennine Way trail to hike along. Kinder Scout and Jacobs Ladder are a must do for any Peak District explorer. Start at the village of Edale, by the notorious Nags Head pub and follow the Pennine trail through fields of sheep and cows. A nice straight forward route will bring you to Jacobs Ladder, a steep hill that gives you access to the moorland towards Kinder Scout. This walk is uncomplicated and requires no real forethought. You can stop at any point and turn around if needed. The Pennine way heads straight through Kinder Low where a trig point stands and on to Kinder Downfall, the tallest waterfall in the Peak District.
Let me know if you’ve taken the kids along, (or even without the kids) to any of these wonderful places. Or, if you’ve got anything else to add, I’d love to hear!