The top 7 gems of the Peak District

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I was invited along to do a radio interview this week, talking about my new book about walking on the moors and tors of the Peak District. The inevitable question came about which was my favourite place to visit in the National Park. I was ready for this, but it’s not an easy question to answer. Favourite places depend on the mood at the time, the weather, the time of year and countless other factors which mean they can change from one day to the next. But here is my collection of the top 7 places to visit in the Peak District. If you have never paid a visit to this wonderful National Park, these are the places I suggest you start with.

1 Edale

Gaining a lot of attention this year because of the Pennine Way’s 50th anniversary, Edale is a lovely village with a couple of good pubs. It’s here that you’ll find the best rambles up to Kinder Scout, the highest peak in the National Park and there are some smashing tors up there to discover.

2 Padley Gorge

Not too far from Grindleford and within easy walking from the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate, Padley Gorge has footpaths that go alongside the river, passing waterfalls and through nice woods. In summer it’s often packed with picnickers, but there’ll be a spot for you on what can be a lovely day out.

3 Castleton

Nice to visit at any time of year thanks to walks up to Mam Tor and a decent range of shops, Castleton is a popular Christmas destination. The shops put trees and lights outside and there’s a programme of carolling events taking place in the caverns.

4 Lathkill Dale

A walk out of Monyash to Lathkill Dale takes you into limestone country, with fabulous formations and the chance to see fossils in the rocks that once lay at the bottom of a tropical sea.

5 Dovedale

It’s a pleasant walk up the valley, but there are several special features that make this a must-do trip. Firstly, there a fossils all around to take a look at, then there’s the picturesque scene at the Victorian stepping stones across the River Dove. But make sure you also pop by the car park for some award winning ice cream and visit the National Trust’s Ilam Hall for a creamt tea.

6 Chatsworth

A stately home to be reckoned with, this place prides itself on never using public or Lottery money, instead being self-funded through visitors. And there’s so much to see and do; a farm for the kids, an adventure playground and of course the house and gardens. All this in addition to some cracking walks up to Calton Pastures through the estate grounds. Nearby Haddon Hall is also worth checking out for a fine example of a historical building.

7 Monsal Trail

This trail makes a wonderful walk and an even better bike ride, not too taxing as it used to be a train track that was kept as level as possible. The gems here are the old tunnels that were repaired and opened up after decades being closed, meaning you can once again tread the route of the tracks.

What would your numbers 8, 9 and 10 be? Please contribute via Twitter or by posting a reply!

Published by peternaldrett

I'm a writer who contributes to newspapers and magazines on a regular basis and has also published several outdoor guides to the Peaks, Lakes and Yorkshire Dales. I write educational material for multiple publishers and have just finished writing my first book for Bloomsbury - out in 2019. My new Peak District Year Round Walks is out now.

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