Peak District Overview

Peak District National Park, established in 1951, holds the distinction of being the first national park in the United Kingdom. Spanning parts of northern Derbyshire, as well as portions of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire, and South Yorkshire, the park covers an area of approximately 1,437 square kilometers (555 square miles). This vast protected landscape is characterized by its stunning variety, from rolling hills and rocky outcrops to deep valleys and lush meadows, making it a cherished destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

The park is divided into two main areas: the Dark Peak, where gritstone cliffs and moorland landscapes dominate, offering dramatic scenery and challenging terrain for hikers and climbers; and the White Peak, known for its distinctive limestone valleys, known as dales, which provide a gentler, but equally captivating, terrain for walking and cycling. This contrast in landscapes contributes to the park’s unique appeal and biodiversity.

The Peak District is renowned for its significant historical and cultural heritage, with ancient stone circles, historic estates, and centuries-old villages dotting the landscape. The area’s rich industrial past is also evident in its historic mills and the remnants of its mining industry, adding depth to the visitor experience.

Outdoor activities abound in the Peak District, from walking and cycling on its extensive network of trails to rock climbing on its famous edges and paragliding over its picturesque vistas. The park also offers opportunities for more tranquil pursuits, such as bird watching, photography, and exploring the many charming villages and their local craft shops, tea rooms, and pubs.

As a vital green space within easy reach of major urban centers like Manchester and Sheffield, the Peak District National Park serves as a crucial sanctuary for wildlife and a recreational haven for millions of visitors each year. Its landscapes inspire adventure, tranquility, and a deep appreciation for England’s natural beauty and heritage.

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Park Map
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Peak District National Park Pictures

Peak District National Park Trails

Mam Tor Circular Walk

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3 miles (4.8 km) loop, 500 feet (152 meters)

Description: This accessible and family-friendly hike offers panoramic views from the summit of Mam Tor, known as the “Shivering Mountain.”

The trail traverses along the Great Ridge, offering spectacular views of the Edale Valley and the Dark Peak moorlands. It’s well-marked, with some steep sections.

Kinder Scout from Edale

Rating: Strenuous

Distance and Elevation Gain: 8 miles (12.9 km) loop, 1,500 feet (457 meters)

Description: This challenging hike leads to the highest point in the Peak District, Kinder Scout.

Hikers will experience rugged terrain, peat bogs, and the famous Kinder Downfall waterfall.

The trail requires good navigation skills, especially in poor weather, offering rewarding views and a sense of wilderness.

Dovedale to Milldale Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3 miles (4.8 km) one way, minimal elevation gain

Description: This scenic walk along the River Dove features the iconic stepping stones and the limestone ravine of Dovedale.

The path is gentle, suitable for families, and provides opportunities to see wildlife, interesting rock formations, and caves.

It’s one of the most picturesque valleys in the national park.

The Roaches and Lud's Church Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 5 miles (8 km) loop, 700 feet (213 meters)

Description: This route explores the rugged gritstone crags of The Roaches and the deep chasm of Lud’s Church.

Hikers will enjoy diverse landscapes, including heather moorlands and dense woodlands, with fantastic views over the Staffordshire Moorlands and chances to spot peregrine falcons.

Stanage Edge from Hathersage

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 4 miles (6.4 km) round trip, 800 feet (244 meters)

Description: Starting from the village of Hathersage, this hike leads to Stanage Edge, offering dramatic views across the Dark Peak moorlands and the Hope Valley.

It’s a popular spot for climbers and walkers alike, showcasing the natural beauty and ruggedness of the Peak District’s landscape.

  • All Trails, Best Trails in Peak District National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Britannica, Peak District,, retrieved April 2024.
  • eak District, Welcome to Peak District,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Peak District National Park, government site,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Visit Buxton, Peak District,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Visit Peak District, Peak District and Derbyshire,, retrieved April 2024.