Five of the best walks the Peak District has to offer

Walking in the Peak District - here's five top walks we recommend for a great day out

Sinkhole at Ladybower
Sinkhole at Ladybower. Photo: Oscar Fisher

Whether it is a quick stroll for a coffee and some ice cream – or a six-hour hike across challenging terrain – the Peak District offers a plethora of sights and hikes across the national park.

And, with summer just around the corner, it seems like the ideal time to step out for a lovely day out in the Derbyshire countryside.

This article will look at some of the most popular walking destinations around the area, as well as offer insights from MSc students from the University of Sheffield about what makes their favourite walks special to them.

We have also included insights from our StoryHub reporter about the difficulty levels of each walk.

1) Ladybower / Derwent Dam

When it comes to walks and landmarks in the Peak District, not many come before Ladybower Reservoir / Derwent Dam, which lies in the north of the National Park.

The reservoir lies beneath Snake Pass, which connects Sheffield and Manchester and was constructed between 1935-1943.

Besides the picturesque views and the many trails which are nestled around the body of water, the location also holds historical significance and a vast history.

Ladybower Reservoir Dam Wall.
Ladybower Reservoir Dam Wall. Photo: Oscar Fisher

During the Second World War, the Royal Air Force tested their bouncing-bomb at the reservoir, which was chosen for its long shape, and the testing led to the destruction of four dams in Germany in 1943.

As well as its wartime significance, the dam also was built on the land of former villages,  Ashopton and Derwent.

When the water levels are low (such as in 2022), the spire of the church from Derwent village can be seen sticking out of the water of the now Ladybower reservoir.

Difficulty 2/5

2) Win Hill

Overlooking Ladybower and Derwent, the Dark Peak dominates the Peak District landscape, often attracting the attention of on-lookers as they stare in awe the prominence of the hill’s arrow-shaped peak.

A round walk from the Yorkshire Bridge pub seems to be the most popular with locals, with easy parking and a rewarding refreshment being the pub’s main attraction, alongside the rural scenery.

The Summit of Win Hill.
The Summit of Win Hill. Photo: Oscar Fisher

What makes Win Hill one of the more photogenic summits is the 360-degree view of the area from the summit, something which – even in the Peak District – is a rarity.

Former environmental science MSc student at Sheffield Hallam University, April Bentley, 27, said: “Win Hill is a wonderful, steep but short walk and it is perfect for all seasons.

“In the winter, the evergreen trees create a mystical Nordic feel, and being able to reach the summit in an hour means the views over Castleton and Ladybower are definitely worth the steep steps.
“The trees also hide surprises, such as old ruins, rustic signposts, and quaint creeks, and the wildlife is abundant.”

In 2022, fire and rescue teams were called to the Dark Peak following reports of a wild-fire at the top of the hill – and this has led to increased signage warning visitors to avoid having BBQs and campfires.

Win Hill has steep slopes on each side of the summit, meaning hikers must be prepared and reasonably physically fit to complete the walk.

A footpath leading to Win Hill
A footpath leading to Win Hill from Ladybower. Photo: Oscar Fisher
Difficulty 4/5

3) B-29 ‘Overexposed’

The B-29 Overexposed air crash site in the Peak District is one of the National Park’s best-kept secrets.

In 1948, a US reconnaissance aircraft named ‘Overexposed’ crashed into the rolling hills of the Peak District, just one-mile north of the Snake Pass summit.

The aircraft was completing a routine daytime flight from RAF Scampton near Lincoln, before a descent through the clouds caused the plane to crash into the vast land near the summit.

The crash killed all 13 crew members, and the wreckage continues to lie at the scene of the incident, some 74 years later.

B-29 Overexposed Melted Engine Parts.
B-29 Overexposed melted engine parts. Photo: Oscar Fisher

It is a daunting site for visitors of the wreckage, as they are greeted with an array of scrappy metal engrained into the disturbed landscape, caused by the plane hurling into the ground.

Local environmentalist Alex James said: “It’s really amazing how many people are unaware of this incredible site.

“I did not know about it until after lockdown, and since I’ve been a handful of times, and each time found myself more and more in awe of the incredible site.

“I encourage people to check it out – but be prepared, there is not much phone signal and the terrain is uneven, so it is not the place to be needing a rescue from Edale Mountain Rescue Team.”

It is about an hour’s walk across rough terrain and small hills, with footpaths available, but hard to find.

This unique site is without doubt one of the most incredible destinations the Peak District has to offer, and should be on the to-do list for everyone planning a visit to the area this summer.

B-29 Overexposed Wheel Rim.
B-29 Overexposed wheel rim. Photo: Oscar Fisher
Difficulty: 2/5

4) Mam Tor

Mam Tor is the second tallest Peak in the Peak District, behind only Kinder Scout, which lies just to the north of the Peak.

Mam Tor overlooks Castleton and can be accessed from Winnats Pass, or from the town itself, and has some of the most incredible views from the summit.

Mam Tor Summit
Mam Tor summit. Photo: Oscar Fisher

The favoured route amongst hikers is the trek along the ridge from Lose Tor, a ridge which would best suite a backdrop for a Lord of the Rings film.

Capped off with a beer or a cuppa from Castleton after the walk, it is easy to see why the summit is the most popular in the Peak District, sitting at over 550 metres above sea level.

Difficulty 3/5

5) Kinder Scout

How could this list be complete without the inclusion of the biggest peak in Peak District?

Kinder Scout is a flat plane which lies to the north of Mam Tor – and sits 100m taller than the latter.

Surrounded by valleys and rough landscapes, the summit is one of the more challenging hills to climb in the area but provides a great day out for those willing to put the work in.

With multiple routes taking you up and down from the summit, the pathways take a tour through the desolate and rural landscape which the surrounding bleak area has to offer.

Hikers are urged to take care when planning a journey up Kinder.

Ridge seen from Win Hill Summit.
Ridge seen from Kinder Scout summit. Photo: Oscar Fisher

Despite being the tallest peak, it is not as steeper climb as you see when summiting Mam Tor or Win Hill, but parking at Edale Train Station enables an easier access to the summit as opposed to the other peaks.

Difficulty: 2.5/5