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Perhaps best known as walking country, the Peak District National Park offers a spectacular variety of scenery and routes to be explored – from steep sided limestone dales to the dramatic high moorlands. There is something for everyone – individuals, families and groups – whether you want a challenging hike or a short stroll.
You can follow national or local trails or simply take advantage of 524sq km (202sq miles) of open access land or 3,005km (1,867) miles of rights of way. For experienced walkers, the long distance 431km (268 miles) Pennine Way National Trail follows the Pennine chain along the rugged backbone of England from Edale crossing Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District at 636 metres (2,087ft).
The Trans Pennine Trail is part of the E8 European Walking Route, connecting the National Park to the Turkish border – a walk of 4,023km (2,500 miles). The beautiful Limestone Way is 74km (46 miles) through delightful limestone scenery.
The Derwent Valley Heritage Way is 88km (55 miles) long and weaves through some of the area's richest natural landscape and industrial heritage, given recognition as a World Heritage Site. Leaflets for these trails and for other promoted routes are available from local visitor centres, as is the Ordnance Survey OL 24 White Peak and OL 1 Dark Peak maps, which show all rights of way and will help you plan a route for yourself.
The Peak District Boundary Walk circumnavigates the entire Peak District National Park. Long distance walkers may enjoy the challenge of walking all 188 miles of it in one go, but the walk has been divided into stages for those who wish to explore the Park boundary as day-long walks.
The Peak Way Walk is a 155 mile long distance route forming a loop through the National Park, starting and finishing in Stockport which has good public transport links to help visitors reduce their environmental impact. The route is designed to be completed in sections and takes in villages, historic features, limestone dales, gritstone edges, moorland and ties in with places to eat and stay.
Many routes are suitable for wheelchairs or buggies including the paths on the disused railway routes of the Monsal Trail, High Peak and Tissington Trails in the White Peak area and the Longdendale Trail in the Dark Peak area. These routes provide easy linear walks. Other suitable walks for all are in the recreational areas of the Upper Derwent, Macclesfield Forest and Goyt Valley.
The easy access guide Miles Without Stiles will help disabled people, older people and families with small children to choose the best walks and enjoy the special landscape. Access for All provides you with information and ideas on how to get maximum enjoyment from your visit.
Take the next step
If you don't want to head off on your own why not join a Ranger led guided walk and discover the countryside. Events run throughout the year and incorporate natural history, archaeology, folklore, family strolls and children's activities. There are also numerous walking groups who meet regularly and organise walks in the Peak District.
The Peak District enjoys an extensive public transport network, enabling you to have a full day out exploring the area without using the car.
Also, check out these ambassador centres who offer outdoor opportunities.
- Health Walks - for people of all ages and abilities who are not able to access other walks or do not have the confidence to go for a walk without support.
- Miles without Stiles - routes suitable for people of all fitness levels and those with limited mobility, including wheelchair users, families with pushchairs and scooters, and the visually impaired. Some of the routes may also be ideal for young children to cycle on.
- Visit Peak District - the official tourist information board for the Peak District and Derbyshire.
- Traffic free trails - more information on our four distinct recreational trails, all of which were former railway lines.
- www.ramblers.org.uk - information on local walking groups.
- www.ldwa.org.uk - Long Distance Walkers Association – lists long distance routes and challenge events.
- www.disabledramblers.co.uk - national group which organises walks for disabled people.
- Downloadable walking guides - 10 family walks for you to discover.