15 magnificent dog walks in Matlock

Dog walks
Written by Pure Pet FoodPure Pet Food are the experts in healthy dog food and healthy dogs featured in media outlets such as BBC, Good Housekeeping and The Telegraph. Working with high profile veterinary professionals and nutritionists, Pure Pet Food are changing dog food for the better. - Our editorial process

Once famous for its spas, the historic town of Matlock is now the county town of Derbyshire. It is a popular hub for visitors to the county and the Peak District thanks to its central location and proximity to the national park. This makes it a fantastic base for anyone wanting to go walking in the hills, including those of us with canine companions to accompany us.

There’s no surprise then that there are plenty of walks in Matlock with dog friendly routes and some awesome attractions and accommodation that your pup will be welcome to visit with you. And although Matlock itself is a bustling town, there are plenty of pet-friendly pit-stops you can make whilst you are visiting the town. You might need them too, as many of the walks in this area are pretty hilly!

Discover delicious food your dog deserves

Learn more

Matlock isn’t far from some of our favourite dog walks in Derbyshire, including Birchover and Chatsworth House. So if you have exhausted these local walks, perhaps try a few of those outings with your pup.

Country & park walks

The hights of Abraham

After Matlock Bath developed as a popular spa town, an enterprising local man decided to create a garden for the tourists. This soon became a popular public pleasure garden and remains such to this day. Best of all, your four-legged friends are welcome to join you for a stroll around the gardens and woodland, where you can even take the doggy-dedicated “Waggy Tails Way” before pausing for lunch on the cafe terrace.

The steep and strangely serpentine paths here were created over 200 years ago. As you follow them up the hills you’ll find the exotic trees and shrubbery will occasionally fade away to create openings which allow you to admire the beautiful vistas over the Derwent Valley.

You could try to climb the heights yourself up the zig-zag paths, but for the novelty and amazing views, we always suggest paying to use the cable car. Don’t worry about the dog, they’re allowed on for the ride too free of charge.

There is no dedicated car park but there are four places in town you can park and walk to Abraham Heights. Alternatively, you can catch the train, which will grant you a discount on entry to the gardens.

  • Walk Length: 2.5km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Cable car base

  • Terrain: Paths, even, hills.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: The Heights of Abraham, Dale Road, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3NT

More information: Heights of Abraham, Visit Derby, Historic England

Limestone way (Matlock to Bonsall)

This circular trail from Matlock to the ancient village of Bonsall makes for a fantastic afternoon’s walk. This route has some steep climbs. The first of which is at the start of the walk as you join the Limestone Way, so you and the pup will certainly feel well-exercised and deserving of dinner by the end of your walk.

These tough climbs reward you with fantastic views though. For instance, early on in the walk as you leave Matlock, you’ll have a fabulous panorama of Stanton Moor. You’ll also pass the entrance to The Heights of Abraham, another of our favourite walks in Matlock with the dog, and you can take a detour to enjoy the gardens before rejoining the Limestone Way.

The hills here were once a hub of activity and the remains of lead mines still litter the area, and some closed shafts are visible along the route. Bonsall itself was once a mining town. The town is definitely worth investigating once you arrive to admire the atmosphere, charming cottages, and some of it’s quirkier claims to fame such as hen-racing and being a UFO hotspot. (Yes, you read that right.) There’s also a cracking country pub in the village which warmly welcomes “dogs, goats, chickens … and donkeys.”

  • Walk Length: 6.8km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Matlock

  • Terrain: Trails, flat, hills, uneven.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Matlock, DE4 3SX

More information: AllTrails, Visit Peak District

Cromford to Wirksworth

This long, circular walk from Cromford to Wirksworth follows a section of the high peaks trail and is a great opportunity for you and the pooch to explore the woodland and fields on a rambling countryside adventure. There are plenty of pit-stops you can make on this walk, but only in the first half of the route.

You’ll even pass the gritstone outcrop of the Black Rocks on your way. Be aware that this route can get quite muddy and there are a few stiles to contend with.

Early in this walk, you’ll follow an ancient sunken way through the woods. It’s enchanting to think of how many feet have trudged along this trail over the centuries, and it’s a fantastic sight as it stretches ahead of you weaving between the trees. It’s quite rocky and uneven, but many of the trails on this walk are unmade so be sure to wear good footwear.

Meanwhile, your pup probably won’t be phased by any mud, and can enjoy snuffling through the gorse, frolicking in fields, and even a paddle in the brook on your walk to Wirksworth.

  • Walk Length: 6.8km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Matlock

  • Terrain: Trails, flat, hills, uneven.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Cromford Hill, Matlock, DE4 5HN

More information: Derbyshire.gov, Derbyshire.gov PDF

Hall leys park

If you need a break from the hilly walks in and around Matlock, you could enjoy a change of pace and take the pup with you to Hall Leys Park. This Victorian park has garnered no less than 12 consecutive green flag awards, making it one of the most celebrated parks in the UK.

There is plenty to do here, making it a great outdoor adventure for families. You’ll find a wet play area, playground, skate park, boating lake, tennis courts, and even a miniature railway to keep you and the little ones entertained.

For those looking for a more scenic stroll, you too are well catered for. This picturesque park has plenty of colourful flowerbeds and more formally gardened areas, ideal for a tranquil stroll with the pooch. Provided the dog is on a lead, they’re welcome across all areas of the park. There is a cafe, so you can even enjoy some delicious treats in the sun.

  • Walk Length: Long or short as you fancy

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Hall Leys Park

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, even.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Causeway Lane, Matlock, DE4 3AR

Derwent gardens

Another location for leisurely walks in Matlock with your dog, Derwent Gardens is a grade-II listed formal park and garden which is perfect for an idyllic stroll with the pooch amongst the thermal springs, grottos, pools and beautiful gardens. As it is paved and flat throughout, it’s suitable for people and pooches of all ages and abilities.

There is an interesting and varied history to Derwent Gardens, including once being the home to a gravity-powered roller coaster in the late Victorian era. Now, it’s a beautifully kept park and home to the much-loved Derwent Illuminations Festival.

You can access Lovers Walk from the park, so you could enjoy a ramble along this route before or after a foray into the park. Otherwise, if you are following our High Tor route included on this list, you could make a detour into Derwent Gardens. The park is only a short walk from The Fishpond Freehouse, where you and the pooch can pause for a drink.

  • Walk Length: Long or short as you fancy

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: The Pavilion

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, even.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Matlock Dale, Matlock, DE4 3PW

More information: Derbyshiredales.gov, Historic England, Parksandgardens.org

Rose end meadows

Rose End Meadows is a patchwork of sixteen fields that have never been treated with artificial fertilisers or pesticides. Because of this, they offer a rare glimpse into how the area might have looked a century ago, and are now a site of special scientific interest because of the range and rarity of the flora and fauna found here.

The meadows are famed for their wildflowers, and dozens of varieties have been recorded here. In summer, you’ll find the fields festooned with orchids. The wildlife lovers amongst you will find this walk particularly interesting, as the flowers attract an abundance of insects, butterflies, and birds. Even the pair of dew ponds, once used for cattle, are now a haven for rare great crested newts.

You and the pooch are both welcome to enjoy strolling along the two trails here, but dogs must stay on the lead due to the wildlife and livestock which may be grazing. In addition, you and the dog must keep to the path due to the fragile environment and also the honeycomb of abandoned mineshafts dotted around the area.

There are no facilities here, but there is limited parking on St Mark’s Close. Alternatively, you could walk here from Black Rocks or Cromford, and take advantage of the facilities there before or after your visit to the meadows.

  • Walk Length: 1km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: St Mark’s Close

  • Terrain: Trails, flat, even.

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: St Mark’s Close, DE4 3QD

More information: Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Coronationmeadows.org

Crich tramway village

For something a little different, and a delightful day out for all the family including the dog, you can visit Crich Tramway Village. The museum has lots of fascinating exhibits, as well as period buildings transported and restored brick-by-brick on the site after being rescued from across the UK.

However, the biggest attraction to the village is the unlimited rides on the vintage trams. Pups are welcome to take a ride too, and if they enjoy their head out the window on a car ride, they’ll love having their ears flapping in the wind on the open-top of some of the trams.

Well-behaved dogs and their owners are welcome to explore all of the museum together, but the pooch won’t be allowed in the tearoom or play area. After you’ve had a few tram rides and checked out the exhibits, you and your furry friend can take a stroll along the sculpture trail and around the woodland onsite.

The sculptures dotted around the woods are made by a resident sculptor, and you can even watch them working in their outdoor studio on your visit to the village.

  • Walk Length: Long or short as you like

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Main entrance

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, even.

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Crich, Matlock, DE4 5DP

More information: Tramway, Dog Friendly Peak District

Winster and Birchover

A few miles outside of Matlock you will find the utterly charming village of Winster. With a warren of alleyways (or jitties), cobbled streets, and historic buildings, a wander around Winster with your dog makes for a charming walk in itself.

However, this circular route lets you explore the attractive town before following quiet lanes and tranquil countryside trails to nearby Birchover. When in Birchover, you can perhaps extend your walk to visit Rowter Rocks, one of our favourite dog walks in Derbyshire.

You will need to keep the lead handy as there are some stretches along roads on this walk as well as the chance you will encounter livestock. Equally, there are plenty of opportunities for your pup to be off the lead too in the woodlands and fields, so they can thoroughly stretch their legs and have a good sniff.

If you fancy some refreshments before or after your walk, there are a pair of pubs in each village. You could stop by the Miner’s Standard or The Bowling Green in Winster, or The Druid Inn and Red Lion in Birchover.

  • Walk Length: 9.6km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Car park

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, even, roads, woodland, trails, uneven, boardwalk.

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Wensley Road, DE4 2DH

More information: Derbyshire Life

Woodland walks

Lea wood

Just outside of Cromford by the banks of the River Derwent and Cromford Canal, you’ll find Lea Wood. Not only is this an idyllic woodland perfect for a dog walk, but it also happens to be land once owned by the family of Florence Nightingale. The Nightingales created a pleasure ground and natural haven here in contrast to the usual busy industry in and around Cromford.

You and the pup can wander the trails as young Florence once did on this walk around the woods and along the Nightingale arms of Cromford Canal. Another possible route investigates the history of the wood and its connections with the Nightingales.

There are no facilities in the woodland, but it is a beautiful area pup-ular with dog walkers and local group walks. Lea Wood is also a bluebell woodland so should you visit in Spring, you’ll be treated to a colourful display of bluebells and daffodils, as well as many other woodland wildflowers and plentiful birdlife. The trails are rough woodland tracks, so be sure to wear good footwear and be aware it can be uneven and muddy after rain.

  • Walk Length: 3.2km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: High Peak Junction car park

  • Terrain: Woodland, trails, slopes, uneven.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Lea Bridge, Cromford, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5AE

More information: Derbyshire Wildlife TrustDerbyshire Historic Buildings Trust

Waterside walks

Cromford canal

Starting from Cromford Wharf you and the pooch can take a stroll along the towpath of the canal, which will give the dog a good stretch of the legs while you can enjoy a relaxing stroll along the lazy waterway. There are also a number of fascinating historical landmarks on a walk along the canal, from the famous mills in Cromford and the Leawood Pumphouse.

The pumphouse still operates throughout the year, and if you’re lucky you can watch this steam-powered beast get to work as it hauls tons of water into the canal. Further along this walk as you leave Cromford behind, the remnants of the industrial revolution fade away into a picturesque nature reserve.

You could walk along the canal as far as you can and hop on the bus or train to return to Cromford. Otherwise, there is this circular route you can follow along the waterside and through the woods and fields back to where you began. Beside the wharf where you began your walk, you can visit the child and dog-friendly The Boat Inn.

  • Walk Length: 5.6km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Cromford Wharf

  • Terrain: Towpath, flat, even, fields, uneven.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: 2 Mill Road, Cromford, Matlock, DE4 3RQ

More information: Visit Peak District, Matlock Cromford Canal

Lumsdale falls

This route will take you through the enchanting wooded Lumsdale Valley to visit the beautiful falls. Lumsdale Falls is tucked away on the outskirts of Matlock, and very easy to miss. It’s a challenging but enjoyable walk to the waterfall, and we suggest keeping the dog on the lead as there is not much room and some steep drops beyond the paths.

The valley is littered with the ruins of mills, adding to the fantastical and forgotten atmosphere of the area. Because of the fragility of the ruins, picnicking and paddling are prohibited.

There is no dedicated parking for the falls, so your best bet is to park in town and walk out through the valley. You can also get a bus from Matlock to the top of the valley and walk down. There are no facilities here, but you can find local amenities in Matlock before or after your walk.

This isn’t an easy walk. The paths are steep and often have steps, making it inaccessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Additionally, it can get quite muddy. Don’t let it put you off, though, as this walk is picturesque throughout thanks to the fairytale scenery, wildlife, and the hidden history of the mills.

  • Walk Length: 2.5km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Matlock

  • Terrain: Paths, uneven, steps, hills.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Lumsdale, Matlock, DE4 5LA

More information: Cromford Mills, GPS Routes

Matlock to Pic Tor

This short circular walking route is an ideal walk in Matlock with the dog. Not only is it a good brisk walk with plentiful views and points of interest, it can be easily combined with other local routes to create an awesome adventure with the pup.

On your walk you’ll pass by the Remarkable Hare pub, which is remarkable by name and nature, offering great surroundings and food. It’s also very pet friendly and your pooch might be lucky enough to charm their way onto the Hare of the Dog gallery on the website or their Instagram.

Because this walk is shorter and lacks the steep climbs of some of the other walks in this list, it’s perfect for a more relaxed pace. However, there is a longer version you could try if you have the stamina.

Half of the walk follows the meandering River Derwent on a promenade between the river and the cliffs. The route then circles Pic Tor and returns to town. Pic Tor is crowned with a war memorial which stands overlooking the valley. It is worth pausing here to admire the view.

On the return leg to the centre of Matlock, you’ll pass by Hall Leys Park. The park is another of our favourite dog walks in Matlock, and again suits a leisurely stroll. You can wander into the park and admire the gardens before you and the pooch rejoin the route and return to the centre of Matlock.

  • Walk Length: 2.2km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Crown Square

  • Terrain: Paths, even, flat, hill.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Crown Square, Snitterton Road, Matlock, DE4 3AT

More information: Visit Peak DistrictDerbyshiredales.gov, Derbyshire Life

Hill walks

High Tor and Riber

This walk from Matlock Bath might be a shorter walk, but because of the steep climbs, it can take a few hours to complete and will certainly tire out both you and the dog. As there are sharp drops at the cliff edges, make sure you keep children and dogs under supervision at all times. It’s not a walk for the faint-hearted, as Giddy’s Edge is known as the scariest footpath in Britain.

You’ll climb High Tor early on in this circular walk. At the peak, you can pause to enjoy the scenery from the viewpoint before continuing down to Matlock, following part of the route for the Derwent Valley Heritage Trail. Here, you can pop into the pub for a pit-stop if you need a rest after the first stretch of hills. Then you and the pup will head east to Riber, passing the impressive Gothic castle on the way.

After that it’s back to where you began in Matlock Bath, passing another pub on the way. But if you don’t make a pit-stop on the journey, there are lovely dog-friendly spots in town you can enjoy, like the amusingly named F’Coffee, The Fishpond Freehouse, and The Black Cat Cafe. This walk can be started from the station, making it a great option for a walk without a car. If this longer route is too much for you, you could walk the linear Lovers Walk instead.

  • Walk Length: 5.3km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Matlock Bath

  • Terrain: Paths, even, hills.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Matlock, DE4 5JE

More information: Visit Peak District

Oker hill

This circular walk from Matlock to Oker and Darley Bridge includes a climb up Oker Hill, which has a sublime panorama from its peak that is the crowning glory of this walk. Other than the steep ascent of this hill, the rest of this walk is easy-going. There is plenty of field walking on this route, giving your pup the opportunity to be off the lead. You might even let them have a dip in the River Derwent, as you’ll follow the river regularly on this walk.

Given this walk will take a few hours, it’s a good idea to fuel up before you go and you’ll find plenty of local facilities in Matlock. You could refresh yourself in town before or after the walk, or even pause near Darley Bridge to rest.

You’ll actually pass the Square and Compass on your walk and this pet-friendly pub in an old barn is the ideal place to take a pit-stop. Another bonus of this walk is that it can be started from Matlock station, making it a great option for a walk without a drive.

  • Walk Length: 8km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Crown Square

  • Terrain: Paths, even, hills, trails, uneven.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Crown Square, Snitterton Road, Matlock, DE4 3AT

More information: Peak District

Black rocks

You might have passed this rugged outcrop previously on a walk from Cromford to Wirksworth, but the Black Rocks are well worth visiting in their own right. There are two great walking routes up the outcrop and around the adjoining woodland of Cromford Moor.

There is also the option to try orienteering. However, the area is probably most frequented by dog walkers. There is a wide variety of habitats on this walk, from the rocky outcrop, to wild woods, and even heather moorland. Cattle do graze the open areas, so make sure your dog is under control when you encounter any livestock or other walkers.

This weathered gritstone outcrop looks like something out of a film set and some visitors might find it reminiscent of Pride Rock from The Lion King because of its craggy sides and angular shape. Like many of the walks in Matlock with the dog, it can be a surprisingly steep climb to reach the top of Black Rocks, where you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic view across the valley.

Thankfully, it’s only a short ascent that you, the dog, and even the kids should manage without any trouble. There is a picnic area and a seasonal cafe onsite, so you can enjoy a hot drink and snack before or after your walk.

  • Walk Length: 1.5 or 3km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Black Rocks car park

  • Terrain: Trails, hills, woodland, fields, even.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Black Rocks, Wirksworth, Matlock, DE4 4NQ

More information: Forestry England, Visit Peak DistrictDerbyshire.gov

More dog walks: Leicestershire, StaffordshireLincoln