15 Marvellous dog walks in Derbyshire

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

Derbyshire is famous for being home to the majority of the Peak District, and we could easily complete a list of dog walks in Derbyshire based on this national park alone. It isn’t all there is to see, however. From the rocky crags, hills and vast open moors of the Peak District and Derbyshire Dales to the wooded valleys of the Coalfields, Derbyshire does not lack variety in its landscapes. This county is dedicated to breathtakingly beautiful countryside wherever you wander.

The county is home to great historical significance too. It’s considered the birthplace of the industrial revolution and is home to both the first factory in the world and Britain's first public park (Which we’ve included as a walk on this list).

Discover delicious food your dog deserves

Learn more

You can explore this stunning countryside and rich history for yourself in any of these 15 great dog walks in Derbyshire. Whether you’re out exploring the windy moors or pristine parkland, just remember to follow the countryside code and general etiquette of dog-walking. Clean up after yourselves and your dog, and leave places as you found them. That way, everyone can enjoy the countryside of this exceptional county.

Country & country park walks

Derbyshire Arboretum

There is no way we couldn’t include this as one of the best dog walks in Derbyshire, simply because of the significance of the site. This park is recognised as the first public park in Britain, as well as the inspiration behind Central Park in New York City.

Philanthropist Joseph Strutt donated the land to create an outdoor haven for workers where they could exercise, relax, and learn. It remains exactly that even today and is the perfect place to enjoy a laid-back walk with your pooch.

The park is considered a “hidden gem” by some, as it is tucked away into the city, a short walk from the station and the city centre. There are toilets, picnic spots and a cafe on site but if you fancy something more substantial, you’ll have to walk into the city centre. A half-hour walk will take you to Derby Cathedral, as well as the nearby Silk Mill, a warm and welcome pub you and your pup will be comfortable in.

  • Walk Length: Various

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Any of the park entrances

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, parkland

  • Free Parking: Yes, on street

  • Address: Derby Arboretum Park, Arboretum Square, Derby, DE23 8FZ

More information: The Independent, In Derby, Visit Peak District, Derby Arboretum PDF

Chatsworth house

This regal country house and vast surrounding estate is believed to be the inspiration for Pemberley, the home of Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. It also stood in for this famous fictional home in the 2005 film, so any fans will recognise many of the locations around the garden and estate.

Alongside its rich literary connection, Chatsworth happens to be a wonderful place to explore with your pup. There are more areas of this estate where your dog can explore than those off-limits. Essentially, they can go anywhere except for the house and farmyard. That means you have over 1400 acres of estate, a 105-acre garden, shops and a restaurant you and your furry friend can enjoy together.

As well as walks through the park, you can enter Stand Woods for the opportunity to venture on a variety of forest walks too. As you explore with your pooch, you might even meet Henry the Goldendoodle, who’s become a bit of a celebrity as the mascot of the house.

  • Walk Length: 3km to 5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Carlton Lees car park

  • Terrain: Flat, Parkland

  • Free Parking: Yes - Until 20 March 2020

  • Address: Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP

More information: Chatsworth.org, Suggested Walks


The Peak District is full of beautiful landscapes, daunting gritstone formations, and even eerie stone circles. This walk around Birchover has all of that and probably the most history packed into any Peak District walk you could take.

This route throws awesome history at you right from the start, as you can find the Druid Caves and Rowter Rocks within Birchover. These caves and the stone carvings appear arcane and the works of druids centuries ago. In reality, a local man called Thomas Eyre created them in the 18th century, perhaps to create interest for tourists, which they certainly have in the present day.

From here you can walk across Stanton Moor to the Cork Stone. The highlight of this walk, however, is the Nine Ladies, a stone circle mythically created when nine women were turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath.

Your dog will love the wide expanses of the open country here while we humans have many wondrous natural and historical delights to take in. As well as the above, you can also visit the nearby Hermit’s cave and some of the many burial mounds found on the moors.

Both The Red Lion Inn and the Druid’s Inn in Birchover are dog-friendly and make the perfect place to start and end your walk.

  • Walk Length: 4.8km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Main road, Birchover

  • Terrain: Reasonably flat, moor, meadow

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Main Street, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 2BN

More information: Country File, Ordnance Survey, Derbyshire Peak District, Atlas Obscura


This rural walk takes you past two rivers, the Wye and Lathkill, as you venture from Bakewell to Haddon and back again. The changing landscape from town to field and woodland to riverside are sure to engage your dog with the environment and provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation. You can both embrace and enjoy the great outdoors together, but you are sure to appreciate the architecture more than your pooch. You’ll pass over a medieval bridge and by Haddon Hall, an impressive, well-preserved medieval manor.

The start of this walk covers a section of the Monsal Trail, a disused railway line that has been transformed into a popular thoroughfare for horse riders, cyclists and walkers.

We suggest spending some time in Bakewell before or after your walk, and not just to try the famous dessert. The town is very dog-friendly and your pup can accompany you in most shops. The network of paths from town and number of local facilities makes it a wonderful place to start many amazing dog walks in the Derbyshire Dales.

  • Walk Length: 9.6km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Bakewell town centre

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, slopes, fields

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Bridge Street, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1DS

More information: Dog Furiendly, Derbyshire Dales

Woodland walks

Poppy wood

Very much in its youth as a forest, Poppy Wood still has stretches of open space and young trees. Planted in 2007 as part of The National Forest scheme, Poppy Wood will certainly grow more beautiful as the trees do.

As the forest is still in its infancy, the wood is completely enclosed to keep deer out and means your pooch is free to roam off-lead safely in this enclosed wood.

If you start your walk on Breach Lane, you’ll find a hidden gem as you enter the wood that your dog is sure to love. Tucked away here is a puppy adventure playground, perfect for testing your furry friend on some agility challenges and make this more exciting than the average stroll in the woods. Otherwise, there aren’t many facilities on the site, but there is a pretty picnic spot amongst the saplings.

  • Walk Length: 3km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Breach Lane

  • Terrain: Flat, paths, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Breach Lane, Melbourne, Derby, DE73 8DF

More information: Derby Telegraph, National Forest

Blackwell trail

The Blackwell Trail is a short stretch of the Phoenix Greenways, a network of trails through Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. From here you can easily access Brierley Forest Park, a wildlife haven on the site of a former colliery. This link makes it easy to turn this gentle stroll into a longer walk with your pooch, and why we have included it on this list as a woodland walk as well as being another lovely example of a dog walk in the Derbyshire Dales.

As well as having links into the forest, this route passes through both grassland and wetland, giving you a variety of surroundings and wildlife to enjoy on your walk. You can also visit the former mining village of Blackwell, where you begin this walk, which houses a monument to its mining history.

  • Walk Length: 2.4km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point:

  • Terrain: Flat, surfaced trail, grassland, woodland, wetland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: 544 New St, Hilcote, Alfreton DE55 5HU

More information: Derbyshire.gov, Brierley Forest

Calke abbey

This National Trust site is a treat to visit for you and your dog! Furry friends are welcome to explore all the parkland and the stable yards. They are also welcome in the gardens in the winter season on a lead. The park is largely wooded and home to “the Old Man of Calke”, a magnificent 1,200-year-old oak tree. In spring you’ll find the forest carpeted with bluebells for an unmistakably beautiful walk in the woods.

The land around the country house feels more like the middle of the country than an estate. Much of the area is deliberately left unkempt, as nature slowly reclaims the land. The house too is not pristine, standing largely unrestored and tells the tale of a country manor fallen out of favour.

Dogs are welcome in the restaurant and cafe courtyards, where they can enjoy a dog-friendly frozen yoghurt, which is sure to be a well-received treat! There is a second cafe on-site at the reservoir and dogs are allowed inside here. It’s a half-hour walk from the main house, so you could take a gentle stroll along the maroon walk from the house to the reservoir and back to take in all the sights and allow you and your pup to enjoy lunch together.

  • Walk Length: 3.5km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Main entrance

  • Terrain: Flat, uneven, woodland, parkland

  • Free Parking: Yes, but £5 entry to the estate

  • Address: Ticknall, Derby, Derbyshire, DE73 7JF

More information: National Trust, Derbyshire Life, Calke Abbey

Coton walk

This circular walk will take you through or adjacent to no less than 8 different woods, many of which are young and planted as part of The National Forest. The trees here are thriving and the area is gaining popularity with walkers and visiting families who fancy a day in the outdoors.

With plenty of opportunities for your pup to run off-lead and sniff around for wildlife and wildflowers, you’re sure to both love this easy stroll through the forest. After your walk, you can stop by The Bubble Inn, which is very dog-friendly and has a broad range of amazing food. There is also the Black Horse pub, which is more of your traditional country pub.

  • Walk Length: 9.6km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Coton Wood car park

  • Terrain: Uneven, woodland, fields

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Coton in the Elms, Swadlincote, DE12 8HB

More information: Coton Circular Walk, Coton Circular Walk PDF, Woodland Trust, The Bubble Inn, Woodland Trust PDF

Allestree park

With acres of picturesque parkland, charming woodland, and a tranquil lake, Allestree Park has it all when it comes to a countryside dog walk in Derbyshire. There are even a few hills to test your legs as you and your dog explore this beautiful nature reserve. You can avoid many inclines and slopes by walking near the golf course.

There are several paved routes around the park, making it an accessible walk for families with buggies as well as a little easier to follow and walk along.

The cafe here is frequently open until late evening so you needn’t worry about finding somewhere to stop for a snack, a light lunch or dinner. There are also three different car parks, all free, so you’re sure to find space. If you fancy a cosy pub with a warm welcome for families and dog walkers alike, we suggest visiting The Red Cow nearby in Allestree.

  • Walk Length: Various

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Coton Wood car park

  • Terrain: Hills, parkland, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Allestree Park, Duffield Road, Derby, DE22 2EU

More information: Walkiees, In Derby, Allestree Park, Red Cow Allestree

Waterside walks

Upper Derwent valley

Known as the Derbyshire’s lake district, this walk in the Upper Derwent Valley offers beautiful waterside and woodland scenery as well as plenty of places for your pup to run free or enjoy a doggy paddle on a hot day.

On this walk, you’ll pass by the impressive Derwent Dam, which any history buff will recognise as the home of the Dambusters. There are also beautiful views of the surrounding hills and forest.

As you walk with your own dog, remember to pause and pay a visit to Tip, the loyal sheepdog who stayed with the body of her owner for an astounding 15 weeks through harsh winter until he was found. Tip miraculously survived and was commended for her bravery. A memorial to the faithful friend was placed by the roadside, which you’ll pass by on this walk.

You’ll then walk around the reservoir and through the pine woodland before making your way back to where you started. The visitor centre where you begin and end this walk has toilets and refreshments available. There are also two other car parks nearby, and it is possible to begin the walk from them.

  • Walk Length: 8.8km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Fairholmes Visitor Centre

  • Terrain: Uneven, woodland, stone paths, hills

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Fairholmes, Bamford, Hope Valley, S33 0AQ

More information: Derbyshire Life, Peak District

Carsington reservoir

This circuit walk takes you around the calm and tranquil waters of Carsington Reservoir. As an added bonus, this walk starts and ends at The Miners Arms, a family-run pub that welcomes families, walkers and well-behaved dogs. They also offer good home-cooked food, perfect to refuel after this long but beautiful walk.

The area around the reservoir is now a nature reserve and has been well-planted to create a myriad of habitats that your dog is sure to enjoy exploring as much as the wild animals.

You can even hire binoculars from the visitor centre, and visit bird hides on the route, allowing you the perfect opportunity to get a good look at the wildlife that calls this gorgeous countryside home.

  • Walk Length: 13.3km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: The Miners Arms

  • Terrain: Flat, paths, fields, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes, in the village

  • Address: The Miners Arms, Main Road, Carsington, Derbyshire, DE4 4DE

More information: Derby Telegraph, The Miners Carsington, Derbyshire Peak District, Get Out With The Kids

Chesterfield canal

This is another popular route which makes one of the prettiest waterside dog walks in Derbyshire. Not only will you follow the path of this beautifully restored canal, but many ponds and pools too. If you’ve got a pup who loves a paddle, remember to pack a towel!

This walk feels rural but remains close to town throughout, giving you plenty of opportunities to step away from the canal to find somewhere to stop and have a drink before rejoining the route. It’s a short walk into Chesterfield where you can find a few dog-friendly stops, like The Rectory or Welbeck Inn.

  • Walk Length: 12.8km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Tapton Lock visitor centre

  • Terrain: Flat, paths, fields

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Lockoford Lane, Chesterfield, S41 7JB

More information: Derbyshire Life, Visit Peak District, Derbyshire.gov

Hill walks

Kinder Scout

This is a very challenging walk, but one well worth it for the fantastic views and the bragging rights of climbing the highest point in the East Midlands. This moorland plateau features many unique and beautiful landmarks to find as you walk, such as the magnificent waterfall, Kinder Downfall. In high winds the spray from the falls is blown backwards in a geyser-like effect you can see for miles.

This is a long walk and tough climb so be sure you and your dog are up for it and you have all the necessary gear. If you fancy something simpler, there is an easier walk below the plateau that still offers stunning views of the surrounding hills.

There are several walks you can take, but the circular route starting from Edale will take you along the Jacob’s Ladder path, across the plateau and has the option of continuing to the falls or the nearby Mam Tor. By starting in Edale you can also visit The Old Nag’s Head in the village. This charming pub sits as the start of the Pennine Way and has existed since the 16th Century. Not only is it a characterful pub for you to rest and refresh, it has two cosy cottages to hire to stay in.

  • Walk Length: 11km

  • Difficulty: Challenging

  • Starting Point: The Old Nag’s Head

  • Terrain: Hills, moor, uneven

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Grindsbrook Booth, Edale, Derbyshire, S33 7ZD

More information: Walking Englishman, Visit Peak District, GPS Routes, The Old Nags Head


Made famous for the mineral water found here, Buxton is a gorgeous spa town worth visiting even if you aren’t planning on a dog walk. Luckily, there are also several beautiful walks from the town that explore the local section of the Peak District. It’s well connected to many public footpaths so you could take your pick of routes or devise your own that matches your ability.

Starting from the train station means you can enjoy this walk even if you don’t drive. Your pooch is sure to love stretching their legs and exploring the wide, open countryside as you admire the idyllic and dramatic landscapes. Along the way, you can stop off at Solomon’s Tower, a victorian tower built atop a Bronze Age barrow. You can climb to the top for incredible panoramic views over the surrounding countryside.

In terms of facilities, you should make the most of starting and ending this walk in beautiful Buxton. There’s no shortage of dog-friendly places to stop for a meal or drink after your walk. There are several pubs such as The 19th Hole, The Old Sun Inn, and The Old Cheshire Cheese where dogs are welcome. Even the Caffe Nero in town allows well-behaved pooches to stop by.

  • Walk Length: 12.1km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Buxton train station

  • Terrain: Paths, roads, fields, hills

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Station Road, Buxton SK17 6AQ

More information: Visit Buxton, Peak District Hiking, Northern Buxton Walk PDF, Wikipedia

Shining Tor

On the border of Derbyshire and Cheshire lies Shining Tor. This short circular walk begins at the ruins of Errwood Hall, a short-lived country house.

If you fancy a challenge and several climbs, you can take a long circuit that goes into Cheshire and takes you over Cats Tor to Pym Chair, which we mentioned in our favourite dog walks in Cheshire. Meanwhile, if the weather is poor or you would prefer a waterside walk that looks up at the surrounding hills and valleys, you can walk around the reservoir.

Climbing the Tor will not only stretch your legs but from its peak, there are incredible views over the Cheshire plain and you can see as far as the Clwydian Range in Wales. The rugged landscape here is astonishing and it’s no wonder the area is so often recommended for walkers, both human and pooch.

  • Walk Length: 6km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Errwood Hall car park

  • Terrain: Hills, fields

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Errwood Hall, Buxton, SK17 6GJ

More information: Walk Peak District, Shining Tor Walk, Directions, Errwood Hall

Another bonus walk that comes highly suggested is Elvaston Castle.

More information about Derbyshire: Derbyshire.gov PDF, Derby Telegraph Facts, Derbyshire Life Walks, Derbyshire Life Dog Walks, Derby Telegraph Dog Walks

More dog walks: Durham, Yorkshire, Cheshire