15 Perfect dog walks in the Peak District

Dog walks
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The first national park in England, the Peak District is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty whose windswept moors, dramatic outcrops, and mystical caves attract millions of visitors every year. As the park spans five counties, there are wonderful walks to be found whether you live in Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire or Greater Manchester. The park’s size and accessibility from so many cities in the midlands and the north only adds to its appeal for visitors.

With hundreds of miles worth of waymarked trails and stirring surroundings, it’s no wonder why people flock here for hikes and countryside retreats. It’s also a very popular spot with those seeking long walks and adventure alongside their canine companions.

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This national park is the perfect place to visit with your pup. You can explore some of the famous sights and varied landscapes by trying these 15 fantastic dog-friendly walks in the Peak District.

Country & country park walks

Bakewell to Chatsworth

After tucking into the eponymous treat in Bakewell, you and the pup can take a walk to the famous Chatsworth House and back. Chatsworth is famous for inspiring Pride and Prejudice, is a fantastic dog walking spot in its own right, and one of our favourite places in Derbyshire. So if you and the dog have enough time and energy, we recommend extending your walkies to visit the grounds on a delightful day out in the Peak District.

This easy and scenic walk will delight you and the dog no end. There’s a lot of meadow walking, and the incredible vistas that open below you make this walk stand out. It’s the English countryside at its best. You’ll also head through Manners Wood and beside the River Derwent, giving some variety to your surroundings and a chance for the pup to have a paddle.

At Chatsworth, if you decide to venture in, there’s doggy drinking stations and outdoor seating in the stables courtyard where you can enjoy a drink from the cafe. Otherwise, enjoy a pudding and a drink in the Honey Bun Cafe or Red Lion Pub back in Bakewell.

  • Walk Length: 9.6km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Bakewell

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

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: New Street, Bakewell, DE45 1DW

More information: Visit Peak District, CountryFile, GPS Routes, Chatsworth, Derbyshire Dales

The Monsal trail

Following 8.5 miles of the former railway line, the Monsal Trail offers a traffic-free pathway for walkers and cyclists. Given its former life, the trail is incredibly flat and well-kept, making it accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs too. As it is a very popular route for all kinds of walkers and cyclists, your dog should be on the lead throughout this walk. However, the long walk, frequent passers-by, and exciting landscape are sure to keep them on their toes and thoroughly entertained.

Given the trail length, you’ll be hard-pressed to walk the entirety of the route and back again within a day, but it isn’t impossible. Although the easier option is to hop on the bus or train at one end and return to where you started. Otherwise, you can take a circular walk that incorporates the trail. Additionally, there are train stations and car parks along the length of the walk, so you can start at any of these for a more manageable afternoon stroll. There are no facilities on the route, but you can take a short detour from the trail to visit any of the towns and villages nearby.

As there are a number of tunnels along the trail, you are advised to carry a torch when walking here, particularly in the winter months. This is because the tunnels are only lit in daylight hours, and in the unlikely event of a power outage, you’ll still want to be able to light your own way.

  • Walk Length: 13.6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Hassop Station

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

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Hassop Road, Bakewell, DE45 1NW

More information: Peak District, Walking Englishman, GPS Routes

Thor’s cave

Rising out of the woodland, the visible entrance of Thor’s Cave looks like a super villain’s lair. Stopping in your tracks to take in the strange sight is one thing, the amazing view from the cave itself is another. Dogs are welcome to join you on this unique walk and are best kept on the lead. What starts as a leisurely stroll from the village of Wetton takes a dramatic turn as Thor’s Cave appears to grow out of the ground in front of you. Reaching the cave is no mean feat, and you’ll have to take over 200 steps up to reach the mouth.

You can decide for yourself if you’d like to make the climb, but it is well worth it if you do. As we mentioned, the views are fantastic and you will have the opportunity to delve into the magical cave to see the various rock formations and minerals inside. Be aware that the steps and cave can be slippery, so you will need good footwear if you plan to head uphill. Otherwise, the rest of this walk is on good footpaths.

Back in Wetton, you and the pooch can take a pit-stop at The Royal Oak. Alternatively, pay a visit to the Tea Rooms, as there are not only tasty cakes on offer but dog biscuits too! If you fancy walking further, try exploring more of the Manifold Valley.

  • Walk Length: 2.5km

  • Difficulty: Easy (Moderate if you go up to the cave!)

  • Starting Point: Wetton

  • Terrain: Paths, trails, flat, even, steps.

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Wetton, Ashbourne, DE6 2AF

More information: GPS Routes, 10 Adventures, Snap The Peaks

The Limestone way

The Limestone Way is the perfect way for you and the pup to explore the White Peak area of the Peak District, stretching over Derbyshire and Staffordshire. You could take a few days to walk the entire 46 miles of this long-distance path, or make your own circular route based on a smaller section of the walk. There are many different legs to choose from, and differing levels of difficulty, so you and the pup will have plenty of walks to choose from on this one trail.

One of the most popular sections starts in Castleton, where the trail begins. The day of walking finishes in Monyash, a handsome limestone village, and only a few miles away from Bakewell. Alternatively, you could take this long circular walk from Castleton which follows a section of the trail, including a fantastic ramble through Cave Dale.

In Castleton, you’ll find plenty of amazing places to rest and refresh yourself and the dog, including Ye Olde Nags Head and Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. If you stay overnight in Castleton, you can try another of our favourite dog-friendly walks in the Peak District and climb nearby Mam Tor.

  • Walk Length: 32km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Castleton

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

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Castleton, Hope Valley, S33 8WN

More information: Visit Peak District, British Walks, GPS Routes, Derbyshire Life

Woodland walks

Longshaw estate

This National Trust site makes the perfect starting point and hub for anyone looking for easier family and dog-friendly walks in the Peak District. It has all the facilities you’ll need by the car park and visitor centre, plus you’ll find the Fox House Inn nearby. You and the pooch can explore the grounds of the estate together, wandering the ancient woodland, moorland, and park. Although the pup will need to stay on their lead, they’re sure to enjoy such a varied and scenic walk.

The attraction of Longshaw however, is its access to many other fabulous local walks. One of our favourites is Padley Gorge. If you wanted to enjoy this walk but avoid parking in the NT car park, you can find roadside parking on the B6521, where there is a hole in the wall and steps leading down into the valley.

This is an enchanting walk through ancient woodland following the babbling Burbage Brook, which will delight the dogs as they paddle and play in the water. (So perhaps bring a towel!) The area has a fantasy quality, thanks to the tranquillity, plentiful mosses, and one or two abandoned stone walls and outbuildings.

  • Walk Length: 3.6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Longshaw Estate visitor centre

  • Terrain: Trails, parkland, fields, woodland, uneven, slopes, steps.

  • Free Parking: No (Except for NT members.)

  • Address: Longshaw, Sheffield, S11 7TZ

More information: Ordnance Survey, National Trust

Macclesfield forest & Tegg’s nose

Walking around Macclesfield Forest is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon with the pooch, but made all the more memorable with a climb up Tegg’s Nose. It’s not the highest or most demanding hill to climb, but from the top, you’ll have an awe-inspiring view over the Cheshire Plain.

You can sometimes see as far as the Welsh mountains and the Liverpool skyline. The forest is equally magical and great for any avid wildlife watchers. If you’re lucky, you may glimpse a red deer grazing, or crossbills flitting between the trees catching flies.

As the area is a country park, you’ll find plenty of facilities onsite, including a visitor centre, gallery, and tearoom. This walk starts at the visitor centre and takes you in a circuit past the old quarries and up Tegg’s Nose. On the descent, you’ll walk between the two reservoirs and through the forest to return to where you began. Take care of young children and dogs when you’re near the quarry as there are a few steep drops.

  • Walk Length: 4km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Visitor centre

  • Terrain: Trails, even, hills, woodland.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Tegg's Nose Country Park, Buxton Old Road, Macclesfield, SK11 0AP

More information: Teggs Nose, Cheshire East, CountryFile

Back forest & Lud’s church

If you’ve read about our favourite walks in Staffordshire, you might remember we mentioned it being worth visiting Lud’s Church on a detour from a walk around The Roaches. This circular route through Back Forest is a quieter walk than the route around The Roaches, and this time Lud’s Church is the focal point of this dog-friendly walk in the Peak District.

Created by a landslip on the hill above, Lud’s Church is a steep rift in the gritstone. Its craggy walls are carpeted in moss, and it’s surprisingly dark and damp even in the middle of a summer’s day. There is a distinct otherworldly atmosphere to the place, which only accentuates the legends surrounding the chasm.

Even historical fact seems like fantasy, as this was once the secret worshipping place of Lollards in the 15th century. Meanwhile, in myth and legend, some believe this to be the location of the Green Chapel from the chivalric romance, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The chasm is supposedly haunted too, by the ghost of a woman shot in a raid on a Lollard’s service. It is unknown how true it may be, but her ghost is said to walk the eerie chasm still.

There are no facilities here, but there are several local pubs a short drive away including Ye Olde Rock Inn or the Lazy Trout.

  • Walk Length: 11.1km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Car park off Gradbach Mill Lane

  • Terrain: Trails, woodland, uneven, slopes.

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Buxton, SK17 0SU

More information: Walking Britain, Wikipedia, Visit Peak District

Waterside walks

Linacre reservoir

There are actually three reservoirs at Linacre, and between them, they hold a staggering 240 million gallons of water. The calm waters are surrounded by mixed woodland, including towering conifers, oak, and alder.

You and the pooch can enjoy wandering through the woods, where the dog can be off the lead sniffing in the undergrowth before you stroll around the reservoir. There are plenty of well-maintained paths around the three reservoirs and you could enjoy this relaxing walk around the tranquil waters and the surrounding farmland and woods.

There are several great pubs nearby, many of which are dog friendly. You could “pup” into The Three Merry Lads, The Fox & Goose, or the Peacock Inn after your walk for a drink and a few treats for you and the pooch. There is a car park beside the reservoirs, and in the summer months, you may be lucky and find an ice cream van parked there. You can choose to take a short walk around the reservoir, but for those really wanting to stretch their legs, take this route from Brampton.

  • Walk Length: 8.8km (Brampton route)

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Linacre Reservoir car park, or Brampton

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, even, fields, woodland, slopes.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Woodnook Lane, Cutthorpe, Chesterfield, S42 7JN

More information: Visit Peak District, Derbyshire Life, Dog Friendly Peak District

Dovestone reservoir

On the western edge of the Peak District where the Greenfield and Chew Brooks valleys meet lies Dovestone Reservoir. It’s one of the most pup-ular dog walking spots in Greater Manchester and only a quarter of an hour’s drive from Oldham. It’s well worth the journey as the broad views over the hills and moorland are exceptional, as well as the serene beauty of the reservoir itself.

You could take a simple circular walk around the circumference of the reservoir, or extend your walk for a few miles by strolling through the moors too. If you keep on the waterside path, your dog must be kept on the lead as they are not allowed in the water. However, if you venture along the network of trails further out into the open country, the pup can have the opportunity to run free and stretch their legs.

If you and the dog are feeling particularly adventurous, you could walk all the way to Yeoman Hey Reservoir and Greenfield Reservoir. There are a few local pubs you can visit after your walk. The closest of which, The Clarence, is dog-friendly.

  • Walk Length: 4.4km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Car park

  • Terrain: Trails, flat, even, moorland, uneven.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Saddleworth, Oldham, Greater Manchester, OL3 7NE

More information: GPS Routes, Visit Oldham, Plot A Route, Walkiees

Goyt valley

There are almost two dozen fabulous walks to be found in or near the Goyt Valley, and those are just the named and mapped routes. In truth, you and the pooch could follow your nose and make your own way, spending hours exploring this beautiful landscape. The area has been a haven for walkers for over a century.

It’s the perfect place to return to time and again with your pooch to try new trails or discover more of the varied history and wildlife of the valley. This route is one of the most interesting walks in the valley and will take you to the ruins of Errwood Hall, the cemetery of the Grimshawe family, and to St Joseph’s shrine.

The walks vary significantly in their length and level of difficulty. You could take a 2-mile circular stroll that is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs, just as others may decide to hike 9 miles to Buxton and get the train back. There’s something to suit every age and ability of humans and hounds in the valley and a walk for every season.

  • Walk Length: 4.8km (Various)

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Errwood Hall car park

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

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Buxton, SK17 6GJ

More information: Goyt Valley, Forestry England, Manchester's Finest


This walk explores some of the Yorkshire side of the Peak District, and you’ll visit no less than three reservoirs on this route. Your pup is sure to love this walk too as it’s a great length of rambling through the woods and across the open moorland landscape, giving them plenty of opportunities to run around off the lead. There are a few hilly sections on the way, but from their vantage point, you’ll have great views over the surrounding countryside.

You’ll pass Ye Olde Mustard Pot pub on this walk, and as it is dog-friendly, it’s the perfect chance to take a pit-stop. Your walk will start from the car park by Langsett reservoir, but if you can’t find space, there is additional parking in the layby on the main road. There is also a cafe in Langsett as well as the dog-friendly Waggon & Horses, so you can enjoy one of their famous pies after your walk.

  • Walk Length: 13km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Langsett Reservoir

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

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: A616, Langsett, Sheffield, S36 9FD

More information: Yorkshire Life, GPS Routes

Hill walks

Mam Tor

This circular walk takes you up Mam Tor, or Mother Hill, which is not a challenging climb but will definitely be enough to tire out both you and the pooch. Your dog will need to be on the lead for this walk, but they will still be thoroughly entertained throughout.

This is a great family-friendly hike along a stone path up to the summit, where you can admire the neighbouring Dark Peak. As there are some steps and stiles on the route, it isn’t accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. When you reach the top of the hill, you’ll have a fabulous view of the Derwent Moors and the Edale Valley. On your way back from the Tor, you’ll pass several caves and mine entrances near Mam Farm. One of these is a show cave, Blue John Cavern, and you can peek inside to try and spy the minerals on the walls.

Nearby Castleton has plenty of local facilities from tearooms to pubs, such as Ye Olde Nags Head and Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. There is also the Penny Pot Cafe in Edale. Both towns also offer paid parking and public toilets too.

  • Walk Length: 4.8km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Mam Nick car park

  • Terrain: Paths, stones, uneven, hills, steps.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Mam Tor, Hope Valley, S33 8WA

More information: National Trust, 10 Adventures, Dog Friendly Peak District

Hathersage to Stanage Edge

This is one of the most recommended hiking routes and a fantastic dog-friendly walk in the Peak District. The route starts in the handsome hillside village of Hathersage before exploring the countryside that inspired Charlotte Brontë. You’ll pass by the historical North Lees Hall, which is believed to be the inspiration for Mr Rochester’s home in Jane Eyre, as well as being the home of the real-life Eyre family.

After rambling through the valley with the pooch, you will reach the giant 6km long gritstone escarpment of Stanage Edge, which is arguably one of the most famous landscapes of the Peak District. Not to mention, the views from the top are superb and include Kinder Scout and Mam Tor, some of our other favourite walks in the National Park.

Following the route, you and the pooch will return to Hathersage, where you can rest and refresh yourselves in the dog-friendly The Scotsmans Pack pub or Elliots Bistro. The village has a train station, so you needn’t drive to enjoy this unforgettable walk.

  • Walk Length: 14.4km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Hathersage station

  • Terrain: Trails, fields, uneven, hills.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Station Road, Hathersage, S32 1DD

More information: Visit Peak District, 10 Adventures, CountryFile, Derbyshire Dales

Eccles pike

Provided you and the dog are fairly fit, Eccles Pike is perfect for a dog-friendly hike. Best of all, reaching the summit of this isolated hill isn’t a mammoth task. Reaching the peak of the Pike is definitely worthwhile, as the view from the summit is fantastic. Not only that, but you can also see for yourself the unique pink colour of the stone that crowns this hill. There’s a handy topograph too, which outlines everything that you can see from your vantage point on the peak.

One of the shorter routes up Eccles Pike starts in Whaley Bridge, still some two miles from the hilltop. This means you and the pooch will be out for a few miles walking, and even further if you take a circular route rather than the there-and-back trail. You can pay a visit to one of the local pubs before or after your walk, such as the dog-friendly The Cock or The Goyt Inn. You could also begin this walk from Whaley Bridge station, making this the perfect adventure for you and the dog to enjoy without needing to drive.

  • Walk Length: 6km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Whaley Bridge

  • Terrain: Trails, fields, uneven, hills.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Whaley Bridge, High Peak, SK23 7AF

More information: GPS Routes, All Trails

Cats Tor

On the same ridge as Shining Tor, and easily walkable from this other peak, lies Cats Tor. This small outcrop is surprisingly easy to walk over as there is only a short and gradual climb to the top. Not to mention, the route itself is fairly short too, as it is only a kilometre from the car park. That makes this a perfect walk for little legs (whether they belong to a person or pooch,) and a shorter and more manageable option for a dog-friendly walk in the Peak District.

Despite the relatively easy climb, you will still be rewarded with a great view over the countryside and the other larger peaks like Shutlingsloe or Shining Tor. If you did fancy a longer and more challenging walk, you and the pup could climb Cats Tor and then nearby Shining Tor.

There are no facilities here except for the car park and there is no public transport. You’ll have to drive to find somewhere to refresh yourself, such as The Cat & Fiddle.

  • Walk Length: 2.2km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Pym Chair car park

  • Terrain: Trails, fields, uneven, hills.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: High Peak, SK23 7RF

More information: Walk Peak District, Mud And Routes

More information about the Peak District: Wikipedia, Visit Peak District, Manchester Evening News, Yorkshire Life, Derbyshire Life, CountryFile

More dog walks: Wales, Pembrokeshire, Cumbria