Chee Dale in the Peak District makes a wonderful location for a day hike. Set in the White Peaks area of the National Park, it’s close to the very popular Monsal Trail, an easy path for walkers, runners and cyclists.
But the Chee Dale walk is somewhat different to walking the Monsal Trail, even though it’s right next door! It feels almost magical, around each corner there’s some new and wonderful to look at, especially during springtime.
The walk was a real sensation overload and I loved that it has options for everyone to enjoy. It could make perfect for a short morning or afternoon walk, or even a full day out with family and friends, including picnic stops!
The Chee Dale walk also has some fun stepping stones on the walk so excellent for big kids like me who love combining nature, wildlife and adventure in one walk.
I did this walk whilst on route to Manchester Airport, I couldn’t resist the temptation for a hike in my favourite National Park and this Chee Dale walk had been on my list for a while!
Here’s all you need to know about the walk so you can enjoy your own adventure. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Table of Contents
- 1 Chee Dale Walk
- 2 More Walks in the Peak District
Chee Dale Walk
Location: White Peak Area, Peak District
Start point: Wyedale Car Park (SK 1032 7249)
Walk distance: 7 miles/ 11 km
Time: 2.5-3.5 hours
Map: Ordnance Survey OL24
Where to Start the Chee Dale Walk?
Postcode: Buxton, SK17 9TE*
*This is a guide as Sat nav doesn’t take you directly to the car park (well mine didn’t!)
I started my hike at Wye Dale car park, a short walk from the Monsal Trail. This is a small car park with up to 28 spaces. At busy times you may need to start at a different location (See options here – Miller Dale). There is also a sign with a map showing other parking options.
It’s a pay and display car park but only accepts card payments. You can go for a short walk up to an hour for £1.50 or a full day is £4.75. No cash accepted.
Car parking costs (between 9am-6pm)
- Up to 1 hour = £1.50
- Up to 2 hours = £2.50
- Up to 4 hours = £4.00
- All day = £4.75
Facilities – There are no toilets here. The nearest ones are at Miller Dale, approximately halfway point on the walk.
Read here: What to take on a day hike?
Starting the Chee Dale Walk From Wye Dale
From Wyedale car park, simply follow the signs to the Monsal Trail, you can’t really go wrong, as the road is in the other direction!
You’ll follow the River Wye and within minutes you’ll start seeing local wildlife. I was lucky enough to see the colourful Mandarin ducks swimming along, in fact, I counted quite a few.
After 10 minutes you’ll reach a bike hire shop, called Blackwell Cycle Hire. A bonus is they also have a selection of snacks, including ice creams if you want to treat yourself early on in the walk! Yes, I had an ice-cream :).
Please note, there are NO toilets here, they even have a sign, but apparently, everyone still asks!
Following the steep path upwards to your right, you reach a gate at the top. (You’ll probably see people pushing bikes up here as it’s that steep). But don’t worry it’s short and steep! Don’t go through the gate but instead take the path on your left over the bridge.
As you cross you can look down to the Monsal Trail below.
Now here’s where the path gets steep. Yes, I know not great at the start of a walk but it also has pretty views if you stop for a rest break and turn around.
Wildlife on the Chee Dale Walk
As you reach the top and open fields you’ll notice a small man-made pond with a fence. This has been created to help support the Great Crested Newt, a protected species. You can go in and try to spot one. I visited in early spring and the pod was full of hundreds of tadpoles but I was also lucky enough to see two newts as well.
In fact, I’ve since found out that I spotted a mating couple, as one of the newts have a wavy crest on his body which only occurs on males during mating season.
From here you follow the well-trodden trail overlooking the fields, next to a few houses, where you might spot chickens wandering around before you turn and head across the fields.
The luscious green grass is the perfect setting for a real countryside experience. During spring you see sheep with their lambs. Once out in the open fields, you’ll see the views for miles as you start the descent down.
Back Downhill to the Monsal Trail
Follow the steep downhill towards the river. You can now turn left and head up to meet the Monsal Trail. This is a very popular route with walkers, runners and cyclists. An old railway line, the great thing is that it’s flat so anyone can walk along it.
If you look to your right you can see one of the tunnels on the trail (if you have spare time then I’d recommend going inside, just for fun)
You’ll immediately notice more people from the quiet paths you were previously on. But of course, it’s lovely to say hi to fellow walkers.
The Monsal Trail
There’s plenty to look at and read, even on this small section. One of the most prominent features still intact is the East Buxton Lime Kiln, which was in use until 1944.
Now it’s home to many types of wildlife including swifts and different species of bats. You can read more about it whilst you’re on the trail as well as going up the path to see it from above!
I opted to walk all the way to the old station at Miller Dale. You can even see the old platform and station building. Now it’s home to a small cafe and public toilets so a handy place to stop. There’s also another car park here if you’d prefer to start your walk here. But this one is much busier!
Oh, there’s also a public toilet here, which is a handy half-way break!
After a photo stop, turn around and followed the Monsal Trail back to the bridge (the one you’ve already walked across). But this time don’t cross it. Instead, take the steps to the right and follow all the way down so you’re walking right next to the River Wye.
This was one of my favourite parts of the walk. The contrast from being on the Monsal Trail to being below it within minutes is breathtaking. I’d recommend allowing plenty of time for this last section as there are lots of things to see.
Beneath the Monsal Trail
This path on the Chee Dale walk is beautiful, during springtime you can smell wild garlic all around and it’s so green everywhere. It’s really relaxing and peaceful.
The path winds up and down but keeping next to the river so it’s perfect for not getting lost. If that’s something you worry about! Well, I managed not to get lost, so that’s the benchmark!
Eventually, you reach a boardwalk next to a small bridge. There’s a sign here advising that this section is a little tricky in places and also that it’s subject to flooding! There are options to take a detour if you’re walking in rainy weather and don’t want to get wet feet!
The trail quickly starts to become rocky and uneven, with tree roots entwined across the path. But it’s amazingly beautiful, the sounds of nature are all around you, birds tweeting and the river rushing by. It’s a sensation overload!
The path continues across a tiny wooden bridge then down some large rocky steps. But then it’s the fun part, a large section of the walk is blocked by the river so the path turns into stepping stones. I guess nature takes priority!
Chee Dale Stepping Stones
The stepping stones are well established square rocks, but they are a little uneven so you need to watch your step. And they take you around the corner out of sight so if it’s busy on the trail you might need to turn around as I can imagine they aren’t easy to pass other people on.
Once you’ve tackled the first set of stepping stones, you’re back on the path. That is until the second set. A few of these steps were slightly underwater so I can imagine on a rainy day you’d definitely get wet feet!
And if you love stepping stones then check out my walk in Dovedale too. Although, in my opinion, these ones are better 🙂
Now you simply follow the trail until you reach a wooden bridge (ignore the small one before, that’s currently closed under repair). This part of the walk felt longer but in a good way. That might have been because I was running out of time on my parking ticket.
- Go for the longer parking option if you have the time!
Now cross the bridge and then you’re back at the bike repair shop. From here you follow the same path back to the car park. There’s no excuse for getting lost from here :).
What did you think of this Chee Dale walk? Let me know if you’ve tried it and of course, show me your stepping stone photos!
More Walks in the Peak District
Love walking in the Peak District? Check out these other great walks in the National Park.
White Peak Walks
Dark Peak Walks
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