Derwent Edge Walk | Peak District (Full Walking Route + Directions)

Derwent Edge hike in the Peak District

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The Peak District in Derbyshire is a beautiful National Park in the UK.

Covering a massive 1437 sq km there are so many stunning places to visit in this National Park. And I’m lucky it’s only an hour’s drive from my home in Nottingham. The difficult part is picking where to go!

Here is one of my favourite walks along Derwent Edge, overlooking Ladybower Reservoir.

Derwent Edge in the Peak District is very popular with walkers. But this walk is perfect for cyclists as well, I met some friendly (and very muddy) mountain bikers but also families out a leisurely ride around the Reservoir path.

And different options for walking routes too. Depending on how far and how much you like to challenge yourself. There’s something for everyone here.

Below is the day hike in the Peak District National Park that I walked.

But if you’re looking for a short walk this area is a beautiful place to visit. The picturesque views around the reservoirs are stunning. And wide paths make it accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Read more about the history of the Upper Derwent Valley here.

Bamford via Derwent Edge walk Peak District
Views from Derwent Edge

The Peak District Day Hike – Derwent Edge

ROUTE: Upper Derwent Valley – Black Tor – Derwent Edge – Ladybower Reservoir

TYPE: Circular walk

DISTANCE: 17 km/ 10.6 miles (small shortcut available)

TIME: 6 hours (including 30 minutes lunch stop)

MAP: Ordnance Survey OL1 – The Peak District – Dark Peak Area

What is the Start Point for Derwent Edge walk?

Sat nav postcode: S33 0AQ

Fairholmes car park is a large area with plenty of spaces. Even though it was busy at the weekend, we still found a spot, in the shade. Helps stop your car turning into a sauna on sunny days.

More importantly, the car park has great facilities. Toilets which are always handy before starting a long walk. Plus a visitor centre with, small shop.

And a café, selling hot drinks, food and ice cream (A treat for the end of your walk!).

Car parking costs

£2.50 up to 2 hours or £4.70 all day*

*Correct at time of writing

Top Tip

  • Bring coins to use the parking machine.
  • You can use a card however you’ll need to pay at the Visitor Centre.

Peak District Hiking Route

I have broken down the hike into 6 stages. Varying between 2-4 km in distance. I would recommend using this along with an Ordnance Survey Map (Map code OL1 – The Peak District, Dark Peak Area).

References are made to the map as part of my route explanation.

Derwent Edge Hike – Stage 1

Fairholmes car park to Abbey tip plantation
Distance: 3 km/ 1.8 miles

The trail leaves the car park and within a few minutes, you are walking towards the impressive Derwent Dam. This is an amazing structure, towering high above you. And a landmark you can’t ever miss. No matter how bad the weather!

Take a left turn by the right-hand tower and climb the steps. Follow the path along Derwent Reservoir. On a clear day, you have fantastic views of the reservoir.

Of course, this is the same wherever you’re out walking. Whether it be the Peak District or one of the UK’s other 14 National Parks!

It’s all relatively flat so far. But prepare for a few steep bits coming up!

Derwent Edge Hike – Stage 2

Abbey tip plantation to Sheepfold Clough
Distance: 3 km/ 1.8 miles

After enjoying the scenery and wide path. Now it’s time to take the narrower footpath on the right signposted to ‘Ewden’. This is where your legs start to get a good work out!

But don’t let that stop you. The scenery is absolutely stunning, so take your time and enjoy the views. During August, bright purple heather covers the surrounding slopes. And if you’re like me you’ll want to take a few photos.

Continue about 2 km along the path across a few little streams, via mini stepping stones. Unless you want to try a big jump. And then there’s a chance of wet feet!

Follow all the way to where the path splits at Sheepfold Clough. (A clough is a steep valley or ravine).

Derwent Edge Hike – Stage 3

Sheepfold Clough to Lost Lad Cairn
Distance: 2 km/ 1.2 miles

From here it’s about 1 km to Lost Lad Cairn (A cairn is a mound of stones, varying in sizes that acts as a landmark). Feel free to add a stone or two to help fellow walkers!

On a clear day, you can actually see the cairn as you’re walking towards it.

We chose to stop here for lunch. 3 hours walking so it’s good to take on some energy for the other half of the walk!

You might be interested in:  A weekend camping in the Lake District

Derwent Edge Hike – Stage 4

Bamford via Derwent Edge walk, Peak District - Wheel Stones

Lost Lad Cairn via Derwent edge to Crossroads
Distance: 4 km/ 2.5 miles

The path is obvious, huge stones have been placed to mark the way. This helps to preserve the nature around so it’s important not to walk off the path.

500 metres down the path you reach the highest point on the walk – Back Tor (538 metres above sea level). Marked by a trig point on top of some huge stones. Feel free to climb at your own risk. I wouldn’t recommend if it’s wet!

The next part of the walk is one of my favourites.

For about 3 km. Dotted along the landscape there are huge stones and boulders along the path. Some of which you can explore if you’re brave enough. Includes ‘Cakes of Bread’, ‘Dove Stone’ boulder, ‘Salt Cellar’ boulders and ‘Wheel Stones’.

Climb the rocks at your own risk!

Derwent Edge Hike – Stage 5

Crossroads (after wheel stones) to Ladybower Reservoir
Distance: 3 km/ 1.8 miles

Where the paths cross you have 2 options. Either turn right to shorten the route (about 1.6 km/ 1 mile) or continue straight.

I continued straight. And when path crosses another footpath. Turn sharp right. This is a beautiful section as you have a great view Ladybower Reservoir. And the contrast of the purple heather made it a stunning place to stop for a photo.

Follow this path as it winds back down. Past the cute little shelter, (with bench, poems and pictures from the local school). A great place to stop for a cup of tea in bad weather!

Read next: Why is the West Highland Way an amazing trail (plus tips)?

Derwent Edge Hike – Stage 6

Ladybower Reservoir to Fairholmes car park
Distance: 2 km/ 1.2 miles

When you reach the lower path at Ladybower reservoir. Take a right turn. This then leads you right back past where you turned off at the start of the hike near Derwent Dam. And back to the car park.

Oh and don’t forget there’s ice-cream at the visitor centre!!

What to take on your day hike?

*Please pack extra clothes (hat, gloves and fleece) according to the weather. I was lucky as the British weather was behaving. But sometimes up in the hills, it can get cold. 

For my full packing list click here – What to take on a day hike in the UK

Gifts for hiking lovers

Have you done the Derwent Edge circular walk in the Peak District?

Or are you planning on visiting the Peak District? Ask me any questions about walks in the comments below.

More Walks in the UK

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Looking for a beautiful day hike in the Peak District in Derbyshire, UK.? Detailed one day hike walking along the beautiful Derwent Edge, taking in the view. Back via Ladybower Reservoir. A day hiking in the Peak District in Derbyshire, UK. A full day hike but options for shorter hikes if required. Full route with OS maps included. United Kingdom | England | Peak District National Park | Derbyshire | Walks in the UK | Hiking days out | Family hikes | Get outdoors

*Becky the Traveller participates in the Amazon Services Associates Programme, as well as other affiliate programmes. If you make a purchase through these, I earn from the qualifying links. This is at no extra cost to you. Read more here.

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17 thoughts on “Derwent Edge Walk | Peak District (Full Walking Route + Directions)

    • Becky the Traveller says:

      ah thanks Nicola, I’m glad I’ve been able to share a little part of the UK’s beautiful National parks. I’m going to be doing a mini tour around all the parks in September so hopefully, I will bring you some more places to tempt you to visit!!

  1. Bejal says:

    This is a fantastic post. I live in Leicestershire so I can easily get to the Peak District and try these routes out. I’m not an experienced hiker so love your ‘what to take’ tips too.

  2. Megan says:

    This post had convinced me to go hiking and mountain biking here just from the first picture! I love all the colors, and those rock formations are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing these hiking routes.

  3. Yoanne says:

    Lovely pictures – there is so much more to the UK than London! And the maps are really helpful for visualising the routes, thanks!

  4. C-Ludik says:

    I’ve never been there but would love to. I’m a truly nature lover and it seems that you can find a multitude of walks for all abilities through the picturesque Peak District from countryside strolls to hikes and climbs ! The purple heather which covers the area is making the place even more magic 🙂

  5. Joanna says:

    Thank you for this amazing and helpful post! I love hiking and living in the South of the Uk I go quite often on the Jurrasic Coast. I would love to go on holiday in the Peak District and do some hikes there, it looks so scenic, especially now, with the purple heather all over.

  6. Fiona Mai says:

    Thank you for your tips! I’m living in Hull at the moment and planning to do a trekking at the Peak District National Park next month. Can certainly take advantage of all the info you give here 🙂

    • Becky the Traveller says:

      Ah thank you, yes it was great timing. I was there last month (August) but the heather is still out in most places. I’ve been travelling around the other National parks in the UK and have captured a few heather photos!! 🙂

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