PADLEY GORGE WALK GUIDE
Padley Gorge walk is a little different to some of the other walks in the Peak District National Park. There are no extreme inclines and no views over rolling hills. Instead, it’s a gentle traverse through trees and alongside the Burbage Brook River which creates a wealth of waterfalls. It’s incredibly serene and a walk that’s loved by all.
In this guide, we’ll go through some of the key information that you’ll need to know ahead of the walk and let you know what to expect on the day. We’ll also give you some of the top tips that we learnt when we did this trail on our trip to the Peaks.
PADLEY GORGE WALK DETAILS
DISTANCE OF THE WALK
The distance of this walk is 5.1 kilometres. It’s by no means a challenging distance, making it a great easy walk that can be enjoyed by everyone.
DURATION OF THE WALK
The walk takes most people around 1 hour 30 minutes to complete, however, we recommend leaving at least 2 hours since there are plenty of places to stop by the river. You’ll likely want to spend a bit of time trying to capture some images of this magical area too.
DIFFICULTY OF THE WALK
As already mentioned, this is a super easy walk in the Peak District. There are no difficult summits to climb and the only section which sticks out as being ‘tough’ is a set of steps which take no more than 1 minute to get to the top of.
ELEVATION OF THE WALK
The elevation of this Padley Gorge walk is 201 meters. This is a very gradual incline and way below average for a hike in the Peak District National Park. If you’re heading to the area for a hiking trip, then make the most of this walk as it’s far easier on the knees than some of the others!
HOW TO GET TO PADLEY GORGE WALK TRAILHEAD
The trail begins in the small village of Grindleford which is just below the popular village of Hathersage. Since the Peak District is mostly made up of small roads that span across the countryside, the easiest and quickest way to get to the trailhead is by car.
However, this is one of the best walks in the Peak District National Park to do if you’re relying on public transport. Grindleford train station couldn’t be any closer to the start of this walk and you’ll find connecting routes to nearly all of the other villages which also have train stations. For example, Hathersage to Grindleford is just a 3-minute journey and from Edale, it’s 18 minutes.
Alternatively, you could take the bus to Grindleford and from here it’s just a short walk to the trailhead. You can find the correct bus route by using the Peak District Bus Timetable or you could use Rome2Rio. We personally always check out Rome2Rio as this covers a variety of different ways to get from A to B and it’s easy to see which is the best and cheapest option.
PADLEY GORGE PARKING
If you opt to drive, then you’ll need to park along a road called Midland Cottages. There are also some spaces outside the Grindleford Station Cafe at the end of this road. Both of these are paid car parking spots and you’ll need to pay via the parking apps advised. Although you’ll see payment machines, these are no longer in use and so you’re only option is to pay via the app.
Padley Gorge Postcode: S32 2HY
BEST TIME WALK AROUND PADLEY GORGE
Padley Gorge walk is one that can be enjoyed at any time of the year since it’s covered by trees for most of the way. During the wet season, this protects you from the rain and in the summer, this gives you some respite from the heat. When it gets to autumn, the colour of the trees will be wonderful, and so this really is one for any time during the year.
However, because of this and the fact that it is an easy walk, it’s very popular. And, when it comes to parking, this can make it challenging. If you’re planning on driving to the trailhead, then we’d recommend avoiding the weekend or at least setting off before 9 am to ensure that you can get parked. If you’re taking the train or bus, then this is less of an issue as there is plenty of room on the trail for lots of walkers.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE DAY OF YOUR PADLEY GORGE WALK
Once you’ve arrived at the trailhead of this walk, you’ll set off down a small country lane. You’ll cross the railway line over the bridge before taking a right to head towards Padley Gorge.
As you head along the trail, you’ll begin a gentle ascent. Whilst the path is clear, it requires a couple of clambers over some rocks to get to the first sight of water.
Once you’re here, the trail flattens and you’ll follow the river until you make a quick descent down to a small bridge.
After you’ve crossed the bridge, it’s time for the only real steep section of the walk – a set of steps followed by a small scramble up the side of the hill. This lasts no longer than a minute and anyone with reasonable fitness levels should be able to handle this.
Once you’ve arrived at the top of the steep section, the trail is completely flat and cascades alongside the river from above for quite some time. During this time, you’ll notice an awesome money tree. Not the money tree which you may be thinking of, but instead a tree with money hammered into it. It’s not clear whether this is some kind of sculpture, or whether walkers have contributed to this for fun, but either way, it’s unique!
Before long, the trees will disperse and you’ll meet the river once again. On a warm day, you’ll discover plenty of families and walkers relaxing by the riverside with children playing in the water. This also signifies that you’re halfway around the trail, so it’s the perfect place to stop if you need to. During the summer, you’ll also find an ice cream van at the top of the road if you fancy a snack!
As you continue along the walk, you’ll need to cross the road and head into the Longshaw Estate. This part of the route is quite open, but a lovely section of the walk nonetheless. During the spring, there is also an easter poem trail.
You’ll then take a right and begin to follow a steep descent which ultimately leads back to Padley Gorge.
The trail gets narrow and hugs the edge of the river, with many undulating sections and large rocks to climb over. There will be many great photo opportunities here to capture one of the mini Padley Gorge waterfalls that tumble over the rocks.
After some time, you’ll recognise where you are as you join the first section of the walk again that leads back to the car park.
PADLEY GORGE WALK MAP
The Padley Gorge and Longshaw Estate Circular walk can be found on Alltrails. This is the navigation platform that we use for almost every single walk that we go on and it’s one that we love and trust.
TIPS FOR WALKING AROUND PADLEY GORGE
DRESS FOR MUDDY CONDITIONS
Regardless of the time of year that you’re embarking on this walk, it’s unlikely that you’ll get away with avoiding a muddy section. Being so close to the river, it’s always going to be damp. As such, we’d recommend wearing a waterproof pair of hiking boots and bringing a spare pair of shoes to change into following the walk, as well as a plastic bag to put your dirty ones in.
DOWNLOAD THE PARKING APP AHEAD OF TIME
As mentioned earlier on, the parking meters for this trail are no longer in use and you’ll need to pay by phone. To do this, you’ll need to download the ‘RingGo’ app. It takes 5 minutes or so to set up if you don’t already have an account, so it’s worth doing this ahead of your walk.
Padley Gorge is the perfect wild swimming spot in the Peak District. With plenty of spots to take a dip, it’s worth packing some swimwear and a towel too. Around the halfway mark is where most people like to swim, however, there is plenty of opportunity once you’ve passed through the Longshaw Estate if you’d prefer somewhere more private.
DOWNLOAD THE MAP AHEAD OF TIME
The Peak District National Park is excellent in many ways, but the phone signal in this area is not brilliant. For this reason, we’d recommend downloading the map ahead of time. There is nothing worse than being stuck along a trail and having no idea which way to turn!
STOP BY THE GRINDLEFORD STATION CAFE
At the end of this walk, you’ll find Grindleford Station Cafe. It’s the perfect location for some post-hike refreshments, however, it’s worth bearing in mind that they only take cash!
PACK LOTS OF SNACKS AND WATER
As with any walk, it’s worth packing lots of snacks and water to keep you going. Although this is an easy walk, on a warm day you’ll need to stay fuelled and hydrated. You may also want to relax by the river for a while, which won’t be the same without the all-important stash of snacks!
WHERE TO STAY NEAR PADLEY GORGE
Hathersage is one of the best villages to stay not only for this walk but for an entire trip to the Peak District – particularly if you’re keen to explore what’s known as the ‘High Peak’ area. It’s just 5 minutes away from the trailhead of this walk and it’s a village that is bustling no matter what time of year you visit, with plenty of pub gardens to relax in on a summer’s day.
Castleton is an equally great option that’s also in the High Peak area. Whilst it’s slightly further than Hathersage, it’s just down the road from one of our favourite spots in the Peak District – Winnats Pass. Even if you don’t choose Castleton as your base, it’s worth visiting alongside Winnats Pass.
Bakewell is in the south Peak District and is roughly 15 minutes from this trail. It’s famous for its Bakewell tarts and cakes and is one of the most picturesque villages in the area. Staying here is a great option if you’re looking to explore the southern Peaks, however, even if you don’t choose this as your base then you should visit at least once, just for the Bakewells!
EXPLORE THE PEAK DISTRICT FURTHER
The Padley Gorge and Longshaw Estate Circular walk is one of the best Padley Gorge walks out there. It’s super easy, very relaxing and shows walkers a different side to the Peak District National Park.
If you’re looking to explore the area further, then below are some of our other guides about other nearby walks.
- Dovedale Stepping Stones / an easy walk to the famous Dovedale Stepping Stones in the Peak District
- Thor’s Cave / an epic walk with an incredible 150-foot cave with the perfect window to the Peak District
- Lud’s Church / an easy walk to an awe-inspiring chasm that’s steeped in history
- Chee Dale Circular walk / a hidden gem gorge walk with two sets of incredible stepping stones
- Shining Tor walk / a diverse walk through the stunning Goyt Valley
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