We have such a diverse landscape in the Peak District, ranging from open moorland and gritstone edges to soft green pastures and rolling hills, but one of my favourite places for a dogwalk is walking in the woods. In the Summer, it is cool and you can avoid the harsh summer sun (if you want to), in the rain, you are protected from the weather by walking under this huge “natural umbrella” and in the Autumn, woods are great for kicking along the leaves that have fallen. The woods take on a whole new persona as each season passes. The other great advantage, is that you don’t have to keep an eye out for livestock, as you very rarely find them in woodlands.
I was extremely pleased to find a book in my local library about Exploring Woodland: Peak District and Central England: Bk. 4 , it taught me a few new walks and places that I had never been. I thought I would share a few places with you before I send the book back.
I have picked the larger woods, where the book suggests that dogs are allowed, but this is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few walks that I like the look of.
Longdendale Estate (Stalybridge) – 865 acres
Directions: From A57 in Glossop take the B6105 and follow the road alongside the reservoirs until you reach Torside car park. (National Park Information Centre). SK008975
Details: The woodland has a path which climbs uphill via Wildboar Clough, and a stream that cascades down. You can enjoy views across to the reservoirs and moorlands. Access to the woods is via the Longendale Trail which is part of the Trans Pennine trail.
I’m pretty sure this is where Tilly and I stopped off for a dog walk after we had been further North to visit potential stud dogs earlier in the year. It is a beautiful area to walk.
I found a blog post which someone else wrote about a dog walk around Torside Reservoir which I’m sure the author won’t mind me sharing with you.
Upper Derwent Woodlands (2012 acres) SK173893
Situated off the A57 west of Sheffield.
There is a visitor centre at Fairholmes where there are toilets and snacks available. There are several waymarked walks from Fairholmes but there are lots of other footpaths that you can follow to make up your own route. The dams here were used by the “Dambusters” during the Second World War and there is a museum which tells you more about this on the west side of the Derwent Dam.
Wharncliffe Woods (1127 acres) SK324951
Directions: (Sheffield) From A61 turn West towards Grenoside. Take the Woodhead Road north through the village. The wood is on the left once you are through the village.
The woods is part of the South Yorkshire Forest. Wharcliffe Chase was part of a Royal Hunting Lodge and in Greno Woods stone was mined. There are access routes for bikers, horse riders and walkers.
Rivelin Valley (Sheffield) – 247 acres. SK324888
Directions: From A61 at Owlerton take the B6079 towards Malinbridge. The wood is on the right once you have passed through Malinbridge.
Here there are some wonderful walks along the riverside. You will see evidence of the area’s industrial heritage on your walk, including dams, millponds and weirs.
Padley Gorge – 62 acres SK257799
Directions: Take the B6521 towards Calver. From A623 turn onto B6001 at Calver and then B6521 in Grindleford towards the station. Park at the station.
There is a great circular walk from Grindleford Station- walk along the river cross the wooden footbridge to the open country above the woodland and cross down to the other side of the gorge – taking in the contrast between open moorland and shady woodland. There are refreshments at a cafe close to the station. Large seating area outside.
Linacre Woodlands (200 acres) SK335728
Directions: Located off B6050 west of Cutthorpe – near Chesterfield.
Woodland surrounds three reservoirs, but there are also lots of footpaths around the edges of the woodland - so you can avoid the reservoirs altogether if you wish. There are toilets on site.
Eccleshall Woods – Sheffield (346 acres) SK323824
Directions: From the A621 turn west at the Beauchief traffic lights onto Abbey Lane.
This is the largest ancient woodland site in the Sheffield area, where lots of wildlife can be found. There is an extensive network of public footpaths and bridleways and a special trail for less able people.
Black Rocks – Cromford (210 acres) SK291557
Directions: Take the B5036 off the A6 south towards Wirksworth. After approx 1 mile turn left into Black Rocks car park.
The name Black Rocks, takes itself from the huge gritstone rocks which are visible at the entrance to the site from the car park. There are a couple of well marked routes, which take you through forests and sections of open woodland with heathers. The site also crosses the High Peak trail – popular with walkers and cyclists.
Here is a useful map of the Black Rocks way marked trails.
This is just a small selection of the woods that you can explore in the Peak District, but great for a short stay or simply an afternoon out with the dog and kids.
Hope you enjoy.