White Peak Walks: The Southern Dales

30 walks in Derbyshire and Staffordshire

By Mark Richards

This guide to walking the southern dales of the White Peak area of the Peak District National Park, between Ashbourne, Matlock, Buxton and Leek. 30 easy circular routes cross the high plateau and visit the dales, following the Dove, Manifold and Hamps rivers. One of two Cicerone guides to the White Peak.



The exquisite beauty of this landscape is fringed by and adorned with a multitude of wild flowers in spring and summer. Although modern clothing and equipment enable you to experience the thrill of wilder weather, responsible walker should seek to minimise their impact especially on heavily worn paths in the wetter seasons.


Castleton, Hope, Bradwell, Hathersage, Baslow, Tideswell, Bakewell, Buxton, Monyash, Youlgrave, Winster, Matlock Spa and Cromford.


easy, circular walks on good paths, well waymarked, between 3 and 10 miles long, easy to combine into longer routes - simple country walking with the odd citrus twist in the limestone dales! Modern walking boots will give good protection in such stony situations and walking poles lend reassurance in descent.
18 Sep 2009
3 Oct 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm
  • Overview

    This guide explores the southern dales of the White Peak area of the Peak District National Park in Staffordshire and Derbyshire. 30 walks are included in this guide, between 3 and 9 miles long. From the grounds of Ilam Hall, down through the old railway trackbed of Manifold Trail and such sights as Thor's Cave along the route, the southern section of the White Peak offers variety and beauty and is waiting to be explored.

    The White Peak is the name given to the rocky southern area of the Peak District, for its pale underlying limestone. The result is a landscape of escarpments, heather moorlands, wooded valleys and the roll of hillsides and plateaux. Idyllic villages dot the walks with pubs standing by for refreshing walkers after a good White Peak walk.

    This guide covers the southern section of the White Peak, divided from the northern by the High Peak Trail between Buxton and the Cromford Canal near Matlock. The guide not only provides clear route descriptions for all 30 walks, but practical information on transport to and around the area, history of the region and information on the Peak District National Park. The guide helps change a simple walk into a memorable one, with insights into the places and sights of interest along the way.

    • Each walk is illustrated with OS maps to guide the way.
    • Walks can be shortened, or added together to create longer itineraries according to the desires of the walker
    • Beautiful colour photography is throughout the guide.

    The companion guide to this book is the White Peak Walks: The Northern Dales.

  • Contents

    Bronze Age to barn conversions
    From protests to the Park Authority
    Walking in the White Peak
    The Southern Dales
    What to take
    Local services and transport
    Using this guide
    The Walks
    Walk 1 Dove Head and Washgate
    Walk 2 Morridge and Upper Elkstone
    Walk 3 Mixon and Butterton
    Walk 4 Revidge
    Walk 5 Manifold Track and Ecton Hill
    Walk 6 Hoo Brook, Swainsley, Wettonmill and Ladyside Wood
    Walk 7 Manifold Track and Waterfall
    Walk 8 Manifold Track, Beeston Tor and Waterfall
    Walk 9 Thor's Cave, Wettonmill, Pepper Hall and Wetton Hill
    Walk 10 Bincliff
    Walk 11 Manifold Track and Throwley Moor
    Walk 12 Ilam and Upper Musden
    Walk 13 Hollinsclough Moor, Washgate Bridge and Hollins Hill
    Walk 14 Parkhouse Hill, Chrome Hill and Dowel Dale
    Walk 15 High Wheeldon and Pilsbury Castle
    Walk 16 Sheen, Pilsbury Castle and Carder Low
    Walk 17 Beresford Dale, Wolfscote Dale and Biggin Dale
    Walk 18 High Peak Trail and Tissington Trail
    Walk 19 High Peak Trail, Aleck Low and Tissington Trail
    Walk 20 Tissington Trail, Biggin Dale and the Dove
    Walk 21 Narrowdale, Wolfscote Dale and Milldale
    Walk 22 Four Peakland Peaks
    Walk 23 Shining Tor, Hanson Grange and Hall Dale
    Walk 24 The Eastern Edge of Dove Dale
    Walk 25 Dove Dale, Ilam Rock, Air Cottage and Bunster Hill
    Walk 26 Thorpe Cloud and Thorpe
    Walk 27 Tissington Trail, Thorpe and Mapleton
    Walk 28 Tissington Trail and Parwich
    Walk 29 High Peak Trail and Roystone Grange
    Walk 30 Harborough Rocks, High Peak Trail, Roystone and Ballidon

    Appendix 1 Route summary table
    Appendix 2 Recommended reading
    Appendix 3 Useful contacts

  • Maps

    The guide’s vignette extracts from the Ordnance Survey maps are included to give readers a feel for the overall course of each walk, but they are no substitute for carrying and frequently referring to the relevant OS Explorer map – OL24 covers this volume.

    The aim of this guide is to help you structure your exploration of the White Peak. Once into the swing of White Peak wandering you will start to see your own logical pattern and adapt the walks to suit your own objectives and this is as it should be. There are also converted railway trackbed trails (for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders) and several specifically waymarked trans-Park trails which, with the help of public transport, may lead you to construct elongated routes of your own – linking A with B to see for yourself!

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    We are always grateful to readers for information about any discrepancies between a guidebook and the facts on the ground. If you would like to send some information to us then please use our contact form. They will be published here following review by the author(s).

  • Reviews

    Wanting to give an in depth summary of the White Peak Walks guides, I got on the web one rainy Saturday and did some research. Cicerone, ‘a British Publisher specialising in guidebooks from walkers, climbers and cyclists...’ Great, a British concern. Good on ‘em.

    The next info to be gathered was on the author. Mark Richards. He’s a Lakeland man, keen walker, photographer and even has his own slot on BBC radio Cumbria, talking about fellwalking.

    As seems to be universal with these guides, the layout is slick, presentation immaculate and book’s structure solid enough to stick in your sack.

    The routes are quite chilled out affairs, up to 16km across mostly undulating countryside. If you’re in a similar position to me, needing to take the nipper out to give mum a rest, or entertaining city slicker friends, these are perfect.

    All in all I’d say these books are well worth the £12.95 asking price. I’ll be heading out with the youth to try a few of them. Hope to see you out there too!’

    (AMI News, December 2009)

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Mark Richards

In 1980 Mark Richards began his three-part guide to the Peak District for Cicerone Press, and in 1987, with Chris Wright, wrote a guide to walking around the former county of Westmorland. He now lives in Cumbria and, after 14 years' dedicated research, has completed his series of Lakeland Fellranger guides covering the entire region. He has also written a guide to Hadrian's Wall.

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