The best dog walks in the Peak District


Lying on the southern tips on the Pennines, the Peak District National Park features a landscape of stark gritstone crags, wild moorland, and rolling hills with dog walks for everyone.

Image above: Credit Dog Friendly Sheffield, Flickr.

Founded in 1951, The Peak District National Park was the first of the UK’s 15 national parks and covers an area of 555 square miles (1,438 sq km). It lies in the centre of England, north of the Midlands, and covers parts of the counties of Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire.

With 1,600 miles of public rights of way, the park is also the southern starting point of The Pennine Way, Britain’s oldest and most well-known, long-distance walking trail.

The park’s highest point is Kinder Scout at 2,086m and the name Peak comes not from a mountain but is thought to have derived from Pecsaetan, an Anglo-Saxon tribe.

The Peak District is home to Bakewell, famous for its tart, and the pagan custom of well-dressing.

Gilly Seddon and her husband, Erwin Neudorfer, have seven dogs ranging in age from 17 to three years old. They have written a series of books covering dog walks across the UK, including three books on the Peak District. Gilly highlights four walks in different areas of the Peak District.


Dovedale, with its stunning limestone hills and the tranquil, meandering River Dove is
a hugely popular destination.

“This walk is about three miles and is suitable for any ability, offering a very leisurely stroll along the shallow river, which is perfect for hot dogs wanting to cool off on a summer’s day,” said Gilly. “There is a bit of a climb uphill but it’s worth the effort, or you can choose to cut out that section of the walk.”

Park at Dovedale car park where there are toilets and a mobile snack bar.

  • The first section is a flat path following the route of the River Dove on the right. At the footbridge, cross the river and turn left, then continue to follow the river upstream. Alders line the river and wild flowers smother the banks in summer. Carry on, past the stepping stones, and at the stone wall pass through the ‘squeeze stones’.
  • After crossing an area of exposed limestone, the walk reaches a stone wall on the left. Climb the steps, passing through a woodland area. At the top of the hill is a famous limestone outcrop called Lover’s Leap with views across Dovedale.
  • Turn back and retrace the route to the stepping stones. These are easy to cross at any time of the year but if you don’t like the idea of crossing the stones, you will need to go back along the original path. 
  • After crossing the stones, turn left along the path, following the river downstream back to the car park.

Image above: Credit Andy Bullock, Flickr.

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The Nine Ladies

Five miles north of Matlock is the Bronze Age stone circle known as The Nine Ladies, which lies on Stanton Moor. Legend has it that these monoliths were originally nine ladies turned to stone for dancing on a Sunday!

The five-mile walk is suitable for most people who are fairly fit and able to negotiate uneven paths. “This is a lovely, varied walk,” Gilly explained. “There’s a beautiful nature reserve and refreshments at a very dog-friendly pub.”

  • Park at the car park opposite Birchover Stone Quarry. From the car park, turn left onto the road and soon after the second quarry entrance take the path onto Stanton Moor.
  • Walk through a copse of silver birch trees, then through a gate on the right. Pass an interpretation panel (designed to inform, engage, and educate visitors) on your left, keeping a stock fence on the right. On reaching a standing stone called the Cork Stone, take the left-hand path passing a quarried area.

“The views of the surrounding countryside here are amazing,” explained Gilly. “Pass a trig point on your right and there is another quarried area on the left which has a sheer drop so keep your dog on a lead here.”

  • Follow the path to a silver birch woodland and keep on the path with the fence on the left. After a fenced enclosure take the wider path which veers to the right.
  • Here the woodland opens out into a stunning glade and The Nine Ladies stone circle surrounded by ethereal silver birch trees. With the stone circle on the left, walk as far as an interpretation board and turn left. Continue through a gate and keep the stone wall on the right.
  • After a second gate, cross a field, then turn left onto a road that leads downhill to Stanton in Peak and The Flying Childers Inn, which won the Best Pub for Dogs at the Great British Pub Awards in 2021.
  • Take the same route back to the car park.

Image above: Credit Catherine Poh Huay Tan, Flickr.

Padley Gorge

A circular walk starting at the car park in the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate, the route leads through the grounds to the stunning Padley Gorge. Dogs must be kept on a lead while on the estate grounds.

“Though there is a climb back up from the river, it’s not steep as it winds back and forth and, at just over two-and-a-half miles, is suitable for the average dog walker,” explained Gilly.

  • From the car park, follow the pink signs to the Longshaw Pond, then through a beech woodland called Granby Wood.
  • Continue on the gravel path to the Granby Barn, which is open for visitors to learn more about the history of the estate. Carry on along the path, then cross the road heading through a gate on the opposite side and down the steps towards Burbage Brook, which flows through the gorge.
  • “The deeper into the gorge you travel, the more atmospheric it gets,” enthused Gilly. “You pass through amazing ancient oak woodland.”
  • Cross the footbridge, turn left, and follow the river. After crossing a stream, ignore a path on the right signposted for Surprise View and continue to a fork in the path. Take the right fork and, after a short distance, just before some steps, turn sharp left and descend into the gorge.
  • Turn right at the next path. After passing a stone bench, descend more stone steps before crossing another bridge over the river. On the other side, turn right and climb the steps, turning left at the top and continuing a gradual ascent. Continue on this path as it follows a high stone wall on the right.
  • Passing between two stone walls, take the path on the right. Keep to the wider path and on reaching a fork, stay on the higher path, parallel with the road. Pass through a gate at the end of the stone wall, then continue on the path before crossing the road and walking back through the estate grounds to the car park.


“This four-and-a-half mile walk is challenging so this would be suitable for fitter dog walkers,” explained Gilly. “The beauty is in the rugged terrain and the amazing views.”

Dog-friendly accommodation in the Peak District 

  • Park in Castleton, then follow signs for Cave Dale and join The Limestone Way, ascending the rocky path. Go through a gate in the stone wall, then keep climbing uphill.
  • After passing through a gate in a wall, turn around to enjoy the panoramic views behind you. Keep following the path until the landscape opens out, and then go through a gate on the right and cross two fields with a gate in between. The path then veers to the left, just after a finger signpost. Head towards the farm gate, passing a boggy pond, then take the gap by the gate.
  • Turn right, through another farm gate, and follow the track, turning right at the corner of the stone wall. Continue on this track for some distance, ignoring other footpaths.
  • Pass through a gate into another field, keeping to the tarmac path, and continue straight ahead, passing Rowter Farm campsite on the far right.
  • Cross the road and take the footpath slightly to the right. Follow the track with Mam Tor ahead of you, before taking the second grassy path, just before a gate in a stone wall. Follow this path across the field, heading for a gate in the stone wall and a road.
  • Cross the road and pass through a gate opposite and across the field, then through the small gate. Continue to the edge of farmland, passing a farmhouse on the right and following the stone wall on your right.
  • Walk down Winnats Pass; at the end of the Speedwell Cavern car park, walk a short distance along the pavement, cross the road, and pass through a gate opposite; keep the stone wall on the left.
  • Go through a kissing gate and carry on down the path with woodland on the right before joining a road. Cross the road bridge over a river and take the next road on your left, following the river; this will lead you back to the car park.

Dog-friendly accommodation in the Peak District 

17 The Lanes, Wirksworth, Matlock

A perfect base to explore the Peak District National Park & the Derbyshire Dales.

A sympathetically refurbished ex miners cottage provides character with modern convenience. It has a cosy lounge with log burner, well fitted kitchen and a peaceful and secure garden for relaxing with a glass of wine or local beer. Situated a short walk from Wirksworth and great accessibility to the iconic Peak District walks we have fabulous walking from the door on less busy trails.


E: [email protected]

T: 07841 869108

Darwin Forest

Darwin Forest’s luxury pet friendly lodges are nestled within 47 acres of woodland and have wonderful walks from the doorstep. It is ideally located on the edge of the Peak District National Park and onsite there is a swimming pool, restaurant and play centre. Lodges sleep between 2-8 people and spa lodges include a hot tub.


T: 01629 732428