The market town of Bakewell in Derbyshire has sometimes been called the "capital of the Peak District", as it is the only town actually within the boundaries of the Peak District National Park. It is also famous as the home of the Bakewell Pudding, not to be confused with the commercially-produced Bakewell Tart. Being situated in the heart of the southern Peak District, and having good transport links to the surrounding major cities, it is an ideal base for exploring the area.
This five-day walking break uses Bakewell as a base for exploring some of the best sights to be found within and just outside the southern part of the Peak District National Park. With three full-day walks and one half-day walk, it also gives you time to explore the area on your own, or to take advantage of the many shopping opportunities to be found in and around Bakewell.
The first day’s walk is a 10-mile circular walk from the centre of Bakewell, heading first to the village of Edensor. Situated on the Chatsworth Estate, the church here is also home to the grave of Kathleen Kennedy, sister of US President John F. Kennedy. From Edensor, the walk passes the magnificent Chatsworth House, home to the Duke of Devonshire, as it heads south along the River Derwent through the "Capability" Brown-designed Chatsworth Park to the village of Rowsley. From there, it returns to Bakewell via the hills behind the well-preserved medieval buildings of Haddon Hall, which belongs to the Duke of Rutland.
On the second day, a short bus ride leads to a 6-mile half-day circular walk around the high plateau of Stanton Moor. Besides providing fine views across the broad Derwent Valley, the Moor is also home to a large number of ancient monuments, including the mysterious Nine Ladies stone circle. The walk starts and finishes in the village of Rowsley, which is ideally positioned for an afternoon’s shopping at the nearby Peak Village shopping centre, or a visit to Chatsworth House.
Day three is another 10-mile circular walk from Bakewell, this time heading north along the Monsal Trail. Following the route of the old Derby to Manchester railway line, which was closed in the 1960s, this leads to the popular viewpoint at Monsal Head. After a lunch break there, the walk then drops down into Monsal Dale to follow the River Wye through the pretty village of Ashford-in-the-Water, and onwards back to Bakewell.
Day four is a free day, which gives you the opportunity to explore Bakewell at your leisure, or to take a trip to one of the surrounding cities of Derby, Sheffield and Manchester. With at least one bus per hour to each, plus more links to other nearby towns such as Buxton, Chesterfield and Matlock, the possibilities for this day are nearly endless.
The final day brings the longest walk, a 12-mile circular walk from Bakewell to the village of Monyash, via the village of Sheldon and the ruins of Magpie Mine. From Monyash, the return to Bakewell is via the tranquil and beautiful Lathkill Dale and the village of Over Haddon.
Each day’s walking tour is led by a locally-born guide with over 25 years experience of leading guided walks in the area.
The cost of this break does not include any accommodation or travel. However, there are a number of suitable hotels and guest houses in and around Bakewell where you can easily book your own accommodation. Advice on accommodation and travel options can be provided if required, but it is up to you to make all actual bookings yourself.