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4 Best Peak District Stepping Stone Walks you should visit!

4 Best Peak District Stepping Stone Walks you should visit!

Looking to hop, skip, or jump across the famous Peak District stepping stones?

You’re in the right place! This article will guide you through the renowned stepping stones of the area, along with everything you need to know for your next visit.

If you’re short on time, here are the top spots:

  1. Dovedale Stepping Stones – These wide stepping stones cross the River Dove, offering stunning views of the Dove Valley.
  2. Chee Dale Stepping Stones – A series of stepping stones that meander along the river, appearing in multiple spots.
  3. Bamford Mill Stepping Stones – Notable for tall towers, some accompanied by wooden planks located beside the mill.
  4. Hathersage Stepping Stones – These are boulder-like rocks that stretch across the River Derwent.

Below, you’ll find a map pinpointing these locations throughout the Peak District:

1. Dovedale Stepping Stones

PLEASE NOTE: AS OF DECEMBER 2023, DOVEDALE STEPPING STONES ARE CLOSED UNTIL THEY ARE ABLE TO BE REPAIRED.

dovedale stepping stones with people crossing

Address: Dovedale Ave, Ashbourne DE6

Nearest Parking: National Trust Dovedale Car Park (~10 min walk)

Exact Stepping Stones Point: ///observers.resides.reporting

The Dovedale stepping stones are among the most famous and beloved attractions in the Peak District.

These 16 limestone-topped stones create a path across the River Dove in Dove Valley. They’re easy to reach, with just a 10-minute walk on a tarmac path from the car park.

Besides crossing the stones, there’s plenty more to do around here. A popular activity is hiking up Thorpe Cloud, where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the valley and the stepping stones below. After crossing the stones, you can follow the river path to discover many hidden landmarks and even reach Milldale village.

summit of thorpe cloud - view over the river

Located at the far southern end of the Peak District National Park, Dovedale is the furthest spot from cities like Manchester or Sheffield. But the journey is well worth it for the breathtaking views and experiences it offers.

But be warned; this is usually the busiest stepping stone in the Peak District!

View the Dovedale Stepping Stones Walk

2. Chee Dale Stepping Stones

chee dale stepping stones in the peak district

Address:  Monsal Trail, Buxton SK17 8TD

Nearest Parking: Millers Dale Car Park  (~30 Mins Walk)

Exact Stepping Stones Point: ///entrust.sprayed.motivates – Aproximate

Located near Buxton in the Upper Wye Valley and just a stone’s throw from the Monsal Trail, the Chee Dale stepping stones offer a distinct charm compared to Dovedale’s. Nestled in a wooded limestone gorge, they present a different experience.

Unlike Dovedale, reaching these stepping stones requires a bit more effort, as they’re a fair distance from the nearest car park. The journey is worth it, though, as these stones follow along the River Wye in several places. Interestingly, they don’t cross the river but serve as a path alongside it.

chee dale stepping stones steps

As you navigate the stepping stones, which closely follow the cliff wall by the river for several meters, be prepared for unexpected encounters. The narrow path often leads to meeting others head-on, sometimes requiring a bit of manoeuvring or sharing a stone to pass by. You might want to avoid weekends and school holidays to enjoy a quieter visit.

Chee Dale is also a protected nature reserve, managed by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. This makes it a great spot for wildlife enthusiasts to observe the area.

For those seeking a circular route, you can start from the Monsal Trail, leaving at the first bridge to follow the river. This path can be muddy and prone to flooding after heavy rains, so be cautious. Alternatively, you can stay on the Monsal Trail for most of the way and then take a shorter path down to the river.

View both Chee Dale Stepping Stones Walks here

3. Bamford Stepping Stones

bamford mills stepping stones

Address:  The Hollow, Bamford, Hope Valley S33 0DU

Nearest Parking: Roadside parking in Bamford (~5 Mins Walk)

Exact Stepping Stones Point: ///unfit.brink.skis

The stepping stones near Bamford Mill are among the easiest to reach in the Peak District. Located just outside Bamford village, they cross the River Derwent, which flows from Ladybower Reservoir.

You can leave your car in Bamford, and from there, it’s only a short walk to the stepping stones. These stones are distinct for being quite square, with a smaller gap between them. Some even have wooden planks, making them great for children.

For a longer walk, think about including Bamford Edge in your route for its beautiful views or Win Hill, which lies across Ladybower Reservoir.

View Bamford Edge walk

4. Hathersage Stepping Stones

Hathersage Stepping Stones

Address: Derwent House, 179 Hempstead Rd, Watford WD17 3HG – Not accurate

Nearest Parking: Oddfellows Road Car Park (Hathersage)

Exact Stepping Stones Point: ///reefs.swimmer.quicker

Not far from the Bamford Mills stepping stones are the Hathersage stepping stones, which are also along the River Derwent.

These stepping stones are more boulder-like, making them among the thickest. However, they’re uneven and can be slippery due to moss.

The best place to park to get to these stepping stones is in Hathersage village, just a few kilometres away. The route is quite flat and, after your hike, Hathersage offers several options for amenities.

When to visit Peak District Stepping Stones?

flooded dovedale stepping stones side view

When planning to visit the stepping stones in the Peak District, consider the weather conditions. High water levels can submerge the stones, making crossing them risky. Therefore, it’s wise to visit in the drier summer months when the stones are less likely to be slippery or affected by adverse weather.

warning sign of high water levels at the dovestone stepping stones

However, be aware that during summer, especially on weekends and school holidays, these stepping stones can get quite crowded. If possible, try to visit the Peak District at less busy times.

What river in the Peak District has stepping stones?

In the Peak District, stepping stones are found across three rivers:

  1. Dovedale Stepping Stones – River Dove
  2. Chee Dale Stepping Stones – River Wye
  3. Bamford & Hathersage Stepping Stones – River Derwent