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Longshaw Estate & Padley Gorge Walk (Circular)

Longshaw Estate & Padley Gorge Walk (Circular)

Embark on a family-friendly walk through the iconic Padley Gorge and Longshaw Estate on this circular trail. 

Offering a blend of serene ancient woodland paths and a country manor house, this route promises an adventure through some of the Peak District’s best spots.

Perfect for those seeking a mix of history and rugged natural beauty. So, lace up your boots as we go over what you need to know before you visit!

Getting to Padley Gorge

Unlike most of the Peak District, Padley Gorge is well connected, offering several parking options, a train station, and a regular bus line right on the doorstep.

You can either take the train to Grindleford Station, which is on the line between Manchester and Sheffield, or park in one of the many surrounding car parks.

Parking for Padley Gorge

Longshaw Estate Carpark (Paid)

Longshaw Estate Carpark

Other Parking Along the Route

Roadside parking along The Fox House Pub

Public Transport Options to Padley Gorge

To reach Padley Gorge, you have several main transport options:

  • Train: The Northern train line runs between Manchester and Sheffield, stopping at Grindleford station, which is just a minute’s walk from Padley Gorge and operates hourly. (View station information)
  • Bus: The 271/272 bus service connects Sheffield with the scenic Hope Valley, ending in the well-known village of Castleton. This service runs approximately every hour throughout the day. The stop at the Fox House Pub is right next to the top of Longshaw Hall, making it perfect for this route. (View bus timetable)

Padley Gorge Walking Map & Routes

Download file for GPS

The walk begins at Longshaw Estate, passing by the iconic hall and through the grounds leading into Padley Gorge. It then follows a path through the woodland downhill, tracing the river from above, before concluding at Grindleford Station. From there, the route ascends back up the hill into the Longshaw Estate grounds and returns to the starting point.

View OS Map Route

View AllTrails Route Map

Alternative shorter Circular walk (~1hr – 4.7km/2.9mi): This short route is exclusively through Padley Gorge, leading down the river on one side and back uphill on the other, keeping you within the enchanted forest. Opt for the alternative parking or railway options for this route, though.

Download file for GPS

View Shorter OS Map Route

View Shorter AllTrails Route Map

Longshaw Estate & Padley Gorge Walk Step by Step – 5.9 km (3.7 mi) ~ 2-2.5 hrs

1. Begin at the lowest point of the Longshaw National Trust car park and follow the purple signpost markers. These will eventually guide you directly to Padley Gorge.

lowest point of the Longshaw National Trust car park exit path

2. soon, you’ll arrive at the main Café, where the woodland opens up, revealing views of the surrounding area. Take the path to the left, which leads past the manor house and into a brief wooded section.

views revealing the surrounding area of longshaw estate

3. Once you’re in the wooded area, follow the path downhill through the trees and exit through the gate at the end.

path downhill through the trees and exit through the gate

4. The path then runs along the edge of the pond, through a gate, and down to the B6521, where the National Trust Granby Discovery Barn is situated. Here, you can explore some of the area’s history.

path around pond of longshaw estate

5. Cross the road, going through the gate on the other side, and head down the stairs. It might be hidden behind the ice cream van.

National Trust Granby Discovery Barn and ice cream van in background

6. You’re now in Padley Gorge, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The open grassy area is a favourite spot for picnics and paddling in the river on sunny days.

Padley Gorge, a Site of Special Scientific Interest

7. The main path takes you down to the river, Burbage Brook, where there is a footbridge that allows you to cross to the other side.

footbridge over Burbage Brook

8. On the other side, head left, and you’ll go deeper into the ancient woodland.

deeper into the ancient woodland of Padley Gorge

Looking to extend the walk? From this point, the path splits off, giving you access to Owler Tor, Surprise View, and Mother Cap, which are more popular spots in the Peak District.

9. The path winds through the distinctive woodland, marked by moss-covered trees, and heads downhill, tracing the brook from an elevated position. Be sure to admire the impressive waterfalls scattered along the route.

padley gorge walk - path in forest with moss covered trees

10. After a while, you’ll reach the end of the woodland. Proceed through the gate and onto the gravel road, which leads back over the river and towards Grindleford train station.

gate and onto the gravel road, which leads back to Grindleford train station

Note: Grindleford train station is about the halfway mark and hosts a charming café where you can grab some refreshments and a bite to eat before tackling the upcoming ascent.

12. Just behind the café, there’s a footpath marked with a blue arrow that leads uphill.

footpath marked with a blue arrow that leads uphill behind cafe

13. This path takes you back up to the B6521, near a bit of a blind bend, so watch out. Cross the road and begin making your way up the path on the other side.

B6521 road and path on the other side

14. Eventually, you’ll come out of the woodland and onto the moor. The path isn’t very clearly marked on the map, and there are numerous paths. However, they more or less converge at the top, where you can cross over the stone wall.

moor and path leading to a stone wall

Note: Keep an eye out for deer, which you can often spot on the estate grounds around this point.

15. On the other side, turn left onto the gravel path, which leads through the estate.

gravel path which leads through the estate

16. Continue following the path as it takes you all the way in front of Longshaw Hall and back to the path at the start, where you’ll retrace your steps back.

Nearby Amenities & Facilities

Padley Gorge and Longshaw Estate offer quite a few amenities and facilities compared to many popular walks in the Peak District, with several points spread across the route to pick up refreshments and hearty meals.

Despite this, ensure you bring everything you need with you and be prepared to take all your belongings back home as necessary.

Some of the best options include:

Longshaw Café (9:30-5:00 pm): Enjoy a warm drink and stunning scenery at Longshaw Café, serving daily delights from sandwiches and snacks to cakes and refreshing beverages, as well as a to-go snack counter. Recently renovated, the café offers a spacious and welcoming environment. With facilities including toilets, it’s the perfect pit stop for a brew with a view. 

Longshaw Café
Sorry for the bad photo skills here 🙁

Padley Icecream Van:  Situated right next to the top of Padley Gorge is often an icecream van perfect for a refreshing treat on a long day.

Grindleford Station Cafe: Establishment in the former station house in 1898. Evolving from a humble beginning, the café was transformed by Philip and Margaret Eastwood in 1973 into a beloved spot for hearty, traditional fare. With a commitment to serving outdoor enthusiasts, it offers an inviting menu for bikers, walkers, and cyclists. 

Monday – Friday 9 am – 3.30 pm / Saturday – Sunday 9 am – 4.30 pm

Grindleford Station Cafe

The Fox House Pub: A quintessential country pub steeped in history. Named after Mr. Fox of Callow Farm rather than the animal, it dates back to 1773 and was expanded in the 1840s by The Duke of Rutland. This historic pub has long been a favorite stop for livestock drivers and stagecoach passengers. Today, it offers a menu filled with hearty favourites and pub classics alongside seasonal specials. Enjoy these with a choice of cask ales, fine wines, and British gin in the pub’s beautiful gardens or beside a crackling log fire.

Monday – Friday 7 am – 10 pm / Saturday – Sunday 8 am – 10 pm

History & Significance of Padley Gorge & Longshaw Estate

Padley Gorge

Padley Gorge is a place of both natural beauty and historical depth. The Burbage Brook, which flows through the gorge, once marked the boundary between Derbyshire and Yorkshire, illustrating the gorge’s historical role in defining territories. The area around Padley Gorge is dotted with ancient relics, like stone circles and Bronze Age field systems, highlighting a long human presence and interaction with the land.

Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the ancient woodland is not just a historical landmark but also an ecological haven. It hosts rare species and ancient oak-birch woodlands, making it a key area for conservation in the UK and one of the furthest inland examples of temperate rainforest in the UK.

Longshaw Estate

Longshaw Estate main hall

The estate’s name is believed to derive from “the long wood” in Padley Gorge, reflecting its natural features. Historical traces, including Bronze Age and medieval remnants, alongside millstones from Yarncliffe Quarry dating back to the 15th century, highlight the area’s long human history. Notably, two guide stoops from the early 1700s, mandated by Parliament to aid travellers across the moorland, signify the estate’s role in regional navigation and transportation.

Acquired by the Duke of Rutland in 1855, who built Longshaw Lodge for shooting parties, the estate’s social history is also notable. The Longshaw Sheepdog Trials, initiated in 1898, represent a tradition claiming to be England’s oldest annual trials of its kind. The estate’s transition from private to public hands began in 1927 when it was sold to Sheffield Corporation. A significant moment in its conservation history occurred in 1928 when Ethel Haythornthwaite led a successful public appeal to save the estate from development. This effort resulted in the estate being given to the National Trust in 1931.

Today, Longshaw is part of the National Trust’s larger Peak District Estate, managed alongside the High Peak and White Peak estates. It hosts a visitor centre, a tea room, a shop, and the Moorland Discovery Centre, a collaboration between the National Trust and the Peak District National Park. The estate is a focal point for various educational and recreational events, emphasizing its significance not only as a historical and natural site but also as a centre for community engagement and conservation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there toilets available at Padley Gorge?

Yes, visitors have access to toilets at the start of the route within the Longshaw Estate Café, and additionally at the Grindleford Station Café, positioned approximately halfway through the trail. 

Is Padley Gorge pram friendly?

Padley Gorge does not cater well to prams due to its natural rocky and muddy landscape.

However, those with pushchairs will be pleased to find that the Longshaw Estate offers a plethora of paths that are more accommodating for wheels.

Is Padley Gorge worth visiting?

Padley Gorge is definitely worth visiting for those seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty and nature of the woodland. It’s often considered one of the best Peak District walks. Especially for families.

Who owns Padley Gorge? 

The National Trust oversees the stewardship of Padley Gorge. This organization is dedicated to preserving and protecting historic places and natural beauty across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland in partnership with the Peak District National Park Authority.

Their commitment ensures that Padley Gorge remains a cherished and well-maintained natural landmark.

What river is Padley Gorge?

Burbage Brook meanders through Padley Gorge. The brook flows through various waterfalls and rock formations.

What is the postcode for Padley Gorge?

The postcode for Padley Gorge is S32 2HY. However, visitors are encouraged to research specific parking locations before their trip, as the large area covered by this postcode can make finding the ideal parking spot a bit challenging.