This pretty Peak District family walk, starts from All Saints Church in the historical market town of Bakewell, and follows the River Wye to the picture-perfect village of Ashford-in-the-Water. It then leads you up into the hills along a quiet track for superb views down into the village, to then cross open meadows back to Bakewell.
It’s worth timing your walk with a pub lunch at The Bulls Head in Ashford-in-the-Water, or grabbing a tea and cake at Aisseford Tea Room. Or you may just want to pop to the Ashford village playground to let the kids run riot and enjoy a picnic at one of the picnic tables. Alternatively, you could take a little detour along the A6020 to Thornbridge Gardens, where there’s a café and play area where kids can paddle in the fountain whilst hooking rubber ducks with a net.
At the end of this Bakewell to Ashford-in-the-Water walk, there are then lots of things to do in Bakewell; including Bakewell Museum, a swimming pool, lots of pub and café choices, and grabbing a Bakewell Tart to eat is a must!
If you want to make this walk longer, you may want to combine it with our Ashford-in-the-Water to Monsal Head walk (circular, 6.2km).
If you are planning a visit to the National Park, please arrive early or late in the day to avoid crowds. Please also take all litter home with you, don’t bring BBQs and park your car in designated parking areas. Also, please use these walks as a guide; access and stiles may change.
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Do check out our top tips for hiking with young kids, as well as our essential items to take on a family hike in the Peak District.
Bakewell to Ashford in the Water walk map
On all Peak District family walks it’s a good idea to have an Ordnance Survey paper map with you, even if you have your phone on you. For this walk you need the OS Explorer Active Map OL24 (White Peak). It’s also a good opportunity to show young kids the map features and get them started with map reading.
This Bakewell to Ashford-in-the-Water walk follows the below OS Map in an anti-clockwise direction.
Need to know
DISTANCE OF WALK: 7km
TYPE OF WALK: Circular villages walk, along a river and through farmland.
PARKING: There are lots of parking options in Bakewell. Please respect local residents and only park in designated car parks, and be mindful that this small market town is a tourist hotspot and gets busy and weekends and school holidays. The easiest place to park is the car park next to the Agricultural Business Centre (click here for location on Google Maps). A short footpath leads you back into town. If you want to avoid parking, there are regular buses to and from Bakewell (click here to check out the bus routes).
WALK HIGHLIGHTS: Bakewell All Saints Church, Bakewell Museum, walking along the River Wye and seeing the weirs, the pub and playground in Ashford-in-the-Water, feeding the ducks, stunning views on the second half of the walk.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE: Without kids this is a 2 hour walk, but allow for 3 hours with kids (longer if you’re stopping for lunch and/or the playground).
ACCESSIBILTY: Not pram or wheelchair friendly. A couple of busy crossings over the A6. Lots of stiles.
TOTAL ASCENT: 228 metres
FACILITIES: There are public toilets in both Bakewell and Ashford-in-the-Water, as well as lots of choices for cafés and pubs (more so in Bakewell).
This route description follows the above OS Map in an anti-clockwise direction.
1. Starting at the church, walk through the arch at the top of the hill (behind the church). Take a right, and follow the road straight ahead. You may want to take a detour to Bakewell Museum here (or leave that to the end of the walk). The road then bends left along Stanedge Road.
2. Continue along Stanedge Edge for 300 metres. Just after St Anselm’s school, there is a footpath sign on the right to Ashford. Go over the stile and continue along the footpath, which leads into the woods.
3. This brings you out onto the A6 opposite ALDI. Cross the road and take a left, walking on the pavement for 80 metres. Then take the footpath on the right. Admittedly this isn’t the prettiest section of the walk, but bare with us, you will soon be out in open fields.
4. Keep following the footpath signs straight ahead, walking through the houses and then out into open fields, passing two weirs, then alongside the river. This is a very picturesque Peak District river walk.
5. The footpath along the river then leads you back onto the A6. Take a right and walk on the pavement for 70 metres, to then walk over the bridge on the right. This leads you over the river and past Ashford-in-the-water cricket ground.
6. Cross the road and walk straight ahead to enter the village of Ashford-in-the-water. We recommend making a beeline to The Bulls Head or Ashford Arms to quench your thirst (follow the road round to the left). The village playground is right behind The Bulls Head and you can get there from the beer garden. If you’re not going to the pub and want to get to the playground, follow the signs to the public toilets, just a little past the pub; there are picnic benches at the playground too.
To make this walk longer, you can connect this with our Ashford-in-the-water to Monsal Head walk, which starts from the car park next to the playground.
7. After the pub/playground, return to the main road through Ashford-in-the-water (the road that the entrance to The Bulls Head is on). Continue along the road to shelter shown in the photo below. Behind this is The Sheepwash Bridge, which dates from the 17th century; a great spot for playing Pooh Sticks and feeding the ducks. Walk over the bridge and cross the A6 again, taking the footpath immediately opposite.
8. Walk through the wooden gate and up the lane, past the house on the left. Then continue straight ahead into the field, heading to the mast. This section is all uphill, so make sure you stop to check out the view back to Ashford-in-the-water behind you and take a breather.
9. Just 140 metres past the mast is a wooden gate that leads out onto a lane. Take a left along the lane. Cars do come down here occasionally, but it’s very quiet.
10. After 1.1km metres along the road is a footpath on your left. Climb over the wooden stile and walk diagonally across the field to a yellow footpath sign. Keep following the yellow arrows that eventually lead you out onto a road.
11. Cross the road and take the public footpath opposite, climbing over a stone stile. Continue uphill, keeping the drystone wall on your right.
12. Continue through the wooden gate, following the dip down and up again. Please be mindful of the horses that are often in this field.
13. After walking through the squeeze stile, climb over the stone stile on the left of the next field. Continue back to Bakewell with the drystone wall immediately on your right, soon crossing a very high wooden stile (be careful of the barbed wire!)
14. This footpath leads you out onto Stanage Road through a wooden gate and stone stile, to the right of farm buildings. Cross the road and take the footpath on the opposite side (just a little to the left).
15. At the next squeeze stile, the church spire of Bakewell comes into view. Continue along this footpath towards the church. The footpath eventually leads between two houses (as in photo below) and along a narrow path with stone walls either side.
16. Continue walking straight ahead, and you will soon reach the arch behind the church, where this Bakewell to Ashford-in-the-water walk began.
Peak District Kids is a free online resource. If you enjoyed this walk, you can show your support by buying me a coffee. Thanks so much! You may also want to share your own photos of this walk in our Peak District Kids Facebook Group.