The Birchen Edge walk is one of our favourite Peak District pub walks as it starts and ends at the The Robin Hood Inn (where kids eat free Monday to Friday!) But there are also fantastic views once you get up to the escarpment, loads of climbing and scrambling opportunities, and there’s even a trig point to bag on this walk! In fact, the Birchen Edge Trig Point is the half way point on this walk, making this a great little Peak District trig point walk.
Even though this Birchen edge circular walk is a short distance, allow a good 1-2 hours with young kids. In places, the path is very uneven underfoot, and there is a very steep section down at the end that is tricky if you have little ones in a carrier. But really, the time goes to all the climbing and scrambling opportunities there are for kids on the rocks and boulders, and is the reason why it’s one of our favourite Peak District walks with kids. In fact, Birchen Edge isn’t just for kids who love to climb, you will often see adult climbers here with all their gear.
We should also mention Nelsons Monument you reach at the top along the escarpment. This is a gritstone column erected in 1810 in honour of Lord Nelson. Sitting behind this monument are a collection of three rocks known as ‘Three Ships‘, which have been carved with the names of three of Nelson’s ships: Victory, Defiance and Royal Sovereign. These are also fun to play on, and provide shelter for a picnic on a windy day.
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If you are planning a visit to the National Park, please arrive early or late in the day to avoid crowds if visiting over sunny weekends or school holidays. 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.
During the winter months, it’s important to be extra prepared and safe when out walking and adventuring in the Peak District. The weather can change so quickly, especially on the exposed escarpments, and we don’t want you to get caught out.
Read our top tips for safe winter walking with the kids.
PARKING INFORMATION: Please do not rely solely on the postcode for parking directions. In the National Park, a postcode can cover a large area. Postcodes are only provided as guidance. Please either use the Google Maps point provided for every walk, or what3words.
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.
Download and print out our walking guides ready for your family walk. There are over 80 downloadable walk guides available, and these include all the main Peak District family walks, pram-friendly walks, and toddler walks.
Each printable download is just £1.50, whether it’s a short 1km stroll or an epic walk up Kinder Scout.
Birchen Edge 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 OL 24 (White Peak). It’s also a good opportunity to show young kids the map features and get them started with map reading.
|The Peak District: White Peak Area Map | Weatherproof | Peak…||£14.75||Buy on Amazon|
The route directions below follow this map in an anti-clockwise direction.
Get a printable download of this walk
Want to print off this walk guide rather than rely on your mobile? Then click here to download the PDF to print out at home. Perhaps print out a copy for the kids to follow the step-by-step directions and/or photos? It’s a great way to get them engaged with the walk and gives them a sense of responsibility.
All printable downloads are £1.50 each. Click here for the full list of Peak District Kids printable downloads.
Please note that your download link expires 72 hours from order, so make sure you save your PDF somewhere where you’ll remember it. If you are unsure where your download folder is on your mobile device, we recommend you download the PDF on your laptop or desktop.
Need to know
DISTANCE OF WALK: 2.6km /1.6 miles
TYPE OF WALK: circular, uneven underfoot.
PARKING: You can park at the Robin Hood Inn if you’re stopping for lunch (you will need to go into the pub to provide your registration number). On busy days, they may ask you to park in the paid car park whilst you do your walk. The pay and display Birchen Edge car park is right next door to the pub. Click here for Google Maps location, postcode is DE45 1PU. This is a National Trust car park, so free for National Trust pass holders. Otherwise it’s £4.60 for 2 hours parking (cards accepted).
WALK HIGHLIGHTS: Lunch at The Robin Hood Inn, playing on the boulders and rocks on Birchen edge, Nelsons Monument, views, playing on the Three Ships, and bagging Birchen Edge Trig Point.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE: Without kids, this is a short 1 hour walk, but allow a good couple of hours with little ones to play along the way. We often start this walk just after 10am, and then get to the pub for noon for lunch.
ACCESSIBILTY: The footpaths are rocky and uneven, and not suitable to pushchairs or wheelchairs. Also, the steep section towards the end of the walk can be extremely tricky for those with a little one in a carrier.
TOTAL ASCENT: 103 metres
PUBLIC TOILETS: There are no public toilets on this walk. Although this walk starts and ends at Robin Hood Inn (you can pre-book a table online).
1. Starting from the Robin Hood Inn, turn left and walk along the road for 100 metres. Then take the footpath on the left. Do take care on the road here as there is no footpath for part of the way, and cars whizz along here.
2. Walk through the wooden gates and continue along the footpath to the left, up the steps.
3. At the fork in the footpath, ignore the footpath on the right and continue straight ahead. This will gradually lead you to the rock face of Birchen Edge.
4. Just before you spot Nelsons Monument above on the edge, it’s possible to climb up the rocks to the top. If you’re not up for this, continue on a little further, and you will find an easier path up on your right.
5. Once you’re at the top, take a moment for the views from Nelsons Monument. Kids will want to play on the Three Ships boulders behind, but first let’s walk on a little bit further to the Birchen Edge trig point.
6. With the drop on your left, continue along the top of Birchen Edge for a further 180 metres to Birchen Edge Trig Point. Snap a photo, and then return back to the Three Ships boulders that sit behind Nelsons Monument. This is a good place for a snack and play.
7. When it’s time to start heading back to the carpark, continue back along Birchen Edge with the drop on your right.
8. There are a couple of footpaths that lead you back down to the footpath below. But we suggest staying up the top for those view for as long as possible. When you reach this sluice valve on the right after about 700 metres (see photo below – top left), take the footpath down on the right. Do take care here as there are some big steps and it gets slippy in wet weather. You may need to get onto your bum!
9. Once you reach the bottom, take a left and retrace your steps back to the pub.
Peak District Kids is a free online resource. If you have found this website useful for planning your family adventures, you can show your support by buying me a coffee. Thanks so much!
Or perhaps purchase a Peak District Kids iron-on patch. £1 from every sale of the iron-on patches goes towards the Peak District National Park Foundation, a registered charity established to raise funds to care for the Peak District National Park.
Want more ideas for family walks?
Best Family Walks in the Peak District
Pram Friendly Peak District walks
Toddler walks in the Peak District
Also, come and join our friendly Peak District Kids Facebook Group for any questions or to share photos of your walks.