A short circular Hartington walk to caves (4.3km)

Starting from the Hartington Farm Shop and Café (one of the best cafes for a hot chocolate in the Peak District) this short and picturesque Hartington walk leads you down to Beresford Dale where the River Dove meanders through. Make sure you pack a torch, as half way along this walk there is a cave to explore, which includes a short walk through tunnel! You may even find some ‘Ice Age cave paintings’ (which is what our 6 year old called them). Although do note that the tunnel through is very narrow and really only for small children.

England is now back in lockdown. Please only visit if you are local. Please respect social distancing, take all litter home with you, don’t bring BBQs and park your car in designated parking areas.

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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.

Hartington walk map

On all Peak District family walks it’s a good idea to have an Ordnance Survey map. This walk is in the White Peak, so you need the OS Explorer Active Map OL24. We also like pointing out the features on the map to the kids, to help them get them used to map reading.

Hartington walk map

Need to know

DISTANCE OF WALK: 4.3km

TYPE OF WALK: An easy circular walk. Some of the footpaths can get very muddy in the wetter months.

PARKING: Pay and display car park at Parson’s Field Car Park. Click here for Google Map point on your phone. Postcode is: SK17 0BE.

WALK HIGHLIGHTS: Walk along the River Dove, explore inside a cave, lovely views of green rolling hills typical of the White Peak, and enjoy one of the best hot chocolates in the Peak District after your walk at Hartington Farm Shop and Café.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE:  Without kids this would be a 1 hour walk, but as always we take our time with the boys this walk took us 2 hours. Make sure you add on extra time for playing at the cave (at least 20 minutes).

STILES: yes.

TOTAL ASCENT: 145 metres

PUBLIC TOILETS: There are public toilets next to the Hartington Farm Shop and Café (which is the start of this walk). There are no other toilet facilities on the walk. For before or after your walk, there are a handful of pubs and cafes in the village of Hartington.

Hartington car park
Pay and display car park in Hartington

The route

1. From Parson’s Field Car Park, turn left out of the car park and walk for 50 metres along the pavement until you reach Hartington Farm Shop and Café. To the right of the café are the public toilets, and in between the toilet block and the café is a public footpath.

2. Walk up the concrete steps, through the little gate, and follow the footpath to the right.

Hartington walk

3. Follow along this footpath, always keeping straight ahead. You will cross a lane, then through a squeeze stile, then another squeeze stile, before walking into woodland.

4. From the edge of the woodland, continue along the footpath and cross over a wooden footbridge. Then continue along the flat gravel footpath with the River Dove to your left.

Hartington walk

5. You will then arrive at a little lane with a wooden footbridge leading back over the other side of the River Dove. Cross the footbridge and continue along the footpath the other side.

6. As you approach the wooden gate in the drystone wall, you will notice a cave straight ahead. This is where you can take a little detour to explore some caves! Cross through the next gate and walk up the hill to the left. Make sure you have a torch with you to walk through the tunnel.

7. When you have finished playing in the caves, retrace your steps back to the gate and take the footpath leading up the hill, which is now on your right. This footpath is a little steep, but it’s only 300 metres long.

Hartington walk

8. Once you reach the top with a lane on your right, you will see a steep stone stile ahead of you. Climb over the stile and cross the field to the right to meet another steep stone stile which leads you out on to the lane. If you want to skip the stiles, you can just walk along the lane to the right, then take a left at the T-junction.

Hartington walk

9. Follow the lane to the left for 200 metres from the stile, until you reach this sign post for a footpath (see below photo); it’s the second footpath sign on the left. Continue along this footpath (there’s a sharp right turn at the start of the footpath).

10. This then brings you out to another lane. Take a left and continue along the lane for 560 metres, past some old farmhouse buildings.

11. Just 15 metres after these buildings is a footpath on the left. Take this footpath and cross the field. This leads down to the footpath you started on at the very beginning.

Hartington walk

12. Turn right and follow this back to Hartington Farm Shop and Café for some well deserved cake. If there is no table space at the café, continue into the village where there is a handful of other quaint eateries to choose from.

Hartington walk

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!

Want more ideas for family walks?
Check out our Best Family Walks in the Peak District
or come and join our friendly Peak District Kids Facebook Group

You may also like to read:
Monsal Head circular walk (2.4km)
Tissington to Parwich walk (6.3km)
Lathkill Dale walk from Monyash (6.6km)

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