Lathkill Dale walk from Monyash – circular (6.6km)
Lathkill Dale is one of the prettiest dales in the Peak District National Park. This circular walk takes you to the the cave where the River Lathkill emerges (feel the cold air seeping from underground) and along the river to a waterfall. It then leads back along the top of the dales across a series of open pastures connected by stone stiles.
This Lathkill Dale walk is a moderately difficult Peak District family walk aimed at kids aged 6+. If you want a shorter version, you could just walk down to the cave (the start of the River Lathkill) and back, which is 3km return.
This is a limestone dale so there are steep slopes and cliff faces. Do be careful on the rocks. Also, wear good hiking boots as the path is uneven in places, and limestone can be slippy when wet. Along the Lathkill Dale there are a number of caves and areas of old mine workings. Please be careful around these and keep out unless is is clear that they are safe to enter.
Also note that Lathkill Dale is a SSSI and there are Natural England signs along the river asking you not to go in to the water for a paddle.
If you are planning a visit to the National Park, please arrive early or late in the day to avoid crowds, and respect social distancing. Please also take all litter home with you, don’t bring BBQs and park your car in designated parking areas.
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WALK HIGHLIGHTS: Stunning scenery, caves to explore, a waterfall (although no paddling allowed), and a visit to the playground and Bulls Head in the village of Monyash at the end.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE: Without kids, this is a 1 hour 45 minute walk. However, with so many places to stop and play along the way, this took us 3.5 hours.
TOTAL ASCENT: 236 metres
PUBLIC TOILETS: Public toilets can be found across the road to where the parking is. It’s a 600 metre walk into Monyash from the parking area, where there is a pub, cafe, and playground. There are no other facilities on the actual walk.
1. Across from the parking layby is a public toilet should you wish to use this before the walk. To the left of the public toilet is a wooden gate that leads you in to Lathkill Dale. Follow this down through the pastures, passing through a couple of gates along the way.
2. Take the footpath on the left of the below photo, which continues down in to the dale. The cliffs soon enclose in on you, and in summer the nettles either side of the path can be quite high (be careful!)
3. Across a stone stile, the path then opens up to these stunning views on our Lathkill Dale walk. Continue following the path until you reach a big cave on your right. In winter, this is where the River Lathkill begins. However, during summer it will be dry, so head in to explore!
4. Continue along the footpath, following the river down in to the dale for another 1.5km until you reach the waterfalls. The below photo was taken in summer, so they’re not quite in full flow.
5. Follow the footpath just a little further down (about 300m) until you reach a wall with a footpath to the left, which leads you up and out of the dale. It’s a steep but short climb, so take it steady.
6. Once you reach the wooden gate at the top, follow the footpath around to the right and through Mills Farm.
7. The gradient now levels out and that’s it for the steep uphill walking. Take the path to the right of the campsite, on the other side of the farm buildings, and follow this up to the road (which is really a quiet lane).
8. Turn left and continue along the tarmac lane for 300 metres, then follow the bend to the right for another 150 metres until you reach a stone stile on your left.
9. Climb over the stile. With the wall on your right, cross two fields to the next stone stile. Then take the footpath that leads slightly right.
10. It’s then a case of following the footpath signs across the fields to the road (there are seven stone stiles to cross). There is a bit of a climb on the last field.
11. Once you reach the road, turn left and follow it downhill for 500 metres to your car. This road does get busy, so keep hold of little ones’ hands. If needed, there are sections where they can walk on the grass verge.
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