11 buggy and pram friendly walks in the Peak District
Whilst a sling allows you to get off the beaten track into the hills, sometimes you just want the easy life and need a pram friendly Peak District walk. This means your little one(s) can nap in the buggy whilst you and your partner or friend have a chat, or perhaps you need to keep them protected on a wet a windy day. Many of the family walks on this website are unsuitable for prams, so we’ve compiled the best buggy and pram friendly walks in the Peak District right here.
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The old railway tracks are the most obvious places for a pram friendly walk in the Peak District. These disused railway tracks have been converted into long gravel pathways, which are traffic free and relatively flat. These include the Monsal Trail, High Peak Trail, Tissington Trail, and Manifold Trail. However, sticking to these trails means that it’s a linear walk (there and back) and these trails do get very busy with cyclists on weekend and summer holidays, so if you have other young kids with you on the walk, you need to make sure they keep to the side at all times. You can check out some of these routes on our Peak District cycle routes page.
The pushchair friendly walks in this article may include these trails, however, we’ve looked for circular routes, or ones that are away from the trails, and a bit more interesting for all the family.
1. Cressbrook Mill to Litton Mill – 5.5km
This pram friendly Peak District walk starts at Cressbrook Mill and follows the winding River Wye through the valley to Litton Mill and back along the Monsal Trail. The first half takes you through the steep-sided dale of Water-cum-Jolly with its impressive limestone crags. Whilst the second half loops you back along the trail overlooking the breathtaking valley and river you’ve just walked along. There’s also a couple of tunnels to walk through which the kids always love.
The route is buggy friendly, although there are two small sets of steps leading to an uphill and slightly rocky path to the Monsal Trail. The first section of the route by the river can also get quite muddy in wet weather. We managed fine with our Phil & Teds buggy but be prepared to get muddy wheels if it’s wet. The rest of the walk is flat with well-surfaced paths, so good for little legs.
Our absolute favourite buggy friendly walk in the Peak District has to be the walk from Baslow to Edensor through the Chatsworth Estate. Start at this pay and display car park in Baslow, and take the footpath on the right right over the bridge on Church Lane. Follow the pathway towards Chatsworth House and turn right over Paine’s Bridge. Follow on up the hill to Edensor. It’s just a 1 km walk to Edensor, and worth popping in to the tea rooms.
Click here for start point Distance: 5.6km from the car park to Edensor and back again.
A lovely leisurely pram friendly walk in the beautiful setting of Ilam Park and picturesque Dovedale. The walk starts by crossing the parkland and dropping down towards the River Manifold. It then follows the ‘Paradise Walk’ path along the river to St. Bertram’s Bridge, which used to be the main route into Ilam. This attractive section of the walk was known for its carriage rides for visitors during Victorian times. Finish off by heading back to the hall and formal Italian Gardens, enjoying the stunning and iconic views of Thorpe Cloud and Bunster Hill.
Kids will love this walk as there’s plenty of fun places to run around and explore including the wavy ‘ridge and furrow’ fields created by medieval ploughing. There’s also a small natural play trail and on the way, they can spot the boil holes where the river has travelled through caves and bubbles up out of the rocks.
Longshaw Estate is a beautiful expanse of parkland, moors and ancient woodland, close to Padley Gorge. You’ll find yourself wanting to return again and again with so many different routes to try out. It’s great for kids with dens to play in, tree stumps to jump on, logs to balance on, and plenty of open space for them to burn some energy.
The flat, well-surfaced paths make for a perfect Peak District pram friendly walk. This is also a good walk option for the wetter months if you want to avoid the muddier walks.
Starting and finishing at the National Trust Wooden Pole car park, the walk follows the woodland path onto the open parkland. Allow some time for the kids to explore near the pond and play in Boggart Burrow.
Stop for a drink from the Croft Cabin or Longshaw Café before heading across the grassland back to the car park.
Near the quaint little village of Low Bradfield is Damflask Reservoir, lying in the Loxley valley not far from Sheffield. Starting from Low Bradfield village, it’s just a short walk to get to the reservoir path. The whole route is completely pram friendly with well-surfaced paths, although it can get muddy in the wetter months so make sure you wear appropriate footwear.
This pram friendly circular walk follows the water’s edge closely on one side with woodland on the other side. Wellies are a good choice for kids so that they can paddle in the water. On the second half of the walk, there’s also some great little woodland paths and dens for the kids to play in.
Enjoy the beautiful open views across the water all the way around and look out for the small waterfalls feeding into the reservoir. There’s plenty of benches to stop and watch the sailing boats too.
If you’ve worked up an appetite by the time you get back to the village, The Schoolrooms offer a fabulous breakfast and lunch menu, as well as a good selection of cakes. There’s also a playground if the kids still have energy left to burn.
The walk starts by crossing the bridge to Wetton Mill and following the track alongside the River Manifold. The second half follows the road on the opposite side of the river back to where you started, passing through a tunnel along the way.
Finish off your walk with a short climb up to Nan Tor cave located up on the hill behind Wetton Mill Tea Rooms. If you visit in the wetter months, the kids will love playing in the shallow river. In the drier months the river disappears underground and re-emerges from a boil hole at Ilam (the boil holes can be seen on our pram friendly Ilam Park walk).
6. Minninglow – 3.8km (with an option 1km extra to Minninglow Hill)
The High Peak Trail in the Derbyshire Peak District follows the old railway trackbed from Dowlow, near Buxton to Cromford. This circular Minninglow walk starts by following the trail at Minninglow, high up on the embankment before cutting through the hillside. Kids will love playing in the old quarry and finding leftover sections of the railway track. There’s also an old rusty crane to admire too, which would have been used to load limestone onto the trains.
From here, you can leave the trail to take an optional and worthwhile detour up to Minninglow Hill. At the top, you’ll find an ancient neolithic burial site surrounded by a distinctive ring of trees. You can reach the site with a pram or buggy but you may need a little help over a small rocky section near the top.
The second half of the walk takes you back to where you started, along another gentle track with stone walls and fields either side. Apart from the small rocky climb up to Minninglow Hill (which can be missed out), the rest of the route is flat with well-surfaced paths so perfect for a Peak District pram friendly walk.
This is a linear walk suitable for prams and wheelchairs, with a lovely spot for a paddle or wild swim at the end.
To get there, you need to follow the road on the eastern shores of Ladybower and Howden Resevoirs. This road is open Monday to Friday, but closed Saturday, Sunday and bank hols (and sometimes in bad weather I’m told). If the road is closed you have to park at the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre (10km away).
Once you reach the end of the road, you need to park your car on the side. This can get busy on a hot, sunny day, so we advise arriving early. It’s then a 1.4 km walk to the bridge at Slippery Stones. This is a gravel path and does get a little rocky in places. There’s a shot uphill section, but it’s a very easy walk.
Once you get to the bridge, there are footpaths to carry on. But we find that our boys spend ages just playing in the water here. On the other side, underneath the bridge, is a natural platform which is perfect for a paddle.
On the way back, it’s worth pulling in and stopping at the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre to do the short walk up to the front of the Derwent Dam. There’s also a short nature trail here with carved woodland creatures. This too is pram friendly, and there are also toilets and a café.
Distance: 2.8km from the car park to the bridge and back again.
From the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre is a lovely short stroll (300 metres) to Derwent Dam. When the water is overflowing, it’s a very impressive site.
Just before you reach Derwent Dam, there’s a little (buggy friendly) nature trail on the right through the woodland. Follow the nature trail around spotting the carved woodland creatures along the way, there are also picnic benches here. The full loop around the nature trail is only 400 metres.
If you want a longer walk, you can follow our pram friendly Ladybower Reservoir walk. This is a 9.1km loop around one half of the Y-shaped Ladybower Reservoir, with well-surfaced paths all the way round. Our clockwise route continues along the eastern side of the reservoir where the lost villages once stood before the area was flooded to create the reservoir. There are beautiful views all the way around but some of the best are from this part of the walk, looking across the water to the woods on the western side. Then after crossing over Ashopton Viaduct at the south end, the route follows the road back up the western side and then drops down onto the woodland path, returning back to the start.
There’s also a buggy friendly route all around Derwent Reservoir and Howden Reservoir (although note that cars are allowed on the road on the western side Monday to Friday). The full loop around is 16.8km.
10. Errwood Reservoir
Over in the western part of the Peak District lies the beautiful Goyt Valley, a popular hiking destination with moorland paths and two large reservoirs fed by the River Goyt. There is a buggy friendly footpath that follow the western side of Errwood Reservoir, as shown in the map below.
You can follow steps 1 to 6 of our Errwood Reservoir walk (7.4km). This walk follows the entire loop, which (even thought there are no stiles) is not at all recommended with a pushchair after step 6. One of our writers, Gemma, tried it as says ‘I really wouldn’t recommend it as it’s pushing up narrow hiking paths with rocks and roots, so even with our off road buggy, we had to carry it between us in places’.
Distance: 5.4km if you did the entire length of the buggy friendly section there and back. Parking: at either Errwood Hall car park (click here for Google Maps location) or The Street Car Park – Peak District NP (click here for Google Maps location)
Just outside the National Park boundary, near Matlock is the beautiful Cromford Canal. We’ve also been canoeing along here.
Park at the pay and display (coins) Cromford Wharf car park. Here there is a little cafe, outdoor seating, toilets and sometimes an ice-cream van. A flat footpath then runs from here, along the canal to a little footbridge, for 1.7km. From here, you can continue along the High Peak Trail for a much longer walk if you fancy it.
Hello! 'Peak District Kids' is the go-to website for parents both visiting and living in the Peak District run by Bakewell-based Mum, Jenny. Find out about the best walks, bike rides, attractions and events for families in the UK's oldest National Park.