Peak District Kids writer: Gemma from Families Can Travel
Shining Tor is the highest hill in the Cheshire Peak District at 559 metres, yet this 6.3km linear walk allows you to feel on top of the world without too much of an uphill challenge. Indeed, this is one of the best view walks in the Peak District.
You can extend this walk and increase the ascent by starting lower down at Errwood Reservoir. However, this walk starts from the beautifully located Pym Chair car park at 461 metres, meaning you can reach the summit of Shining Tor fairly easily.
If the little legs you have in tow still aren’t up to the full 6.3km to Shining Tor walk and back, you can choose to walk just as far as the first peak, called Cats Tor. This is 1.1 km each way from the car park but still provides spectacular views across the Goyt Valley and ahead to Shining Tor.
Completing the full Shining Tor walk rewards you with a trig point at summit along with fantastic views from the rocky outcrops along the ridge. You’ll be able to see the distinctive Shutlingsloe peak in the distance and on a clear day, you may even be able to make out the Wrekin in Shropshire, the mountains of Snowdonia in Wales and Jodrell Bank.
There is a short, moderate incline at the beginning but most of the walk has a gentle ascent with a lovely large flagstone path that the kids will love bounding along. It’s quite exposed and can get windy so make sure you wrap up warm.
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.
Map of Shining Tor walk
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 Shining Tor walk follows the below OS Map in linear direction, north to south.
Need to know
DISTANCE OF WALK: 6.3km
TYPE OF WALK: linear trig point walk with views
PARKING: There is free car parking at Pym Chair car park – click here for Google Maps location, postcode: SK23 7RF.
WALK HIGHLIGHTS: Cats Tor, Shining Tor trig point, incredible 360-degree views of the Goyt Valley and Shutlingsloe.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE: Depending on whether you have little legs in tow, we recommend 2-3 hours or longer if you stop for a picnic.
ACCESSIBILITY: Some grass/dirt tracks but mostly large flagstone paths. Short, moderate incline at the start followed by flat sections and gentle ascents. Small parts of the path may get boggy in wet weather and the walk is not suitable for prams or buggies.
TOTAL ASCENT: 170m
FACILITIES: There are no public toilets available at the car park or along the route. If you want to stop for a drink and something to eat before or after the walk, try Peak View Tea Rooms, which is a 5-mile drive from Pym Chair car park and has customer toilets.
START: Pym Chair car park – click here for Google Maps location, postcode: SK23 7RF.
1. Walk back towards the entrance of the car park and turn left. Continue 100 metres along the grass verge until you reach the road junction.
2. Turn left at the junction following the signposts towards the Goyt Valley and Buxton. You’ll notice an information board telling you about the legend of Pym, leaving you to decide who he might have been and what extraordinary events he might have been involved in at this location.
3. Walk through the wooden gate to the left-hand side of the cattle grid. Please be careful on the road as (at the time of writing) the cattle grid is currently impassable, so cars are using the dirt track to the side.
4. Continue on the path alongside the road for 150 metres until you see the wooden gate and footpath on the opposite side of the road. Cross over the road and climb up the rocky path on the grass bank and through the wooden gate signposted to Shining Tor.
5. Follow the footpath up the hillside keeping the dry stone wall on your left. After 850 metres, the path will level off. There are no signs to inform you but at the point where the footpath changes from a grassy path to large flagstone slabs, you have reached Cats Tor. This is the first peak at 519 metres before you reach Shining Tor.
6. Continue along the flagstone path which follows the ridge of the hill for a further 2.3 km all the way to the Shining Tor trig point. In between Cats Tor and Shining Tor, there is a slight downhill section before a gentle incline up to Shining Tor which you will see ahead in the distance.
7. Keep going and you’ll know when you’ve reached Shining Tor trig point as you’ll see it standing proudly on your right behind the dry stone wall. Walk through the wooden gate to get your obligatory photo. Make sure you walk a little past the trig point to see the stunning view from the rocky outcrops. From here you get a great view of the peak of Shutlingsloe in the distance.
8. Once you’re done, turn around and follow your steps all the way back to the car park.
Peak District Kids is a free online resource. If you enjoyed one of our walks, you can show your support by buying me a coffee. Thanks so much! You may also want to share your own photos from our walks in our Peak District Kids Facebook Group.
Or visit the Peak District Kids shop. £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.
Also, feel free to share your walk photos with us on Instagram. Please follow us and use the #peakdistrictkids hashtag so we can share with our wider community.
Want more ideas for family walks?
Check out our Best Family Walks in the Peak District and our Pram Friendly Peak District walks. Or you may be looking for shorter 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.