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Thorpe Cloud walk: including Dovedale stepping stones (2.5km, circular)

Thorpe Cloud walk: including Dovedale stepping stones (2.5km, circular)

Thorpe Cloud, in the far south of the Peak District National Park, is a fantastic starter hill for little legs. It’s a short, steep hike up there, and the views from the top are incredible. Plus you get to traverse Dovedale Stepping Stones along the way on this Thorpe Cloud walk!

There’s a bit of a scramble getting up the rocky outcrop of Thorpe Cloud; with the steep drops at the summit you will need to hold the hands of little ones, and you may want to avoid this walk on exceptionally windy days. The footpath can also get rather slippy underfoot in wet weather. But adventurous kids will absolutely love this walk! Make sure everyone is wearing hiking boots, or at least trainers with very good grip.

Please note that the footpath up to Thorpe Cloud often changes to alleviate footpath erosion. Only take the marked trails up, and don’t veer off to form your own path. Also, Dovedale car park (where this Thorpe Cloud walk starts) gets exceptionally busy over school holidays, bank holiday weekends, and sunny weekends; aim to arrive at 9am or after 4pm. Otherwise you can access Thorpe Cloud via this Dovedale walk from Thorpe.

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When planning your 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.


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 or what3words, which are provided on every walk guide.

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.

Thorpe Cloud 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.

This Thorpe Cloud walk follows a clockwise direction starting Dovedale car park.

Thorpe Cloud OS map
© Crown copyright 2024 OS AC0000861980

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: 2.5km / 1.6 miles

TYPE OF WALK: short circular walk with fantastic views

PARKING: Parking at Dovedale car park. Click here for location on Google Maps, postcode is DE6 2AY. Parking is £5 for 4 hours, £7 all day (card payments possible, but the machine doesn’t always work); FREE for National Trust members. Please note that this car park gets exceptionally busy during school holidays, bank holiday weekends, and sunny weekends. We recommend arriving before 9am or after 4pm on these days. Otherwise, you can reach Thorpe Cloud from nearby Thorpe; follow this Dovedale walk.

WALK HIGHLIGHTS: Fantastic views from Thorpe Cloud, Dovedale Stepping Stones, paddling in the River Dove, and an ice-cream at the end.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE: This is a 1 hour walk without kids. Allow for a good 2 hours for walking with young kids.

TOTAL ASCENT: 142 metres

ACCESSIBILTY: Not pram or wheelchair friendly. It’s a steep climb towards the top of Thorpe Cloud and tricky underfoot; a bit of scrambling is required at the very top and on the way down it can get very slippy in wet weather.

FACILITIES: There are public toilets (20p coin needed) and an ice-cream hut (cards accepted) at the start of this walk.

Dovedale car park
Dovedale car park

The route

START: Dovedale Car Park
Click here for Google Map point
Grid reference: SK 1466 5098
Post code: DE6 2AY
what3words: ///

Route follows a clockwise direction.

1. From Dovedale car park, follow the footpath to the right of the toilets that goes along the River Dove. After 650 metres, you will arrive at Dovedale Stepping Stones. This is the busiest section of the walk.

2. Cross over the stepping stones (little ones may need a helping hand) and almost straight ahead you will see the footpath sign for Thorpe Cloud.

3. Follow the waymarkers to the top of Thorpe Cloud. Please note that the footpath up to Thorpe Cloud often changes to alleviate footpath erosion (and will be different to what is marked on your OS map). Please only take the marked trails up, and don’t veer off to form your own path.

4. As you approach the top, the path get much steeper and a bit of scrambling over rocks is required to get to the summit. You can then walk along the ridge a little further for fantastic views back down into the valley; be careful though, it’s very steep!

5. To get back down, retrace your steps. However, after the steep section, rather than follow the path round to the left, go round to the right. This footpath goes past a small farm building, along a drystone wall on your left.

6. Continue along this path and soon Ilam Park will come into view. This footpath then leads out to a wooden footbridge over the River Dove.

Thorpe Cloud walk

7. Walk over the footbridge, then take a left, retracing your footsteps back to the car park. Reward yourself with a treat from the ice-cream hut (cards only).

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!

Also, feel free to share your walk photos in our Peak District Kids Facebook Group or on Instagram using the #peakdistrictkids hashtag so we can share with our wider community.

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

Or, use the search walks page to find your perfect family walk.

Also, come and join our friendly Peak District Kids Facebook Group for any questions or to share photos of your walks.

You may also like to read:
Dovedale stepping stones walk from Thorpe (5.3km)
Mam Tor walk, including Broken Road (4.1km)
Thor’s Cave walk (5.5km)