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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.

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.

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 OL24 (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

Need to know


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 £3.50 for 4 hours (cash only); 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 at 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: With young kids allow a good 2 hours.

TOTAL ASCENT: 156 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 and an ice-cream hut (cards accepted) at the start of this walk.

Dovedale car park
Dovedale car park

The route

This circular Thorpe Cloud route description follows the above OS Map in a clockwise direction.

START: Dovedale car park

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 way markers to the top of Thorpe Cloud. Please note that the footpath up to Thorpe Cloud often changes to alleviate paths of 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 ice-cream from the ice-cream hut (cards only).

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.

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)