The Peak District is a wonderful natural playground for kids and the best ‘apparatus’ has to be the huge boulders, which are perfect for climbing and scrambling over. In fact, we often find that the family walks kids love the most are those with areas to play on boulders.
Plus there are huge benefits to allowing kids to climb and scramble over boulders. This type of risk-aware play improves flexibility and coordination, builds strength and confidence, and heightens their decision-making skills through mindful focus.
With over 80 family walks featured on this site, where are the best Peak District Kids walks for climbing and scrambling? Well we’ve compiled the top ten right here for you, ordered shortest to longest.
As always, links are provided to the full step-by-step walk guide (with photos) and you can also download a pdf version of the walk for offline navigation.
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If you are planning a 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.
During the winter months, it’s important to be extra prepared and safe when out walking and adventuring in the Peak District. The weather can change so quickly, especially on the exposed escarpments, and we don’t want you to get caught out.
Read our top tips for safe winter walking with the kids.
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.
Download and print out our walking guides ready for your family walk. There are over 80 downloadable walk guides available, and these include all the main Peak District family walks, pram-friendly walks, and toddler walks.
Each printable download is just £1.50, whether it’s a short 1km stroll or an epic walk up Kinder Scout.
Map of the best climbing and scrambling walks
Use the map below to see where the best Peak District Kids walks for climbing and scrambling over boulders are located.
Don’t leave home without your Peak District OS Map!
- For the northern half of the Peak District you will need the OS Dark Peak map. This covers Kinder Scout, Bleaklow, Black Hill and Ladybower Resevoir
- For the southern half of the Peak District you will need the OS White Peak map. This covers Buxton, Bakwell, Matlock and Dovedale.
- Ordnance Survey (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 1 Page – 02/24/2020 (Publication Date) – Ordnance Survey (Publisher)
- Ordnance Survey (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 1 Page – 06/24/2019 (Publication Date) – Ordnance Survey (Publisher)
1. Birchen Edge – 2.6km
This is a great little Peak District pub walk for views and rocks to climb, and it starts at The Robin Hood pub, where kids eat free Monday to Friday! Plus there’s also the Birchen Edge trig point to bag en route.
Park in the pay and display car park next to the Robin Hood Inn (not in their actual car park, unless you’re stopping there for lunch), and walk up the road just for 20 metres, where you will see a footpath sign and gate that leads you to Birchen Edge.
We take the lower footpath first and after about 1km, before you see Nelson’s Monument on the hill top, you can climb up the rocks to the top. Or, there is a path if you don’t fancy the climb; just follow straight ahead. Once at the top, the views are fantastic and kids will love climbing up and over the big boulders.
Follow the footpath along the top of Birchen Edge to get back to the car park. There’s a steep descent right at the end, which can be quite slippy when wet. Take care.
2. Robin Hood’s Stride – 3.1km
Robin Hood’s Stride, close to Birchover and Elton, is one of the best locations in the Peak District to bring kids who love to climb boulders. This large rock formation offers little caves, nooks and crannies, as well as an easy climbing route to the top for fantastic views. This is one of Mother Nature’s best playgrounds. So parents, bring a picnic blanket and a flask of tea/coffee, and let your little ones explore.
Very nearby is Cratcliffe Tor, another rock formation, with a small cave at the base know as a ‘Hemit’s Cave’. Here you will find a stone crucifix, which has ben dated back to the 13th-14th centuries.
By combining Robin Hood’s Stride, Hermit’s Cave, and the Stone Circle, you have a great little 3km walk for kids who love exploring. However, as this is not a circular route and the points of interest all backtrack to/from the same point, you can pick and chose which order you visit these places in, or miss one or two out, should you wish.
3. Curbar Edge short walk – 3.3km
Curbar Edge offers some of the most impressive views in the Peak District and is best saved for a clear day (which also means that you should arrive early to get a parking spot). This short Curbar Edge walk leads you to the best viewpoints and returns via woodland that sits in front of the escarpment.
Whilst this walk is only 3.3km, allow a good couple of hours so that the kids can to play on the boulders and everyone can enjoy a hot chocolate overlooking the Derwent Valley. Just be mindful of the big drop and climbers on the escarpment face when playing on the boulders.
4. Ramshaw Rocks – 3.4km
Ramshaw Rocks is a distinct rocky outcrop that towers over the main road (A53) between Buxton and Leek on the Staffordshire side of the Peak District. It offers superb views of Hen Cloud, The Roaches, and beyond to Tittesworth Reservoir and Leek, and kids will love scrambling over the boulders here.
This is a short, circular walk that leads you up to the outcrop for those epic views and then loops back through farmland. The footpath is uneven throughout the walk, so hiking boots are advised. And even though this is a ‘short’ walk, do allow a good couple of hours for the rough terrain, playing on boulders, and taking in those views.
Also, please be warned that parking is extremely limited at the start of this walk and you need to arrive before 9am to secure a parking space on weekends and school holidays. Trust us, the early start will be worth it. Alternatively, head up to Ramshaw Rocks closer to sunset, when the views are spectacular on a clear day.
5. Higger Tor – 4.5km
This Higger Tor walk is all about the superb expansive views, so save this one for a clear day. When the clouds roll in, visibility makes navigation tricky, especially through the boggy section half way through. It’s also very exposed, so wear layers and bring appropriate clothing.
And if you have kids who love climbing, there are boulders galore on this walk along Burbage Rocks, so we suggest at least three hours for this walk to allow for Spiderman training.
6. The Roaches – 5.5km
The Roaches walk is iconic to Staffordshire’s Peak District. Standing on the top of The Roaches on a clear day, the views spreading out across Tittesworth Reservoir, Leek, and far beyond are very impressive. Plus, there are boulders galore for kids who love to climb, and is a popular spot for organised climbing clubs.
The footpath along the top of The Roaches to the trig point can get busy, but the second half of this short circular Roaches walk is much quieter. The terrain is rock and uneven underfoot, and there’s also a boggy section too, so wear appropriate footwear. Also, as this is a Peak District tourist hot spot (and understandably so), aim to arrive by 9am to secure a parking space (and only park in designated parking areas).
You could also combine this walk with our Lud’s Church walk. Combining the two walks into a Roaches and Lud’s Church walk makes a total distance of 12.6km.
7. Grindleford Station to Padley Gorge, Owler Tor, and Mother Cap – 5.8km
Direct from Grindleford train station, this classic Peak District family walk shows off the fantastic natural diversity of the National Park; from the magical mossy woodland of Padley Gorge, to the sweeping views of Surprise View and Mother Cap with boulders beckoning to be scrambled on. With so many natural play areas, this circular Grindleford walk will easily fill a whole day despite this only being 5.8km.
This Grindleford walk starts by leading you through the twisted mossy trees of Padley Gorge with the sound of rushing water as your soundtrack. It’s a magical setting with mushrooms to find and trees to climb, plus the water to play in. Then walking away from Padley Gorge you are led past Owler Tor, with views back down to Longshaw Estate, and onto the rocky outcrops of Surprise View and the domineering Mother Cap; this section is boulder climbing galore! A rocky path then leads you down to Millstone Edge with superb views over to Hathersage, Stanage Edge, Mam Tor, and beyond, before heading back down into Padley Gorge and returning to the train station for hot chips from Grindleford Station Café.
This is one of our more challenging Peak District family walks as the terrain is rarely flat and most paths are uneven underfoot. But take your time and embrace the stops for play, as this walk really does show off some of the best bits of the Peak District.
8. Stanage Edge – 7.7km
The Stanage Edge walk that takes in High Nebb trig point is all about taking in the superb views from arguably the most impressive gritstone escarpment in the Peak District. On a clear day, you can see across to Kinder Plateau and Mam Tor, with the angular summit of Win Hill protruding from the foreground, and further along this walk, you will get a glimpse of Ladybower Reservoir. Hathersage can also be easily spotted as Stanage Edge stands over this picturesque village. And for kids, there are LOTS of opportunities to play on the boulders (just keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t go too close to the edge!)
This Peak District family walk starts from Hollins Bank car park (at the base of Stanage Edge), which is just a short, steady climb to the top. You then follow the footpath along the top, passing High Nebb trig point, right to the end of the escarpment (aptly named Stanage End), before descending to the footpath below and following it all the way back to the car park.
Even on a warm summers day, it gets very blustery up on Stanage Edge, so take an extra layer with you. The footpath is also very uneven underfoot, so take care; kids will love playing ‘the floor is lava’.
Standage Edge features in the latest BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice (where Keira Knightly stood windswept and pensive over the landscape). And whilst we can’t guarantee you’ll find Mr Darcy on this walk, you will see lots of discarded millstones on the latter half of this walk, many still in tact from their industrial heyday.
9. Bamford Edge – 7.9km
Bamford Edge is one of the most iconic spots in the Peak District. You may have see a fair few posts on Instagram of someone stood on that rock overlooking Ladybower Reservoir, more often than not at sunset?
Many people head up to this spot, grab a photo, and then head back down again (check out our guide: How to get to Bamford Edge). But here we offer a lovely Bamford Edge circular walk, which includes epic views, Ladybower Reservoir (and plug holes), wood carvings for kids to find, Bamford stepping stones, and The Anglers Rest (which is the village pub, café, and post office).
There’s a steep climb at the end of this walk, but doing this walk anticlockwise will be easier for little legs. We’ve also provided an alternative gentler route back from the pub at the end, which adds 1.1km to the walk.
10. Kinder Scout from Edale – 12.7km
Kinder Scout is arguably the most impressive place to walk in the Peak District and many people have this on their bucket list. The views from the plateau on a clear day are incredible and the landscape feels wild and untouched.
This Kinder Scout from Edale walk takes a circular route starting with the climb up Grindsbrook Clough, then along the Kinder Plateau passing Pym Chair and Noe Stool. The route then meets up with the Pennine Way and follows this all the way back down into Edale via Jacob’s Ladder to The Old Nags Head (where we wholeheartedly recommend popping in for a burger and pint / Fruit Shoot to reward your efforts).
Please only attempt this Kinder Scout walk with young kids if they are used to hiking. This is a challenging walk with some scrambling required in places, and once you’re up on the Kinder Plateau, it’s very exposed.
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!
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
Also, come and join our friendly Peak District Kids Facebook Group for any questions or to share photos of your walks.