The views from Win Hill (462m) over Ladybower Reservoir and the Great Ridge in the Dark Peak are superb on a clear day. Whilst the direct route up to the summit is rather steep, this circular Win Hill walk allows for a steadier incline through the pine forest, more suitable young families. There is, however, a steep decline from the summit; whilst kids will probably bound down, parents may want to use walking poles, and it may be tricky for those with little ones in carriers.
This Win Hill walk is super fun, with woodland explorations, incredible views, boulders to scramble up to the summit, and a family snap at the Win Hill Trig point is a must! Starting from Heatherdene car park, this walk crosses over Ladybower Dam, meaning that you will also pass the Ladybower plugholes (technically known as shaft spillways), which drain water when the reservoir becomes full after heavy rains.
Make sure you have change for parking at Heatherdene car park (the machine doesn’t take cards). And on weekends and school holidays, arrive before 10am to get a parking space, as this car park does get exceptionally busy.
Also, please be wary of mountain bikers zooming down the tracks.
If you are planning a visit to the National Park, please arrive early or late in the day to avoid crowds, and respect social distancing. Please also take all litter home with you, don’t bring BBQs and park your car in designated parking areas.
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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 Map OL1 (Dark Peak). It’s also a good opportunity to show young kids the map features and get them started with map reading.
The route directions below follow this map in an anti-clockwise direction, starting from Heatherdene car park.
TYPE OF WALK: circular walk for views. Steep and rocky in places.
PARKING: Parking at Heatherdene car park. Click here for Google Maps location, postcode: S33 0BY. All-day parking is £3. Make sure you have change, the machine doesn’t take cards. And on weekends and school holidays, arrive before 10am to get a parking space, as this car park does get exceptionally busy.
WALK HIGHLIGHTS: Ladybower Reservoir, Ladybower Plug Holes, Ladybower Dam, walking through pine forest, incredible 360° views, Win Hill trig point, climbing on boulders, and a little waterfall towards the end.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE: Without kids, this is a 2 hour walk, but with young kids allow 3-4 hours.
ACCESSIBILTY: This walk is not pram or wheelchair friendly. However, the section along Ladbower Dam to see the plug holes is, and you may just want to walk across and follow along the edge of the reservoir. There are no stiles on the paths up or down, just a few gates. There is a steep decline from the summit; whilst kids will probably bound down, parents may want to use walking poles, and it may be tricky for those with little ones in carriers. Also, please be wary of mountain bikers zooming down the tracks.
TOTAL ASCENT: 332 metres
PUBLIC TOILETS: There are public toilets at Heatherdene car park.
This route description follows the above OS Map in an anti-clockwise direction.
1. Starting from Heatherdene car park, walk out of the same entrance you drove through and cross the road. Take a left and walk 500 metres to the big black gates at Ladybower Dam.
2. Take a right and walk across dam wall. The Ladybower Plug Holes are located in each corner, next to the dam wall.
3. Once you’ve crossed the dam wall, take a right at the end. Follow the path for 180metres, to where there is a footpath on the left leading up into the woods. This is the start of a steady incline to the summit of Win Hill.
4. At the first wooden gate, take the footpath straight ahead (which is actually slightly on the right) and continue uphill. Don’t take the footpath that’s 10 meters along on the right and leads downhill.
5. After 150m, at the next footpath junction, take the footpath on the left. Walk through the wooden gate to the left of the large metal gate, and continue straight ahead. There will be a footpath on the left a little further along – ignore this.
6. At the next footpath junction, 700m along, take the footpath on the left. There is a yellow arrow here signposting the way.
7. Continue steadily uphill. As you emerge out of the forest you will see a round metal gate that leads you out onto open moorland. Take the footpath straight ahead. The summit of Win Hill will be in view on your left. Make sure you pause to look at the view behind you!
8. After 700m you will reach a footpath junction. Take a left and head for Win Hill trig point on the summit! There is a footpath that leads there, but if you’re kids are like ours, they may want to detour and climb over the boulders to the summit.
Make sure you take a family photo at the Win Hill Trig Point, and feel free to share it in our Facebook Group.
9. From the summit, continue the footpath down the other side, leading back downhill for 500m. You will reach another round metal gate as you reach the treeline.
10. Walk through the gate and take the footpath straight ahead that leads downhill. At every footpath junction along this section, always take the downhill path, straight ahead. Now be warned, this is very steep in places and uneven underfoot. Take your time.
11. You will emerge onto the flat, gravel path that goes along the river and Ladybower Reservoir. You can take a left here to walk back up to the dam. Or instead, take the steps immediately opposite to get a closer look at the river and small waterfall emerging from the reservoir. Then take a left back up to the dam wall.
12. Once back at Ladybower Dam, take a right to walk back across. Then instead of walking back along the road, cross the road pass the memorial, and take the footpath that leads back to the car park through the woods.
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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.