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Win Hill walk: including Ladybower Plug Holes (circular, 6.2km)

Win Hill walk: including Ladybower Plug Holes (circular, 6.2km)

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 for 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 and one of the best Peak District trig points walks, 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, leads you across Ladybower Dam, passing the Ladybower plugholes (technically known as shaft spillways), which drain water when the reservoir becomes full after heavy rains.

On weekends and school holidays, arrive before 10am to get a parking space at Heatherdene car park, as it gets exceptionally busy.

Also, please be wary of mountain bikers zooming down the tracks.

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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.

Win Hill circular 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 Map OL 01 (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. This car park is very popular as it’s also a good base for getting to Bamford Edge.

Win Hill walk 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: 6.2km / 3.9 miles

TYPE OF WALK: circular trig point walk for views. Steep and rocky in places.

PARKING: Parking at Heatherdene Car Park. Click here for Google Maps location, postcode: S33 0AQ. All-day parking is £6 (there is a card machine). And on weekends and school holidays, arrive before 9:30am to get a parking space, as this car park does get exceptionally busy.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT: The Sheffield-Bakewell bus (257) stops close to Heatherdene Car Park.

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 2.5 hour walk. Allow 3-4 hours with young kids.

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: 317 metres

PUBLIC TOILETS: There are public toilets at Heatherdene car park.

The route

START: Heatherdene Car Park
Click here for Google Map point
Grid reference: SK 2021 8601
Post code: S33 0AQ
what3words: ///wimp.matter.deflated

Route follows an anticlockwise 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. Walk across dam wall. The Ladybower Plug Holes are located in each corner, next to the dam wall.

Ladybower Plug Holes

3. Once you’ve crossed the dam wall, take a right at the end. Follow the path for 180 metres, to 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 metres 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 kids will probably 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.

Lynn Family at Win Hill

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.

footpath down from Win Hill

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. On the other side of the valley is Bamford Edge.

12. When you are back at Ladybower Dam, take a right to walk back across. Then instead of walking back along the road, cross the road past the memorial, and take the footpath that leads back to the car park through the woods.

Crossing road at Ladybower Dam

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 by tagging @peakdistrictkids in your caption 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:
Ladybower cycle route with kids (9km)
Derwent Dan walk up Pike Low for fantastic views (6.8km)
Ladybower Reservoir walk: pram friendly