A walk through the moss-covered ancient woodlands of Padley Gorge, alongside quaint waterfalls and pretty trails enveloped in exquisite nature, is by far one of the best short and easy walks to do in the Peak District. Neighbouring Longshaw Estate merges seamlessly with Padley Gorge, making a delightful circular walk through both picturesque forest and open farmland.
In this guide, we’ll tell you a little about Padley Gorge in the Peak District, how to get there and where to park. We’ll also provide a brief trail description of the Padley Gorge walk, as well as useful things to know before you go. Lastly, we’ll suggest a few gear essentials and throw in a few bonus tips.
For more incredible walks in the Peak District, check out our guides on Stanage Edge, Mam Tor and Thor’s Cave. Otherwise, read our Peak District Hiking post (also coming soon), where we reveal some of the best hikes in the Peak District National Park.
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About Padley Gorge
Padley Gorge is an enchanting forested valley in the Peak District National Park. The dense woodland of ancient moss-covered trees, where limited daylight dances in and out of the heavy canopy, is quite magical. The Burbage Brook stream flows through the centre of Padley Gorge, creating sublime waterfalls, cascades and rock pools as it tumbles over the bouldered ground and through the valley.
Padley Gorge is one of the furthest inland examples of temperate rainforests in the UK. The high levels of rainfall here keep the vegetation lush and the Burbage Brook flowing.
Given the excellent examples of remnant oak-birch woodland found in the gorge, the area has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This type of ancient woodland once covered much of the gritstone uplands of the Peak District, with Padley Gorge an excellent breeding site for Hawfinch, Wood Warbler and Pied Flycatcher. So, for any twitchers out there, grab the bins and head on down!
Where Is Padley Gorge?
Padley Gorge is found in the heart of the Peak District National Park in the UK. To the south is the village of Grindleford and to the north is the Longshaw Estate and Hathersage. The expansive moorland, woodland and farmland that make up the Longshaw Estate are owned by the National Trust. Padley Gorge walking in Derbyshire can begin from either Grindleford or the Longshaw Estate.
How to Get to Padley Gorge in the Peak District
The easiest and most straightforward way to get to Padley Gorge for this wonderful Peak District walk is with your own vehicle. Below, we’ll cover a few nearby towns and cities you might travel from, including drive time and distance.
- Manchester: 1.5 hours // 40 miles (64km)
- Sheffield: 30 minutes // 10 miles (16km)
- Buxton: 35 minutes // 17 miles (27km)
- Bakewell: 20 minutes // 8 miles (13km)
If you don’t have access to your own vehicle, then we recommend hiring something. Of course, this can easily be organised from both Manchester and Sheffield. When hiring a car, we always get the ball rolling with a search on RentalCars.com. Booking a car with Rentalcars.com is easy and stress-free, plus they offer an unbeatable free cancellation policy too.
Public Transport to Padley Gorge, Peak District
Given Padley Gorge’s proximity to Grindleford train station, it’s very easy to get here for the walk using public transport. Both Manchester and Sheffield operate train services that stop at Grindleford station. Then, you can simply begin and end the walk to Padley Gorge from here. In addition, catching the train through the Peak District is one of the most scenic ways to explore it.
You can check the train service here. Also, we recommend using Google Maps to help plan your journey.
Padley Gorge Parking
There are a number of places to park for the walk to Padley Gorge, depending on where you intend to start. As Dan and I were starting our Padley Gorge walk through the Longshaw Estate, we chose to park, for free, along the roadside of Hathersage Road. There is a long stretch of roadside parking here, but it can become quite crowded.
Alternatively, you can find a car park at Longshaw Estate. As it’s National Trust, parking is free for members only. Parking at the Longshaw Estate Car Park also shaves about a kilometre off the walk.
The Padley Gorge Longshaw Estate Car Park postcode is S11 7TZ and you can find its location on Google Maps here.
If you’re walking to Padley Gorge from the south, you’ll likely be starting from Grindleford train station. Parking can be found at the train station near the Grindleford Station Cafe but isn’t free. The postcode is S32 2HY.
Lastly, you can begin the walk from Surprise View Car Park. This walk to Padley Gorge passes Owler Tor as it winds its way into the valley. Again, no free parking here, but Surprise View Car Park is a popular spot in its own right for the wonderful views. The postcode is S32 2JA and you can find it here on Google Maps.
Useful Things to Know Before the Padley Gorge Walk
Below, we’ll cover a few useful things to know before your Padley Gorge walk, including answering a few frequently asked questions.
Is Padley Gorge Free?
Yes. Aside from some parking options, the gorge is free to visit.
Can You Take Dogs to Padley Gorge?
Yes. Padley Gorge is a wonderful place for a dog walk. Just remember though, if you walk through the Longshaw Estate, you’ll need to put your pooch on a lead.
Can You Swim at Padley Gorge?
Yes. Although the term ‘swim’ might be pushing a little. It’ll be more of a plunge or a dip. That’s because the Burbage Brook that flows through Padley Gorge in the Peak District isn’t very deep. Nor are there any expansive patches of water. Still, if you’re always game for a wild swim, then you’ll really enjoy the ambience of the waterfalls and woodland at Padley Gorge.
What Facilities Are at Padley Gorge & the Longshaw Estate?
Padley Gorge is a natural attraction, so you’ll not find much in the way of facilities once walking through the woodland and alongside Burbage Brook. But, you’ll find toilets and cafes at both Grindleford station and the Longshaw Estate.
- Toilets: Grindelford train station | Longshaw Estate National Trust (accessible toilet here too).
- Food and drink: Grindleford Station Cafe | Padley Gorge Ice Cream Van along the B6521 road | Longshaw Estate Cafe
Is Padley Gorge Pram and Wheelchair Accessible?
No. The walk alongside Burbage Brook and the little waterfalls of Padley Gorge is rocky and often over uneven terrain. The Longshaw Estate is better set up for accessible paths.
Where Is the Padley Gorge Waterfall?
Little waterfalls cascade down Burbage Brook throughout the walk through Padley Gorge. One of our favourite spots was at the wooden bridge crossing over Burbage Brook, about halfway down the valley. You’ll also find a tree decorated with pennies here too.
Padley Gorge Walk Map & Preview
- Trail Type: Loop
- Distance: 9km
- Time: 2–3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 210m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Hathersage Road
- Map: Wikiloc
Padley Gorge Circular Walk Description
The trail Dan and I walked to Padley Gorge began from the Longshaw Estate. This walk, at around 9km, is a straightforward Peak District trail, that can easily be shortened or lengthened. The paths are easy to follow, though there are tree routes and rocks scattered in places. All in all, the Padley Gorge walk is a chilled stroll, perfect for a relaxed weekend in the Peaks.
Longshaw Estate to Padley Gorge
From the roadside parking along Hathersage Road, head south towards the Longshaw Estate. You’ll pass the Fox House Pub on the corner as it meets Owler Bar Road. Cross over the road and enter into the grounds of the Longshaw Estate.
The Padley Gorge walk from the Longshaw Estate is a relaxing stroll along well-maintained paths and countryside. It’s a popular place to while away the day in the Peaks, so expect to see a fair few walkers out and about. There are many trails you can follow around the Longshaw Estate. But, to reach the gorge, you’ll head south towards Yarncliff Wood.
From the Longshaw Estate, you’ll need to cross the B6521 road that separates it from Padley Gorge, Burbage Brook and the waterfalls. It’s not an especially busy road, but do take care. You’ll find kissing gates linking trails on either side of the road.
Exploring Padley Gorge
From here, the Padley Gorge trail begins to steeply descend as you meander along Burbage Brook. The cascades and waterfalls of Padley Gorge are delightful. Indeed, you’ll find plenty of little off-shoot trails from which to explore deeper into the wooded valley.
Walk through the gorge until you exit at Grindleford train station. From here, simply pass the station cafe and pass over the bridge. Immediately on your right, you can re-enter Padley Gorge and wander back up through this enchanting woodland. Stop for a paddle in the babbling brook too, if you like.
Eventually, you’ll join back with the Longshaw Estate. Be sure to relax by the lake for a little while, soaking up the charming surroundings. Then, whenever you’re ready, retrace your steps back to the car.
Alternative Padley Gorge Walk Trailheads
Below, we’ll list a few of the other trailhead options for walks in Padley Gorge.
Grindleford Station: the Padley Gorge waterfall walk can just as easily begin from the south of the valley, at Grindleford train station. Indeed, Grindleford station is possibly the closest location to begin the walk from, and for access to see the waterfalls at Padley Gorge. This is your best Padley Gorge short walk option at just 6km.
Follow the trail here.
Surprise View Car Park: the walk to Padley Gorge from the Surprise View Car Park passes some wonderful vantage points like Owler Tor en route. This walking route might not pass through the lovely Longshaw Estate (although you could certainly add it on), but it does provide some incredible views over the Peak District.
Follow the trail here.
Hathersage: if you’re looking for a fantastic day hike, to see some of the big attractions in this small area of the Peak District, then why not consider combining Padley Gorge with a walk to Carl Wark and Higger Tor from the village of Hathersage. Certainly, combining a walk into the dense woodland of Padley Gorge with the vast escarpment of Burbage Moor is a cracking hiking option.
Follow the trail here.
We recommend using Maps.Me to help plan your Padley Gorge and waterfalls walking route, too. As you’ll see, there are plenty of route variations to choose from. But, be sure to park either at or close to Longshaw Estate, Grindleford station or Surprise View Car Park for the best access to Padley Gorge in the Peak District.
Other Walks in the Peak District
There are plenty of hikes in the Peak District National Park. Indeed, some of our all-time favourite walks in the UK can be found in the Peak District. Let’s take a look.
- Mam Tor: one of the most popular walks in the Peak District, with amazing views down the Great Ridge.
- Alport Castles: a hidden gem in the Peak District, the Alport Castles are the result of one of the largest landslips in the UK.
- Derwent Edge: a beautiful walk up a typical Peak District escarpment and across the wild open moorland. Additionally, there are a number of interesting rock formations along the trail.
- The Roaches and Lud’s Church: hike up and around the famous rocky ridge in the south Peaks and add on the fairytale rocky chasm of Lud’s Church.
- Kinder Scout and Downfall: hike to the Peak District’s highest point and enjoy the seasonal waterfall.
- Stanage Edge: whether you hike or climb, a visit to the Stanage Edge escarpment will leave you spellbound.
- Dovestones Reservoir: visiting in late summer is the most beautiful time of year to experience the vast moorland with this Dovestone circular walk.
- Three Shires Head: at the point where Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire meet is a pretty little cascade.
- Thor’s Cave: this impressive natural cavern has fantastic views across the Manifold Valley.
- Chrome Hill: climb true peaks in the Peak District. We recommend visiting for sunrise.
- Bamford Edge: easily one of the most photographed parts of the Peak District with a picture-perfect ledge to sit on along this walk.
- Dovedale to Milldale Loop: by far the greatest way to experience Dovedale Valley and these Peak District Stepping Stones.
- Birchover Circular: a relaxed walk that includes stone circles and pub stops.
Five Gear Essentials
These are our five gear essentials for walks in Padley Gorge and the Longshaw Estate in the Peak District! For a more extensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Alternatively, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a hiking trip to the Peak District, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
You should also pack water, snacks and warm clothing. Additionally, a picnic is a great idea too!
- Weather: it’s always good to be prepared for any weather when walking in the Peak District. Although, Burbage Brook and the Padley Gorge waterfall will be in much better flow after a period of rain. You can check the weather here.
- Popular Padley: the gorge is a very popular place to visit in the Peak District. If you want to experience the enchanting valley at quieter times, look to avoid weekends and school holidays.
- Explore more of the Peak District: if you want the hassle taken care of when it comes to trip planning, Get Your Guide offers some pretty great tour options for the Peak District National Park.
Save or share this post with your hiking buddies before your next trip to the Peak District National Park!