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Stanage Edge Walk: The Complete Guide

Stanage Edge Walk: The Complete Guide

Stanage Edge in the Peak District is a stunning gritstone escarpment of rugged beauty and charming wilderness. Indeed, this enchanting stone wall has been enthralling visitors to the Hope Valley for centuries. Given its enduring appeal, it’s also little wonder Stanage Edge and the village of Hathersage, nestled at the base of this impressive cliff face, has influenced creatives over the years. Specifically, Charlotte Brontë was inspired to pen her novel, Jane Eyre after a visit to Hathersage and walks around the moorlands of Stanage Edge. Indeed, this Peak District walk is a firm favourite of the area, with car parks and routes a plenty to stand atop Stanage Edge.

In this guide, we’ll look at what Stanage Edge is and where to find this Peak District walk. Then, we’ll let you know how to get there and where the many different car parks for walking Stanage Edge are located. Later, we’ll give a brief overview of the walk itself, before quickly mentioning a few alternative route options. We’ll finish by answering a few FAQs and suggesting some other stunning Peak District walks you must do.

Feel free to watch footage of our Stanage Edge walk below.

For more incredible walks in the Peak District, check out our guides on Chrome Hill, Mam Tor and Dovedale Walk. Otherwise, read our Peak District Hiking post (also coming soon), where we reveal some of the best hikes in the Peak District National Park.

What Is Stanage Edge?

Stanage Edge is a long gritstone escarpment in the Peak District National Park. The name ‘Stanage‘ literally comes from the term ‘stone edge‘, with the geology found here made up of course sandstone. The hard gritstone found at Stanage Edge was once quarried to build millstones to mill flour. In fact, along the escarpment walk, you’ll likely spot a few uncut millstones, which never ended up being used.

Nowadays, Stanage Edge is a splendid stretch of the Peak District to enjoy a walk along. And for those a little more adventurous, Stanage Edge is one of the best places to rock climb in the United Kingdom.

Where Is Stanage Edge?

Stanage Edge is a famous landmark in the Peak District National Park. This vast 3.5 mile-long craggy escarpment splits the border between Derbyshire and Yorkshire. Below Stanage Edge is the historical village of Hathersage. Indeed, Hathersage makes for a wonderful place to begin a walk to Stanage Edge or just enjoy a mooch around afterwards.

As you walk along the top of Stanage Edge, you’ll experience wonderful views of the Hope Valley, Burbage Valley and across to Bamford Edge. On a great weather day, the views are extensive.

How to Get to Stanage Edge?

The best way to get to Stanage Edge is to drive yourself there. Indeed, given the wealth of car parks to choose from for a walk to Stanage Edge, having the freedom of your own vehicle is very beneficial. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the nearest places to travel from. We’ll include the distance and drive time.

  • Manchester: 1.5 hours // 35 miles (56km)
  • Sheffield: 30 minutes // 8 miles (13km)
  • Buxton: 45 minutes // 20 miles (32km)
  • Bakewell: 30 minutes // 12 miles (19km)

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 

If you don’t have a car and you don’t fancy hiring one, then good news! You can get to Stanage Edge for a walk along the epic escarpment by using public transport. You’ll need to get to the village of Hathersage, which sits at the base of Stanage Edge, and begin your walk from there. More on that below.

From both Manchester and Sheffield, you can take a direct train to Hathersage. In fact, catching a train through the Peak District is one of the most scenic ways to experience it.

You can check the train services here. Also, we recommend using Google Maps to help plan your journey.

​​​​​​​Where to Park For the Stanage Edge Walk

There are a few car parks to choose from for walks along Stanage Edge.

If beginning the Stanage Edge walk from the village of Hathersage (great choice), you’ll find parking at Oddfellows Road Car Park which is pay and display. If you arrive early at Hathersage for your Stanage Edge walk, you might get lucky with some free on-street parking.

Stanage Walk near hathersage

Which Is the Best Stanage Edge Walking Route?

This really depends on the length of walk you want to do and where you end up parking for Stanage Edge. Dan and I parked at the Upper Burbage Bridge Car Park and completed a moderately lengthed 7.5km loop. This involved walking up onto the escarpment edge, before descending and hugging closely along the Stanage Edge wall as we returned. This gave us a wonderful perspective of the entire escarpment, and a thoroughly enjoyable walk to boot. So, that’s the trail we’ll cover in a little more detail below. But, don’t worry, we’ll also suggest some other walking routes to Stanage Edge.

Stanage Edge Walk Route Map and Preview

  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Distance: 7.5km
  • Time: 1.5–2.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 170m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Upper Burbage Bridge Car Park
  • Map: Wikiloc

Stanage Edge Walk from Upper Burbage Bridge Car Park

From the Upper Burbage Bridge Car Park, follow The Dale road south until you meet a trail cutting across the open moorland towards White Moss Path on the southern point of Stanage Edge. The path gently climbs as you walk toward the base of the escarpment. There’s a short and steep final section to reach the top.

White Path Moss

Once on top of the escarpment, head right to reach White Path Moss trig point. White Path Moss is a small mountain summit at the southern end of the Stanage Edge rock wall. From here, you’ll have some outstanding views across the Dark Peaks of the Peak District. White Path Moss stands at 457 metres above sea level, above some of the most impressive gritstone boulders of the entire escarpment.

From White Path Moss, the walk along Stanage Edge continues, northwards. You’ll find footpaths and trails to follow, cut between the rocks and mounds that litter the escarpment edge.

Robin Hoods Cave

The walk along Stanage Edge gently descends a little as you near Robin Hoods Cave. At around 2.5km into the walk, you’ll reach a small scramble section that leads into what has to be one of the most outstanding lookout points in the entire Peak District.

Robin Hoods Cave provides an incredible natural stone balcony from which to view the surrounding moorlands and hillsides. The caves are enjoyable to explore and discover different viewpoints of the Hope Valley.

From Robin Hoods Cave, retrace your steps back up onto the main trail on the top of the escarpment to continue the Stanage Edge walk.

Robin Hoods Cave on Stanage Edge above Hathersage
Robin Hoods Cave balcony views

Stanage Pole

Not long after visiting Robin Hoods Cave, you’ll see a path to your right heading off into the distant moorland. This trail leads to Stanage Pole. Stanage Pole marks the border between Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, and has stood since 1550. Well, a pole has stood here since 1550 anyway. Certainly, it’s a popular addition to the Stanage Edge walk.

But, with that being said, Dan and I were keen to solely enjoy the Stanage Edge escarpment, and so, on this occasion, continued the walk straight and along the rocky edge. Below, you’ll pass by the Stanage Plantation, which is a dense and somewhat condensed patch of woodland. After passing the northern tip of the woodland from up on the escarpment, you’ll take a sharp left turn to descend down a set of stone steps. This set of steps brings you to the base of the gargantuan gritstone rock face.

Stanage Plantation

As you walk along the bottom of Stanage Edge, you’ll likely start to see pockets of rock climbers enjoying the day’s challenge. The trail then meanders through Stanage Plantation, heading away from the wall. Upon exiting the pretty walk through the woodland, take the trail that winds back towards Stanage Edge, landing somewhere beneath where Robin Hoods Cave sits, high above.

From here, you can enjoy the magnitude of one of Britain’s best escarpments as you walk along its base. I think Dan and I found walking along the bottom of Stanage Edge equally as enjoyable as being on top.

The trail will soon join back up with the initial route you took up to White Path Moss. Then, simply retrace back to the Stanage Edge car park at Upper Burbage Bridge.

Higger Tor

As an extra to your Stanage Edge walk, you could consider a quick trip to Higger Tor. Higger Tor can be walked to from Stanage Edge. As you reach the lay-by parking along The Dale road on your return to Upper Burbage Bridge Car Park, take the trail cutting across the moorland on the right to walk directly to Higger Tor.

Alternatively, there’s a small car park at Higger Tor. So, if like us, you’re short on time, you can certainly whip in for a quick exploration before continuing on with your day. For a longer walk around Higger Tor, consider combining it with some exploration of Carl Wark and Burbage Rocks (guide coming soon).

Higger Tor next to Stanage Edge in the peak district
Higger Tor

Other Walking Routes

The route described above explores some of the best of Stanage Edge on an easy walk that really feels like you get into the nooks and crannies of the epic gritstone escarpment. But, there are many Stanage Edge walk variations. Let’s take a look at some popular alternatives.

Stanage Edge Short Walk from Hook’s Carr Car Park

Parking at Hook’s Carr Car Park offers the best short walk route to Stanage Edge. From the car park, you’ll ascend straight up onto the escarpment. You’ll hit the top of the rockface somewhere between White Path Moss and Robin Hoods Cave. Take the trail north along the edge, passing Robin Hoods Cave, and walking towards the Stanage Plantation below. As you near the plantation, descend a footpath leading off Stanage Edge and heading towards the woodland. At the woodland, take the trail leading back to North Lees Road, and follow that around to complete a loop.

Follow the trail here.

Alternatively, you could start this Stanage Edge short walk from nearby Hollin Bank Car Park. Location here.

Hathersage to Stanage Edge Walk

One of the best walking routes to Stanage Edge begins in Hathersage, a pretty little village in the Peak District, England. The roughly 10km circular trail explores the historical Hathersage village, ascending up onto the moorland and exploring much of the same sections of Stanage Edge as we described in the walk we did.

If you’re a literature lover, you’ll enjoy this Stanage Edge walk all the more. The village of Hathersage was the inspiration for Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel Jane Eyre. Indeed, this route variation is often referred to as the Jane Eyre Hathersage Trail because it passes many of the buildings that inspired a lot of the locations in Jane Eyre.

Follow the trail here.

Stanage Edge & Bamford Edge Walk

Another well-known ‘edge’ in the Hope Valley of the Peak District is Bamford Edge. If you’re up for a slightly longer walk to visit these two excellent natural landmarks, then the Stanage to Bamford Edge walk could be for you.

Beginning from the Dennis Knoll Car Park, the walk initially sweeps around through Bamford Moor along Bamford Edge, where you’ll have wonderful views over Ladybower Reservoir and the River Derwent. The walk eventually swings right, descending into the moorland valley, before once more ascending to meet Stanage Edge. Then, simply walk along Stanage Edge, past High Neb and the trig point (marking the escarpment’s highest point), and descend at the same stone steps we descended on our walk variation.

At the base, you’ll take a sharp left, almost back on yourself, and follow Long Causeway. Follow this back to Dennis Knoll Car Park on the corner of North Lees Road.

Follow the trail here.

Full Stanage Edge Walk Via High Neb

If you can’t get enough of Stanage Edge, then you might be keen to walk the full length of it. To do so, we recommend starting the Stanage Edge walk from either Upper Burber Bridge Car Park at the southern end. Or, using a small layby along the A57 at the junction with Heathy Lane. You can find the location on Google Maps here.

This epic walking trail encompasses the full length of Stanage Edge. The below linked trail shows the starting point of the walk from the A57. Feel free to walk as far as you like.

Follow the trail here.

fun close to Stanage Edge Car Park

Stanage Edge Weather

You can walk Stanage Edge in the Peak District any time of year. Of course, to enjoy the wonderful views along the escarpment, you’ll be relying on some good weather.

Those in the know will tell you that late summer, especially August, is a wonderful time for walking in the Peak District, including Stanage Edge. That’s because the vibrant purple heather is in bloom and shrouds the rolling hills and moorlands of the Peak District in an incredible violet blanket.

But remember, the Peak District can and does see a fair amount of rainfall and so take care when ascending and descending the escarpment in wet weather. Also, take care across the top edges as they might be slippery. As always, it’s a good idea to wear a decent pair of hiking boots when out in the Peaks.

You can check the weather forecast before setting off here.

Robin Hoods Cave

FAQs

Below, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding walks to Stanage Edge in the Peak District National Park.

Is Stanage Edge Dog Friendly?

Somewhat. You are permitted to take your dog, on its lead, to the southern sections of the escarpment. You cannot take your dog much beyond the Plantation woodland and Stanage Pole. Much of Stanage Moor, on the top of the edge, is privately owned and there are dog bans in place to protect birdlife in the open moorlands.

But, there are exceptions for guide dogs.

How Long Is Stanage Edge?

3.5 miles (5.6km).

How High Is Stanage Edge?

458 metres high at its tallest point – High Neb. Although, the actual height of the stone wall is around 25 metres.

How Was Stanage Edge Formed?

The rocks you see were formed by large river deltas that once covered this part of the Peak District.

Who Owns Stanage Edge?

The Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA).

Can You Drive to Stanage Edge?

Although you cannot drive onto Stanage Edge, there are plenty of car parks to use for walks up onto it. Click here for more information.

Is Stanage Edge Difficult?

No. The walking routes up to Stanage Edge require stamina, rather than any special technical ability. Once you’ve made it onto the escarpment, you just need to take care of the uneven rock platform. But, there’s easy to follow trails on any of the walking routes.

Dan overlooks the Stanage Edge Car Park

Where to Stay Near Stanage Edge?

For accommodation options, we recommend staying in Hathersage. Below, we’ll detail the best budget, mid-range and luxury options in this beautiful little village.

  • Budget – YHA Hathersage: close to Hathersage rail station is the fantastic YHA Hathersage. Guests can make the most of the self-catering kitchen, or take advantage of the delicious home-cooked meals offered. You’ll also find bike storage, a common room and a pretty garden to relax in.
  • Mid-range – Little John Hotel: the dog-friendly Little John Hotel B&B provides guests with self-catering accommodation as well as a bar and restaurant.
  • Luxury The George: this 500-year old former inn is now a delightful little hotel in Hathersage. The George includes a wonderful breakfast, perfect before any Peak District walk. It also has a traditional pub, perfect for after any Peak District walk!

Alternatively, if you like to camp, you’ll find North Lees Campsite a wonderful location at the foot of the escarpment.

Other Walks in the Peak District National Park

There are plenty of walks in the Peak District National Park. But, these are just a selection of some of our favourites.

  • Mam Tor: one of the most popular walks in the Peak District with 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 another Peak District escarpment.
  • 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.
  • Dovestone Reservoir: explore the northern reaches of the Peak District and visit the epic Trinnacle.
  • Dovedale to Milldale: a walk through the beautiful Dovedale passes hidden caves, picturesque forest and clifftop trails. Don’t forget to check out the Dovedale Stepping Stones!
  • Three Shires Head: at the point where Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire meet is a pretty little cascade.
  • Birchover & Stanton Moor Circular: discover the prehistoric Nine Ladies Stone Circle on this delightful country walk.
  • Thor’s Cave: this impressive natural cavern has fantastic views across the Manifold Valley in the south of the Peak District.
  • 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.
  • Padley Gorge: a deep and narrow valley offers a magical woodland walk to all who venture within.
Dan walking from Stanage Edge Car Park

Five Hiking Essentials

These are our five walking gear essentials for Stanage Edge 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.

You should also pack water, snacks and warm clothing.

Bonus Tips

  • Trail maps: If you’re not bothered about using a GPS map for the walks, consider having access to Maps.me. You’ll find all the route variations available and can happily form your own loop around this fantastic escarpment.
  • Rock climbing: there are over 2,000 climbing routes on Stanage Edge. No wonder it’s one of the UK’s premier climbing destinations.
  • Pride and Prejudice: the Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice used Stanage Edge for some of the epic scenes of Elizabeth Bennet out on the moors. It’s easy to see why the location was used. It’s so cinematic.
  • 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!

Beck Piggott

With an art and design based background, Beck uses photography and writing to help inspire readers to climb mountains, hike coastal trails and chase waterfalls around the globe.

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