Whatever your interest, there is something in the Peak District for you. The rugged and dramatic Dark Peak lies to the north with its great expanses of heather moorland and strange grit stone outcrops. Here you can walk for miles with just sheep, grouse, skylarks and curlews for company. The views are wild and rugged, in stark contrast to the soft rolling hills and peaceful limestone dales of the White Peak in the south. Here, fields are crisscrossed with dry stone limestone walls and sheep graze in lush green fields. Hay meadows, ancient dew ponds and wild flowers abound.
With over 1,600 miles of footpaths and many more miles of off road cycle trails the only problem is deciding where to go first.
Walking and hiking
Candlelight Cottage is part of the Walkers Welcome scheme. We provide all of the following:
- A separate heated drying room for clothes and boots
- First Aid Kits
- Outside tap
- Information on local outdoor activity shops
- Maps and walking books.
From the door of Candlelight Cottage, you can easily walk to Tideswell Dale, Litton Dale, Monsal Dale, Cressbrook Dale, Millers Dale and Water-cum-Jolly Dale. In spring and summer, all these dales are covered with wild flowers and trout can be seen in the River Wye as you walk along its banks. Both the Limestone Way and The Monsal Trail pass through nearby Millers Dale and The Pennine Way can be joined at its start in Edale, a 20 minute drive from Litton. Other trails to explore are the White Peak Way, The High Peak and Tissington Trails, which follow former railway lines and pass through stunning limestone scenery and beautiful villages. Details of all these trails are available in the cottage along with several guidebooks and maps.
Peak District Walking Festivals take place each year. Each festival covers a different area of the Peak District and consists of a programme of guided walks for people of all abilities. Walk themes cover everything from discovering orchids to ghost walks, and evening bat walks.
Try Walking Britain’s route 2573 – Tideswell, Millers & Cressbrook Dales from Litton, a nice 7 mile route – click for more details.
Be entertained as you walk, using one of 13 free audio tours of the Peak District moors, available to download onto MP3 players at Moors for the Future.
You may even wish to book your own personal walking guide to take you on guided walks from the door of Candlelight Cottage or to explore other parts of the Peak District and Derbyshire Dales. Mountain House Holidays, Peak Walking Adventures and Sally Mosely Walks provide friendly, knowledgeable guides who can show you the best routes and bring the experience to life by sharing with you a wealth of local knowledge.
If you would like to learn to use a map and compass to find your own way around the Peak District hills and moors, contact Peak Navigation Courses for a range of one day courses designed for both novices and more experienced walkers.
Around the nearby village of Tideswell there are a wealth of streets and alleys – Visit Tideswell & District have developed a set of trail guides:
- Tideswell Trail – download pdf here
- Tideswell Trail Youngster’s version – download pdf here
- Litton Loop – download pdf here
There are also audio guides to download and use on your MP3 player:
- Trail One – Tideswell’s Hidden Histories – download mp3s (zipped)
- Trail Two – The Litton Loop – download mp3s (zipped)
You can download the individual elements of these trails from the Visit Tideswell & District website.
The Tissington Trail, High Peak Trail and Monsal Trail are all former railway lines which have been converted to safe, traffic free cycle paths. There are cycle hire centres and picnic sites along the trails, making them an ideal day out for all ages. Carsington Water and Ladybower reservoir also have cycle hire facilities and the views are stunning. The Pennine Cycleway, (National Cycle Network No 68) starts in Derby and runs through The Peak District on its way to the Northumbrian coast.
For the more intrepid, there is an extensive network of bridleways, some of which follow ancient packhorse routes over challenging moorland. These can be ideal for mountain biking and take you to some of the remoter parts of the Peak District. Favourite spots for mountain bikers include the Goyt Valley, Edale and the Upper Derwent Valley.
A local company, Peak Tours offer a cycle hire and delivery service to/from anywhere in the Peak District, so if you can’t bring your bikes with you, you can have some delivered to Candlelight Cottage. There is room at the back of the cottage to store them out of sight.
Peak District Cycle Routes – The complete guide to cycling in the Peak District, featuring all the traffic-free trails through to more adventurous mountain bikes routes, plus details on where to hire bikes, practical advice and cycling-friendly cafes and pubs.
Peak MTB – offering mountain biking courses and guided rides.
Peak Cycle Hire – for local cycle hire.
Other Outdoor Activities
Peak Pursuits is a company offering organised activities such as: abseiling, archery, bell boating, canoeing, climbing, fencing, ghyll scrambling, kayaking, mountain biking, orienteering, skiing, scrambling, snowboarding and walking.
If you are keen to discover new outdoor activities, attend a progression course in your special interest, or even train to be a leader yourself, have a look at Steep and Deep. Activities on offer include caving, potholing, rock climbing, winter mountaineering, trekking and biking.
Climbing and caving
Superb climbing and caving opportunities exist in the area for both beginners and experienced adventurers. There are indoor climbing walls at Awesome Walls in Sheffield and Stockport.
From the limestone quarries at nearby Stoney Middleton to the grit stone areas of Stanage Edge and Curbar Edge – there are thousands of climbing routes, from the easiest to the most challenging in easy reach of Candlelight Cottage.
Canoeing, wind surfing, sailing and kayaking are available at Carsington Water, Tittesworth Water and Staunton Harold. Tuition can also be arranged.
The rivers Dove, Wye, Lathkill and Derwent are world famous for excellent fly fishing. The southern stretch of the River Derwent offers coarse fishing.
Fishing is possible on a number of local lakes including Ladybower.
There are several courses in the area including Chatsworth, Bamford and Bakewell – try Peak Practice Golf.
There is an outdoor heated pool at Hathersage swimming pool open during the summer. Indoor pools at Bakewell, Matlock and Buxton.
The diverse habitats of the Peak District make it an excellent place for birdwatchers. RSPB Coombes Valley and reservoirs such as Tittesworth, Ogston and Upper Derwent Valley are favourite destinations.
Other available activities include riding, gliding, paragliding, hang gliding, helicopter flights, balloon flights, cable car rides, canal boat hire and clay pigeon shooting.
One of the wonderful things about living in the Peak District is that there are still areas where it is possible to get away from the orange glow of man–made light pollution and see the thousands of stars in the night sky really clearly.
Across the country several new dark sky discovery sites have been created and one of these sites is located at the Peak District National Park’s Access for All site at Surprise View near Hathersage.
Surprise View is a key gateway site to the Peak District National Park and is a familiar location to many tourists and residents alike. However, most people only know Surprise View because of its amazing panoramic view of the Hope Valley, but the site has much more to offer.
Becoming a dark sky discovery site means that people can experience a whole new panoramic view, that of the Milky Way under a truly dark sky.
In addition to being the first Peak District dark sky discovery site, Surprise View also takes a starring role as a downloadable landscape for the popular astronomy software package, Stellarium. For more information about dark sky discovery sites, please visit the Dark Sky Discovery website.
Other useful websites
- Haddon House Riding Stables specialises in hacking out for adults who are competent riders, capable of riding across open country at all paces.
- The Derbyshire & Lancashire Gliding Club for gliding.
- The Derbyshire Flying Centre for paragliding and hang gliding.
- Pennine Helicopters for helicopter flights.
- Various balloon ride companies for local balloon flights – more information.
- The Heights of Abraham for cable car rides above Matlock Bath.