with plenty of stunning scenery, wildlife and great activities to choose from to keep both young and old entertained. As the second most visited national park in the world, the Peak District offers everything from quaint villages, bustling market towns and historic houses to stunning scenery, superb walking and cycle paths.
is known for the River Dove and it’s impressive limestone ravines, but the most iconic part of a trip to Dovedale has to be the picturesque stepping stones…Arriving at the nearby car park, where you can also be tempted by snacks and refreshments, it’s just a short walk up and across a wooden bridge to get to the River Dove, where you can look up onto Thorpe Cloud.
Thorpe Cloud is an isolated limestone hill, which sits between the villages of Ilam and Thorpe and lies right on the border between Derbyshire and Staffordshire. It’s highest point has an elevation of 287 metres, which is quite a quick and steep ascent, but one with lots of views across the Staffordshire and Derbyshire countryside once you’re at the top.
Following the River Dove up towards the stepping stones you can cross and climb to the top of Thorpe Cloud, giving fantastic panoramic views of the Peak District.
For a more family friendly walk, you can continue up passed Thorpe Cloud and carry on up along the river. There’s lots of great wildlife and woodland to explore along this riverside stroll, and the path is very clear and flat which is a plus point for families with small children.
If you’d rather take more of a walk to enjoy the Peak District countryside and arrive in Dovedale along the way, there are a few good locations to start. For example, the River Dove flows through Milldale, which is a great starting point for the walk down through Dovedale to the stepping stones, as well as Wolfscote Dale and Beresford Dale. Here there are also a network of footpaths and walks either along the river or over the surrounding countryside.
Dimmingsdale is truly one of Staffordshire’s hidden gems.This enchanting and beautiful valley is a haven for walkers, nature lovers and those seeking tranquillity and spectacular scenery. Forming part of the Churnet Valley in the Staffordshire Moorlands it is located between Alton and Oakamoor and is managed by Forestry Commission and Staffordshire County Council.Lakes, streams and rivers combine with a mixture of broadleaf trees and spectacular Scots Pines and huge sandstone rocky outcrops to create spectacular scenery and an amazing haven for wildlife, which is beautiful at anytime of the year.Its beauty and tranquillity has been recognised by regional and national media – The Sunday Times stated Dimmingsdale was one of the most beautiful places to walk in winter, Midlands’s television stated it as one of the best places to view Autumnal colours and it regularly features in regional press as one of Staffordshire’s hidden gems. Affectionately known as “Little Switzerland” and “Fairy Glen” it was also described by a priest as”the closest place to heaven”!
The Manifold Valley
The Manifold Track, a favourite for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, follows the route of the disused Leek and Manifold Light Railway, through the Manifold and Hamps Valleys from Waterhouses to Hulme End. The track is surfaced and fairly level throughout its length, making it ideal for wheelchair users, those with buggies or prams and people with limited mobility. Watch out for the rivers of the Manifold and Hamps as they disappear beneath the porous limestone and reappear in Ilam Country Park. Climb the steps to Thor's Cave (250 ft above the track) for magnificent views across the valley.
There are Car Parking areas at both ends of the track and at Intermediate locations. Cycles can be hires at Waterhouses. Plus picnic tables, cycle racks and fully accessible toilets at Hulme End.
Whether you’re an eager climber, an enthusiastic walker or a keen naturalist, the Roaches offers something for everyone. Its magnificent soaring rock faces and wild, heather-covered hillsides draw tens of thousands of visitors each year, and make it one of Staffordshire’s most photographed landscapes.
As well as being a popular place for recreation, the Roaches is an amazing place for wildlife. In fact, the area is protected both nationally and internationally for its wildlife and rare wild habitats. Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and forming part of the South Pennine Moor Special Area for Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area, the Roaches consists of numerous internationally important habitats including blanket bog and upland moorland. There are also many specialist breeding and wintering birds such as curlew, red grouse and tree pipit.
Alton Towers Resort is the UK’s number one theme park and is home to some of the world’s most iconic rides, from Nemesis to The Smiler.
Set around the historic Towers Estate within 800 acres of stunning countryside, the resort has been attracting visitors from across the country since the gardens were first opened in 1924. From the fun and thrills of the theme park, to the soothing spa and themed hotels, the resort provides a range of attractions for the whole family to enjoy.
The Churnet Valley Railway, is a picturesque heritage Steam Railway that runs through Staffordshire’s Little Switzerland, the Churnet Valley. It meanders alongside the Caldon Canal and the River Churnet for a delightful nostalgic 11 mile return journey. Kingsley & Froghall Station has ample parking and disabled access and is home to the award winning traditional Tea Room plus the railways Souvenir Shop, both of which are open on running days. Consall Station has no public road access making it very quiet and isolated in its situation beside the weir on River Churnet where the canal splits from the river. Nearby are the Lime Kilns and the Black Lion Public House. At Cheddleton Station you can visit the Railway’s Engine Sheds and its small Railway Artifacts Museum. Trains run most Sundays from February to October, and full weekends from Easter as well as Wednesdays from June to September. Additional services run on all Bank Holiday Mondays and school holidays.