The best autumn walks in the Peak District – with a FREE downloadable walk
The leaves are beginning to fall, the mornings are just a little crisper and those sweltering summer days are a happy memory.
Autumn is here. Beautiful colours, ramble-friendly temperatures and quiet paths add up to make this just about the best time to get out for a walk.
To help you make the most of it, we’ve rounded up a selection of our favourite autumn walks in the Peak District. Not only that, but we’re also giving away a FREE walk from our Peak District Year Round Walks book.
We’ve chosen the High Bradfield route, where you’ll get a chance to look down over some spectacular Peak District scenery as the colours start to change.
The walk below appears exactly as it does in the book, complete with map, pictures and step-by-step directions. You can even click here to download it and take it with you.
Below that are a number of further recommendations for places to get out for a ramble over the next couple of months.
High Bradfield – 3.7 miles
As the leaves turn golden, a walk through the woodlands surrounding Agden Reservoir reveals some cracking views of Peak District moors and farmland. Apart from the outstanding views out across the moors of the Peak District National Park’s eastern fringe, there is plenty of local history to immerse yourself in if you want to explore further.
Time: 2 hours
Terrain: Some steep sections on well-established paths
Starting point: Jane Street, High Bradfield. (Grid reference SK 267926).
How to get there & parking: High Bradfield is found to the north west of Sheffield, between the A616 and the A57
Sat Nav: S6 6LG
Refreshments: The Old Horns Inn
1. Make your way along cobbled Jane Street, passing the pub and heading for the church. Just before you reach the churchyard, take the path on the left, go through the gate and walk down the hill. Turn right and head along the terraced path before passing through another gate and proceeding down a short set of steps. There’s a choice of paths; take the one on the right and head across the field. At the end of the fields, go through the gate and cross the road, picking up the path at the other side.
2. After walking down the path, you’ll come to a wooden bridge that takes you across the overflow from Agden Reservoir. Follow the path around to the left and stick to it as it goes past the park in Low Bradfield and brings you out at a road.
3. Turn right onto the road and when you get to Windy Bank turn right again, following the sign for Derwent Valley and Strines. After walking beyond the dam wall, look out for the path on the right that takes you onto a path at the side of the reservoir.
4. Head into the wooded area beside the reservoir. This is a simple path to follow, with the reservoir close by on the right. When you come to a fork in the path, take the one on the right. The path continues at the side of the reservoir, taking you alongside a moss-covered dry-stone wall amidst plenty of crunchy autumnal leaves. The path takes you up a small climb away from the reservoir briefly but then veers down to the head of the reservoir. Pass through a gate and turn left, heading towards the river you can hear flowing in the distance.
5. Take the footbridge crossing the river. Once you’re at the other side of it, head up the bank and go through the gate, turning right onto the track at the other side. Continue along this path, with a dry-stone wall on the right that is eventually replaced by a metal fence. Soon after, there is a path on the right you should follow. It heads through a gate onto Yorkshire Water land by the reservoir once more. This permissive path takes you to the edge of the water and you need to turn left once you’re there. This is a really pleasant waterside part of the walk, passing pine trees and enjoying lovely views across the reservoir. It will eventually bring you out at a road.
6. Turn right onto the road and look out for path number 93 on the left – it’s just before you get to the bridge and from it you can see the dam wall and reservoir on the right. The path takes you up the hill through Rocher End Plantation. It’s a steep climb, with trees turning autumnal colours all around.
7. Head through a kissing gate and take the path on the right that heads slightly downhill at first. It takes you over a stream as it bends away to the right. Pass through another gate and follow the path to the right once more before continuing ahead on an obvious route. There’s a steep climb here, but as the path turns to the right it levels out. There are some beautiful views here out to the right over the reservoir to the moors beyond. The path you’re walking on rises gently, while there is a steep drop down to your right. Go through a gap in the wall and you’ll be in the churchyard at High Bradfield. Follow the footpath around the church and out of the gates at the far side to find yourself back on Jane Street where the walk started. On the way out of the church, look out for the unusual looking building on your left. This is the Watch House, built in 1745 to allow friends and relatives of the recently deceased to watch over the churchyard in case bodysnatchers should come to remove the dead. One of few such buildings to survive in the country, the Watch House is now a listed building.
5 more autumn walks in the Peak District
Head to Holme for an excellent 4-mile route that combines a peaceful lakeside setting with views across rolling moors leading down to the towns and villages of West Yorkshire.
This route, which starts at the car park at Ramsden Reservoir, takes you over dam walls, through woods and (with a tiny but welcome detour) includes a stop at the excellent Fleece pub in Holme.
Stanton in Peak
This 3-mile route takes you through woodland, across scenic moors, and into a mysterious Bronze Age stone circle known as Nine Ladies.
Start at the lay-by at the highest point of Lees Road (sat nav DE4 2LS). The little wood between the start point and Early Grey Tower is a blaze of colour at this time of year. Expect spectacular views as you make your way through this beautiful part of the southern Peak District.
Aside from the beautiful autumnal colours, there’s one very good reason to take a walk in the Longshaw area during autumn; red deer.
There are around 170 red deer roaming wild in this area and from September they begin the rut, in which males compete for the females. You may well hear it, even you don’t see it – just don’t get too close.
Head out beneath autumnal skies alongside colourful trees, and over farming fields to a charming village. The first section of this 6-mile walk takes you along a former railway known as the Tissington Trail.
After that, we recommend heading east to Parwich (for a welcome stop at the Sycamore Inn) before rejoining he Tissington Trail. Autumnal bliss and railway heritage combined in one stunning walk.
Want more inspiration? Click here to see all the books in our Year Round Walks series. All titles are split into seasons, ensuring you don't just get suggestions for the best places to walk near you, but also the best times to go there.
- Rory Batho