The gritstone escarpment of Stanage Edge in the Peak District is one of Britain’s most iconic landmarks – and the perfect place to walk with kids.
The hills and trails of the Peak District National Park are perfect for family adventures, with most of the peaks easily accessible on good paths and easy walks from the towns and valleys that surround them.
Mam Tor, Kinder Scout, Win Hill, Lose Hill, Shutlingsloe and Dovedale are all very popular places to walk with kids, but it was Stanage Edge that I chose as the very first hillwalk for my 3-year-old boy Sonny.
Despite growing up just a few miles over the hill in West Yorkshire I’d weirdly never walked on Stanage Edge before this trip, but I’ve walked up almost all of the surrounding peaks so knew the terrain and challenge would be perfect for our energetic little adventurer.
So with a rucksack packed with snacks, treats, toys and a few toddler outfit changes, off we went from the busy village of Hathersage. This walk mainly follows the route of the ‘Stanage Struggle’ fell race, but don’t let the name fool you because the terrain is gentle rather than fierce and despite a few boggy sections offers very few challenges.
On a clear day you’ll get great views stretching down the Hope Valley and over most of the summits in the Dark Peak area, and the whole walk becomes ever more spectacular as you ascent towards the 458-metre high point of Stanage Edge.
Care needs to be taken as you walk along the top of Stanage Edge, because the drops are steep and it would be an easy place to lose your footing in bad weather, so make sure you keep yourself and your kids a good distance back from the edge of the cliffs.
The descent path from this route leads through lovely tree plantations and alongside fast-flowing streams – a great place for children to explore, wade through water and find a good ‘adventure stick’!
My son had the time of his life on this walk, and despite getting coated in mud, running out of energy on the ascent and even falling up to his waist in a small stream about a mile from the car, finished the day telling me he wanted to come back and “climb an even higher mountain next week”.
Weather: Stanage Edge may be a small peak in terms of height, but the weather can be fierce towards the top, with wind, rain, frost and snow all common. Be sure to check forecasts and always take appropriate gear and clothing.
Pushchairs: this is quite a rugged route, particularly towards the top. All-terrain puschairs may have a slim chance of reaching the summit, but in truth this is a route for little explorers to either walk or be carried
Dog owners: this is a great route for dogs, but there are lots of sheep (and people) around, so always keep them under close control
Download the route: click here to download this route for free in the ViewRanger app, then follow it on your phone, smartwatch or tablet using the app’s active GPS features.