This site uses cookies (inc use for analytics and advertising), by continuing to use the site you are agreeing to this, for more info on our use of cookies see our privacy policy

Peak District – Hidden Gems

On this pageCarsington Water, Churnet Valley, Coombes Valley, Cromford Canal, Goyt Valley, Ilam, Lathkilldale, Macclesfield, Macclesfield Forest, Millers Dale, Rudyard Lake, Teggs Nose, The Roaches, Tittesworth Reservoir

Carsington Water

Carsington Water – A Severn Trent Reservoir between Ashbourne and Chesterfield with a good visitor centre, water sports centre, play area for children (and the occasional adult!) It also has a walking / cycle trail of about 8 miles around the reservoir (cycle hire available). Good facilities –
for more info see and


Churnet Valley Nature Reserve
Churnet Valley Nature Reserve

Churnet Valley – This is a little known but true gem of a place, just outside the Peak District National Park it lies in the Staffordshire Moorlands, but don’t be fooled by the areas name this is far from moorland. The River Churnet flows from Tittesworth Reservoir north of Leek to Cheddleton where the valley encompasses the River Churnet, Caldon Canal (said to be one of the nation’s most picturesque waterways) and Cheddleton Steam Railway. It then passes through Consall Nature Park to Froghall and the terminus of the Steam Railway and the Caldon Canal, further along the valley is Oakamoor with a cycle and walking route following the track bed of the old railway to Alton (as in Alton Towers and referred to a Little Switzerland due to the fairytale like castle buildings protruding from the steep wooded Alton valley) then on to Denstone with the near by Roman settlement that is now Rocester and home to JCB – it is a wonderful walking and cycling area, with varied scenery and wild life. Cheddleton is recommended for walkers, families and Steam Railway enthusiasts.
for more info see, (Caldon Canal) (Oakamoor) (Consall Nature Park)
or contact the TIC on 01335 343666 or email:

Coombes Valley – Not far from the Manifold Valley and the Churnet Valley, in the Staffordshire Moorlands is this little gem, just off the main road between Ashbourne and Buxton. It is an RSPB reserve, it has a visitor centre and facilities and lovely walks (see the walks page)

Cromford Canal runs for 14 miles between Cromford and Langley Mill – an SSI for its full length, from Cromford Wharf to High Peak Junction is suitable for pushchair’s and wheel chairs – it has a variety of wild life, scenic views and industrial heritage like Sir Richard Arkwright’s Cromford Mill which is on the site of the first water powered cotton mill. Walks, Tea shop, wild life, scenic Derbyshire countryside and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and the canal passes over the railway on an aqueduct that is believed to be the only surviving example of a suspension girder bridge in the country.
for more info see, and
or contact the Matlock TIC on 01629 583388 or Bakewell TIC on 01629 816558


Fernlee Reservoir

Goyt Valley and Reservoirs – The estate is owned by United Utilities, there are two reservoirs Errwood Reservoir (with car parks) and below this is the larger Fernilee Reservoir . There is a sailing club, fishing, cycling and many walks including to the ruins of Errwood Hall in the woodland. Tucked away on the western edge of the Peak District between Buxton and Macclesfield this is an area of moor, woodland, water and high hills – to the west is The Cat and Fiddle pub is a landmark and a destination in its self (walkers, cyclist and motorcyclist haunt) set high up with views out across the Cheshire plain, with nearby Shining Tor at 559 mtrs and Cats Tor at 519 mtrs, while to the east is Burbage Edge at 500 mtrs. Not commercialised, no cafe, visitor centre or tea shop in the valley, bring a picnic, walking boots or bike and a camera.
for more info see and

Ilam Hall and grounds from the river

Ilam & Ilam Hall– Very close to Dovedale is this small picturesque village with Ilam Hall is in the Staffordshire part of the Peak District. The hall and grounds are National Trust property and the Hall is also a Youth Hostel. There are pleasant walks along the river and through the estate gardens. There are many hill walks from the village and a fairly easy walk across the fields to Dovedale
for more info see and


Lathkill Dale – This is a National Nature Reserve, it runs from Monyash to Alport. From the Alport end near Conksbury Bridge the riverside is green and flat – ideal for picnics (see photo), it is a good surfaced path for a distance but then climbs well above the river and then descends, a rough stony path – you then enter the nature reserve, a wooded area following the river – lots of interesting features, old mine and mill structures – Entering from Monyash it is quite different from gentle meadow you enter a narrow, very rocky gorge (stout boots recommended) before the stream appears that will soon become a river – varied scenery, bird, animal and plant life. Good family (see the walks page) walk but take what you need – no facilities, shops etc.
for more info see and (Accessibility)

Macclesfield The town has a pleasant feel about it, retaining its old shopping streets, it also has many reminders of the silk trade that made the town what it is today. Good walking can be had around near by Bollington and Macclesfield Forrest. Pay a visit to White Nancy (a Grade II listed folly) or one of many reservoirs in the area which offer walks of varying lengths or perhaps a wander along the Macclesfield Canal. If that doesn’t float your boat how about a visit to the Jodrell Bank observatory and arboretum jus a few miles away.
for more info see,,,

view of Macclesfield Forrest and Moors above

Macclesfield ForestLying on the western edge of the Peak District Macclesfield Forest is managed by United Utilities, it has four reservoirs, a mix of native and conifer woodland, red deer and the largest heronry in the Peak District at Trentabank. This is walking, cycling and bird watching country. Close by is Teggs Nose Country Park. also worth a visit
for more info see and

Millers Dale – There is a National Park car park at Millers Dale Station (the old railway station) allowing easy access to the Monsal Trail or walk along the riverside along the Wye to Monsal Dale and come back via the trail. The rocky outcrops in the dale are a regular haunt of climbers the lane along the riverside is generally quiet and easy walking
for more info see,

view of Rudyard Lake

Rudyard Lake – Just outside the Peak District National Park, between Leek in the Staffordshire Moorlands and Macclesfield in Cheshire, is this two and a half mile long lake (well actually it’s a reservoir). It dates back to 1797 and was built to supply water for the canal system. A popular Victorian destination it now has a visitor centre, sailing club, miniature railway, walking, cycling and fishing oh and a good place for a picnic. (Facilities for disabled sailing at the cub see the sailability link) The Leek to Rushton Spencer Greenway provides a family cycling route – a well surfaced track between Leek and the northern end of Rudyard Lake.
for more info see,, and

view of Teggs Nose and Cheshire in background

Teggs Nose Country Park – Just outside the Peak District National Park, a short distance from Macclesfield Forest, it is the last high ground before the Cheshire Plain, it therefore has fantastic views, on a clear day all the way to Liverpool. Teggs Nose is dramatic hill country accentuated by the addition of old quarry workings. Today it has a small visitor centre, walks, bird watching and view points.
for more info see =

view from Ramshaw Rocks

The Roaches – Sitting just above Titesworth Reservoir just north of Leek in the Staffordshire Moorlands and on the edge of the Peak District National Park this area of high bare rock is ideal for climbers (some of the best climbing around), birds glide on the thermals and if you are really lucky you may just see a wild Wallaby (yes a Wallaby) or if not maybe a Llama! Many walks including to “Luds Church” a gritstone chasm hidden and atmospheric, is it the legendary Green Chapel of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight? – The Roaches are a great place for kids to explore (you don’t have to be an expert climber to get to the top – just follow the footpath) Weird shaped stones, fantastic views – bring a camera.
for more info see,, and

image og Tittesworth Reservoir

Tittesworth Reservoir – Owned by Severn Trent Water the reservoir is used for drinking water, it is a home to many native and visiting birds, it has a water sports centre, and a visitor centre. Good play area for younger children, BBQ and picnic facilities. It is just north of Leek on the southern edge of the Peak District. It lies beneath The Roaches there is a circular family walk of the reservoir (not suitable for buggies) and in the summer a park and ride bus service to The Roaches
for more info see

Carsington Water, Churnet Valley, Coombes Valley, Cromford Canal, Goyt Valley, Ilam, Lathkilldale, Macclesfield, Macclesfield Forest, Millers Dale, Rudyard Lake, Teggs Nose, The Roaches, Tittesworth Reservoir

Return to the top of the page              Last updated Jul 13th 2013
Get Adobe Flash player
Peak and Moor is published by Exnisus Web DesignPeak and Moor Sitemap ContactPrivacy PolicyHomepage