Panoramic Views. Stunning sunsets. Unique photo opportunities. Bamford Edge is an absolute must-visit in the Peak District National Park except it’s only accessible on foot. So, if you’re looking for a Bamford Edge walk, then this guide has not 1, not 2 but 3 walking routes.
Whether you’re after a short walk or a circular walk, I’ve got you covered. Including where to park, how to get there and what to expect. Plan your next Peak District walk with this complete guide to Bamford Edge hikes…
What and Where is Bamford Edge?
Bamford Edge is one of the Peak District’s best natural beauty spots. It offers panoramic views over Ladybower Reservoir, Win Hill and Derwent Edge, as well as Alport Castles and Hope Valley slightly further in the distance.
This striking rock formation with overhangs and incredible photo spots is worth a visit at any time. But, particularly so at sunset when you’ll get to see the sky illuminate over the rolling hills and valleys of the national park.
And, while you can’t drive to Bamford Edge itself, you can take these easy-to-follow walking routes from nearby car parks or Bamford village.
Route 1: Bamford Edge Short Walk from New Road
Distance: 2.0 miles/3.2 kilometres
Elevation gain: 109 metres
Walking time: 1 hour
This Bamford Edge short walk starts at the layby parking on New Road and takes about 30 minutes to reach the far end of the ridge. And, as an added bonus, you reach the rocky top in as little as 10 to 15 minutes from New Road. Meaning, that you get incredible views for about half of the walk – not just at the end like many walking routes!
- From the layby, climb over the 3-step stile and head straight uphill on the footpath.
- As you walk through the shrubby greenery, the path is mainly fine dirt with some larger rocks underfoot. Continue uphill until the path levels out and turn left along Bamford Edge Peak District.
- Pretty quickly, you’ll reach the iconic rocky overhangs of the edge. Continue along the edge for as long (or short) as you’d like, stopping for photos and admiring the view at your own leisure. At one point, the path splits – but does rejoin shortly. Take the left side to be closer to the edge or the right side to climb over the highest point of Bamford Moor.
- When you’re ready to turn back, simply retrace your steps along the rocky edge before heading downhill and back to the roadside.
Route 2: Bamford Edge Short Walk from Heatherdene Car Park
Distance: 3.1 miles/5.0 kilometres
Elevation gain: 186 metres
Walking time: 1.5 hours
This Bamford Edge short walk route from Heatherdene Car Park is slightly longer and has more elevation gain than if you started on New Road. But, here there are more parking spaces and facilities, as well as public transport links for those without a car.
- For a more gentle climb, head south out the bottom of the car park past the toilet block and picnic benches. Follow the path round to the left as it starts to bend and then take the first right when it splits.
- Follow the path through the woodland, turning right when you meet another path. Keep following the path through the trees and uphill until you emerge from the woods.
- Take the first right after the woods and follow the path as it gains elevation and turns 180 degrees. You’ve now reached the top and can follow the rocky overhand all the way along Bamford Edge Peak District!
- When you’re ready to return, simply retrace your steps back along the edge, back through the woods and to the car park!
FANCY A SHORTCUT? For a shorter but steeper Bamford Edge walk, head east out of the car park, opposite the entrance on the road. Turn left when you get to the first gap in the trees and follow the path round to the right as it heads uphill. Turn right as the path flattens out on the moor and walk along to the incredibly scenic Bamford Edge!
Route 3: Bamford Edge Circular Walk via Bamford Mill and Ladybower Dam
Distance: 5.3 miles/8.5 kilometres
Elevation gain: 289 metres
Walking time: 2.5 to 3 hours
Circular routes around Bamford Moor are not great for walkers due to boggy conditions and hard-to-identify footpaths. Instead, this Bamford Edge circular walk loops around past two of the best attractions in the area: Bamford Edge and Ladybower Reservoir.
Where to Start
As a truly circular route, you can walk this loop in either direction starting from any point along the trail. However, there are three parking spots along the route that will be most convenient.
Heatherdene Car Park (the blue pin on the map above) is one option, but there is a small parking fee. Alternatively, roadside parking on New Road (red pin) or Carr Lane (green pin) is free but with somewhat limited spaces. More details on these parking spots are available in the section below.
Bamford Edge Circular Walk Directions
These directions are from New Road via Bamford Mill, Ladybower Reservoir and Bamford Edge going clockwise. However, you can start from anywhere along the Bamford Edge circular walk route, just pick up from where you need.
New Road to Bamford Mill
- From the layby parking, head downhill for about 50 metres and then take the turning on the left. Follow the road all the way down to the triangular section with a tree in the middle of the road.
- Head left along the A6013, taking the 5th right – Mill Lane. Follow this road around until you pass all the buildings on the left-hand side. Take the small road after here and then left again towards the mill.
Bamford Mill to Ladybower Dam
- Cross over the River Derwent using the small bridge and stepping stones at the mill. Follow the trodden footpath across the field, through a gap in the trees and then towards the dirt track.
- Continue along the dirt track until you reach the road, turn left and then immediately right onto the Thornhill Trail. Follow the path straight crossing one farm access road and then across Carr Lane – where parking is located just a few metres down the road.
- Follow the Thornhill Trail straight until you reach a small track road that takes you uphill to Ladybower Dam. Turn right and walk across it admiring the view of the reservoir and Bamford Edge above!
Ladybower Dam to New Road (via Heatherdene)
- Once you meet the main road on the other side of Ladybower Dam, cross the road and head left towards Heatherdene Car Park. You can either walk along the road on the pavement, for the best view of Ladybower. Or, take the path in from the road and then pass the picnic tables and toilet block to Heatherdene.
- At the car park, head right and uphill at the far end of the car park. The path climbs steeply through the trees and you’ll need to turn left at the first gap in the woods. Follow the trail round to the right as it continues to climb all the way until you reach the plateau of Bamford Moor.
- Turn right at the top and follow the striking rocky overhang as you make your way along Bamford Edge. The path is easy to follow although you’ll definitely want to stop for photos as you go on the cool rock formations. Continue until the rocks become less and less, then turn right heading steeply downhill through the green shrubbery towards New Road.
How do I get to Bamford Edge?
It’s not always easy to reach countryside beauty spots by public transport. But, luckily you can catch a train or bus to Bamford Edge Peak District, as well as driving there using one of the nearby car parks.
Bamford Edge is conveniently located between two of the main roads that run through the Peak District, making it easy to access by car.
The A57 Snake Road is just to the north, connecting Sheffield to Glossop and onto Manchester. While to the south, the road from Hathersage to Chapel-en-le-Frith provides a good link to towns like Buxton, Whaley Bridge, Macclesfield and Leek.
Parking for the Bamford Edge walk routes in this guide is available at New Road, Heatherdene Car Park and on the Thornhill Trail. There’s more information on these Bamford Edge parking spots in the section below!
By Train (And Bus or Foot)
The nearest train station to Bamford Edge is Bamford, although this is located outside of the town of Bamford. The station is served by the Northern Rail Manchester Piccadilly-Sheffield line. On this route, trains run in either direction approximately every hour.
One option is to catch the 256, 257 or 158 buses towards Ladybower Reservoir for Heatherdene Car Park where the second short walk in this guide starts.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to do the circular walk, then Bamford Train Station is just 0.5 miles from the southernmost point of this walk – Mill Lane. From here, you can complete the loop in either direction. Or, follow the route anti-clockwise up to New Road and Bamford Edge. Then, if you don’t want to do the full circular route, you can just retrace your steps back whenever you’re ready.
The 256 and 257 are buses that run variations of the same route between Castleton and Bakewell to Sheffield Interchange, respectively. Additionally, on Sundays, the Bakewell-Sheffield bus operates with the number 258 instead. These buses run alongside Bamford Edge by Ladybower, you should get off at Heatherdene. You can check the latest timetables for these buses here.
Another option is the 271 and 272 buses, which run from Castleton to Sheffield via Hope, Bamford Station and Hathersage. However, these buses only go to Bamford Station, from there you’ll need to catch another bus towards Heatherdene (or walk to Mill Lane) as described above to reach Bamford Edge Peak District. See the 271/272 timetable here.
Where do you park for Bamford Edge?
One option for Bamford Edge parking is in the layby parking on New Road. It’s free to park here any time of day, all year round. However, there aren’t many spaces and these do fill up quickly, especially on weekends and holidays.
The next option is in the paid Heatherdene Car Park, costing £3 for all day. Here, you’ll find a public toilet block, drinking water fountains and picnic benches. Limited free roadside parking is also available on the A6013 on the reservoir side of the road about 50 metres north of the Heatherdene Car Park entrance.
The final convenient parking place for the Bamford Edge circular walk is on Carr Lane next to the Thornhill Trail, which takes you from Bamford Mill to Ladybower Dam. Use the What3Words location of ///blunders.hype.nights or the Google pin linked here.
How long is Bamford Edge walk?
The shortest Bamford Edge hike takes you from New Road to the top in about 15 minutes with a further 10 to 15 minutes to the main lookout. Distance-wise, this is a 2-mile round trip.
But, as with all walks, it can be as long as you make it. The route from Heatherdene Car Park and back is 3 miles, while longer options from Stanage Edge, Ladybower Reservoir and Bamford village are possible.
Is Bamford Edge a difficult walk?
The walk isn’t particularly difficult, the routes are pretty straightforward and the terrain isn’t challenging. The biggest difficulties you’ll face on this Bamford Edge hike are the length (if you do the longer walk) and the steep uphill climb. Although, at least with the uphill climb it is over pretty quickly and there’s no prolonged incline.
For most, you’ll find these walks fairly easy. If you’re out of shape or new to hill walking, then Bamford Edge Peak District is a pretty perfect first challenge.
Is Bamford Edge dog friendly?
Unfortunately not since dogs are currently banned from Bamford Edge. This is because the land is privately owned and is a grouse moor with no public rights of way. Because of this, the land owners can implement bans on dogs to protect the birds and their nests.
The current ban on dogs runs until November 2024 across Bamford, Derwent and Moscar Moors – see details here. Very small signs advising on this are located at entrance points to the moor but can be easily missed.
Is this Bamford Edge walk suitable for children?
In terms of the walk, if your child is fine walking up and downhill as well as over uneven terrain then they should be fine. At the top, there are lots of large rocks embedded in the ground that sometimes require a big step up or down. Unfortunately, the route isn’t really pushchair friendly, so a child carrier might be the best backup option – if that works for you.
At the top of Bamford Edge, you’ll need to be particularly careful around the rocky overhangs. As well as the sheer drops over the edge, there are also pretty big gaps between some of the rocks. Also, keep an eye out for roaming sheep who have become quite accustomed to people and do get quite close!
I’d recommend taking one of the Bamford Edge short walk routes rather than the circular one, which might be too long for little legs.
If you have any questions or want any more information drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!
Prices and offerings mentioned are correct as of September 2022 but are subject to change in future.
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