Shining Tor Walk (Straight and Circular Route Guides)

Shining Tor Walk (Straight and Circular Route Guides)

Whilst not the most dazzling or popular, this Shining Tor walk is still one of the best in the Peak District. With splendid views over the Peak Area, Cheshire plain and the city of Manchester, climbing to the top of Shining Tor is a worthwhile pursuit. And, this guide gives you both a short and a long walk – because sometimes you fancy a long weekend walk and other times you just want some scenic fresh air and a countryside drive!

This guide is packed full of information for you to enjoy one of my top Peak District walks – where to park, walk directions, GPS tracking maps and more! I’m certain you’ll enjoy this Shining Tor walk, so keep reading and plan your next day out!

Where is Shining Tor?
How High is Shining Tor?
Shining Tor Short Walk (Straight Route)

Parking | Start Point | Directions
Shining Tor Circular Walk
Parking | Start Point | Directions
Other Useful Information

Where is Shining Tor?

Conveniently located mid-way between Macclesfield and Buxton, Shining Tor is near one of the most iconic Peak District pubs – The Cat and Fiddle. Its closeness to Macclesfield means it’s also near Tegg’s Nose Country Park and Macclesfield Forest. Additionally, it’s positioned in the western part of the Peak District National Park and in the Goyt Valley, meaning it has incredibly scenic views!

How High is Shining Tor?

The peak of Shining Tor is 559 metres above sea level (roughly 1800 feet). Looking west it is one of the last peaks in the Peak District and has unobstructed views of the Cheshire plain as well as over the southern parts of Greater Manchester and Manchester city centre. Notable landmarks you can keep an eye out for include Jodrell Bank and Manchester Airport.

Shining Tor Short Walk – Straight Route

Distance: 4.0 miles/6.5 kilometres
Elevation gain: 167 metres (cumulative)
Difficulty: Easy
Walking time: 2 hours
Start and endpoint: Pym Chair Car Park

The quickest and easiest way to the top of a hill is always to drive as close to the top as possible. Which, is exactly what this walk does! And, although it doesn’t remove uphill walking altogether, the incline is gentle and continual on the way to Shining Tor.


Free parking is available at Pym Chair Car Park off of Embridge Causeway on Side End Lane. It may also be one of the most scenic car parks in the whole Peak District. Located at an elevation of around 467 metres, views of Manchester and the Cheshire plain can be clearly seen in most weather conditions.

The postcode for the car park covers a large rural area, so avoid using a postcode as you’ll end up in the wrong place entirely! If needed, you can use its coordinates 53.287810, -2.009892 or Ordnance Survey grid reference SJ 99433 76757.

The sign for Pym Chair Car Park where this Shining Tor Walk starts

Start Point

This Shining Tor straight there-and-back walk starts at the corner of Embridge Causeway and Side End Lane – next to the sign for the car park

Signpost pointing towards Shining Tor from the entrance on Embridge Causeway, close to where this Shining Tor Walk starts


  • Facing Embridge Causeway road, turn left and walk for about 50 metres. You’ll have to walk on the embankments as there are no pavements and it’s on a blind corner.
  • Join the path on the right-hand side of the road – it’s behind a small wooden fence and has a signpost pointing towards Shining Tor.
  • The first small peak you reach is called Cats Tor. It’s not marked, so you won’t easily realise you’re there. But when you get to the part where there’s a small downhill section – that means you’ve passed it!
View looking north towards Cats Tor from the mid-point to Shining Tor.
  • 3.1 km from joining the path and 2.3 km after Cats Tor, you’ll reach the summit of Shining Tor. Luckily, this is very clearly marked! The trig point is behind a small stone wall and beyond that is a steeper drop with overhanging rocks that make for cool photos.
  • The way back to the car park is simple and downhill. Turn left from the trig point and retrace your steps back along the path, past Cats Tor and all the way to the road! At a good pace, you’ll be back at the car park in less than an hour having completed your Shining Tor walk!

Click the link above to download the file for use in a GPS viewer. This way you’ll be able to track where you are on the route using your phone’s GPS – avoiding accidental detours and providing reassurance for less experienced countryside walkers! Once you’ve downloaded the GPX file above, install a GPX viewer app (Google PlayStore or iPhone App Store) and load the GPX file.

Shining Tor Circular Walk

Distance: 6.2 miles/10.0 kilometres
Elevation gain: 435 metres (cumulative)
Difficulty: Moderate
Walking time: 3 to 4 hours
Start and endpoint: The Street Car Park


Park at The Street Car Park, located on the junction of The Street and Goyt’s Lane at the north-western tip of Errwood Reservoir. Parking here is free and the car park is open 7 days a week. However, the nearby (and popular) Errwood Hall Car Park is closed on Sundays and so this can make The Street Car Park particularly busy on this day.

Similarly to Pym Chair Car Park, the postcode for The Street Car Park covers a large rural area and is unreliable! If needed, use the coordinates 53.277480, -1.980871 or Ordnance Survey grid reference SK 01371 75613.

Start Point

Conveniently, this Shining Tor circular walk starts and ends in The Street Car Park.

The trig point of Shining Tor with impressive views behind over the last few Peak District hills


Stage 1 – Across Foxlow Edge

  • Head north-west out of the car park. Then, take the first left after 200 metres and then right after another 100 metres.
  • Follow the path for 600 metres before turning to the right after a steady uphill climb. After approximately 300 metres, turn left just after the stone wall.
  • Next, turn left onto the path that runs parallel to the trees. Stick to this path for about 1 km as it passes across Foxlow Edge.
  • Here, you need to turn right – if you reach the point where the path forks in two, you’ve gone too far. Head steeply downhill and then join the path leading to the left.

Stage 2 – Slog to the Shining Tor Summit

  • After another 300 metres heading downhill, you’ll get to a path T-junction, turn to the right. The path zig-zags for a bit here before gentle curving to a pathway cross-roads.
  • Turn right and follow the path as it rises steeply uphill towards the Shining Tor ridgeline. After a 1 km uphill slog, turn left and continue the slow ascent to the summit of Shining Tor – you made it!
  • This is the perfect point for a break to take in the view, get those top of the hill photos and recharge before the second half of the walk. Which, luckily is all downhill!

Stage 3 – Home Stretch via Errwood Hall

  • After enjoying the trig point views, return to the track (over the wall) and start walking downhill to the right. After almost 1 km, take the path to the left, which descends even steeper towards Errwood Hall and Errwood Reservoir.
  • Where the path forks, take the left-hand track and continue to zig-zag down from the top of Shining Tor.
  • The path then circles the ruins of Errwood Hall – although, you can go off route slightly to explore these. As you follow the path around Errwood Hall, you’ll need to turn to the right and keep walking all the way down to the road at the reservoir.
  • The final stage is to follow the road as it heads back to The Street Car Park – the path runs parallel to the road for the most part. But, if it is not busy then you can easily walk on the road.

Click the link above to download the file for use in a GPS viewer. This way you’ll be able to track where you are on the route using your phone’s GPS – avoiding accidental detours and providing reassurance for less experienced countryside walkers! Once you’ve downloaded the GPX file above, install a GPX viewer app (Google PlayStore or iPhone App Store) and load the GPX file.

Looking south towards Cats Tor with the light gravel path and green grass.

Other Useful Information

  • A pair of walking boots are more essential for the longer, circular walk – but will serve you well on either walk. For the shorter walk, a good pair of trainers will suffice unless it is wet or icy.
  • The straight walk from Pym Chair Car Park to Shining Tor has a mostly large stone path. Whilst this keeps you off the mud and grass, it does make walking with a pushchair or using a wheelchair here practically impossible due to the gaps in the stones.
  • Don’t forget to pack something warm for the summit! The trig point area is very exposed to those westerly winds and you’ll feel it in no time at all.

Do have any questions or want any more information? If so, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!

Information correct as of July 2021 but is subject to change in future.

More Peak District Walks You Might Be Interested In…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *