Top 10 walks in the Peak District and Derbyshire – Rudyard Lake

For those of you who survived last week’s walk up to onto Black Hill and Laddow Rocks, number nine of Cath Lee’s Top Ten walks in the Peak District and Derbyshire, this week sees the difficulty drop right down to an easy, accessible, but equally beautiful walk around Rudyard Lake, a five minute drive from the gorgeous Staffordshire town of Leek.

Rudyard Lake

Rudyard Lake

Rudyard Lake (Easier – Accessible)

The long distance Staffordshire Way runs along the western side of the lake and forms part of an easy walk around the water of about five miles.

A great place to start your walk is from the Visitor Centre where you can also find information about other activities around the lake. During your stroll you are likely to see an abundance of wildlife and birds, many of which use Rudyard as a feeding ground during their long migratory journey.

If you think you recognise the name Rudyard then that might have something to do with a couple of visitors who frequented this area, John Lockwood Kipling and Alice Macdonald who went on to have a son which they named Rudyard Kipling, who went on to write classic children’s story, The Jungle Book, among others.

Rudyard Lake Steam Railway

Rudyard Lake Steam Railway

As well as walking visitors can take part in sailing, boating and fishing and on the banks of the lake can be found the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway, whose charming trains are equivalent to about half the size of a narrow gauge railway with 10.25 inch gauge tracks. The trains run whatever the weather and have covered coaches. This coming weekend is the Steam Gala Event, where all 6 steam engines will be running, plus visiting steam engines!

As mentioned earlier, Leek is the closest town to Rudyard Lake. It’s a delightful historic market town situated on the southern edge of the Peak District National Park and surrounded by rugged countryside, including the stunning gritstone rock formations of The Roaches.

The unspoilt town centre is a refreshing change from modern shopping malls and has some unique speciality antique shops as well as numerous independent food shops including traditional butchers, bakers and green grocers, delicatessen, oatcakes, wine, whisky and beers! Throw into the mix a bustling outdoor and indoor market along with the surrounding attractions mentioned already (but also the Churnet Valley Railway, Peak Wildlife Park and Alton Towers) and what you’ve got is the perfect base for a weekend or longer break exploring the more southerly reaches of the Peak District.

Cath Lee, Peak Walking Adventures

Cath Lee, Peak Walking Adventures

Sadly this walk brings to an end our series of top ten walks in the Peak District and Derbyshire as chosen by Cath Lee of Peak Walking Adventures. “It was such a difficult task to choose my top 10 Peak District walks” says Cath. “The problem is that there are just so many wonderful places to explore on foot.” Walks on the short list that didn’t quite make it into the final top ten include Win Hill, Derwent Edge, Deep Dale, Tideswell Dale and Cressbrook Dale, The Roaches and Lud’s Church, Chrome Hill and Tittesworth Reservoir. You could quite easily spend weeks in and around the Peak District and Derbyshire, and there still be lots of exciting places left to discover!

Thanks Cath, you did an absolutely splendid job!

If you’ve enjoyed reading about all these walks and you want to discover more of what the area has to offer, then visit our website, to start planning your next great escape!


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