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If you'd rather stay cool while being active, swimming may be a good choice – and there's no finer place to keep cool on a hot, sunny day than Hathersage open air swimming pool. Regular events take place at the pool each year year, including night swims with live musical accompaniment courtesy of local musicians, and an annual 24 hour Solstice Swim, when the pool stays open all night to celebrate midsummer – and keen swimmers can take part in a sponsored charity event to swim a mile.



Britain's first national park is one of the best places in the UK for an outdoor adventure big or small!

The UK's Peak District is an ideal destination for an active holiday. Britain's first national park, and a tourist destination for over 10 million visitors a year, the region offers varied landscapes of rugged peaks, river valleys, moors and woodland that are ideal for all sorts of outdoor adventures.

Here are some suggestions ...

The Peak District is perfect for walking, with countless options for hikes through beautiful and dramatic countryside.

The National Trust can offer lots of inspiration for walks in the area. Try the Longshaw Estate with easy trails around the estate's parkland, meadows, ponds and ancient woodland – or longer hikes around Padley Gorge, Carl Wark and Higger Tor.

Kinder Scout, at 636 metres, is the highest point in the Peak District. A challenging, eight-mile circular walk from Edale takes you via Jacob's Ladder – part of the Pennine Way and so named after Jacob Marshall, a Dark Peak farmer who, in the 18th century, cut steps into the hillside to make it easier to climb. More recently, the path has been restored by the National Trust – and many walkers today are grateful to both Mr Marshall and the Trust for easing their passage up the mountain.

Carl Wark

Another popular option for those with a head for heights is Mam Tor, followed by an exhilarating walk along the Great Ridge, giving wonderful views of the Hope and Edale valleys. The nearby picturesque village of Castleton has plenty of refreshment options – and you could also visit one of the fascinating caves while you're there.

There are enough walks along the Peak District's gritstone edges to keep you busy for a week. Try a stroll along fabulous Froggatt edge (pictured above) – look out for an ancient stone circle along the way, and head down the steep, wooded hillside for lunch at the award-winning Chequers Inn.

Froggatt Edge
Stone circle at Froggatt Edge

Cycling is a wonderful way to enjoy the countryside and get some exercise at the same time – and there are lots of safe, traffic-free cycling trails to explore in the Peak District. This is a hilly region and there are plenty of challenging off-road mountain bike routes for experienced cyclists – but there are also many easy paths that are ideal for families.  

The Monsal Trail is a flat route along a disused railway line that goes through several long – but well-lit – tunnels between Bakewell and Wyedale, near Buxton. Bikes can be hired from Hassop Station, near Bakewell.

Or try the Tissington Trail, from Parsley Hay to Ashbourne, that takes in the picturesque village of Tissington, with its fabulous 17th century hall (and very nice tearoom!) Bikes are available to hire from the Peak District National Park Authority at the southern end of the trail just outside Ashbourne.

If you have lots of energy – or want to make a walk more interesting for reluctant children – then orienteering could be the sport for you. It's a fun and challenging activity involving map-reading and navigation to find the quickest route around a course. The great thing is that you travel at your own pace, whether that is running, jogging, walking or strolling – so it's suitable for all ages, abilities and levels of fitness.

Orienteering events are held in all sorts of locations, from woodland or remote countryside to town centre parks and playgrounds. See British Orienteering for information and ideas.

There are also several permanent orienteering courses in the Peak District, so you can have a go without having to wait for an event.

For those with young children in tow, Xplorer offers free events in various child-friendly locations, which will introduce the whole family to orienteering by hunting for hidden animals and different coloured markers.

Tissington Trail

Climbing is great fun and is a good way to keep fit and develop strength and muscle tone. The Peak District has some of the most challenging and popular rock climbing routes in Europe including the internationally important Stanage Edge, near Sheffield, and the Roaches in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

For experienced climbers the cliffs, edges and boulders of the Peak District offer plenty of choice. For beginners, there's an excellent indoor climbing wall, The Face, at Wirksworth, where first-time climbers can learn the ropes with the aid of experienced, friendly instructors. Courses of varying lengths are on offer.

Or try an outdoor activity provider for rock climbing courses and holidays.

Carsington Water is a good place for beginners to try out kayaking for the first time. “Sit on top” kayaks are virtually unsinkable, offering a safe option for anyone without experience, and ideal for children. Carsington Water is a fantastic spot for birdwatching, so while you're paddling look out for herons and wagtails on the shores of the reservoir – or you may spot a great crested grebe or even a kingfisher.

Wetsuits and life-jackets are included in the price of kayak hire, and there's a café at the main visitor centre for that all-important post-paddle hot chocolate!

Hathersage swimming pool
Carsington Water

Green Adventures April 2016


Activities in the Peak District