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7 stunning waterfall walks in Derbyshire

Just because we’re landlocked doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the water this summer. Grab your walking boots, pack some snacks, and head out to see these epic waterfalls across Derbyshire and Notts.

Quick note: with all these scenic spots, be aware of hills and steep bits for little ones and those who are less able. Boots with decent grip are recommended for all of these walks, and be aware of the weather! 

Kinder Downfall, Dark Peak
As one of Derbyshire’s most famous waterfalls, Kinder Downfall is a huge 30m drop that often hits the headlines when winds can turn the water into a steam cloud which can be spotted from miles around.

Image credit: Walking Tales

Quick warning about the route to this one, it’s a stomp! There’s no car access so your closest car park is at Hayfield (Bowden Bridge is £4.50 for the day at the time of writing).

There are a few routes but the most popular is the circular loop that takes around four to six hours. Starting at the car park, head along Kinder Road with the river to your right. Cross the footbridge, turn left and follow the banks of the river through the woodland. Cross a second footbridge and head up the steep cobbled path to the Kinder Reservoir. At the top of the reservoir, there’s the stunning William Clough with a series of mini waterfalls along the stream. Walk up the Clough to the edge of Kinder Plateau – and consider this a drinks break! Head along the main pathway at the edge of the plateau and you’ll spot the rocks that define the waterfall.

After at least 50 snaps, head via the Kinder Low trig point and you’re on the descent past Edale Rocks. You should be able to see the bridleway back down to Hayfield from this point.

Lumsdale Falls, Matlock
The Lumsdale Valley is truly a picturesque spot with just a touch of ‘Where The Wild Things Are’. It’s also a site of historic importance as some of the mills date back to the early 1600s so you can get little imaginations running wild with this walk.  

Image credit: Ashley Bird

A quick FYI: part of the falls route is closed off but there’s a permissive path that runs through the mill ruins from Monday to Friday. It’s closed on weekends and bank holidays for the foreseeable future.

Park up near Highfields School (Upper School Site) and follow the signposts. Your first landmark is a tranquil lake to your left, which is fed by a Bentley Brook that you can dip your toes in in the summer. Carry on past the cottages and you’ll meet the Upper Pond that feeds the falls. Even on a grey day, this is a lovely spot, and you’ll catch the initial man-made waterfall just below. The path through the ruins has a particular romance about it so make sure you linger in the dapply trees. The big waterfall is en route through the mills so you won’t miss it. Extra points for a slow mo water shot!

After you’ve explored the falls, carry on down the road and you’ll find the Bentley Brook microbrewery for a quick gin pitstop. Well deserved of course.

Seven Falls, Tintwistle 
This is known locally as ‘the secret waterfall’ for a reason. But if you’ve got some time and a bit of patience, it’s well worth a visit. Make sure you pack your swimming cozzie for a bit of wild swimming too.

Image credit: Robert Halliwell

Here’s a rough guide to get you there!

Located right on the western edge of the Peaks, your nearest parking spot is Crossgates Lane near the Arnfield Reservoir. Wander until you reach the junction, then turn left up Arnfield Lane. Continue until you get to the Gamekeeper’s Cottage then peel off to your right and head over a gate. Walk in a straight line and you should come to a few stiles before you hit a pile of stones (or a small cairn). The path should be clearer now on your left-hand side. Head up alongside Arnfield Brook until you reach the falls. It’s about a three-mile round walk in total. 

Monsal Dale weir, Monsal Dale
Okay, this one isn’t technically a waterfall, but it’s a spot you don’t want to miss if you’re heading out this summer. 

Image credit: Jude Chapman

Just down from the world famous Monsal Trail, this weir can be dramatic when we’ve had some heavy rain (common in Derbyshire, who knew?) so bring your waterproofs.

Dump the car in the main Monsal Head car park and head down to the viewing point. You’ll probably want to linger here for a while as even on a grey day, the views are stunning. From here, it’s clearly signposted. Take the footpath that leads down into the dale and down to the River Wye. You’ll be able to hear the weir before you can see it so just follow your ears. To turn this into a circular walk, wander underneath the impressive viaduct, across the footbridge and back up the steep path to Monsal Head. At only 1.5 miles, you should have time to grab a bite to eat at the historic Monsal Head Hotel. (The Stable Bar is an excellent bolthole for a warm-through on a chilly afternoon.)

Newstead Abbey waterfall, Newstead
This is one of the easier walks due to its location within the historic grounds of Newstead Abbey (recently featured in the hit drama, Sherwood).

Image credit: Vincent Ryan

Newstead has over 800 years of history and is the former home of Lord Byron (swoon) so as you’d expect, there are acres of grounds to explore. The waterfall is located where the River Leen feeds the Garden Lake. There’s a great viewing platform above and a space where you can get behind it for some fun photos. Obviously glorious on a hot summer’s day! 

Lambley Dumbles, Lambley
There are a couple of waterfalls for you around the Dumbles, which is only eight miles from Nottingham. It’s a spot that often gets overlooked so it’s blissfully quiet, and great for dog walks so drag your four-legged friends along.

Image credit: Nottingham Guided Walks

Starting in Lambley village, walk through the playing fields until you reach a gate and the signposted path. This will take you on the main circular route through the ancient wooded valley while straddling the stream. Follow any signage to Top Dumble and if you stick to the stream, you’ll eventually come across the Top Dumble waterfall. Lovely! 

King’s Mill Viaduct, Mansfield
Along with being one of the oldest viaducts in the county, King’s Mill Viaduct is also home to a lush little waterfall. It’s definitely at its best after some rain so keep an eye on the forecast before heading to this one. 

Image credit: Alltrails.com

From Mansfield, head down the A38 and park up on King’s Mill Lane. It’s an easy stroll pretty much in a straight line to the viaduct with the reservoir on your right. To make more of your visit, there’s a circular 1.5-mile loop around the lake that’s super family-friendly with plenty of birds and wildlife to spot. 

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