It’s not at all surprising that a spa town known for the curative properties of its mineral-rich spring water is also full of walking routes and hikes primed to soothe the soul. Buxton has so much green space to enjoy you simply cannot beat the fresh Derbyshire air.
If you are looking for something structured, then there are four different Discover Buxton Walking Tours to choose from (covering key landmarks, food and drink, and the geology of the area) which enable you to take in the sights while having your history delivered by a knowledgeable local expert.
Buxton even has its own rambling club, and group-led walks take place each Sunday morning. Departing from the Pavilion Gardens car park, ramblers can choose from a short walk (of up to eight miles) or a medium to long walk (which is generally up to 12 but *sometimes* more). The very existence of a Buxton-based rambling club suggests a high level of enthusiasm for exploring the stunning Peak District area on foot. All are welcome, whether resident or visitor (please note that a joining fee may apply though, so its best to check their website). Swing by the Buxton Pudding Emporium on your way, to try a slice of their specialty pudding which combines custard, pastry and jam and is sure to provide the necessary sustenance to keep you going.
Just a ten minute walk from Buxton’s town centre Poole’s Cavern and Buxton Country Park combines activities for kids including daily tours of the ‘show caves’, a tree-top adventure zip wire, and woodland-based activity groups. For walks, though, it is the land directly above the caves – Buxton Country Park which provide ample picnicking space, wonderful woodlands to roam, and some of the best panoramic views across the Peaks. Trek to the hill’s summit and you’ll find Solomon’s Temple.
And for those wishing to quench their thirst after all that stomping about, The George at Alstonefield pub is perfect for summer drinks and delicious five-star food in glorious country-side surroundings with several trails on its doorstep.
Come rain or shine, we think Buxton is an incredibly special place for a walk – whether that’s in your sturdy boots for climbing hills, or comfy shoes for an amble around the splendid and flatter (!) Pavilion Gardens.
For more information about our suggested walks, including maps of the local area and routes, pop along to Buxton Crescent Heritage Experience which houses the Visitors Centre.
Here are our picks
Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, St. John’s Road, Buxton, SK17 6BE - Visit now
On Sunday mornings ramblers gather in Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens before heading off on group-led walks in the surrounding Peak District which perfectly demonstrates the pivotal place walking occupies in the hearts of locals, and the Pavilion Gardens is certainly an inspiring starting point for such adventures. The green space harks back to the great golden era of Victorian public parks with its 23 acres of perfectly landscaped lawns, flowerbeds, streams, walkways, ornate bridges, and pleasant boating lake which all provide ample spots for secluded strolls.
A full circular route takes about an hour or so to complete and for those wishing to explore a little further afield heading up past the swimming baths (on St Johns Road) leads to the much quieter Serpentine Park which is also worth a visit.
With a large play area for kids and a miniature train it’s easy to understand why this much-loved space is at Buxton’s epicentre.
Fun and informative, Buxton’s popular walking tours are an excellent way to have your history delivered by expert guides whose vast knowledge spans the hidden history of the town – including important landmarks and the unmissable food, drink, and pubs in the area. Most of the walks depart from the Opera House (which is just a ten minute walk from the train station).
The four walks on offer cover all bases with an ‘allrounder’ exploring the main attractions, and an open-air tour that takes in the geology and most popular green spaces. For those interested in food and drink, the Ale and Higher Buxton tour has you covered with stops at notable pubs – which include the King’s Head and The Eagle. And if pubs aren’t your thing, then the Food and Drink Walk provides ample opportunities to fill-up with tasting stops for delicious Buxton Pudding and Hartington cheeses.
The ‘muddiness’ factor varies, so do bear that in mind that when booking.
The George at Alstonefield, 1 Church Ln, Alstonefield, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 2FX - Visit now
Nestled in the glorious White Peak and just 16 miles outside of Buxton, The George at Alstone is perfectly positioned for exploring the Peak District National Park.
Occupying a truly picturesque spot overlooking the village green, this incredibly special pub turned restaurant has been recognised in The Good Food Guide (since 2009), with foodie accolades of Michelin and Sawday’s approval. The gourmet menu centres around ingredients sourced within a 15 mile radius (including from its own bees, hens, and organic kitchen garden).
There are numerous scenic walks linking the pub up with nearby Ilam, Hartington, Mill Dale, and Dovedale Stepping Stones (which are around three miles away). The friendly team are also full of recommendations for walking routes and suggest heading to Narrow Hill, across to Beresfordale and then on to Hartington.
Whether you finish up with a drink after a long day of stomping the surrounding hills or head off for a gentle stroll following a five-star meal (depending on the food coma levels, of course!), The George at Alstone is hard to beat.
Devonshire Dome in Buxton, 1 Devonshire Road, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 6RY - Visit now
The Devonshire Dome is one of Buxton’s most famous landmarks, sporting what was once the world’s largest unsupported dome – surpassing that of the Pantheon, St Peter’s Basilica and St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s also a great starting point for a walk up to Cobar Cross which is slightly off the beaten track – reached through pretty woodland (look out for the Bluebells if you are visiting in May), the summit offers unbeatable panoramic views. In a lesser-known part of Buxton, Corbar is quieter than the town centre and has longer, wider, peaceful streets.
Getting up to Corbar Cross is straightforward – once you reach the dome, continue up Devonshire Road which will eventually bring you out onto Corbar road and from there, continue through the woods up to Corbar Cross. Given the fact it’s away from the main drag it’s wise to pack refreshments (or alternatively, pop into the café/restaurant inside the dome before or afterwards). Sturdy shoes are a must.
Poole’s Cavern & Buxton Country Park, Poole's Cavern Visitor Centre, Green Lane, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 9DH - Visit now
If you are looking for a walk that also combines kid-friendly activities, then Poole Caverns & Buxton Country Park has it all covered. Just ten minutes out of the town centre on foot you’ll find yourself at one of the country’s best ‘show caves’ and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Guided tours of the caves run each day, but it’s the location – below Buxton Country Park with its stretches of protected woodland home to an abundance of wildlife that you might wish to explore, as well as Grin Low, which affords panoramic views over Buxton and the surrounding countryside (look out for Mam Tor and Kinder Scout on the horizon). Trek to the hill’s summit and you’ll find Solomon’s Temple – a Victorian folly that sits above an ancient burial mound – as well as evidence of the limestone mining that has occurred throughout the region for millennia.
Altogether, Poole’s Cavern & Buxton Country Park is the perfect place to enjoy a walk in nature with a range of activities on offer – without straying too far out of town