6 Best Dog Walks in Derbyshire (Hidden Gems Included)

dog walks derbyshire

Derbyshire, a county in the East-Midlands in England, is home to part of the Peak District National Park, part of the National Forest, and the beautiful city of Derby. The expansive countryside means there are some fantastic spots for dog walks in the Derbyshire Dales.

But where are the walkies in Derbyshire?

This article will recommend some of the best dog walks in Derbyshire. You will find three ‘overall top picks’, a ‘top hidden gem’, a ‘top woodland pick’, and a ‘top city pick’.

If you live in Derbyshire and want to explore more of your county with your dog, or if you are planning to visit the area soon, read on for some of the best places to visit in Derbyshire with dogs!

Overall Top Picks

#1 Monsal Trail, Bakewell

This charming 8.5-mile route near Bakewell is a unique place to explore with your dog, taking you through old railway tunnels and along the river Wye.

Formerly a railway route, the trail has been converted and is popular amongst hikers, cyclists, and horse riders (keep an eye out for horses if your dog is likely to be jumpy – keep a lead on hand!) Because the walk will take you through so many tunnels, it is a great option for wet weather.

Being in the heart of the Peak District, you will find spectacular views around the trail, and lots of historic villages to stop along the way for a pint in a pub or afternoon tea in a cosy café.

Bakewell is about an hour away from the main city of Derby by car, train, or bus, and so is easily accessible for a day trip. You will also find dog-friendly BnBs in Bakewell or in nearby villages if you want to spend more time exploring the Peak District with your dog.

#2 Carsington Water, Carsington

Just outside of the Peak District to the South is the quaint village of Carsington, and nearby, this beautiful reservoir that offers great walks for you and your dog.

To circle the entire reservoir is a 4-mile walk, that has been surfaced and is flat, so if you have an older dog, or you are walking with a pushchair or wheelchair, it is a superb option. There is also a visitor centre and a restaurant. For the more adventurous among you, there is the option to hire paddle boards, kayaks, and rowing boats.

For nature-lovers, Carsington Water has a lot to offer. Particularly known for its selection of birds and dragonflies, it is a popular spot amongst bird watchers. Expect to be greeted by the sound of Egrets and Cormorants in the summer, and various species of ducks throughout the winter. Because of the extensive wildlife, dogs need to be kept on leads around the reservoir.

The reservoir is just 30 minutes by car from the city of Derby and is also accessible by bus from Masson Mills.

#3 Cromford Canal, Cromford Wharf

If you are interested in the heritage of Derbyshire, taking a stroll along the Cromford Canal with your pooch is a great option. The canal has been hugely important historically to the industry of Derbyshire, and now remains a beautiful walking spot.

The canal itself is a haven for wildlife – expect to be met by water voles, dragonflies, various birds and moorhen along the way. There is a 3.3km stretch of the canal that is a Local Nature Reserve, so make sure to check the stretch against dog rules.

Outside of the Nature Reserve is dog-friendly and a peaceful and relaxing place to stroll with your dog. It’s incredible to picture the canal as it once was, as a hugely important industrial and trading route, compared to now, as a tranquil escape.

The canal is 30 minutes from the city of Derby by car, located just south of the Peak District National Park. If you’re going for the history, you can combine this walk with a visit to the nearby Crich Tramway Village.

Top Hidden Gem

Kinder Scout, Peak District National Park

I’m calling this a hidden gem because the difficulty of this walk makes it one of the less-visited places in the Peak District National Park. It is well worth a mention here because of the pure beauty at the top if you’re willing to make the climb.

Starting at The Old Nag’s Head pub in Edale, you will climb through the National Park, past Kinder Downfall Waterfall and up to the highest point in the East Midlands. The views from the top are truly spectacular. Your dog will be able to run for miles through the grassy peaks, whilst you take in the unique landscape around you.

Edale has a train station if you don’t drive, but if you do, it is about and hour and a half by car. There are dog-friendly cottages in the village if you want to make a trip of the walk, which would give you the opportunity to explore other parts of the Peak District National Park, too. The Old Nag’s Head pub is a great start and end point, and will welcome you and your dog after your walk to reward you with a cooling drink.

Top Woodland Pick

The Coton Woods Loop, National Forest

The part of the National Forest that lies in Derbyshire is a truly exquisite area to explore with your dog. If you are interested in trees, if your dog loves to chase sticks, or if you are just looking for some shady spots to escape the sun in the summer, this area has lots to offer.

The Coton Wood circular walk is a six-mile trail through the Mease Lowlands, linking six young forests together. On the trail you will find a former mineral railway, the remains of a medieval ridge and ancient walkways, making it a history-rich place to explore with your four-legged friend.

The Coton Woods are a short 30-minute drive down the A38 from Derby city, and there are also buses from Swadlincote, nearby, making it an easy day trip from the city whether you are visiting or living there.

Top City Pick

Markeaton Park, Markeaton

Markeaton is a suburban village of Derby with a lovely park that makes for great dog walks. The vast grassy area is popular amongst dog walkers from the city, so is a great place for your dog to roam free and make some friends.

The park went under a big restoration project that concluded in 2015 and now has a number of pathed paths with benches along the way to relax and take in the views. There are also several beautifully kept gardens to admire, including a rose garden which is just spectacular in late spring and early summer.

There is a café in a converted orangery in the middle of the park, as well as a craft village to buy art supplies. You can take part in lots of activities in the park too, including mini golf, high ropes adventures and water sports.

Whether you live in Derby or are just visiting the city and are looking for a place to escape to nature with your dog and the family, but don’t want to travel far, Markeaton Park is a fantastic place to spend the day.

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