Bradford Dale Short Walk Near Youlgreave | 5-Mile Route

River Bradford

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The Derbyshire Dales has many hidden secrets spots and you can find one of those on the Bradford Dale walk near Youlgreave.

This walk stars above the dale in a small car park away from the village. The route takes you along the Limestone Way down to the River Bradford. Shortly after you’ll see one of the first highlights and unique spots on the walk, hidden in the wall as you walk past it!

From here you head across fields with plenty of sheep towards the village of Youlgreave, dropping down so you’re walking alongside the river again.  A short distance outside the village next to the footpath there’s a small swim spot, perfect for cooling off on a hot summer’s day! And lastly, you head back up to pick up the Limestone Way to return to the parking spot.

A beautiful short route, perfect for an autumnal or winter’s day walk. Or maybe save for a spring day when the Derbyshire Dales becomes green with new life!

Here you will find details on how to get to the start of the walk near Youlgreave, car parking options, route information, map, GPX file, plus a detailed step by step guide of the walk.

Are you planning to do this walk near Youlgreave, let me know?

Bradford Dale Short Walk near Youlgreave

Sluice gate
Moody views of the River Bradford on an evening walk

Walk information

Walk type: Short circular walk

Distance: 4.6 miles/7.4 km

Walk time: 2-3 hours

Total ascent: 320 m/x ft

Highest point: 303 m/994 ft

Walk highlights: Bradford Dale, books in the wall, River Bradford and small swimming spot near Youlgreave

gpx file

Bradford Dale walk map

Bradford Dale short walk map
Click for online map

Walk start point

Car park in Peak District
Moor Lane Car Park

Start grid reference: SK 19401 64453

Car parking address: Moor Lane Car Park, near Youlgreave, Derbyshire, 

A small free car park, space for 15+ cars, if it is full there are additional laybys further down the road where you can park but most times I’ve seen this car park on walks it hasn’t been full. 

Public transport

Unfortunately, there aren’t any public transport options for this walk.

Facilities on the walk

There are no public toilets available at the start of the walk at Moor Lane Car Park. The nearest ones are the public toilets in Youlgreave (about halfway through the walk), a short distance off the route (SK 20969 64153).

On the route there are no shops, however, if you want to treat yourself after the walk you could drive into Youlgreave where there are a few shops and a pub (The Bull’s Head Youlgreave) where you can end your walk in style!

Water on your walk – I recommend a filter water bottle for your Peak District walks, it saves you carrying extra weight and you can fill up safely and drink water from the streams on your walk.

Other useful information

River Bradford
Swim spot on River Bradford near Youlgreave village

The beginning of the route follows sections of the Limestone Way which is signposted but I’d also recommend taking a map/compass for the walk – see below which map you need for the walk.

Please note – In summer months the swimming spot in Youlgreave can be very busy on hot sunny days. Since it’s only small be prepared to change your plans if necessary.

Check the weather for your walk location and hills

Ordnance Survey walk map

The map required for this walk is OL24 – Peak District (White Peak Area). Check prices here with Ordnance Survey or Amazon. If you’re hiking in all weathers the Active OS maps are pretty good to have.

And don’t forget your compass, I recommend the Silva Expedition compass

For online maps, you can get via OS Online App or Viewranger App. Check prices here for the one month or yearly option with OS Online App.


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Bradford Dale walk route

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Stage 1 – Moor Lane Car Park to Bradford Dale

Distance: 1.1 miles/1.7 km

Grid reference SK 19401 64453

From the Moor Lane Car Park, start walking along the Limestone Way path. There’s a gap in the top left corner that leads you on to it down a track. Walk until you reach a small gate (photo below). Now head diagonally across the field to pick up a narrow track, (be careful as the ground is uneven in places).

Following the Limestone Way trail

Walk down the path, ignore the first stile signposted Limestone Way (this stops you from walking on the road). Continue walking parallel to the road, past a small pond. At the next stile, climb over and go across the road straight over to the next stone stile signposted Limestone Way.

Head downhill for 100 m across the grass to another gate. Then turn right and walk up the road (on a pavement) until you reach a fingerpost on the left, signposted Limestone Way (photo below). Head down through the woods and follow the path as it zig-zags down. Go across the bridge over River Bradford to reach Bradford Dale.

Signpost and path
Signpost for Limestone Way to Bradford Dale

Stage 2 – Bradford Dale to Youlgreave

Distance: 1.3 mile/2.1 km

Grid reference SK 19968 63620

Turn right after you’ve crossed the bridge along the footpath. On your left look for the books in the wall, next to the old sheep wash (hidden in the summer when it’s overgrown). Shortly after turn left down a narrow footpath leading off the main track. Walk until you reach a bridge, cross over and keep on the narrow path.

Bridge next to cliffs
Small wooden bridge across River Bradford

Continue up the metal steps and the path brings you to an open field. There’s no obvious path but keep next to the tree line until you reach a stone gap in the wall. You’ll now walk through several fields, with small gates in between each boundary (6 in total) – in most cases you can see the next gap once you walk through each one.

At the seventh gate (next to a phone pole), you’ll see three arrow choices. Keep going straight and then through another narrow stone gap and gate, you now come out on the path with views down to the river and towards Youlgreave village.

Gate through field
Following the path across the fields towards Youlgreave

Stage 3 – Youlgreave to the stone bridge

Distance: 0.9 miles/1.5 km

Grid reference SK 21355 64007

Head downhill to the gate, go across the stone bridge, turn left and go through the gate and head alongside the River Bradford towards Bradford Dale. As you walk along the footpath you’ll seethe small wild swimming spot with a sign on the left.

River Bradford
The footpath next to the River Bradford

Walk along the river, through next stone gap/gate and across the stone bridge to the other side. Continue walking down next to the River Bradford towards Bradford Dale. You’ll see several sluice gates on this section, previously used to control the water levels for the trout fishing (no longer there).

Stage 4 – Bridge to Moor Lane Car Park

Distance: 1.3 miles/2.1 km

Grid reference SK 19985 63647

Views from bridge
Crossing the bridge again

At the bridge (the one you crossed at the beginning), go back across and head up the track. There’s a narrow track a short way up, turn right here and stay walking alongside the river, through a gate and follow it as it then ascends back up to the road. 

At the road, turn left (there’s a pavement) and follow the path. The road splits, keep left until you reach the gate on the corner of the road (where you walked through at the beginning).

Go through the gate, up the field, to the stone stile, across the road and over the stone stile on the other side. Turn left, past the pond and follow the narrow track up next to the boundary. As you reach the open field, cut diagonally across (retracing your steps), go through the gate, along the track and you’re back at the car park!

Any questions about the walk, ask me in the comments below?

Other options for this walk

Extend the walk

Stone bridge across river
Stone bridge across River Bradford

Add another mile on to the walk if you’re having a lovely day and want to extend by adding a short loop on. At this stone bridge in Youlgreave, you turn right instead of left to add another mile on to the walk.

Read the full route, map + GPX file here – 6-mile Bradford Dale walk

More walks in the Peak District

Love the walks in the Derbyshire Dales? You might like these Peak District circular walks.

Or check out all our Peak District walking routes here

View walks directory here

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