Kinder Scout walk from Hayfield is a great way to hike to the top of the highest point in the Peak District. This 9-mile walk is more of a challenging route taking you up a fun scramble to the top.
The walk begins from Hayfield in Derbyshire, a small town, west of the Peak District. It’s also known as the place where the famous mass trespass walk started in 1932, protesting about giving everyone the right to access the land (Thank you).
From Hayfield you walk up via Snake Path which brings you out on a path with views down to Kinder Reservoir and across to Kinder Scout – the perfect combo!
The start of the walk can be popular, as there are a few different routes up Kinder Scout from Hayfield. But once you reach the reservoir you’ll turn off and head away up to a lovely off-path route following the River Kinder.
There’s an option to do a small detour to the Mermaid’s Pool if you fancy a wild swim! Then up a fun and challenging scramble route via Red Brook all the way to Kinder Scout plateau.
You then hike along the edge of the Kinder plateau, following the Pennine Way route past Kinder Downfall then you loop to come back via William Clough back to Kinder Reservoir. From here it’s a short walk back to the car park at Hayfield.
Not into scrambling? Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing another route soon – sign up to the walks to get the route when it’s out!
Here you will find details on how to get to the start of the walk, where to park in Hayfield, the scramble route, map, GPX file, plus a detailed step by step guide of the walk.
Have you hiked up Kinder Scout? Let me know which route you went up in the comments?
Kinder Scout + Kinder Downfall from Hayfield
Kinder Scout via Red Brook walk mapClick for online map
Walk start point
Start grid reference: SK 04856 86921
Car parking address: Bowden Bridge car park, 165 Kinder Road, Hayfield, High Peak, SK22 2LH
This is a small car park which can get busy during peak times. Alternatively, you can start the walk from Hayfield town centre as there’s some street parking available but it will add 2/3 km to your walk.
Parking cost – cash only (9 am to 6 pm)
Up to 1 hour – £1.50
1-2 hours £2.50
2-4 hours £4.00
All day £4.75
Nearest train station: Glossop train station (6 miles/10 km)
From Glossop train station you can then catch the no. 61 bus (High Peak service) from Glossop to Hayfield bus station, which is about a mile from Bowden Bridge car park.
Facilities on the walk
There are public toilets available at the start of the walk at Bowden Bridge, Hayfield, these are opposite the car park at the entrance to Hayfield Campsite.
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
Red Brook scramble
This route includes a grade 1 scramble, it’s not a technical climb but it’s nearly 0.6 km of scrambling to the top as opposed to a small section as you’ll find on some other scramble routes. Please ensure you have the correct footwear for doing the hike.
And if you have any questions, please let me know.
The scramble route does not go via footpaths and is not signposted so please take a map and compass with you (see below). There are also muddy/boggy sections before you reach the scramble.
The section up to Mermaid’s Pool also requires navigating through some off-path sections.
Check the weather for your walk location and hills
The weather can vary widely from Hayfield town to Kinder Scout, the climb up via Red Brook scramble is quite sheltered but make sure you have some extra layers for when you reach the summit as you’ll notice the temperature difference!
- BBC Weather for Hayfield (Derbyshire)
- Met Office weather for the Peak District
- Met Office weather for Kinder Low
Ordnance Survey Walk Map
And don’t forget your compass, I recommend the Silva Expedition compass
Want to read later? Save the walk to Pinterest
Kinder Scout via Red Brook scramble walk route
Stage 1 – Hayfield (Bowden Bridge) to Kinder Reservoir
Distance: 2 miles/3.2 km
Grid reference SK 04864 86911
From Bowden Bridge car park in Hayfield, go over the bridge then turn right walking alongside Hayfield Campsite and the River Kinder. Continue on the footpath, then cross the river at the second bridge.
Turn left onto the road up for 400 metres until you see a green footpath sign to The Snake Inn via William Clough on the right. (You’ll also see a plaque about the Kinder Mass Trespass on 24th April 1932).
Walk up the track to a small metal kissing gate, go through and continue walking uphill through another gate then uphill to reach a second kissing gate (if you read the sign you’ll notice there are 5 of these in total). Walk to the next kissing gate where you head across the field to the next one. Keep walking and you’ll reach the fifth one as it brings you out on to Snake Path.
From the sign, walk for 500 m, you’ll see a green signpost and white shooting cabins ahead. Turn right and follow the path as it bears round to the left and Kinder Reservoir comes into view.
Stage 2 – Kinder Reservoir via Mermaid’s Pool to Top of Red Brook
Distance: 2.7 mile/4.3 km
Grid reference SK 05224 88256
Keep walking on the narrow upper path as it runs parallel to the reservoir, then after 700 m the path splits, take the right-hand footpath heading downhill taking you to the start of William Clough (your route down later).
Cross the small footbridge and turn right following the footpath as it tracks back around the reservoir. Go through a gate and continue with views of Kinder Reservoir on your right, go through another gate, over a stile, then a second stile.
Go over the footbridge over the River Kinder and turn left following a rough track alongside the river. From here you’ll cross backwards and forwards over the river several times as the river cuts through the landscape. (There are no bridges you’ll just need to find the best route across). Walk up past the trees then this is where the path also gets muddy in places too!
There’s a wooden boundary fence just after the wooded area with a stile, from this point it’s about 200 m until Red Brook join the River Kinder. Take note of where this spot is, if you do the optional detour to the Mermaid’s Pool you’ll need to trackback to this point.
Optional detour to Mermaid’s Pool
(SK 07434 88664)
From the bottom of Red Brook, continue walking up the River Kinder for about another 200 m. At this point, you then want to head uphill via the rocky/bilberry section. Once you reach the top you’ll be able to see the Mermaid’s Pool about 100 m west. To return to the route, simply complete the route in reverse.
You can wild swim in the Mermaid’s Pool (I didn’t) but I’ve been told from wild swimming friends it’s quite shallow and not great – but you might fancy it on a hot day!
Red Brook Scramble
Back to the turning for Red Brook scramble. The route starts tracking the brook and it’s overgrown and muddy in places, but after about 100 m you’ll reach the rocky section of the scramble.
Depending on the season there may be more or less water in the brook, I’d recommend doing on a dry day to enjoy it more as there is a lot of moss in place which can be slippy.
Then it’s simply follow the route up to the top, where you’ll come out on Kinder Scout plateau.
Stage 3 – Top of Red Brook via Kinder Downfall to Kinder Reservoir
Distance: 2.4 miles/3.8 km
Grid reference SK 08047 88031
From the top turn left and continue walking along the edge all the way to Kinder Downfall, about 1 km. Kinder Downfall can either be very impressive, in bad weather, the wind can blow the waterfall upwards and in winter it freezes. However, on a summer’s day, you might just see a trickle! But the views walking towards Kinder Downfall and stunning to make up for it!
Optional – If you’re Peak District trig bagging then you can turn right at the top of Red Brook and do an out and back to Kinder Low trig point (633 m).
From Kinder Downfall, cross the River Kinder and bear left continuing to follow the edge, through a gate and then a small incline before picking up a stone footpath leading to a large stone cairn and a steep path heading down.
Walk down then as the path forks take the left-hand footpath which will take you to a wider track and the start of William Clough. This is a pretty route down, especially in late summer when the heather is out. Follow the single track down the clough, crossing over a few times, there are sometimes a few different tracks you can follow but they all head down to the footbridge at Kinder Reservoir (the one you crossed earlier).
Stage 4 – Kinder Reservoir to Hayfield (Bowden Bridge)
Distance: 1.6 miles/2.5 km
Grid reference SK 05979 88729
At the bottom of William Clough, go through the gate and take the lower path next to Kinder Reservoir. Follow the path (you can take either route as it splits at the end), both lead to the gate at the top of the wall. Keep walking along the path, as you go through a gap in the wall, stick to the lower footpath which will bring you out on a road.
At the road, turn left, over a bridge then turn right following the path next to the stream, through a gate, then it will bring you back out on the road next to Booth Sheepwash. Continue walking down the road all the way back to Bowden Bridge car park at Hayfield.
Have you done any other Peak District scrambles? Let me know in the comments below.
Other options for this walk
Easier route from Hayfield
Would you prefer not to do the scramble option? I’ll be sharing a different route up soon. Sign up to my weekly walks and you’ll receive the walk when it’s on the website.
More walks in the Peak District
Love the walks in the Dark Peaks? You might like these Peak District circular walks.
- Laddow Rocks + Black Hill via Pennine Way | 9-Mile Route
- Snake Woodlands, Higher Shelf Stones | 14-Mile Route
- Mam Tor Via Jacob’s Ladder walk | 10-Mile Route
Or check out all our Peak District walking routes here
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Please note 'Peak District Walks' accepts no liability through any injuries or accidents that may result from walking this route. We always recommend you take a paper map and compass on your walk. Read more here.