The Peak District has many wonderful caves you can explore, from the larger caves like Blue John Cavern, Peak Cavern and Speedwell Cavern where you can take tours to go deep underground. But there are also a few great caves you can find whilst on walks too.
One of the most popular ones is Thor’s Cave walk in the Manifold Valley in the Staffordshire Peak District. Thor’s Cave is a huge cave that you can go inside and explore further, plus there are stunning views of the Manifold Valley from the cave entrance.
This short walk takes you to the cave, along the Manifold Valley and loops back round via Wetton Hill before returning back to Wetton village.
Here you will find details on how to get to the start of the walk, route information, map, GPX file, plus a detailed step by step guide of the walk.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve done this walk and what you think!
Thor’s Cave Walk from Wetton
Thor’s Cave + Manifold Valley walk mapClick for online map
Walk start point
Start grid reference: SK 10899 55140
Car parking address: Wetton car park, Carr Lane, Wetton, Ashbourne, DE6 2AF
This a small free car park however, during peak times there is a second overflow car park, simply follow the signs for free parking through Wetton village.
Nearest train station: Stoke-on-Trent train station (20 mile/32 km)
Unfortunately, there are no bus services to the start point in Wetton.
Facilities on the walk
There are public toilets available at the start of the walk at Wetton and also a second set of toilets near Wetton Mill.
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
Thor’s Cave is a popular place to visit in the Staffordshire Peak District, I’d recommend going mid-week or an evening when it’s quieter and you can enjoy the cave to yourself.
Also as many people visit the cave the limestone rock at the entrance/exit has become very smooth with the number of people walking into it, please be careful – I recommend going on your bum for a safer option.
And finally, Thor’s Cave is a large cave so it’s worth taking a headtorch, like this Petzl one, to explore the back of the cave so you have your hands free to get safely around.
Update October – The first section of this route was very muddy (and quite slippy). Make sure you’ve got good footwear and also clothes you don’t mind getting muddy. Gaiters are pretty good for this route to save your trousers/leggings getting covered in mud splashes!
Check the weather for your walk location and hills
- BBC Weather for Wetton, Staffordshire
- Met Office weather for the Peak District
- Met Office weather for Manifold Valley
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
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Thor’s Cave + Manifold Valley walk route
Stage 1 – Wetton car park to Thor’s Cave
Distance: 0.8 miles/1.3 km
Grid reference SK 10896 55125
From the smaller part of the car park, go over the stone stile and across the field and through a narrow footpath to the road. Turn left and walk down the road, as the road splits take the right-hand fork down a track, signposted ‘Concession Path to Thor’s Cave’.
Go over the stone stile and continue down the track until you reach another stone stile that takes you into a field, keep to the left-hand side of the field and walk towards the hill in the distance (this is where Thor’s Cave is located).
Walk down the narrow footpath across the field until you reach a small wooden gate, go through here then follow the path down to the entrance of Thor’s Cave.
The entrance to the cave is slopped so take your time as you enter, then you can pop on your head torches and explore further towards the back.
Stage 2 – Thor’s Cave to Wetton Mill
Distance: 1 mile/1.5 km
Grid reference SK 09891 54968
Once you’ve finished exploring, leave the cave via the same way but taking more care as the sloppy rocks make it more like a slide and even more so if it’s been raining.
Turn right and follow the steps descending from the cave, after a few hundred metres the path splits, take the left-hand path which is a steeper descent but takes you down to the river bed through the trees. Cross the bridge and turn right along the wide footpath.
Follow the path as it runs parallel to the river (mostly dry) until a second bridge. Cross over and turn right through a wooden gate into the valley, signposted Wetton Hills (photo below).
Walk for 500 metres, as the path bends to the right look for a Public Bridleway signpost which is almost hidden in the trees, this is where you turn left and head up the path. Go through the gate, then as the path opens out at an open space. Follow the wooden signpost right taking you towards a second cave.
The cave is above Wetton Mill, there are two caves here to explore, a larger one and a smaller tunnel cave, which is pretty cool to explore.
Stage 3 – Wetton Mill to Wetton Hill
Distance: 2 miles/3.3 km
Grid reference SK 09543 56101
After exploring the caves, follow the path back then head down to Wetton Mill. Then turn right and head down the track to Dale Farm, walk through the farm and through a gate.
Head across the open space then continue walking up a stone path that goes uphill to a wooden stile, then a second stone stile (photo below). Bear left and then continue down the path with the hedges on the right.
Go through a gate, keep walking to a second gate then turn right onto the road for about 500 metres. The road bends round to the left then goes path a house, shortly after take the footpath through the stile on the left, walk down across the stream via the rocks and up across the hills.
Stage 4 – Wetton Hill to Wetton
Distance: 1 miles/1.5 km
Grid reference SK 10744 56391
Keep walking up the boundary line the bear right continuing uphill. Go over the wooden stile and head south across the field, away from the boundary wall towards a second wooden stile across the field. Walk uphill on the track, the across to a small wooden gate.
Walk until you reach a stone stile, go over here, then to another wooden gate and out on to the road. Walk straight down the road, past the pub and then turn right and walk down the road back to the car park.
Do you have any questions about this walk from Wetton? Ask me in the comments below.
More walks in the Peak District
Love the walks in the White Peaks? You might like these Peak District circular walks.
- Shutlingsloe Walk from Wildboarclough
- Dovedale Walk (Bunster Hill + Thorpe Cloud)
- Wolfscote Dale + Biggin Dale walk from Hartington
Or check out all our Peak District walking routes here
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