A Weekend Hiking in the Peak District
Guest Article | Outdoor Activities | Walking | Posted 2021.10.21
My name is Tim Wiggins, I am an outdoor sports enthusiast and avid adventurer, based on the beautiful Isle of Wight. I author Life In The Saddle Lifeinthesaddle.cc – one of the world’s top adventure cycling blogs, as well as The Expedition Journals theexpeditionjournals.com – a blog all about kayaking, hiking, trail running and wild camping adventures.
Over my years I have explored destinations around the globe by bike, foot, and water sports; but in the last year I have relished the opportunity to discover amazing places closer to home and some of the best weekend hiking destinations. The UK has everything an outdoor lover could wish for, and it also has the best pubs and pub accommodation in the world…
Escaping the city can do wonders for you in so many ways. The fresh air feels like it is washing your lungs clean, and the open views and distant horizons seem to soothe the mind and let the clutter of everyday life fade away.
In early October, we planned just such an escape: heading out into the hills south of Manchester to explore the forests and footpaths of Cheshire and the open heathland of the Peak District, while staying in a beautiful country pub close to the market town of Crewe.
Heading out of the city for an overnight break makes so much more of a weekend. You feel like you are escaping the work and thrum of urban life, and with so many of us working from home these days it seems all the more necessary to occasionally put some green space between you and your desk.
Hiking with friends in the great outdoors is one of the best activities to immerse yourself in nature; it has been proven to have immense health benefits, as well as offering the perfect chance to catch up with loved ones and discover unexplored places. Most UK cities are not that far from a National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and with the Peak District right on the doorstep of Greater Manchester it was the perfect accessible choice for our weekend getaway.
Within just 45 minutes of leaving the city we were out in the open hills and winding lanes of the Peak District; with the traffic and noise of the city fast fading into the background. The Peak District is a stunning place to walk, and our chosen destination was the well-trodden hiking route up to The Roaches ridgeline.
(c) Tim Wiggins
The path from Grandbach car park weaves through dense green forest down in the valley, and then cuts up through Lud’s Church—a stunning canyon of Peak District stone, before emerging onto the wide-open heathland that characterises the Peaks—with rocky crags offering panoramic views of the surrounding hills.
Hiking in the Peak District is not a new pursuit—these hills have been a paradise for walkers for decades; but it still feels a bit like discovering a new landscape to me; with the autumn colours creating vibrant scenes, and the low sunlight casting long shadows across the lakes and valleys below the ridgeline.
Our overnight accommodation is The Vicarage at Cranage—a historic building converted into a modern character inn, which offers the perfect country get-away for the weekend. The rooms are tastefully decorated, with plush comfortable beds to rest in and a bath to soak weary walking legs.
We refuel with a superb evening meal in the Vicarage restaurant; for me, homemade steak and ale pie, followed by one of the world’s best sticky toffee puddings. We then enjoy some great live music before falling exhausted into bed.
(c) The Vicarage, Cheshire
The next morning, after a restful night’s sleep, we have a luscious breakfast and wave goodbye to the Vicarage— as we head out into the Cheshire Hills, all set for more exploring.
The Cheshire countryside is another beautiful place to explore on foot; with paths and lanes weaving through quiet villages, and hill tops such as Alderley Edge offering panoramic views of the surrounding fields. We savour the fresh autumn air and peaceful scenes of grazing cows and woodland wildlife.
Heading back into the city after a weekend of walking and exploring we feel refreshed and energised for a new week ahead. The overnight escape has offered the perfect get-away and a chance to reset and refresh.
Where would you choose for your UK weekend hiking retreat? Check out our earlier blog post: ‘Top 5 UK Weekend Hiking Destinations‘ for some ideas.
Follow me on Instagram @tim_wiggins1 to join the journey. Happy hiking!
Written by Tim Wiggins