Although only about four-to-five miles long, depending on the route taken, a walk through Chee Dale is one of the best hikes in the southern part of Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park.
Usually beginning at Millers Dale, the Monsal Trail that runs through Chee Dale also journeys through a delightfully wooded limestone gorge. Alongside the gorge runs the River Wye.
To allow hikers to progress with (relatively) dry feet, large stepping stones were placed in the river. These stepping stones are unique because they don’t take hikers across the river, but allow them to journey along the bank.
When the river’s water levels rise, traveling along these stones can become precarious. The stones can become submerged, in which case, it’s best to take another route. Allowing other hikers to pass in the opposite direction can require some effort, especially if both parties desire to remain dry.
This route through the limestone gorge of Chee Dale is a great hike even without the stepping stones, but the joy of attempting to navigate the stones is one of the reasons the walk is so popular.
Know Before You Go
A good starting point for this trek is in the parking lot at Millers Dale. Alternatively, to walk in the opposite direction, start at either Topley Pike (free) or Wyedale (pay and display) parking areas on the A6 following the Monsal Trail. Eventually, you are forced to descend down into the river close to the tunnel at Blackwell Head. The first set of stepping stones is not far away. Coordinates shown are for Wyedale parking lot. During winter months, the river flow through the gorge can become very fierce, proceed with caution.