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Top family climbing spots

Higger Tor by Gemma Thorpe

The Peak District has a diverse choice of climbing, whether you’re looking for limestone or gritstone, easy or difficult grades, quick access or a longer walk-in. But what if you’re looking for something close to Sheffield where you can take the kids along with you for a day out? Here are our top family-friendly climbing spots:

Burbage North

Access from the parking is fast (from one to 20 minutes depending on which area you choose to climb) and on a well-defined path. There are some great short routes here in the low grades, with easy walk offs once you get to the top. You can also find boulders suitable for setting up top ropes (check between Remergence and Ash Tree Wall areas).

Burbage South Boulders

This is a good place for a family picnic, with a scattering of free standing boulders on fairly flat ground. You’ll find a mixture of difficulty here, but there is some easier climbing on relatively low boulders. Check the Pock Block and The Cobra boulders (you may want to set up a rope) for some lower grades.

Higger Tor

With a reputation for hard climbing in exposed windswept conditions, this is not a place that would immediately spring to mind for families. However, it’s a well-known place for kids to go 'weaselling' (scrambling and squeezing through boulders) and some of the easier graded routes can be a good challenge.

Stanage Popular

Stanage has a massive range of routes of on good rock. It’s a deservedly popular climbing area and you’ll often find big family groups having picnics there. The right hand end of Stanage Popular has some easy grade, shorter routes and the descent is the walkers’ path to the side of the crag.

These four areas should give you enough ideas to get started. Many of the other gritstone climbing areas also have a good range of easier grade routes so, depending on the skill level in your party, you may find them to be appropriate. It's important to do your research first – while Birchen Edge is well known for easier grade climbing, many of the starts are polished and undercut making them difficult for small kids to get going.

For those who are happy to travel further afield, it’s worth taking a look at Cratcliffe and Robin Hood’s Stride (both near Matlock), Windgather (near Whaley Bridge) and Harborough Rocks (pocketed dolomitic limestone near Brassington).

Useful guidebooks

Eastern Grit, Rockfax

Peak Bouldering, Rockfax

True Grit, Pete O’Donovan

BMC Guidebooks

Written by Jacquie Budd



Map: OS Dark Peak Area (OL 1)

Getting there from Sheffield

Full directions and parking for each crag can be found in the relevant climbing guidebooks.


Burbage North: Ringinglow Road, parking at Upper Burbage Bridge (SK259829)

Burbage South: A625 Hathersage Road/A6187 to the Fox House (SK266803) – or park as for Burbage North and walk approx 25 mins

Higgar Tor: Ringinglow Road, roadside parking on way to Hathersage (SK255819)

Stanage Popular: Ringinglow Road, parking at Hooks Car (SK244829)

Public Transport

See the Peak District travel guide

Using public transport will mean a walk of between 15-45 minutes to the climbing areas.

Burbage North, Burbage South and Higgar Tor: Bus 272 to the Fox House, Hathersage Road

Stanage Popular: Bus 272 to Hathersage, or train to Hathersage on the Hope Valley Line


Stop off at The Fox House, Hathersage Road, Longshaw or the Hathersage Social Club in Hathersage village (open Thurs-Sun).

You'll find a good selection of cafés and pubs in Hathersage, along with a well-stocked outdoor shop.

from city centre

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