Planning your Limestone Way walk

Published 29 November 2012. Last updated 3 November 2023

A snowy start to the Limestone Way

The Peak District was Britain’s first National Park and the starting point to the UK’s first national trail. However there’s more to the place than Kinder Scout and Edale.

On its journey between Rocester (over the border in north Staffordshire) and Castleton, the Limestone Way heads through the southern part of the park. It goes along the beautiful Derbyshire Dales, and through beautiful villages. And as you might guess, there’s more than a bit of limestone too.

In This Guide

  1. What is the walk like?
  2. The route
  3. Planning an itinerary
  4. Finding and booking accommodation
  5. Getting to/from the Limestone Way
  6. Guide Books and Maps
  7. And finally, and any questions?

What is the walk like?


For the most part the Limestone Way heads through the attractive Derbyshire Dales, through a number of Peak District farms and dales, passing through several villages. Much of it goes through sheep-filled farm fields or along country track, however the best parts are through the many dales along the route – the northern half between Castleton and Bonsall is especially rewarding.

Limestone is often in view. It is a relatively gentle and easy trail and whilst there are some hills, they are never particularly high and never particularly taxing.

The section between Rocester and Thorpe is in Staffordshire and is a very different walk to the rest of the Limestone Way, featuring a flatter landscape, fewer views and many muddy farm fields. Unless you are particularly fussed about completing the whole route, you may wish to skip this section and start/end at Thorpe or Tissington instead.

For the most part, the Derbyshire section is reasonably well waymarked, however you will need a map for several sections. The Staffordshire section has very little specific waymarking for the Limestone Way and being able to navigate with a map is absolutely essential.

The route

You can see the route of the Limestone Way using the map above. Using the controls you can scroll around, zoom in and explore the route. Note that this map is a guide only, and should not be used for navigation.

You can also download the GPX file of the route.

Planning an itinerary

Fields near Flagg

The Limestone Way is not a particularly long walk and is easily split up in to a four day walk. For those that prefer longer days it is possible to do it in three days. Itineraries for both three and four day walks are shown below.

The walk is usually shown travelling north to south, and the itineraries below reflect that. However it is arguably a far more rewarding walk if you travel south to north. This is because the best scenery is at the northern part of the walk.

Locations with a railway station nearby are marked with a 🚂. All locations listed have a pub and a shop unless otherwise noted.

3 Day Itinerary
Day From To Distance
Miles Km
1 Castleton 1 🚂 Youlgreave 18 29
2 Youlgreave Tissington 2 16½ 26½
3 Tissington 2 Rocester 6 11 17½
4 Day Itinerary
Day From To Distance
Miles Km
1 Castleton 1 🚂 Moneyash 3 13 21
2 Moneyash 3 Bonsall 4 🚂 12 19
3 Bonsall 4 🚂 Thorpe 5 11½ 18½
4 Thorpe 5 Rocester 6 15
  1. Nearest train station to Castleton is at Hope, two miles away. There are regular buses between the two.
  2. No grocery shop at Tissington.
  3. Accommodation can be found in Moneyash or nearby Flagg. No shop in either village.
  4. For Bonsall, railway station and alternative accommodation can be found in Matlock, which is 2½ miles walk away, easily accessed by following the Limestone Way link path. Alternatively Matlock Bath is slightly nearer
  5. At Thorpe, alternative accommodation can be found at nearby Ilam and Fenny Bentley. No grocery shop at Thope.
  6. Limited accommodation in Rocester. Alternative accommodation at Uttoxeter, accessible by bus

If you’d like to split the journey, the easiest most sensible place to do this is at Bonsall where you can follow the waymarked link route to Matlock.

Thanks to good paths and easy navigation, the Limestone Way is a good walk to do all year round.

Finding and booking accommodation

Finding accommodation for the Limestone Way can be difficult. With the exception of Matlock and Castleton, there are few B&Bs or inns en-route and they can be very busy, especially at weekends. Booking in advance is extremely advisable.

There is also no dedicated accommodation guide for the Limestone Way, which means you’ll have to do some old fashioned digging around if you want to stay over. There are, however, some resources that you may find useful:

Using a search engine may also yield some results not listed on the above sites.

Accommodation Booking Services and Baggage Transfer

As far as we know, no companies provide an accommodation booking service for the Limestone Way. Nor are we aware of any companies that provide baggage transfer.


There are a number of YHA hostels near the Limestone Way:

  • YHA Castleton – pretty new hostel, a short distance out of the village, and about a mile away from the Castleton end of the Limestone Way.
  • YHA Ravenstor – about a mile away from Millers Dale, roughly half way along the Castleton-Moneyash section. Its location means its difficult to fit in to a normal itinerary
  • YHA Youlgreave – several miles on from Moneyash, this is a useful hostel if you’re attempting to do the whole walk in three days
  • YHA Ilam – roughly a mile or so walk off-route from Thorpe

The YHA itself is based in Matlock. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean you’ll find a hostel there – YHA Matlock closed in 2007.

If you plan to stay at multiple YHA hostels, it’s well worth considering becoming a member as this will save you some money.


There are a number of campsites near the route at various stages between Thorpe and Castleton. Most are marked on Ordnance Survey maps, and you can find lists on a number of websites. However there are no campsites near the route between Rocester and Thorpe. There are sites in the Matlock area, however not ideally positioned for the walker.

The Limestone Way goes through a lot of cultivated fields, villages and farmland, and there are sheep or cows almost everywhere you go. This means that finding a wild camping spot will be few and far between.

Getting to/from the Limestone Way

Limestone Way Farm

Neither end of the Limestone Way has a railway station, however there are stations relatively nearby.

Hope station is about two miles away from Castleton village and has regular services to Manchester and Sheffield down the lovely Hope Valley Line. Buses run between the station and Castleton village.

The nearest station to Rocester is about five miles at Uttoxeter. Westbound services head to Stoke and Crewe, whilst eastbound go to Derby. Regular buses run between Uttoxeter and Rocester, although not all serve the railway station itself. Buses also connect Rocester with Derby.

Matlock also has a railway station, with frequent services to Derby.

Several villages on the walk are served by buses. Route details can be found on the Public Transport in Derbyshire map, which also shows the route of the Limestone Way. Bus timetables can also be found on the same website.

Guide Books and Maps

Make Hay

Walking the Limestone Way

There’s no real in-print guide books for the Limestone Way. There is an out-of-print guide published in 1997 called Walking the Limestone Way which may be possible to find second hand, although not necessarily at a cheap price.

Alternatively Derbyshire Dales Council have pulled together a Limestone Way pamphlet which is available to buy online for £3.50 at the council website’s Limestone Way page.

The walk is easy enough to follow on maps. The maps you need are:

  • Landranger (1:50,000): 110, 119, 128
  • Explorer (1:25,000): OL1, OL24, 259

Explorer maps are especially recommended for the Staffordshire section where the extra detail comes in handy.

And finally, and any questions?

Confusing signage

So there you have it. If you’re thinking about walking the Limestone Way, what are you waiting for? Get planning and get your hiking boots on.

As ever though if you’ve any additional questions or information you’d like to know, just ask in the comments box at the bottom of this page.

We update our planning guides on a regular basis, and welcome reports of errors, clarifications and additions. If you have any, please email us using our contact form.


Mary Magrinat

26 January 2014 at 8:09 pm

Looking for a trip in the latter half of May about 50 miles of walking, hoping for nice weather (less rain). Which would be the nicest trip?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

28 January 2014 at 2:13 pm

Hi Mary – are you looking for any trip, or just the Limestone Way?

Paul Thomas

4 April 2014 at 11:19 pm

The Limestone way sounds great, is it possible to do it on a mobility scooter/wheelchair? please somebody say yes:)……..Paul.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

6 April 2014 at 6:56 am

Hi Paul – I think a mobility scooter would probably struggle as there’s a lot of stiles and narrow, rocky paths. There are some bridleway sections where it would be fine, but not the whole thing.

Ben Cooper

7 August 2014 at 10:05 pm

Thanks for all the info. Moving to sheffield in September, so hoping to do this as soon as possible. Looking to camp.

Amy Hollinrake

1 April 2015 at 8:15 pm

I walked the limestone in 2013 in August. Started at Castleton and did it over 3 days! I really enjoyed the walk, however I would start at Rocester as the scenery is better on the way to Castleton. I stopped at a nice B and B in Flagg and Bonsall. I would encourage anyone yo do this walk! Great memories!


7 July 2015 at 9:16 pm

Is it possible to do this walk and just stay in hostels?

Or is there another Peak District walk where that is possible?

MAny thanks, Meriel

Cherry Cross

5 September 2015 at 9:39 am

Love your site so packed with useful and interesting info. You suggest the Limestone Way be walked from South to North from a scenic point of view. Could you tell me is there much difference in terms of uphill walking?
Many thanks,

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

5 September 2015 at 9:14 pm

Cherry – there should be no major difference going in either direction. The Limestone Way’s not got many hills.


26 March 2016 at 7:07 pm

Can this walk be done overnight, in a 24 hour walk challenge

Susie David

4 April 2016 at 10:39 am

A silly question: how far is Castleton from Edale? My sister and I walking from Thorpe to Edale, (as part of our ongoing Land’s End to John O’Groats trek) and the Limestone Way looks like a good way of getting there.
What do you think?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

4 April 2016 at 11:39 am

Hi Susie – it’s a couple of miles. You just pop up over Hollins Cross, where you’ll get a fine view.


4 April 2016 at 6:10 pm

I’m looking too do the limestone way in a 24 hour challenge, is this possible??

Susie David

4 April 2016 at 8:04 pm

Thanks, Andrew. It didn’t look far on the map but it’s helpful to have the reassurance. Sometimes the last two miles can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, especially when one of the camels is over 70 yrs!

Trev Easton

4 July 2016 at 12:54 pm

Yes Alex possible in the day but takes its toll. Get plenty of practice. Check my strava result, ( Goldstarboy)


12 February 2017 at 6:07 pm

Is it possible to wild camp.


6 August 2017 at 10:05 pm

do you walk over the Miller’s Dale viaducts?…. scared of heights lol

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

7 August 2017 at 12:42 pm

Hi Hale – no the walk doesn’t go over the viaducts.


15 August 2017 at 8:55 pm

Thank you, Andrew

when people say the limestone ridge is that near five wells tombs/sough lane


2 April 2018 at 8:55 am

hello Andrew
thank you for all those informations.
I would like to know how easy it is to camp along the limestone way?
is it dedicated places or is it totally wildless camping?
thank you

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

2 April 2018 at 10:02 pm

Labrousse – there are several dedicated campsites along the trail. There’s no legal automatic right to wild camping in England, and you should check with the landowner for permission. There are some spots that – with permission – may suit wild camping. However the trail goes near lots of farmland.

Gerry Wood

18 June 2018 at 9:29 am

Does anyone offer a bag transfer service for the Limestone trail? Thanks


28 June 2018 at 12:29 pm

I did a 5 day South to North trip, with baggage transfer. Absolutely worthwhile! You can find multiple agencies that plan your trip with a simple search on the internet. I went with one called ‘Contour’. Great service, would book again. Im not from the UK and the Limestone Way was absolutely stunning, exactly the type of British landscapes one would expect.You could probably walk it in 3 days, but there is plenty to see along the way to justify making it a 5 day walk.
I went in September, there were hardly any people anywhere along the route, none of the locals I spoke even knew about the Limestone Way. If you want to stay away from the crowds this is for you. Dont expect spectacular scenery, the charm of this walk is the green hills scattered with Limestone, walking trough farmlands and small quiet villages.


24 July 2018 at 8:18 pm

‘re bag transfer, I just rang local taxi companies and organised it that way as I couldn’t find a specific company.

Ann simic

1 September 2018 at 8:40 pm

I walked the Limestone Way some years ago as my mother lived in Monsal Dale at the time. It’s a stunning walk through the different dales ,sadly not Monsal dale with its beautiful viaduct and now the tunnels are open a great walk through to Bakewell. The other stony walk is the Sandstone Trail from Frodsham to Whitchurch which is around 35miles and another joy to walk. Also the Gritstone which is another 35 miler from Disley to Kidsgrove and takes about 3-4 days. It’s very hilly but the views are stunning for all three walks and good for a long weekend.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

2 September 2018 at 10:53 pm

Funnily enough, I have walked about two thirds of the Gritstone Trail myself. Really should get round to doing the last section…


3 September 2018 at 5:37 pm

Would it be possible to do the Limestone Way in 2 days?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

4 September 2018 at 9:52 am

Leigh – if you’re capable of walking 23 miles in a day, yes.

Mel Leese

14 January 2019 at 11:03 pm

Hello Andrew.
I am planning to walk the Limestone Way over 4 days this spring.
But my intention is to tag this hike on from the Calder-Went- walk starting from Horbury Bridge near Wakefield to Penistone via Yorkshire sculpture park and Cannon Hall, then Langsett.. Then from there over Mickledon Edge, to Howden/Derwent/ Ladybower reservoirs, then on to Hope.
Are you aware of any baggage transfer companies whom would lighten the load ?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

16 January 2019 at 1:32 pm

Hello Mel. Don’t know of any on the Limestone Way I’m afraid. You may be able to arrange something with a local taxi company but that’s all I can suggest.

Gill Darnbrook

25 February 2019 at 11:15 pm

Is there anything to mark the end of the Way at Rocester?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

26 February 2019 at 9:07 am

Hello Gill – there wasn’t when I walked it in 2012. I did a piece about what’s at the end. It doesn’t make happy reading.

the bushcrafters wife

14 March 2019 at 9:50 pm


I thought I’d let you know that my husband and I walked the first 27 miles of the limestone way during a boiling hot day last July and did it all by using your blog!
We also started in the south like you suggested and look forward to doing the second half this summer.
I forgot my hiking shoes so walked it in sandals – I wrote a blog about it if you are interested!??!!


15 April 2019 at 2:31 pm

Where is the starting point in Castleton?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

15 April 2019 at 9:19 pm

Hello Julie. It’s on Bargate – the entrance to Cave Dale. It’s not massively obvious from the road, but is signed.


18 April 2019 at 12:05 pm

Thank you! I will find it and look forward to it.

Jeanette Castelbranco

9 June 2019 at 9:50 am

Planning on doing this in August over 3 days, wild camping. Cant wait

Mrs Sally Vardy

9 June 2020 at 1:24 pm

My friend and I finished the ‘Limestone Way’ yesterday – June 8th 2020.
I had managed to get a copy of the out of print guide from the 1990’s and it was helpful at times and really annoying at other times. We also had the appropriate OS maps.
We walked over 4 days from Castleton so that we weren’t rushed and could enjoy the countryside and views. We started at 8.00 am every morning and hardly saw anyone at all. The walking was fairly easy most of the time, just a few steep climbs up. It is a lovely time of the year to walk with early morning light and some of the views are just stunning. You only go through quiet villages, not the popular ones, except for Castleton, of course.
Rocester is the HQ of JCB and their huge factory is at the start of Rocester village if you miss the way through the fields, as we did! It is a lovely landscaped site and the Academy, a Technical Secondary School (a converted mill building from the 1700’s) is supported by the JCB company. The finish is at St Peter’s church, or you could walk on to the village Butter Cross. 1 of 2 Long Distance Walking Women.


6 October 2020 at 2:46 pm

I have had the Limestone Way on my to do list for ages. Agreed about limited accommodation in some places. I am planning to do it in 2 days as a practice for some 24hr challenges, or may be as a 24 hour challenge itself. I have walked some of the northern parts numerous times. The start and end points aren’t that convenient, so I might need to look at starting in Uttoxeter and ending in Hope for the train. Camping is fine and would usually allow me to be more flexible about the days and good weather, but it will involve carry more weight.

Also the original route was from Castleton to Matlock, thus the spur from Bonsall to Matlock was part of the original route. The section from Bonsall to Rochester was added later and possibly to join the Staffs Way


20 October 2020 at 10:37 pm

Hi there,
I’m look to start the Limestone Way but from Rocester, going north.
Can you tell me where the starting point of the route in Rocester is?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

21 October 2020 at 9:56 am

James – it’s at the road junction next to St Michael’s Church and the JCB Academy secondary school.

Kate Jones

6 February 2021 at 11:28 am


I am looking to do the limestone way walk with my nervous dog(of people), does it get busy during the day?
Can anyone recommend any campsites or dog friendly b&b’s to stop at please each night?

Does 3 days include the walk back? How do people normally get back home if you don’t walk back along the limestone way?

Thank you!!

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

7 February 2021 at 1:23 pm

Hi Kate. The Limestone Way does go through some busier areas, but a lot of it will be quiet. So a bit of a mixture really. The further south you go, the quieter it should be.

If you are looking to do the whole thing, then it’s four days walking. If you’re doing just to Matlock, that’s two. Getting back to Castleton can be done by train. It won’t be the fastest journey and it isn’t direct, but it is possible.


19 June 2021 at 5:19 pm

Can you start the Limestone Way in Rocester and finish in Castleton?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

19 June 2021 at 10:53 pm

Hello Vanessa – yes that’s perfectly doable.


9 June 2024 at 10:02 pm

I’m hoping to do this next month over 3 days, wild camping on the way.
I’d park at Rocester, but it look like I’d have to take an expensive taxi, to get back at the end from Castleton?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

10 June 2024 at 9:46 am

Taxi or spend over three hours on buses. It’ll be a lovely ride by bus, but a long one.

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