On Kinder Scout after walking up from Edale. A fabulous no-car camping spot.
Hiking with children Lightweight Camping

No-car family camping: Edale in the Peak District

Edale, in the beautiful Peak District, is our go-to no-car family camping spot in the UK. It is accessible by train and there are two campsites 5–10 minutes on foot from the train station. Whether you’re using bicycles or carrying backpacks and possibly a pull-along suitcase (or two), it’s extremely easy to reach.

Getting to Edale for no-car family camping

The Hope Valley is simply magnificent. Think high ridges, gritstone edges, limestone outcrops, pretty woodland and burbling streams. Edale station sits down in the valley on the trainline between Manchester and Sheffield.

We find it easy to get our bikes on the train as the service starts at Sheffield and we have a little longer to load our bikes and other equipment onto the train. It’s a Northern trainline service that usually has plenty of room – for backpacks as well as bikes- and you don’t have to make advance reservations. Wherever you’re travelling from, it’s easy to change trains at Sheffield or Manchester. Then sit back as you chug out through the beautiful countryside to Edale. The very occasional long-distance train stops here too. Check http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ for more details.

Playing frisbee at Cooper's campsite, Edale
Playing frisbee at Cooper’s campsite, Edale

We always camp at Newfold Farm campsite. Fieldhead Campsite, slightly nearer the station, is flatter and has a drying room but the views at Newfold Farm draw us back each time. We arrive in the field, survey the surrounding hills and breath deeply. It’s instantly uplifting.

Our bikes are a means of transporting our gear to and from the train station. Once there, the adult bikes usually stay locked up for the duration. The kids like to cycle round the campsite but walking is our preferred activity here. Strenuous hikes or gentle rambles, there’s something to suit all lengths of leg.

Hiking in the hills with children

One of the joys of Newfold Farm is being able to see the hills you are planning to climb. If you ask the children, “Do you think you could climb up there?” the answer is usually a resounding, “Yes!” They love the challenge.  However, it also helps if they have an idea where they are going. We have done family walks where the children cannot picture what it is we are trying to do and they can easily feel frustrated. In Edale they can see the scope of where we are walking and they are able to accept the challenge. When we get to the top, they can often spot our tent, looking toy-like far below. A rewarding sight.

Lovely views while no-car family camping in Edale
Some barefoot hill running

Our children are now familiar with the names of these hills: Mam Tor; The Nab; Lord’s Seat; Win Hill; Lose Hill. They help plan the walks. One of the wonderful things about Edale is how many different interesting paths there are straight from the campsite. A recent favourite is to scrabble up Grindsbrook Clough to Foxholes. The path is steep with lots of rocks to climb, which is an absorbing activity for the children (and the grown-ups). When they’re really focussed on climbing, they forget to ask how far have they still got to go! We pass the time telling stories, looking for sticks and other treasures as well as chatting and enjoying the views. It’s such a sense of achievement when we reach the top and they love adding to the cairns.

On Kinder Scout

Eating out

There are two pubs in Edale village which do pub grub. We tend to cook our own food to keep costs down but sometimes it’s nice to have a treat. Both The Old Nag’s Head and The Rambler Inn have a wide ranging menu, catering for children, vegetarians and vegans. The cafe at Newfold Farm campsite is lovely. They serve breakfasts, a range of choices for lunch and yummy cakes and ice creams. In the summer, they offer an open air wood fired pizza takeaway which offers reasonable prices. It’s a good idea to check in advance whether they are firing up the pizza ovens and then go early as they do sometimes run out.

Food supplies

Edale general store just by the campsite sells a remarkable range for such a small shop. They have fresh bread, a range of fruit and veg plus all the usual basics. If you phone in advance they will source as much as they can for you; a real help when you’re no-car family camping. Much of their stock is ethically sourced and there’s a good selection of vegan and vegetarian items; including the all-important marshmallows for the campfire. Firepits are available to hire at the campsite.

Relaxing after a campsite-cooked meal.
Relaxing after a campsite-cooked meal.

This is a place that has everything for no-car family camping on a budget. We are all happier outdoors and the setting is stunning. In fact we love it so much there that we often go for a half term and one of the adults commutes back into Sheffield to work on weekdays. We even managed the school run from there one time too! Just don’t forget your waterproofs!

You may enjoy reading more about no-car family camping here.

Smudged Postcard Family Travel Adventures

Jem and Louise

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  1. Well, I’m going to have to read more of your blog now to figure out how you manage to get all your camping gear to the site without a car! It looks like a beautiful place to camp, I love the Peak District. Thanks for linking up with #FamilyFriendlyStays

    1. Thanks for setting up #fammilyfriendlystays – great idea.

  2. This looks like my kind of camping down to a T! It’s amazing that you can do all this without a car. Love your line about “all lengths of legs”! It’s a factor we take into account too when planning our family hikes.

    1. Glad you can identify with it! I agree- it’s often just a matter of thinking a bit differently and tuning in to everyone’s needs.

  3. That is the suitable blog for anyone who wants to search out out about this topic. You notice a lot its nearly exhausting to argue with you (not that I really would need…HaHa). You positively put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, just great!

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