Chee Dale Stepping Stones Walk (Quickest): A Complete Guide

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Chee Dale Stepping Stones are the most impressive of all the Peak District stepping stones. They are also less well known than Dovedale Stepping Stones making them much easier to visit without the crowds.

Chee Dale Stepping Stones

The Chee Dale Stepping Stones walk is the ideal hike if you’re searching for an exciting and original way to experience the stunning Peak District. It’s great walk for kids too.

The small stepping stones beneath an overhanging cliff of limestone along the River Wye provide a wonderful adventure on your Chee Dale walk. For added adventure, the walk also incorporates the famous Monsal trail tunnels.

Even for someone like myself who has shaky feet, the stepping stones themselves are relatively flat and in good condition. I quickly became an expert at jumping across the stones with a little practice and caution.

In this article I aim to tell you everything there is to know about my favourite stepping stones in the Peak District.

Chee Dale Stepping Stones Walk Map

Zoom in and out of the map using the + and – icon to see more points of interest. Click on a marker to learn more.

Just here for the walks? Jump to the walks section to see detailed guides on my favourite Dovedale Stepping Stones walks including maps, photos, step-by-step directions and GPX files.

Chee Dale Walk Quick Facts

Elevation: 46 m (151 ft)

Coordinates: 53°15’22.7″N 1°47’40.7″W

Walk difficulty: Moderate

Shortest walk length (return): 1 hour

Operated by: Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Dog-friendly: Yes

Child-friendly: Yes

Best time of year to visit: Spring or summer. Avoid periods of heavy rain when the path may be muddy and slippery, and the stepping stones may be submerged.

Best time of day to visit: If you want the place to yourself, visit early in the morning or late evening. However, it generally doesn’t get too busy in Chee Dale.

Entry costs: Free

Car park costs: £1.50-£4.75 [see rates]

Opening times: 24/7

Food: The Refreshment Room at Miller’s Dale Car Park sells food and drink.

Top Tip: The walk involves contending with some challenging terrain therefore wearing sturdy, grippy footwear is essential.

Walking alongside the river Wye with the autumn leaves covering the footpath

What are the Chee Dale Stepping Stones?

Chee Dale is the name of a scenic valley just off the Monsal Trail in the Peak District. This dale is famous for its striking scenery (dense forest and steep, craggy cliffs) and the presence of the Chee Dale Stepping Stones which add a bit of fun to the footpath.

Where is Chee Dale Located in the Peak District?

Chee Dale is a mere 15 minute drive to the east from the town of Buxton, in the centre of the Peak District national park.

Chee Dale is a stones throw away from the famous Monsal Trail and follows the River Wye round the craggy and majestic Chee Tor.

Millers Dale, Peak District
We stopped off for some food in Millers Dale, 5 minutes drive from start of the Chee Dale walk

How to Get to Chee Dale

The easiest and quickest way to Chee Dale is by car.

Public transport is available but it will add around an hour to your walk. The closest bus stop to Chee Dale is in Topley Pike. Buses run between Buxton and Topley Pike at frequent intervals. From Topley Pike, begin your walk on the Monsal Trail to the east towards Chee Dale.

Is There Parking for the Chee Dale walk?

The closest car park for Chee Dale can be found in Miller’s Dale, a disused railway station which is part of the Monsal Trail.

There is ample parking (80 spaces) within this Car Park.

There’s a restaurant and public toilet at this Car Park.

Car Park Address: Millers Dale Car Park, Miller’s Dale, Buxton SK17 8SN

Car park charges apply from 9am to 6pm.

Overnight parking or camping is not permitted.

Car park charges

Up to 1 hour £1.50

Up to 2 hours £2.50

Up to 4 hours £4.00

All day £4.75

Disabled badge holders: free (display badge)

Coaches: any 2 hour period £4.00

Horseboxes / Lorries: Up to 2 hours £4.00 or all day £7

Motorcycles: All day £1.50

The Millers Dale Car Park had plenty of free spots when we visited in October at 10:00

Where are the Chee Dale Stepping Stones?

The Chee Dale Stepping Stones are located in the Peak District. They are very close to the Monsal Trail, at the western end of Chee Dale.

To reach them you can either walk through Chee Dale valley from Miller’s Dale Car Park, taking the first exit from the Monsal Trail which you come across. This route takes around 40 minutes until you reach the stepping stones.

Alternatively, if you want a far quicker walk to reach the stepping stones, you can walk along the Monsal Trail, from Miller’s Dale Car Park, through Chee Tor Tunnel. Between Chee Tor Tunnel 1 and Chee Tor Tunnel 2 you will find a set of stairs. Follow these down and then take the path which flows under the Monsal Trail. After crossing a wooden bridge the stepping stones will be less than 5 minutes away.

Chee Dale Stepping Stones
The Chee Dale Stepping Stones are relatively flat and easy to cross

Chee Dale Stepping Stones Opening Hours

The Chee Dale walk including the stepping stones and Millers Dale Car Park and public toilets is open 24/7.

The Refreshment Room cafe is open 7 days per week 9:30am till 5pm.

Is the Chee Dale Walk Free?

The Chee Dale walk including the Chee Dale stepping stones is free of charge. However, there is a cost to park at Millers Dale Car Park. See parking section for details.

Walking down to the river Wye with the Chee Dale abseiling bridge to my left
Walking down to the river Wye with the Chee Dale abseiling bridge to my left

What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Chee Dale Stepping Stones?

The warmer summer months are ideal for visiting, as they are for the majority of outdoor attractions in the United Kingdom.

Chee Dale Stepping Stones is best visited during a dry period as during periods of heavy rainfall the walk may become extremely muddy and slippery.

Going in the autumn can be exhilarating since you are exposed to such a variety of colours, but make sure to always check the weather forecast before your visit to ensure the weather is favourable.

I first visited in October when it was wet and muddy and it did make the walk a little more tricky but still do-able and the autumn colours were amazing!

You can view a live weather forecast of Wetton and the surrounding area on the MET office here and BBC Weather here.

Walk way up rocks at chee dale
The rocky pathways get get a little slippy in wet weather

What is the Best Time of Day to Visit Chee Dale Stepping Stones?

The Chee Dale Stepping Stones walk is little lesser known and therefore less busy than other local attractions such as Dovedale Stepping Stones, Thorpe Cloud and Thor’s Cave, which gives you a wider window in which to visit without having to worry about avoiding the crowds.

The Miller Dale Car Park has 80 spaces, however, it’s a popular start point for the popular Monsal Trail so if you’re visiting at peak times such as school holidays, I recommend arriving before 9 to ensure a parking spot.

Outside of peak times you should be fine arriving any time during the day. Allow plenty of time before it goes dark as parts of the walk are not suited to being walked after sunset.

Muddy pathway on the Chee Dale walk
Sections of the footpath were quite wet when I visited in October but still walkable

Chee Dale Walk Weather

Like most of the United Kingdom, you are likely to find the best weather in the summer months: June, July and August. May and September can also be pleasant and may be slightly quieter.

This is a general rule of thumb as it is worth noting that it can rain at any time of year. The Chee Dale walk is best avoided after heavy rainfall as the route will be muddy and slippery.

You can view a live weather forecast of Wetton and the surrounding area on the MET office here and BBC Weather here.

The Chee Dale stepping stones can become submerged in periods of heavy rain. You can check river levels for the River Wye here.

Chee Dale Walks including Stepping Stones

Below I’ve detailed my two favourite Chee Dale walks. The shortest walk goes over one set of stepping stones and the extended walk follows the Monsal trail to the south West to incorporate the second set of stepping stones before looping back.

Shortest & Easiest Chee Dale Stepping Stones Walk (Circular)

Extended Chee Dale Stepping Stones Walk (Circular)

Shortest & Easiest Chee Dale Stepping Stones Walk (Circular)

This walk takes you from Millers Dale car park to the Chee Dale Stepping Stones.

Route Overview

Walk Distance: 2.2 miles (3.6 km)

Walk Time: 1-1.5 hours

Walk Difficulty: Moderate

Path Quality: Poor

Walk Description: From Miller’s Dale Car Park start walking on the Monsal Trail to the west. You’ll soon pass Old East Buxton Lime Kilns. Just before you reach the bridge which stretches over the River Wye, take the path down the right of the bridge, following the sign for ‘Chee Dale’. You’ll then walk alongside the river Wye, following it into a steep gorge before finally walking over the stepping stones. You’ll climb some stairs back to the Monsal Trail and follow the Monsal Trail through Chee Tor tunnel, heading back to Miller’s Dale Car Park.

Terrain Description: A combination of narrow dirt trails with protruding rocks and roots, stepping stones and at times scrambling over rocks. I personally found that the terrain can be challenging at times.

Download Maps: GPX Track | KML file for maps.me

Disclaimer: These GPS files are provided free-of-charge for personal use only and may not be uploaded elsewhere. By downloading you acknowledge that walking can be dangerous and this GPS data is provided without any warranty and you absolve this website for any liability.

Stage 1: Millers Dale to Chee Dale

From Miller’s Dale Car Park, take the path at the far left of the Car Park. You’ll see Millers Dale Station and platform on your left. Start walking on the Monsal Trail to the west (signposted to Wye Dale). This is a flat pathway surrounded by trees.

Monsal trail walk to Chee Dale
Beginning of the Monsal trail walk to Chee Dale sign posted to Wye Dale

You’ll soon pass Old East Buxton Lime Kilns. From 1880 until 1944, this structure housed lime kilns that produced over 50 tonnes of quicklime per day. Today the kilns are home to wildlife including swifts and bats.

Old East Buxton Lime Kilns
Heading inside the Old East Buxton Lime Kilns to explore

You can explore inside the Old East Buxton Lime Kilns and see the ‘eyes’ at the bottom of the kiln where the quicklime was removed by a man and boy team. Quite an unpleasant job as the lime was caustic and would burn your skin.

The ‘eyes’ at the bottom of the kiln where the quicklime was removed
One of the ‘eyes’ at the bottom of the kiln where the quicklime was removed by a man and boy team.

Just before you reach the abseiling bridge which stretches over the River Wye, take the path down the right of the bridge, following the sign for ‘Chee Dale’.

Chee Dale signpost before abseiling the bridge
Turn right at the signpost pointing to Chee Dale just before abseiling the bridge

The bridge will be on your left as you walk down towards the river Wye. Turn right once you reach the river and walk alongside the river.

Abseiling bridge on the chee dale walk
Walk down to the river Wye past the Abseiling bridge on the left

Continue to follow the river Wye and soon you will see a crossroads with a signpost which says “Difficult footpath & likely to flood in wet weather. Alternative routes via Blackwell or Wormhill. Assuming conditions are OK, proceed straight ahead onto this footpath.

If conditions are very poor you may need to take the alternative path over the bridge.

Chee Dale walk flooding warning message
Chee Dale walk flooding warning message

Stage 2: Chee Dale to the Monsal Trail via the Stepping Stones

Follow the route with the river on your left. Parts of the path are made of wooden planks covered by mesh for grip and the parts without can be quite muddy. The trail is uneven and you’ll find yourself carefully climbing up and down precarious natural rocky staircases.

Rocky decent on the chee dale stepping stones walk
The Rocky descent required some bum shuffling in the wet

At times the path is almost completely weathered away and you find yourself having to contend with steep banks or walking over partially submerged rocks. I decided to walk over the partially submerged stones but I’d recommend navigating over the roots to the right as the rocks are quite slippery and I ended up falling into the steam.

Weathered chee dale walk path
Some parts of the path are quite weathered

Continue to follow the trail as it winds its way through the Chee Dale Valley. The walk takes you briefly away from the river and over a small wooden bridge which crosses over wormhill springs, streams which feed the River Wye.

Small wooden bridge which crosses over wormhill springs
After the bridge there is a scramble up the slope to the left

You then scramble up a narrow path before a rocky descent back down towards the river Wye. As it was wet during my visit I did find myself bum shuffling down some of the rocky descent.

Rocky decent near chee dale stepping stones
I found this decent down to the river quite challenging in the wet

Continue walking into the stunning deep limestone gauge with the River Wye on your left. Navigate the sometimes challenging pathway overlooked by towering crags and majestic slopes of carboniferous limestone.

Wall of limestone, chee dale
An impressive wall of limestone overlooking the River Wye known as Chee Tor

Shortly after a huge wall of limestone on your right, you’ll reach the Chee Dale Stepping Stones. The stepping stones take you down the river under the overhanding limestone rather than across it.

Ella Mckendrick crossing chee dale stepping stones
Hopping over the stepping stones

After the stepping stones continue along the path until you reach a large bridge on your left. Cross the bridge and follow the path round to the right.

Bridge
Cross left over the wooden bridge

Stage 3: Return to Millers Dale Car Park along the Monsal Trail

If you fancy a slightly longer walk (+1 hour) to see the second set of stepping stones, jump to my extended walk directions. 

Otherwise, to start the return leg, take a sharp left to climb some stairs back to the Monsal Trail.

Steps up to monsal trail
Follow the steps up to the Monsal trail

Turn right to follow the Monsal Trail through Chee Tor tunnel.

Continue straight along the Monsal Trail passing the abseiling bridge on your way (the one you turned right before crossing on the outward leg), all the way back to Miller’s Dale Car Park.

Chee Tor Tunnel Chee Dale
Chee Tor Tunnel

At the Car Park you can treat yourself to food and drinks at the Refreshment Room, located on the old station platform.

Extended Chee Dale Stepping Stones Walk (Circular)

This walk takes you from Millers Dale Car Park to both sets of Chee Dale Stepping Stones and back.

Route Overview

Walk Distance: 3.1 miles (5 km)

Walk Time: 2-2.5 hours

Walk Difficulty: Moderate

Path Quality: Poor

Walk Description: This walk is an extended version of the quick walk above. Instead of heading back on the Monsal Trail tunnels after the first set of stepping stones you continue along the footpath with the River Wye now on your right. Once you reach a wooden bridge you cross the River Wye which is now on your left. You continue to the second set of setting stones before exiting onto the Monsal trail and follow through the tunnels back to the Car Park.

Terrain Description: A combination of narrow dirt trails with protruding rocks and roots, stepping stones and at times scrambling over rocks. I personally found that the terrain can be challenging at times.

Download Maps: GPX File | KML file for maps.me

Disclaimer: These GPS files are provided free-of-charge for personal use only and may not be uploaded elsewhere. By downloading you acknowledge that walking can be dangerous and this GPS data is provided without any warranty and you absolve this website for any liability.

Stage 1: Millers Dale to the Monsal Trail via the Stepping Stones

Follow stages 1 to 2 in the quickest walk above.

Stage 2: 

Continue along the footpath with the River Wye now on your right. 

You will eventually reach a wooden bridge crossing the River Wye. After crossing the bridge the river is now back on your left hand side.

Soon you will reach the second set of Chee Dale stepping stones. From there, it’s a short walk until you’ll see a large bridge towering above you and steps to the right which will take you onto the Monsal Trail.

Once on the Monsal trail take a left and follow through the tunnels back to the Car Park.

At the Car Park you can treat yourself to food and drinks at the Refreshment Room, located on the old station platform.

Chee Dale Walk Packing List

  • Rucksack
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Snacks / Picnic
  • Camera – the Chee Dale is one of the most beautiful in the Peak District with loads of points of interest to photograph.
  • Walking boots with ankle support
Good walking boots are essential in wetter weather

Cheedale Stepping Stones FAQs

How Long is the Chee Dale Stepping Stones Walk?

The shortest circular walk to Chee Dale stepping stones is from Millers Dale Car Park and takes around 1 – 1.5 hours.

If you want to incorporate the second set of stepping stones too, it takes 1.5-2hrs.

Is Chee Dale Dog-Friendly?

Yes, the Chee Dale reserve welcomes dogs as long as they are kept on a lead.

Can you Swim in the River Wye at Chee Dale

Chee Dale is a very popular choice for wild swimming in the Peak District. The best spots are near the end of the Monsal Trail.

Food and Drink Near Chee Dale

Located on the platform of the old Station at Millers Dale Car Park is the Refreshment Room cafe. Open 7 days per week 9:30am till 5pm.

Five minutes drive from the Millers Dale Car Park there are a number of cafes and pubs in Millers Dale. We opted for the Nelly’s Cafe as it has slightly better reviews than the Refreshment Room. We received a warm greeting and a delicious full english.

Full english at Nelly's cafe in Millers Dale
I ordered a full english at Nelly’s cafe in Millers Dale

Final Thoughts

The Chee Dale Stepping Stones are relatively hard to access as some of the paths are quite challenging, making it feel like an adventure to a secret valley. As long as you are physically fit and wear appropriate footwear it makes an amazing walk for the whole family.

You will be in paradise if you visit Chee Dale when the sun is streaming through the dense green canopy of the trees and ducks are frolicking in the river or building nests in the dense butterburs.

Ella McKendrick on Black Rock Viewpoint, Kenmore Scotland

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