Why the inspiring Padley Gorge Walk is amazing for anxiety
What is Padley Gorge?
Ok so here I am telling you to go for a walk at a place called Padley Gorge. But what on Earth is Padley Gorge?! And why is this girl tryna get me to go on a Padley Gorge walk? As if you’re like me as soon as you hear the word gorge you palms start sweating, your heartbeat quickens a little bit and your like ahhh shit I can’t walk in a gorge that is for ‘proppa’ walkers’ and ‘hikers’ . First of all let me say your mind is lying to you! If you want to do a gorge walk you certainly bloody can, and secondly Padley Gorge is a beautiful valley out in Derbyshire, UK.
Padley Gorge is a deep and quite narrow valley which has a stream flowing through the middle of it, with trees either side and pathways for you to follow. It is a little slice of heaven right on the edge of the Peak district. It has places to go swimming, exploring, searching for wildlife and even has a couple of tree swings. This place has something for everyone, solo walkers, families and couples of all ages! Having done the walk as part of all three of these categories I can personally vouch for it!
Alright then, so where exactly is it?
The Padley Gorge walk is in the North of England in an area called the Peak district, in Derbyshire. It’s closest city is Sheffield, and from where I live (the south of Sheffield) it is roughly a 20 minute drive to get to it. This is what is so magical about this national park as you are so close to a big city and yet can drive 20 minutes and be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields, hilltops and wildlife.
It is wonderful and really amazing for your mental health, As it is proven that getting outside, filling your lungs with fresh air and taking time away massively benefits your mental health. It is my go to thing for when I’m particularly anxious. If you need help to do this here is a post I wrote, to help you 🙂
Padley gorge is just below the Longshaw estate which you can park on the road by, and make you walk a little longer should you wish too. Alternatively you can park at the top of Padley Gorge where the walk starts, though you need to get there early as parking spaces can fill up fast, especially if it’s a beautiful British summer’s day!
There are 2 ice cream vans always parked here so you can grab yourself a treat before and / or after the walk!
So how do I get there?
You can drive to your Padley Gorge walk here is the postcode you need to put in S32 2HY, though I know as a teenager this wasn’t an option for me! And may not also be for you! But not to worry Public transport takes you here! The first option is by Train! The closest train station is Grindleford Station. Here is also an amazing café called Grindleford Station Cafe which does a banging full English breakfast and a good brew. You can also get takeaway drinks for your walk.
Alternatively you can get the bus. This bus goes directly from Sheffield city centre and takes roughly 50 minutes to get out into Derbyshire. The bus will drop you off at the Fox House pub and it is a short walk down to Padley Gorge from here.
The Padley Gorge Walk
The beauty of this Padley Gorge walk is it can be as long or as short as you want it to be! I mean what more can you want?! It can also be a circular walk or a linear walk. As if you start your walk and think, yeah I’ve had enough now, and there isn’t a bridge for you to cross over to the other side, you can simply turn around and go back to the start. Also you can make the walk super short, just park up, find a nice place to sit by the river and have a picnic, get some yummy ice cream, have a swim and then go back home!
We all know what it’s like when your out on a walk and your wanting to have a picnic but there just isn’t a bag that will fit everything in. And lets face it the last thing you want to do is be walking with lots of different bags. It’s not comfortable, and makes the walk unenjoyable. Therefore this picnic rucksack has everything you could possibly need! Cutlery, glasses, plates, a blanket and a wine bottle cooler (which is the most important thing lets face it).
As I have mentioned throughout this post, there are different points in which you can start this walk. This depends entirely on how long you would like to walk (and if you can get parked or not). The standard walk is starting at the top of Padley Gorge, where the Ice cream trucks are. At the start you will find free roaming cows (so make sure if you have a dog they are on a lead). Then from here you can either stay on the side you start on or cross over one of the bridges and go that way. Either way to start your walk you need to turn left and head down the gorge. I personally tend to cross over the bridge, for no other reason than I have always done it, so its force of habit. The path is a little wider this way as well so it may be easier for you to start here.
After you’ve turned left and begin to head down there will be a gate, go through the gate and just keep heading down! Once you get through the gate it is ok for you to let your dog of it’s lead as there will be no free roaming cows or calves. The river will be to the side of you and this will follow you all the way down to the bottom. Here you’ll just be surrounded by trees, it’s beautiful, and so peaceful! And this walk is super easy as I have taken my three year old step son on it. And he loved jumping off the rocks!
For me the Padley gorge walk is so amazing because it’s a relatively easy walk with a pathway to show you were to go, and within minutes you are just surrounded by beautiful woodland, you can hear the water running and I just feel my anxiety melt away as I really begin to connect with nature. There are several paths down to the water should you want to go and have a swim. Again water really eases my anxiety, as it gives me something to focus on and I find running water incredibly relaxing.
After about 20 minutes of walking (depending on your speed) you will notice a path down to the water with a bridge should you want to cross over and head back. But also down this pathway is a tree swing! Which even in my late 20’s I love to go on! It’s so much fun, and makes me feel like a care free kid again! If you were to turn back now the walk would be roughly an hour.
As I said there are plenty of bridges for you to cross over and keep this walk to your preferred length and keep it circular. Or you can keep going down to Grindleford station, grab yourself something to eat and drink and head back up! It honestly is entirely up to you. Something that should be noted is that you can also start the walk from here! If you get the train into Derbyshire this is where you will get off it, and then you just start the walk from the opposite direction. Once you arrive at the station walk up to the café, and turn left and follow the path.
You’ll go past a couple of houses and then end up in the gorge! To do the walk from Grindleford to Padley gorge will take you between an hour and half to two hours. Again entirely depending on your pace. For me personally I like to walk a little slower, take pictures, feel the fresh air fill my lungs and really be a part of my surroundings.
Then there is extending by approximately 30 minutes and adding a walk through the Longshaw estate. This is a super easy walk as it has a path way to follow and a relatively even ground. There is also a café here should you want to get some refreshments. This is where a lot of people tend to park if they can’t get parked next to Padley. Then you can either walk alongside the road to Padley Gorge or walk through longshaw.
You can also go a little further if you like and head up to Surprise view (head straight across don’t turn left at the top of the Padley Gorge walk. Here you will get a stunning view over the valley and down into Hathersage. It truly is breath taking!
Ok so why is this good for my anxiety?!
As briefly mentioned before getting outside is proven to help mental health. Getting fresh air, taking yourself out of the house, getting a change of scenery and being able to focus on something else. We have a tendency to just keep ourselves stuck when we feel in a rut.
As our mind can convince us that the outside world is too scary for us. And yes sometimes it is. But also It is amazing and to get out into nature and surround yourself with trees, fields, wildlife and water when your mind is running several marathons a day will really ease it.
Water really helps my anxiety, I find it calming and love wild swimming. I feel free and my mind focuses only on that. Natural bodies of running water really helps my mind to slow down as well. As I just focus on listening to that.
This walk is amazing when your anxiety is being a dickhead. As you can go on it for as long or as little as you like. It doesn’t require a lot of brain work as you just follow the path and there are some beautiful spots for picnics or cafes to grab something.
Something I highly recommend for when you are struggling with your anxiety is affirmation cards. I say my affirmations every single day and they have helped my mental health so so much! Here is a pack of 5 positive affirmation cards, that come in a super cute bag so they can be kept with you at all times without the risk of being damaged. The affirmation cards have been created to encourage positive thinking, grounding, confidence and calmness when travelling. Empowering you to be your best self.
If you do struggle with anxiety check out my post with different things to help you!
As always please try and be kind to yourself
I just know you’ll love this walk.