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:
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.
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 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).