Peak District

Three Shires Head from Clough House

On a sunny afternoon, why not go on a nice walk, through the wilderness of the Peak District, to a picnic by the riverside. Splash, paddle and swim in a picturesque scene straight from a BrontΓ© novel. The main event is a packhorse bridge over the river Dane, with miniature waterfalls and plunge pools. A walk to Three Shires Head from Clough House in the Peak District.


Parking is at Clough House car park, and is completely free. Start the walk across the road from the car park, through the wall and on to the gravel path. There is a sign posting the way to the ‘Cat and Fiddle Inn‘.

The initial walk is straight forward, but many scrambler/motorcross type vehicles and mountain bikers passed us along the way. It seems very popular for 2 wheels! Cross the footbridge and carry on up the stony track.

The trail ascends slightly, passing woodland on your left. After 15 minutes or so (depending on how fast the kids walk!) you will come to a fork. Go right where it starts slightly upwards. Follow this way for another 15 minutes and you will see the A54 come into view. *Please be careful when crossing as the road bends and people drive with speed.

The River Dane

Cross the road to the ladder down into the field below. You will have to hop over the crash barrier. Go straight over the field to the kissing gate and walk on through. Head downhill left (11 o’clock from the wall), down this field towards the vehicle track at the bottom. Turn right, follow the track and turn left at the next gate. The track is worn so keep following until you hit a gate and a footbridge. Just after this bridge, the river will come into view on your left hand side. If you want somewhere quiet to have your picnic, a stile offers passage down to the river here, where it is not as popular.

If you want to get to Three Shire Heads, carry on walking and it will manifest before you soon. The day we came here, the sun was out and it was not long after lockdown had been lifted. There were crowds and it was very popular. I’m not sure if this is always the case, but it was a Sunday and most people had been stuck inside for 3 months!

Three Shire Heads

Three Shire Heads is the name given to the bridges that cross over the river. Rock formations create waterfalls that lead to mini pools. Oliver jumped from a rock (as many children were doing) that is about as high as a bedroom window, into a plunge pool below. Initially, the water is cold, but very refreshing after our hot walk down.

Three Shires Head

There are smaller pools dotted around for the little ones to paddle around in. If it’s not too busy, you can lay your towel around the edge and sunbathe.

The rock to the left is the one to jump from!


Altogether the walk is around 2 miles there and back, around an hour each way. The track is fairly easy to navigate for little legs, but because of the road crossing, wheelchairs are a no go. Pushchairs are possibly OK, if you can get a hand to lift them up and down.

Three Shire Heads from Clough House is a perfect walk for little legs, and to relax while the kids have fun in the water.

For more walks around the Peak District, why not try Milldale to Dovedale, a cave exploring route, or Weaver Hill.

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