A Photographer’s Guide to Padley Gorge

In my recent video I was back at Padley Gorge in the Peak District. It’s a place I visit often, because I live quite nearby and it’s a fantastically photogenic place to capture woodland and waterfall images. If you’ve never been, I thoroughly recommend a trip, and to help out with that, I’ve collected all the information a photographer might need for a superb day of photography at this amazing location.

Where?

Padley Gorge is a deep, narrow valley in the Peak District, Derbyshire, England. It is actually classed as temperate rainforest with incredible, gnarly Oak and Birch trees either side of the gorge, forming part of Yarncliff Wood.

It can be accessed from Grindleford, near the train station, or further north, from the B6521.

Parking

There are lots of parking options around Padley Gorge. The National Trust has a carpark at its Longshaw Estate site.

Members can park for free and it’s £5 for non-members (over 4hrs). From there it’s a pleasant 10-15 minute walk through Longshaw Estate. When you reach the Granby Barn, cross the B6521 road and through the small gate directly opposite.

At the opposite end of the Gorge, parking is available on Midland Cottages road at £2 for 24hrs.

Free parking can be found on the B6251, around the gate opposite Granby Barn. Look out for the ice cream van that parks there but make sure you get there early, as it fills up fast!

What To Photograph

Padley Gorge is a photographer’s paradise, it’s hard to come away from the place without several great shots! Woodland lovers will enjoy the twisting and winding trees found in the wooded areas around the gorge. Find yourself there on a foggy morning and you may just come away with some wonderfully atmospheric woodland image.

Enchanted Path by Robert Bishop

If waterfalls are more your thing, then you won’t be disappointed. The gorge is home to several falls, cascading over marvellously mossy rocks. Try to get there after rainfall to maximise the impact of the flowing water.

Padley Gorge by Robert Bishop
Padley Gorge by Robert Bishop

It doesn’t end there though. There are plenty of photographic opportunities for macro and close-up shots, as well as abundant wildlife, if birds, squirrels and the like are your preferred genre.

Food and Facilities

The Grindleford Station Cafe is ideally situated at one end of the gorge, providing a useful stop for toilets and refreshments. Take some cash with you, as card payments are not accepted. I like to start my walk up near the ice cream van, and walk down through the valley so that the cafe is half-way through the walk. Then I can carry on up the other side of the gorge after breakfast and coffee! Here’s my usual route:


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