Thor's Cave and The Manifold Valley hike

Peak District
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Thor's Cave and The Manifold Valley hike

Distance: 9.2km
Elevation: 304m
Time: 2-3h

Difficulty Rating:

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9 Overall Rating
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This hike takes you for a walk around the hidden Manifold valley from the sleepy village of Wetton. You’ll follow a subterranean river system and hike through one of the largest natural caverns in the National park.

Thor's Cave and The Manifold Valley hike Map

Getting there

Take the A515 between Buxton and Ashbourne. There is a free car park with facilities just across the villages staggered junction.

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When to do

All Year

Backcountry Campsites

Yes. Big Hillsdale Farm OR Smith Fields campsites.


At trailhead

Family friendly


Route Signage


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Thor's Cave and The Manifold Valley
Elevation Graph

Route Description for Thor's Cave and The Manifold Valley hike

The hike starts from the car park in the little quiet village of Wetton. Follow the public footpath out of the village and towards Wetton Mill and the Manifold Valley – The River Manifold is subterranean and disappears underground for several miles at the Wetton Mill to reappear in Llam. Once out of Wetton village you will see a signposted farm track to Thor’s Cave that branches left.

Follow this farm track for half a kilometre and then climb right over the steps of the stile and down a small dale. Over the second stile contour around the hillside towards the mouth of the Cave, a spectacular 18m limestone opening.

After exploring the Cave, drop down the steps to your right and onto the Manifold Trail. Cross straight over the trail, across a stile, and up into Ladyside Wood following the trod to Grindon.

Aim for the church in Grindon where an adjacent laneway leads down towards Ossoms Farm, but before you reach the end of the laneway, and Ossom Farm, turn left onto a grassy bridleway and descend all the way down to the foot of Ossoms hill where you will meet a small stream.

Cross the stream and take a right, following Waterslacks, (the track parallel to the stream) all the way to Wetton Mill.

At Wetton Mill cross the stone bridge over the River Manifold. Follow the signed footpath through the farmyard and up the back of the Mill.

This path leads you into a narrow valley hidden between Sugarloaf and Wetton Hill. Follow the grassy path that goes around the left hand side of Wetton Hill.

Keep walking until you reach the tarmac lane leading to Manor House. Turn right here, climbing over the stile and across the brook. Follow the path up the back of Wetton Hill keeping the stone wall to your right. You do not summit the hill. After a short climb the grassy track will level off and lead you back down to the village of Wetton on an obvious path.

Insider Hints

  • Before you travel home, stop for a meal and a drink at the warm and friendly Royal Oak Inn. Be sure to ask the owner about the famous toe wrestling championship held here each summer!

  • Peckish on route? Stop at the National Trust Tea Rooms in Wetton Mill for an ice-cream or a cuppa before the final climb.

  • Don't forget to wear shoes with good grip as the limestone rock features can get slippery in wet weather.

  • You can take the bus to get here too. The 405 Leek- Wetton runs Monday to Friday. The 443 Ashbourne to Wetton Thursdays and Saturdays.


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Skirmante Baltuseviciute 2 weeks ago

Started 12 walked to thors cave and then walked to dovedale steping stones spent 6 hours on it was egxhausted but the views was all worth it. Definettely advise bringing lunch to have on one of the hills and drinks and wear hiking shoes :) our journey was physically very dificult because we parked far away to walk more :)

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
6h 00m Time Taken
Anna 1 month ago

Definitely recommend this hike.....was not difficult at all.....Thor's Cave wasn't amazing but anyway nice point to see on the way. The best time to go to the Cave is early still quiet. Only 1 very sad thing is that people leaving rubbish inside the Cave and treat this place like a toilet which was disgusting. We were enjoying a pretty slow walk and beautiful landscape. Don't waste your time for thinking...just GO!:)

7.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
3h 20m Time Taken
Jane 3 months ago

Thor's cave was amazing. I really love caves.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
SJ 3 months ago

Thor's Cave and the Manifold Valley hike is so interesting, definitely recommend it!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Iris Krukova 3 months ago

I liked this hike a lot. It had many things to see. The cave for me is not that interesting, but the views of the local farms and the valleys were really nice. It was quite wet when I went there, so bring good shoes.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
2h 30m Time Taken

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