Thor’s Cave: a wonderful walk in the Manifold Valley, Derbyshire

Did you know that in England’s Peak District there’s somewhere called Thor’s cave? And that it’s a fairly easy walk with some amazing views?

We did the walk to Thor’s Cave recently and this post will give you some information if you also want to copy our route and enjoy the beautiful Manifold Valley around.

View of Thor's Cave in Peak District, Derbyshire
View of Thor’s Cave from Manifold Way Footpath

Our most recent stay in the Peak District brought us within walking distance of Thor’s Cave from our holiday cottage. Although the weather was atrocious for us, we managed one day when it didn’t rain to make the walk – and it was well worth it!

Being a big MCU fan I’d heard about Thor’s Cave before we moved away from the area and always planned a walk there but for some reason we never made it (I’ll blame the events of 2020!). I mean, who can resist a cave named after the God of Thunder?

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Where is Thor’s Cave?

(zoom out on the map to see where Thor’s Cave is in relation to the rest of England)

Thor’s Cave is located in an area of the Peak District called the Manifold Valley. It’s at the southern end of the Peak District area on the border between Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

The closest village, and the one we stayed in, is called Wetton.

The nearest large towns are Ashbourne and Leek. It’s very much in the depths of the countryside here with winding roads, small villages and plenty of sheep!

Tip: keep an eye on where your sat nav is taking you. As we were staying in Wetton we managed to drive no end of weird and wonderful roads that took us over hills and down valleys! Not all the roads are wide enough for two cars.

Thor’s cave circular walk route

As I mentioned above, Wetton is the village closest to the cave and that’s where the walk starts. There’s also a car park there, toilets and refreshments in the village (see below).

From the car park you’ll want to head away from the village and then turn right down Well End Lane. Once you get to the end of this road, head left on Leek Road. There’s normally some sign posts around directing you towards Thor’s Cave.

footpath to Thors cave
footpath to Thor’s Cave (return path to the left)

You’ll see on your left a footpath and a field next to it. The field also has another public footpath and that’s the one that you should walk through and downhill. (The first footpath you see is where you’ll return from)

You’ll walk downhill towards a wooded area. Keep walking through these woods and eventually you’ll see a footpath that branches to the left and upwards. Don’t miss this like we did!

If you do miss the turning then you can always head down to the bottom to get a nice view of the cave from below. This brings you out at the Manifold Way footpath.

The path that branches off will now start to climb upwards. There’s steps which make the footpath easier but it’s quite a climb if, like me, you’re not in the best of shape! Others will find it fine – our 10 year old dog also managed it with ease!

Keep an eye on the steps around here as you might see that many of them have fossils in them. I imagine they are made of limestone from the surrounding area and you can see so many interesting things in them! (Was an excuse for me to catch my breath!)

warning sign at Thors Cave
Tantalising glimpse of the cave and a warning sign – nearly there!

Eventually you’ll arrive at Thor’s Cave and you’ll be greeted with the most spectacular view of the hill and valley around. It’s truly stunning!

View from entrance to Thor's Cave, Derbyshire
My dog showing me how it’s done – the view from the entrance of Thor’s Cave

For more stunning views you can walk on top of the cave and around it. Since we had our dog we decided not to do that and just enjoyed the views from the entrance.

entrance to Thor's cave
The entrance of the cave that you can climb into

To return to Wetton and the car park you’ll want to walk around the cave following the footpath and then head back through some fields. The path is well worn so you shouldn’t have an issue following it. You might come across some cows and livestock this way so make sure your dog is on a lead.

Eventually you’ll be walking along a small lane that will lead you to where you began, you’ll walk back down Well End Lane and then left on to Carr Lane to the car park.

If you have time, definitely explore the village where there’s a small pub and a cafe that’s open in high season too. A great place to get refreshments!

Where to park near Thor’s Cave

Wetton is the village you’re looking for and there’s a dedicated car park on the south side.

The postcode for Wetton is DE6 2AF and the street name for the car park is Carr Lane.

It’s a small car park that may get busy in the height of summer and on bank holidays so be aware of that. There’s public toilets there too.

Accommodation near Thor’s Cave

If you’re looking to stay in the Peak District and fancy having Thor’s Cave on your doorstep then I can highly recommend the tiny village of Wetton as a destination.

We found a small cottage using Sykes Cottages (this is the exact one we booked). VRBO is also worth looking at as they have a number of properties to book nearby – take a look here.

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Kirsty Bartholomew

Kirsty Bartholomew is a travel expert and has been getting lost around the world for over 30 years and writing about it for over 10 of those. She loves to help people explore her favourite places in Scotland, England and beyond. She cannot stay away from historical sites.

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