walking | Thor's Cave & the Manifold Valley
What and where is Thor's Cave?
A natural cavern sat in the White Peak area of the Peak District in Staffordshire, Thor's Cave is a very popular tourist destination and has great views all the way up the Manifold Valley. It used to be served by a train station, but sadly those stopped in 1934 so you'll have to park in nearby Wetton instead and walk over. The site itself is a Karst cave, and has had numerous archaeological discoveries offering evidence of human occupation.
The cave is a limestone cave and is great for climbing, but take care if it has rained as it can be quite slippy.
Remember to stick to The Rules and have fun!
Get this route
Download our route and follow this yourself from either OS Maps or ViewRanger. OS Maps requires a subscription, which luckily you can get 10% off with Northern Stroll on any 12 month subscription. Check out our blog post for the code.
ViewRanger is free and much like OS Maps doesn't require any data to work. All you need is a GPS signal, especially if you have downloaded your maps beforehand. It also has OS Maps available as a layer inside the app.
Don't have ViewRanger on your phone yet? See our guide, or download it in your app store.
Starting at the Royal Oak pub, turn left and head down the main road until it forks left and right. Take the left fork, past the Wetton Tea Rooms on your left.
Follow the road and take the 5th turning on your left (technically straight on as the Leek road forks to the right again, but hey). This will continue on for some time.
The track will soon turn into a path and lead you on the descent to Thor's cave. Take care over this bit, as it can be slippy after heavy rainfall.
On leaving Thor's cave turn down the hill and follow the track to the valley floor, turning left when presented with a fork. Cross the bridge onto the manifold track, which is clear and easy to follow (and quite easy going underfoot).
From here it is easy to follow the route. Hug the river to your left, and follow the track.
After some time you will come across another bridge. Turn left and cross it onto Lakestone Lane. The road will zigzag but keep following it through the trees on either side to come out and be surrounded by fields. Shortly after you can turn left into a field immediately after a cattle grid and follow the public footpath. Eventually, you will join back up with the road.
Carry on up the road as it curves gentle round to the right. Be on the lookout for another public footpath to take you across the fields that will appear on your left hand side. You want to follow the track that starts sets of diagonally away from the road.
Follow this path as it leads you directly back to Wetton. You will cross 6 stiles on the way back through to the village, finding yourself on the main road near the Village Tea Rooms again. Head back to the pub for warmth and refreshment!
Key things to know:
Time: About 2-3 hours depending on your speed and stop at the cave
Distance: 3.33 miles
Elevation: 630 feet
How to get here:
Postcode: DE6 2AF for your start point (please park sensibly and respectfully of both the pub and residents).
Parking is rather tight around the local area, especially if the weather is nice and the pub is busy.