Castleton, with the limestone gems of the White Peak to the south, and the coarse gritstone of the Dark Peak to the north, is the best base from which to explore some of the best attractions of the High Peak district and beyond. Nestled in the West of the Hope Valley, Mam Tor, Peveril Castle, Win Hill, Kinder Scout, amongst many other Peak District highlights are within a walkable distance from Castleton, with walks compensating for all ages and levels of ability.
Here is a thorough run-down the best walks in and around the Castleton vicinity.
Castleton Mam Tor Circular Walk
Walking Time: 3-4 Hours
Distance: 5.5 Miles
Top Tip: This walk involves a lot of uneven grounding – particularly on the abandoned, and aptly named, ‘broken road’ – so wear appropriate footwear!
Description: Starting at the Castleton Visitor Centre, follow Buxton Road for 150 metres, and keep an eye out for a public footpath on the right, which takes you down a smooth path towards a stream. Continue along this footpath as it takes you uphill, past a horse-powered ore crusher, and proceed towards the ‘broken road’. The ‘broken road’ is a fascinating abandoned road, originally built in 1819. The frequent landslides that occurred on the eastern face of Mam Tor made it difficult to maintain, hence why it was later abandoned. Continue along this road until you reach the top of the road, at which point you should follow the uphill-running path until a ridge is reached. From this point, you’ll be able to easily identify the ‘yellow brick road’ which leads you directly to the summit of Mam Tor.
Mam Tor itself is a fascinating peak and is often referred to as the ‘Mother Hill’ due to the plethora of surrounding smaller peaks, which are created by frequent landslides. One of the Seven Wonders of the Peak (according to English philosopher Thomas Hobbes in 1636), Mam Tor offers unbeatable circular views of the Hope Valley, Kinder Scout, and many other treasures of the White and Dark Peak.
The same path that leads uphill continues across the summit and goes downhill, running parallel with a road, which leads you to the A623. Cross the road and, walking on the left, go through the gate and continue through a field, which takes you further downhill. Repeat this action again when you come across the A623 a second time. After this, a narrow road should appear; follow this until you reach a farm gate with a stile. After this, follow the path, and you will eventually reach Cave Dale.
Cave Dale is valley of limestone and is worth spending a bit of time exploring. At the end of the valley, you’ll come across a triangular shaped patch of grass; follow the left side of this along until you reach Castle Street, which takes you back to Castleton.
Peveril Castle, Cavedale and Caverns Walk
Walking Time: 3 hours
Distance: 5.9 miles
Top Tip: This route involved a lot of stiles that need to be climbed.
Description: Starting at the Castleton village carpark, walk towards the village main road, and follow this as it bends past the church. After that, a small, signposted path emerges in between two cottages, which leads you to one of the ridged sides of Cave Dale. Take in the imposing banks of either side of this impressive limestone valley as you pass under the former Norman Fortress, Peveril Castle.
Peveril Castle is a ruinous fortification dating back to the 11th Century. It is believed the Norman’s settled at this location to take advantage of the natural lookout and defensive walls created by Cave Dale. Peveril Castle is worth visiting as an educational experience and showcases what it was like to live in a medieval fortification.
Continuing in the same direction as Cave Dale, a wall will start to appear on your right, as you reach flatter grounding. Once an information board is reached, turn right, and climb over several stiles until you reach a field. Traverse this field and after crossing another stile, turn right, and walk towards B6061. This road takes you round Winnats Pass – a picturesque limestone gorge.
After Winnats Pass, you will reach the first couple of caverns: Blue John Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern. This is one of the few locations in which the rare gemstone, Blue John, is mined, and both caverns are worth visiting for their respective caving experiences.
A concrete path will lead to to Speedwell Cavern, and just below this, you’ll find a path that leads you back to Castleton.
Castleton to Win Hill Circular
Walking Time: 4-6 hours
Distance: 9.25 miles
Top Tip: This is recommended for experts, as it is slightly lengthier with a steep ascent.
Description: Leave Castleton via the A6187 in the direction of Hope, running parallel to the Peakshole Water, and after roughly 1km, cross the railway line (carefully!), and continue along to Hope. Head towards Hope Railway Station and cross the bridge; follow the path on the right, before taking the first left down a footpath, which leads you directly to Aston. Continue along this same path through Aston; when this path ends, turn left and walk towards Edge Farm. After roughly half a kilometre, Win Hill will emerge on your right.
Its only about a kilometre walk to the top of Win Hill, with a summit of 462m. As you make the ascend, Win Hill reveals a perfect view of the winding River Noe and Ladybower Reservoir.
On the way down, take the same path you ascended the hill with, only, after 300m, you’ll find a path that heads west; take this towards a woodland area. This same footpath takes you past Lose Hill, and back across the railway line. Once Townhead Bridge is reached, walk along the road for a small stretch, until you reach a footpath on the right-hand side. Follow this path uphill in southern direction, which leads to Losehill Farm, then Spring House Farm, and, eventually, Castleton!
Vale of Edale Circular Walk
Walking Time: 2.5 hours
Distance: 7 miles
Top Tip: This walk passes by numerous farms so be vigilant for grazing livestock. There are also numerous stiles that need to be climbed over.
Description: This walk is a 15-minute drive outside of Castleton but is worth it for both tranquillity and views of the famed Great Ridge offered. Starting from Edale’s carpark, walk up the town’s main street, passing by the station and the church, until you you reach the Old Nags Head, at which point, turn left down Pennine Way. The Pennine Way takes you through several fields and continues onto Upper Booth. When you come across a phone booth, turn right, and follow a path onto the River Noe. Cross the footbridge and start uphill, while passing through light forestry.
Cross the walled stile, then head to the right, over a particularly muddy terrain, until you reach a gate. From this point, footpaths should lead you on towards Cowburn tunnel and Dalehead bunkhouse. Continue in the same direction until a road is reached, at which point, turn right towards Barber Booth. Look out for footpath no.22, in the direction of Castleton, and follow this down into Harden Clough. Turn right at Harden Clough towards Greenlands and follow the bridleway on the left.
Continuing down this Bridleway, the Great Ridge will slowly reveal itself to you, which boasts spectacular views of both Castleton and the greater Hope Valley. Continue down the Great Ridge until Hollins Cross, where you should turn left, and descend a considerably steep path, which takes you past Peter Barn and onto the Vale of Edale. On your right, you will be able to view the great Mam Tor.
Turn right at Edale road and follow the signposts onto Ollerbrook, which leads you back to Edale.