June Walks Giveaway: Castleton & Mam Tor, Peak District
This walk is reproduced from our popular walking book 'Derbyshire & the Peak District Dog-Friendly Pub Walks'. A dog isn't required, but if you do have one, they will LOVE this walk.
📥 To download this walk and take it with you, click here!
CASTLETON & MAM TOR, PEAK DISTRICT
Visiting Castleton in the summer has its own particular charm because of the many walking routes available around Limestone Country. However, other times of the year, when paths may be more challenging, also stand out because of the village’s incredible appeal. Here you will walk up Cave Dale along the Limestone Way and then head across fields towards Mam Tor, where there are few clues to the important finds made beneath your feet. Back in the mid-18th century, miners working to extract lead under these hills came across a mineral that isn’t found anywhere else on Earth - it's called Blue John.
Blue John quickly became a must-have decoration in the mansion houses of northern England. Goblets, bowls, lamps and fireplaces were among the household objects given the Blue John treatment, with Chatsworth House one of those leading the trend. Today, a limited amount of Blue John is still mined in Castleton and you’ll be able to pick up your piece of decorative jewellery in one of the village shops.
HOW TO GET THERE AND PARKING
Castleton is located on the A6187 between Hope and Chapel-en-le-Frith.
Sat Nav: S33 8WN.
Parking: There is a large car park just down the road from the Castle at the visitor centre, as well as limited free parking on side streets.
OS Map: OL1 The Peak District Dark Peak Area. Grid ref: SK149829
1. From the car park, head back to the main road and turn left towards the village. Turn right down Castle Street by the Castle inn, walking up this side street towards the George pub and then turn left into Market Square just beyond it. Head for the far side of the square and take the path on the right signed for Cave Dale. Head along the small track, with cottages on either side, before passing through the limestone ‘cave entrance’ and taking the path beyond the gate.
2. This wonderful section of the walk takes you on the Limestone Way, a long-distance footpath that heads out of Castleton and treats those on it to some amazing natural scenery. There is an abundance of limestone on this initial part of the walk, giving you a good opportunity to look for fossils as you walk. Keep an eye out especially on the stone stiles. Steep cliff sides on both the left and right see limestone rocks towering over your head. Continue heading up this fairly steep slope, passing through an opening in the wall where the surroundings open up a little more. Follow the Limestone Way straight ahead, sticking to the drystone wall on your right. The terrain soon levels out; make sure you look behind to see the view emerging. One of the first treats you can make out is Lose Hill on the other side of the Hope Valley.
3. Further up the hill, go through the gate on the right and follow the path straight ahead. You’ll soon come to another gate and should take the path ahead towards the signpost. From here, take the bridleway going straight ahead and continue on up the hill. When you reach the top, you’ll come to a T-junction with a track passing in front of you. Turn right onto it.
4. When you get to another junction of paths, follow the track around to the right. You’ll be walking with a limestone wall on the right and a fence on the left. You can now see National Trust owned Mam Tor in front of you, which is where you want to head. You’ll come to another gate and should ignore the path heading off to the right, instead sticking to the track going straight forward. You will still be on course for Mam Tor, and can see the famous hill in the distance. The track takes you by a farm, which is also home to a campsite.
5. When you reach the road, carefully cross and then walk a little to the right, picking up the path on the other side that heads up the grassy bank. This is a steep section but is easy to follow – simply make your way to the other side of the field where you will see a gate. Cross the road carefully and head towards the other side of the field. The view out to the right over Hope Valley is worth stopping to dwell over. The ridge from Mam Tor can be seen leading to Hollins Cross, Lose Hill and then the definite peak of Win Hill in the distance.
6. At the top of the field, go through the gate and climb up the steps. Go through the gate on the right towards Mam Tor. There is a very easy to follow path leading right to the top and you should stick to this as you make your way to the summit. A trig point marks the spot of the highest point. Make your way down the far side of the hill. Pass through the gate and follow the path a little further where you will go through a second gate. Proceed along the ridge path towards Hollins Cross, which is marked by a stone marker.
7. From Hollins Cross, take the path on the right through the gate. You’ll see two paths and need to take the one on the left that descends into Castleton. Stick to this winding path as you make a steady way down the hill, going through the gate and following the bridleway to Hollowford Road. This brings you out at a road, which leads you into Castleton. When you reach a junction, turn right and follow the road through the village past the Castle and back to the car park on your right.
- Alex Batho