Castleton is a village situated in the Hope Valley in the heart of the Peak District National Park. Surrounded by hillsides and overlooked by Mam Tor it’s a perfect place for runners and hikers with a network of trails across varied terrain.
Here are 3 of the best Castleton routes which I’ve recently explored…
Cave Dale Circular Route
Distance: 3.78 miles
Elevation Gain: 774ft
Sarah and I came across this route by chance while looking for the castle on the hill. Cave Dale is also known as the Secret Valley, which feels appropriate as the entrance is hidden from view through a narrow opening in the rock. We had the entire valley to explore by ourselves on a misty and chilly morning.
Cave Dale is a limestone gorge which was created by glacial meltwater carving a valley in the rock. The trail is rocky and uneven in places with lots of loose stones, so be careful with your footing. You pass by several small caves and disused mines within the limestone cliffs- they lead to caverns beneath the dale. The walk opens up to a beautiful view over the valley, including the ruins of Peveril Castle on the cliffs.
After following the trail to the road at Dirtlow Rake, turn left and follow the country lanes back into Castleton.
Lose Hill, Back Tor, Hollins Cross Circular Route
Distance: 3.95 miles
Elevation Gain: 980ft
We did this walk as part of the YHA Castleton Losehill Hall trip with guides from the hostel who made sure it was suitable for all abilities.
After leaving the hostel, we headed across grassy fields and over several stiles towards Lose Hill. Looking back over the valley, you can see the Breedon Cement Works building- it’s a bit of an eyesore on the horizon, but the factory provides valuable local employment outside the tourism sector.
Reaching the trig point on Lose Hill, follow the paved path along the Great Ridge. To the right, you will see the moorland plateau of Kinder Scout and to the left, the valley with Castleton Village. It is possible to continue walking on to Mam Tor, but we turned at Hollins Cross and started to descend. Follow Hollowford Road and Robinsland Lane back to the YHA.
Mam Tor Circular Route
Distance: 3.25 miles
Elevation Gain: 823ft
Mam Tor is a famous viewpoint and landmark- it’s probably one of the most popular walks in the Peak District. The name Mam Tor means “mother hill” because frequent landslips have resulted in a multitude of mini hills beneath it.
I did this route earlier this year when there was thick snow on the ground, so it was a little difficult to follow the paths and we ended up scrambling up a grass slope! The summit is exposed to wind and gets but you are rewarded with far-reaching views of Edale, Peveril Castle and the Hope Valley.
From the summit, follow the flagstones along the ridge towards Hollins Cross. Turn right and go through the gate descending through a wooded section.
Have you ever visited Castleton? What are your favourite Peak District walking/running routes?
I stayed at YHA Castleton Losehill Hall as a guest of YHA, but all opinions are my own.