Castleton, Edale & Hope
This is a dramatic drive with breathtaking scenery.
As you drive from the direction of hope to Castleton, you arrive in this pretty Derbyshire village.
Castleton is one of the most beautiful villages in the Peak District. It has an array of natural and historical features both above and below ground, and is surrounded by superb walking country. Whatever the weather Castleton has something to offer everyone. High above the village stand the imposing ruins of Peveril Castle (inaccessible). The castle was completed in 1086 for William Peverel, a favoured knight of William the Conqueror (although there is no proof that he was William's illegitimate son as is sometimes thought).
To the west of Castleton lies Mam Tor, locally known as the shivering mountain. Topped by an iron-age hill fort, who's ramparts are clearly still visible, this shale hillside looms large over the valley. From there runs The Great Ridge, past Hollins Cross to Losehill Pike at the eastern end. Overlooking the two valleys of Hope and Edale, and giving stunning views, Mam Tor Ridge is a popular local walk (inaccessible).
Castleton is now famed for its four show caves, once all lead mines, each offering a different experience to the visitor, although the only cave in the village itself is Peak Cavern, home of rope makers through the centuries. The entrance to Peak Cavern is the largest in Europe at 40ft high and 100ft wide, and is large enough for cottages and even an inn to have been built inside, some of which have been excavated recently.
Speedwell Cavern offers a boat ride underground through half a mile of passages to the end, with views down the ‘Bottomless Pit'.
Treak Cliff Cavern has two distinctly different series of caves. The first half is full of minerals and fossils including the local fluorspar unique to the area, called Blue John. As you walk through the cave, veins of the stone are visible and the cave contains the largest known single piece of Blue John in The Pillar. The second half of the cave is completely different, resembling a fairytale world of stalactites and stalagmites.
Blue John Mine, opposite Mam Tor, is the deepest of the caves and also contains Blue John stone, but its real beauty is in the vastness of the cave system.
NOTE : ALL CAVERNS IN CASTLETON ARE INACCESSIBLE TO WHEELCHAIRS BUT THE SCENERY IS DRAMATIC
For more information on the village and its history, call in at the Castleton Visitor Centre, which combines the village Historical Society's museum and the National Park Information Centre.
If you plan spending the day here, be sure to check out our Castleton Itinerary, which gives a variety of things to see and do in and around the village.
Continuing through the village you will notice the left hand road up to Winnett’s pass. The road winds through a cleft, surrounded by towering limestone pinnacles.
As you drive up, a car park with views is on the right, opposite Speedwell Cavern. The road cuts through the hillside with a steep climb.
At the top, you turn right at the junction. Continue along for a short distance and take the right hand turn to Blue John Cavern. Head straight ahead to the car park and at the far end you can park and sit and admire the Hope Valley, Mam Tor, Lose Hill, Castleton, Hope and Bamford lie before you. A great place for a flask and coffee (refreshments and ice creams are available at Blue John Cavern but someone would need to take a 2 minute walk as the road is steep and not suitable for cars). Return back to junction and turn right continuing the drive.
After passing the Mam Tor Car Park a road turns right to Edale. Take this narrow road as it climbs and goes over Mam Tor/Rushup Edge. The views are beautiful. In August the heather turns the valley purple. You continue on this road as it passes Barber Booth (car park and picnic spot).
Continue along this road passing Edale, you can turn left into the village with refreshments at the Honeypot Cafe, the Ramblers and the The Old Nags Head. The Moorland Visitor Centre is also in the village (with disabled toilets).
Returning to the main road through the valley, continue with lovely views passing the Cheshire Cheese pub on your right before meeting the main road A6187 at Hope. Turn right back to Castleton or left leads to Hathersage