If you are lucky to arrive at Castleton on a sunny day, you ought to do some trekking around its dramatic surrounding hills and go caving for something extraordinary. Also, pay a visit to the castle in Castleton - it’s obvious, right?
The hills around Castleton are only around 500 meters but they form some drastic views with Winnai Pass the most striking to the eyes:
This path [picture bellow] also looks like it comes out of a Lord of the Rings movie. If you look long and hard, you will see some trekkers in my photo.
It is not difficult to find a walk with amazing views around Castleton but the "Mam Tor Circular Walk" is probably the most famous route. Starting from Castleton, you walk through parts of the Hope Valley, then climb up Lose Hill, drop down to a stroll along the windy ridge before ascending to Mam Tor peak. From there, you head downhill toward the Winnats Pass, pass Speedwell Cavern before you can turn into to track leading back to Castleton. Full details of the walk here.
This walk is 6,5 miles and takes 3 hours or more depending on how often you stop (to take a photo).
We did the short version of the walk, covering the part from Mam Tor to Lose Hill as we only fancied mountain climbing and didn’t have much time as, in January, the day was short (and the wind was cutting). We drove through the Winnats Pass and left the car at the parking lot at the foot of Mam Tor. After a hard but short climb, we were at the top overlooking the Hope Valley and catching the magnificent view of some paragliders on the sky.
Castleton has four underground show caves: Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern and Peak Cavern.
Speedwell Cavern, which lies underneath the Winnats Pass, is probably the most popular. It has an underground canal, which means you can take a boat trip in the cave. Fancy, right? The boat would take you to a place called Bottomless Pit, a water-filled cavern so big that you won’t be able to see to the top.
Peak Cavern is right below the Peveril Castle, which gives the town its name. It has an impressive mouth, the largest in Britain. In the past, the mouth area was used by rope makers to make ropes for the surrounding lead mines. There isn't a boat ride inside this cave, as I painfully found out at the end of our tour, but the cave is still worth a visit if you have the time.
Pro-tip: If you volunteer to help with the rope-making demonstration, you will get the rope as a souvenir. How cool is that - having a rope made by you?
Blue John Cavern and Treak Cliff contain the treasured, pretty blue and yellow fluorspar called Blue John, which is only found in this area of Britain.
You can combine this visit with your walk but leave enough time to wander the ground of the 11th-century castle. Back in its day, the castle was only for the royal families and their chosen guests. It stood on the high ground protecting the town of Castleton and its surrounding valley. Now, the walls have fallen the test of time and thieves, but you can still visit the keep and admire what’s left standing for almost a thousand years.
Last but not anyhow least, stop by a pub for a pint of two after the walk. Castleton has quite a few decent looking pubs considering it being a small town.
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