Castleton. A town which conquered the hearts of Celts, Romans and later on Normans.. well more their pockets than the hearts but we will get to that later.
Castleton is a lovely old town located in the Hope Valley, in the Peak District (Derbyshire S33 8WG). Surrounded by many caverns and mountains, Castleton is the perfect place for a whole family day out. The most popular destination in this area is Mam Tor, also known as the 'Shivering Mountain’. The mountain was first inhabited by the Celts, and the remains of the old Iron Age hill fort and large enclosure can still be seen on the summit. The rich lead mines in the area quickly became very attractive for the Romans who soon took over Castleton.
There was possibly an Anglo Saxon settlement on the east side of the village, as there is an embankment running through the village, and S shaped strip fields on the east side, known as furlongs.
In 1066, William the Conqueror arrived and straight away knew that such riches cannot be left unprotected. He ordered to build a castle, which, in 1086, was given his son, William Peveril (the Peveril Castle and its owner are also mentioned in the Domesday Book). The castle never saw a battle and fell into ruin after 1480.
So, here we are, in 2018, rediscovering the area. There are multiple parking opportunities so you will definitely find a spot for your car. There is a large car park next to the tourist centre, one near the Peak Cavern and a smaller one near the Speedwell Cavern. There are also numerous parking spots on the main road. If you don’t have a car you can always travel by bus or train.
Castleton has a small bus station from where buses depart to Sheffield, Tideswell, Bakewell, Buxton, Baslow, and Chesterfield. The railway station is in Hope (1.9 miles away) but the good news is that the train tickets to Hope and Edale are valid on connecting buses to Castleton.
In this entry we will take a walk in the neighbourhood and later on I will write few words about the 2 most popular caverns - Peak Cavern and Speedwell Cavern.
For your first visit it might be a good idea to leave your car in the main car park near the tourist information. Right next to it there is a large information board with all the attractions, so you can easily find what you are looking for.
It also gives you a chance to visit the exhibition inside and find out a bit more about the region. If you want to grab a coffee or some hot food before you go on your adventure you can visit the local pubs and cafés. I went to the Castle and I must say it was very cosy. The staff was very welcoming and the food was delicious. It also is dog friendly!
Back to the car park. I followed the main road and went in the Mam Tor direction. The walk is very pleasant and lets you enjoy the beautiful views. There are plenty of signs along the way to direct you to different attractions.
Stick to the right side and in no time you will reach the Treak Cliff Cavern, where the lead miners discovered large deposits of Blue John stone (All Tours in the cavern are guided and last approximately 40 minutes. Dogs are welcome on a lead and photography is allowed).
Further down you will come across the Odin Mine, which is the oldest lead mine in the country. In the summer the footpath is usually open, however, during winter season, it might be blocked due to safety reasons.
Right opposite the mine is another footpath leading to a small stream and the remains of the old ore crusher. Here is also the final point which you can reach by car. Due to a landslip in 1977 the A625 route has been destroyed and now the path is blocked.
You can still carry on your walk but be ready for some tricky passages and steep hills every now and then. From here you can also reach the Mam Tor summit or see the Blue John Cavern. However, the path from the other side of the mountain should be more approachable.
See you at the top.