A Taste of the
Castleton, Peak District, Derbyshire town, B&B, self catering holiday cottage accommodation, hotels, tourist attractions, walking, climbing, mountain biking, show caves, Blue John, history, geology, mining, local information and much more …
Castleton, Derbyshire is situated at the head of the Hope Valley, overlooked by the 12th century Peveril Castle and Mam Tor. The latter is well known to archaeologists (the summit is enclosed in a hill fort), geologists (as an example of a landslip) and of course outdoor enthusiasts - cavers, walkers, mountain bikers and of course aerial sports enthusiasts.
It is claimed that the stone Blue John is found only near Castleton, Derbyshire and is mined and worked locally. Blue John jewellery and ornaments can be obtained in many local shops. That isn't exactly true, deposits are know from elswhere in the world.
Information about the caves around Castleton, Derbyshire.
There are four caverns in the Castleton, Derbyshire area plus Odin's Mine, possibly one of the earliest mines in the Peak District. The largest (and closest to Castleton) cavern is Peak Cavern, known also as 'The Devil's Arse'. Peak Cavern is the source of Peakshole Water. It lies below Peveril Castle and has been exploited for its minerals and used as a ropemaker's factory. The ropemaker's cottages have gone but the rope walks still can be seen. Peveril Castle was built in the 12th century by William Peveril, the son of William the Conqueror. Peveril (originally Peverell) was a Norman knight, well rewarded with much land after the conquest. He started of with an eco-friendly wooden castle but about a hundred years later it was rebuilt in the less eco-friendly medium of stone. However, that is good for us as bits of it still haven't fallen down and you can visit the place. No point in my rattling on any more about this as there is plenty written about Peveril Castle elsewhere - opening time etc details can be found on the English Heritage site.His name appears in a number of place names in the British Isles. He was featured in Walter Scott's novel, Peveril of the Peak. Some of the action centred on Peel Castle in the Isle of Man, subsequently, the name of Peveril appears in Manx place and road names.
The other caverns are on the hillside just outside the town. Speedwell cavern is located at the start of Winnat's Pass and offers boat trips to the so-called Bottomless pit. If the car park is full, another one is available off the old main road. A short walk across the fields will bring you to the cavern. Winnats is said to be short for 'Windy Gates' and it is probably the wind whistling and groaning through the pass that has led to the Ghost story about a young couple who were robbed and murdered (possibly not in that order!) in the pass by several miners who subsequently med with bad endings. The tragic story itself is true and can be found at http://www.castletonhistorical.co.uk/?page_id=627.
Treak Cliff cavern can be found by following the obvious main road west out of Castleton. The upper reaches of the road have been destroyed by landslips (still active today). It is still passable by mountain bike or on foot. At the top, beyond the Mam Tor landslips, lies the Blue John cavern, also open to visitors. It is normally accessed by following the Winnatt's Pass road west from Castleton. Turn left at the top of Winnatt's and left again a few hundred yards along the road (at a sharp left hand bend).
Castleton, Derbyshire - general information.
The small river that flows through Castleton is called Peakshole Water, which has its confluence with the Noe (from Edale) at Hope. Odin's Mine is accessible only to cavers although there are some surface remnants and also a plaque explaining the struture and history of the mine.
I have seen Castleton, the 'Gem of the Peak District', described as a tranquil hill village! Maybe it is at 6am out of season. If you want peace and tranquillity in the Peak District, go somewhere else if you are limited to visiting at weekends or during the main tourist season.
The area of Castleton is a great centre for walking and cycling as well as for Peak District sightseers. Cave Dale offers an excellent walk or a difficult technical mountain bike descent (or ascent for fit, mad and proficient mtb’ers) out of the main tourist season. The limestone scenery is as good as anywhere else in the Peak District and you get some good views of Peveril Castle. The Hope cement works is a little incongruous in this beautiful area but it provides locals with a source of employment. It is visible for miles around but bear in mind that it was built in the 1920s, way before the idea of National Parks had been dreamed up.
But the area of Castleton, Derbyshire was settled long before the Norman invasion. Mam Tor hill fort dates back to the Iron Age and even older bronze age artefacts have been found in the vicinity. There is some evidence for stone age settlement in nearby caves. Odin Mine is said to be the oldest in the Peak District and has been worked on and off since Roman times. It was a lead mine. The majority of the buildings in present day Castleton date from the 17th century and later. Castleton Hall is now the Youth Hostel and dates back to the 1600s, as does the Castle Hotel I believe. But a bigger mystery is the site of the Hospital of the Blessed Mary of the High Peak which was a medieval hospital founded by the Peveril family. It is unlikely it gave anything more than a clean bed, food and rest to the sick, and was used as a hospice (in the sense of the original meaning of offering overnight hospitality). The site is unknown and the Cartleton Historical Society have been looking for it since 2007, with the support of Sheffield University (http://www.castletonhistorical.co.uk/?page_id=748)
There are loads of weird and wonderful customs in the UK like cheese rolling and well dressing. Castleton adds to this rich tapestry by offering up the ancient ceremony of Garlanding on Oak Apple Day at the end of May (if it's on a Sunday, in order to avoid the wrath of the Big Chap in the sky, this joint pagan end of winter/restoration of the monarchy celebration takes place on the Saturday). A yard wide garland, weighing a tad less than a standard bag of building sand from Wickes, is constructed from wood. It's decorated with wild flowers and leaves. A smaller and much posher one is then made using garden flowers (the Queen) is then added. The whole lot is placed on the shoulders of the King (a local bloke dressed up in old fashioned clobber) who then rides round Castleton on a horse. The finale is that the Garland is hoisted up to the top of the church and left to rot until the vicar decides enough is enough and orders its removal. Meanwhile, the Queen is left at the war memorial and if you are in Castleton Market Place on Oak Apple Day you could be lucky enough to see a display of Morris Dancing and do a bit of traditional singing. On the other hand, you may just want to head into the nearest Pub (or cafe/tea shop if you are temperance brigade) ...
The Ebbing and Flowing well lies beside the road from Castleton to Chapel-en-le-Frith and in this extract from the 1824 book 'A Short Description of Castleton' by J M Hedinger he explains what is seen ...
"About five miles from Castleton, by the side of the road, at a place called Barmoor Clough, is the Ebbing and Flowing Well. It is situated immediately under a steep hill, which rises to the height of about 100 feet. Close to the well is a small pool or hollow, with very little water in it, except when it is supplied from the apertures of the well. This does not happen at regular intervals, since the flowing depends on the quantity of rain which falls in the different seasons of the year. In very dry seasons, * Further particulars may be known, and specimens seen, by applying to Messrs. Brown and Son's Agent, at their Shop in the well has sometimes, though rarely ceased to flow for two, three, or four weeks together. Sometimes, it flows only once in twelve hours; sometimes every hour; and in very wet weather, perhaps twice or thrice within that time. When it begins to rise, the motion of the water is at first gentle: but before the expiration of a minute, it issues very copiously, with a gurgling noise, from several openings at the sides of the pool; and from this it runs off in a stream sufficient to turn the wheel of a corn mill. It continues to flow four minutes and a half; and it has been calculated that in the space of one minute, 23 hogsheads of water are discharged."
I have never been and so cannot vouch that it still exists or what goes on there.
There is a small Farmers Market at Castleton on the first Sunday of the Month in the village hall. Not many stands but good local produce is sold.
Castleton, Derbyshire - Tourist Information
This is available at the Castleton Visitor Centre, Buxton Road, Castleton, Hope Valley S33 8WN.
1 April until 31 October: 9:30am - 5:30pm
1 November until 31 March: 10:30am - 5:00pm
Please contact centre for special Christmas opening times
Telephone: 01629 816572 (not sure if this is correct but we got it from the County Council)
Fax: 01433 623726
Located in the village of Castleton, Derbyshire, the centre is a 'must see' for visitors to the Peak District National Park and houses the Castleton Village Museum the home of many local treasures, some dating from prehistoric times. The centre operates as a Tourist Information Centre offering accommodation bookings and local information to help you make the most of your stay. The centre received a silver award in the East Midlands Enjoy England Excellence 2008 awards for the quality of its tourism information services. Since it is run by the Local Authority it is fully accessible to disabled visitors.
Getting to Castleton by public transport
A bus service connects Sheffield (approx 16 miles away) and Castleton. 272 Sheffield - Ecclesall - Fox House - Hathersage - Bradwell - Hope - Castleton Trains pass through the Edale valley and lower Hope valley. It is possible to get buses from Edale station or Hope station to Castleton. It is possible to walk to Castleton from Edale station, a distance of about 5 miles with around 400m of descent so if you are a townie and not used to hill walking it is probably best to catch the bus. The journey is about an hour to an hour and a half from either Manchester or Sheffield. You can find out full details of public transport to and from Castleton from the tourist information centre (details above).
Getting to Castleton, Derbyshire by road
Northbound on M1 - exit 29 to A671
Southbound on M1 - exit 36 to A61 and then on to the A57
Northbound on M6 - exit 14 to A34 and then on to the A520
Southbound on M6/M56/M60 - exit 27 on to the M60 and then on to the A6 at Stockport, then A6187 from Chapel-en-le-Frith
From the east (M1/Sheffield/Chesterfield) A6187 into Castleton. Can be messy getting through Sheffield centre!
From the west (M6/Chapel-en-le-Frith/Buxton) take unclassified road from Chapel-en-le-Frith towards Castleton
Disclaimer: these are a guide only, make sure you use a map to sort out your exact route. Or use GPS if you don't like using maps.
There are various options for car parking. The central car park is Pay and Display and has toilets. At the top of the Mam Tor collapsed road, no toilets. Mam Nick, pay and display, no toilets. At the bottom of the Old Mam Tor road, roadside parking, one off road cinder surfaced free car park, on road parking on the Mam Tor side of Castleton.
Accommodation in or near to Castleton, Derbyshire
Cherry Tree Cottage, Self-Catering, Castleton - NW of the Peak District sleeps 2,3,4
Fern Cottage, B&B, Hotel, Castleton - SE of the Peak District
Total number of accommodation listings: 2
Short Walks from Castleton
Take a stroll up the old A624 which is closed since it has been damaged by landslides. You can see the site of the Odin Mine and visit Treak Cliff Cavern and the Blue John Mine.
From the centre, take a stroll up Cavedale onto the limestone plateau.
Also from the centre, go the opposite way and walk up to Hollins Cross and take in the stunning views.
If you have a car, you can park at the Mam Tor car park and visit the Iron Age Hill fort at the top of the 'Shivering Mountain'. Rushup Edge is quieter though and gives some good views too.