Walk up Mam Tor from Castleton
Soak in the views along the superb Great Ridge, one of the nation’s favourite walks, on this circuit from Castleton.
Route Start Location: Castleton
|13.4 km||450m||4 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Activivity Type: Moderate Walk
Summits and Places on this Route
All facilities centred around the village of Castleton, including cafes, toilets and pubs. No facilities along the route.
No specific hazards
Parking : S33 8WH
Castleton Visitor Centre – £6.00 for 10 hours
The 272 bus is an hourly service from Sheffield
Hope Station is the nearest rail station, 4km east of Castleton
Walk up Mam Tor from Castleton
Mam Tor and the Great Ridge is perhaps the single most popular walk in the Peak District and rates highly nationally, sneaking into the top ten of the UK’s 100 favourite walks. It’s a fantastic circuit, taking in the modest height of Mam Tor and the undulating Great Ridge. Mam Tor means ‘mother hill’, so-called because frequent landslides on its eastern face have resulted in a multitude of ‘mini-hills’ beneath it. Its other name is the ‘Shivering Mountain’ for the same reason. There was a continued battle to save the crumbling A625 road, which was eventually abandoned in the late 70s.
There are a couple of variations on the start of the walk, getting from Castleton to Mam Tor. We prefer the Cave Dale route which is quieter than tramping up the road at Winnats Pass. Whichever you choose, the Mam Tor – Great Ridge hike has sensational views as you tick off each of the main summits; Mam Tor, Back Tor and Lose Hill.
With the Dark Peak to the north, one of the most highly rated views in the country, and the White Peak to the south; this is a walk of variety. If you have time, you can visit the Blue John Cavern, where the mineral Blue John is still mined for jewellery making, but the main business these days is tourism.
1 – The circuit starts in Castleton, at the main Pay & Display car park. Pass the visitor centre and take a left at the roundabout along Cross Street. Opposite the Bulls Head Hotel, turn right up Caste Street towards Peveril Castle. Turn left at the top of the road and pass the triangular war memorial park on your left. Bear right up Bargate leading to Pindale Road. As the road bends left, look for a track between Cavedale Cottage and Dale Cottage on your right. This is the entrance to Cave Dale (SK 15055 82745).
2 – Join the Limestone Way at a gate (marked ‘LIMESTONE WAY’). Follow the bridleway beneath the trees where it will soon open up into an impressive limestone valley – Cave Dale. Climb the track along the valley bottom, making sure to peer up at Peveril Castle’s imperious position. The valley narrows considerably towards the top, eventually reaching a drystone wall. Pass through the wall and follow the path for 1km, keeping the wall on your right. You will reach another gate, pass through and continue until you reach an intersection of paths with several gates (SK 13538 81315). Turn right and cross over a stile onto the walled track.
3 – Follow the bridleway, bearing right where it forks. A long, straight section of track passes Rowter Farm and leads to a road. Cross the road (take care!) and head through the gate on the opposite side – Mam Tor looms ahead. Follow the path north until you reach another road, cross, and make your way through a small gate on the opposite side. A path climbs the hillside towards the gap between Mam Tor and Rushup Edge. You will reach a gate at the bottom of a set of stone steps. Climb the steps, then pass through an opening in the fence on your right where more steps make the final climb to Mam Tor’s summit.
4 – A cobblestone area surrounds the trig pillar on Mam Tor. From the summit, bear left slightly along the obvious path as you start your journey along the Great Ridge. The path descends along a sweeping curve until it reaches Hollins Cross, a natural low point and historic crossing between Hope Valley and Edale. Ignore any paths deviating away from the crest of the ridge and make the short climb over the whale-back Barker Banks. As you descend to another depression, you will see the dramatic profile of Back Tor.
5 – The short climb up Back Tor is the steepest along the ridge but doesn’t last long and views back towards Mam Tor are sensational. At the top of the hill, the path becomes sandwiched between a wall and a fence. Keep following the crest of the ridge as it dips slightly then makes the climb to Lose Hill.
6 – A path leaves the summit of Lose Hill in a south-easterly direction until it reaches a gate (SK 15477 85114). Pass through and bear right to another fence then bear left (SK 15488 85049), heading downhill with a wall on your left. Follow this path towards Losehill Farm. Prior to reaching the farm, turn south (SK 15714 84749) and follow a right of way across the field to a small gate which leads onto a track (SK 15718 84464).
7 – Follow the track south to Spring House Farm then, as you pass the buildings, take the track leading off to the right (not the farm entrance track), crossing a small stream and heading west to Losehill Hall, the Castleton YHA. Turn left at the YHA (SK 15243 83843) and follow the track south to the A6187, just west of Castleton. At the road turn right, cross Spital Bridge and make your way back into the village.