Castleton peak district is one of the most beautiful villages in the Peak District with natural and historical features both above and below ground, and is surrounded by superb walking country.
Castleton is one of those rare places that has something to offer for all the family whatever the weather is like. The beauty of the village however is not enough to keep your eyes at ground level. Firstly there are the imposing ruins of Peveril castle standing up high above the village. 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).
Peveril Castle is one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses and mentioned in the Domesday survey, the keep was built by Henry II in 1176.
A climb to the castle at the top of the hill to enjoy the breathtaking views over the Hope Valley is a highlight of a family day out in Castleton. Explore the remains of the keep including the garderobe (medieval lavatory)!
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.
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 fairy-tale 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.
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 - 01629 816558.
Castleton Peak District