Welcome to Together HIKE: Cave Dale. A 2-3 mile ramble around the head of the village of Castleton
Terrain: Hilly, unsteady path underfoot
Time: 1-2 hours
Walk Length: 3 miles
Walk Type: Short walk, circular
Refreshments: If you’re a sweater, or it’s a warm day take water with you. There are plenty of pubs, cafes and shops in the village for a bottle refill, food, drinks and a loo break.
This is a popular route with for any age and ability. It can be made longer and more challenging by including Mam Tor and further still by taking in Lose Hill.
This walk includes some of the Peak District’s most iconic view points including Winnat’s Pass and Peveril Castle. It takes in the best of the landscape types that the area has to offer from bronze age landmarks, limestone gorges to wide open fields.
Top Tip: *parking* there’s a large car park near the visitor centre in Castleton but you can sometimes park for free on the road heading towards Blue John mine. This is because the machines are broken and residents have campaigned to keep it free to help tourists and locals explore the area and enjoy what the town has to offer.
Start at the centre of Castleton, where the village cross and memorial are behind the church. POI: the church was originally built as a garrison chapel for soldiers stationed at Peveril Castle and is open most days.
Head up from the square in the upwards corner. You’ll find a small sign pointing towards Cavedale through a ginnel, follow this through the gates and the Dale opens up in front of you.
Cave Dale & Limestone Way
Cavedale is termed as “a dry limestone valley”. But it’s not totally dry and has a small river running underfoot in the wetter months which can make the well-worn stones slippery. POI: Cavedale’s rugged outcrops and scree covered sides are the remnants of a collapsed cavern system, the entrance to the valley (near the sign) was once an arch that gave way around 200 years ago.
Carry on up the path which forms part of the Limestone Way until the land starts to level at the top. There’s a fork in the path and the trail goes sharply right back towards the hill above the castle.
Follow this until the path splits again: one route heads towards Winnats Pass and the valley, the other heads left over a fallen stone wall and up to the top of the hill – this is the one you want to take.
Rowter Farm & Campsite
The path takes to you the plateau above the Hope Valley and gives you stunning views towards Mam Tor and Lose Hill. Looking west as you stand on the style you can see the old lead mines that litter the fields and Rowter Farm & Campsite. Follow the trail west on the public footpath which takes you around the farm buildings and up to the access road straight ahead – always keep Mam Tor to your right.
Take a right on the access road past the campsite until you come to the main road so Mam Tor is in full view. From here you can extend the walk to take in the Bronze Age Hill fort and come down from the ridge. This will add an additional hour and a half onto the journey but its a great detour.
POI: The Shivering Mountain is a scheduled ancient monument and has been occupied from 1200BC. There is a prehistoric ridgeway that starts at the burial mound on the summit and leads to Nottingham, passing many significant ancient forts on its way.
If you’re keeping the walk shorter, keep right on the road to go down towards Winnats Pass. At the cattle grid there is a side gate which leads to the footpath that will allow you to walk down the pass without being on the road. Winnats Pass is quite breathtaking and could be a walk on it’s own, if you’re an early riser its particularly beautiful at sunrise and you can take one of the upper paths off the road to look over the pinnacles towards the sunfilled valley below.
From the pass simply follow the footpath along the roadside back to the village.
If you’re looking for a longer walk around the Hope Valley the Mam Tor – Lose Hill walk is a longer trek or you can follow in the footsteps of the great trespass and hike to Kinder.
You can find all of our Mam Tor and Castleton based walks by clicking on the Mam Tor tag.
Together HIKE is a community contribution blog where we feature walks from around the UK. We’re looking for Together Outdoors Ambassadors to write about their top hikes – want to join our team? Find out about being an ambassador here.