Castleton: A walk up Mam Tor

Winnats Pass, Castleton

If you’re here for the directions, skip ahead. I’ve also put together a directional map on the Ordinance Survey website here, which can be used with my numbered directions below. 

March is a quiet month for me. I’m working my notice period in anticipation of starting a new job in April and have no travel planned. Meanwhile, Lee is currently in Italy for work and has possibly has another business trip abroad later this month. What does all this mean? Weekends are being spent close to home 😀

This weekend also happened to be Mother’s Day, so I planned a meet up with my parents at one of my favourite peak district sites: Castleton. Ideally located an hour away from my home and theirs, we have met in Castleton a few times. The last time was on a balmy summer day and we spent it sitting in a tea room garden and wandering the village. This time was different…. it wasn’t sunny for one, but also I wanted to take them on my favourite walk – certainly not as leisurely as our last visit to Castleton! Thankfully the weather stayed dry (unlike my hike in Snowdon recently!).

Walk Stats

Distance: 3.33 miles / 5.36km.

Elevation: Lowest 232.7m, highest 513.9m.

Total Ascent: 399.7m.

Time: 75-120 mins depending on speed

Start/finish point: Treak Cliff cavern (S33 8WP)

Get the route >>here<<

Why is it my favourite?

Its my favourite for a few reasons:


  • It isn’t easy: The walk starts low and climbs Mam Tor, sometimes on uneven and boggy ground. I like that it feels like exercise rather than a walk in the park.
  • The views and scenery are great, particularly on a clear day. From views over Castleton, views across the Hope Valley and walking through the inspiring Winnats Pass on the way back down (top picture on this blog post and also below).
  • Castleton has a good variety of pubs and tea rooms which are perfect for an after walk lunch!

As a bonus, for the more adventurous there are lots of activities to get involved with in Castleton. Paragliders are a regular sight, there are lots of rock climbing opportunities and this past weekend we witnessed a fell runner race.

If fell running sounds a bit too strenuous for you, then the walk might be just perfect! Interested? I’ve put some directions below.

My parents really enjoyed this walk. They were a little apprehensive on seeing the steepness and the mud at the beginning but reaching the summit of Mam Tor for their first time made the climb worthwhile! Happy Mothers Day Mum! 🌸

Winnats Pass

Tiger enjoying the scenery walking through Winnats Pass

Directions for my Mam Tor 3-mile circular walk

I’ve mapped out the route which you can view and download from the Ordinance Survey website here. There are useful waymarkers which I’ve added notes for below:

  1. Start at Treak Cliff Cavern (postcode: S33 8WP and waypoint one on the map linked above). Parking on this road in designated bays is free year round and during off-peak season theres usually plenty of space. The road is a dead end, and when you’ve parked the car keep walking in the same direction of travel that you’ve just driven for around 1km. This will take you past the old Horse powered ore crusher on the right and a small pond on the left.

2. As the road turns sharply to the left, you’ll see a farmhouse on your right and a gate to the left of it. Go through the gate and follow the path uphill. There are two dirt paths here and it doesn’t matter which you take. Both routes have boggy sections through the winter and can be very muddy, so wear appropriate footwear.

3. As the dirt path winds upwards it gets rockier and more uneven. You’re heading for the ridge, so keep going uphill.

4. Upon reaching the ridge the uneven dirt track is replaced by a paved path. The views from up here are great on a clear day. The picture below is looking back to the start of the route, marked with an X.

Castleton views from the ridge, heading up Mam Tor

Follow the paved path uphill for just over 1km, until you reach the summit of Mam Tor. This section of the route is a little easier, although still all uphill!

Yellow brick road up Mam Tor, Castleton

You’ve made the summit!

5. At the summit take time to enjoy the view and have a photo by the stone cairn at the top.

After enjoying the view continue on the paved path down the opposite side of Mam Tor. This side of the path has steps and after the long climb up, it seems to be much faster coming down!

6. As you get to the bottom of the hill, follow the path to the left, down the final few steps and through the gate. Follow the ‘public path’ sign across the grassy field and to the gate which leads onto the road. Cross the road and take the gate diagonally opposite.

7. Keeping to the left most path, continue for 0.3km. Continue until you reach the gate, that again takes you to a road and cross over, through the gate on the other side, which takes you into land of Winnats Head Farm via a public right of way.

8. Walk in a straight line through the field, just to the left of the farm buildings and into a second field. As you go though the second field keep to the right. Be aware of the livestock that is often in this field (I’ve experienced cows and sheep at different times of year) and ensure dogs are kept on a lead. The route through the farm then joins with Winnats Pass road.

9. Follow the route of the road, walking by the side of it. The scenery here is inspiring – there are even a few caves to explore! Continue for 1km down hill, until you pass Speedwell Cavern at the foot of Winnats Pass. After passing the cavern and the cattle grid at the bottom, there is a stile to the left.

Final Stretch

10. Go over the stile and through the field until you reach the road on the other side.

11. We’re now on the road where we started. Either walk left back to your vehicle or turn right to walk into Castleton for a well earned meal! My personal favourites are probably the Bulls Head (where dogs are welcome in the ‘Bull Barn’) and Rose Cottage Cafe, which has a really cute garden. But there are lots of great options.

If you do this walk please let me know by leaving a comment!

At Mam Tor summit with mum, dad and Tiger

At Mam Tor summit with mum, dad and Tiger

Want to save this walk for the future? You can pin the image below:

Castleton 3-mile Circular Walk

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