Our journey began one sunny day in May, to be precise, my husband’s birthday. For a change we decided to travel by train and had booked our tickets online the day before, although we had a couple of train changes, it was a fun journey and nice to discover different train stations along the way. We enjoyed the countryside views from the train window and had our breakfast en route. Our destination was Edale village, the beginning of our walk. The Derbyshire Peak District national park is a stunning location for walking and Edale village is a perfect starting point for many a favourite walk, so It was decided that our walk would begin from Edale once we had arrived at the train station around lunch time.
Edale village is a stunning location in the Peak District and known well to many, I’ve described its background and touched base on the surroundings of the Edale village in a few of my writings and as such decided not to repeat myself in this article. On this particular walk we took ourselves up through the village to The Old Nags Head for a pre-walk, lunch time drink and to toast a happy birthday. Once we’d taken time out in the beer garden, relaxing and listening to birdsong while chatting about our train ride and making final adjustments to route and plan for the day, we started out once more. We debated about where to stop for our lunch, Edale or Castleton village? Edale won out and so my husband, son and I ordered food from The Rambler Inn, we were not disappointed, great value and delicious food.
Time was ticking and a walk to be enjoyed, off we strode, past the train station again and onto the main road, taking a right-hand turn, being careful without a path for a short way. There’s a lane to the left in just a short distance where we walked up a mild incline. The whole route is a head turner and it’s kind of hard to know where to point the camera lens, the hills behind us, the sweet little lambs in the field or the delicate bluebells alongside the road.
The path up towards the ridge is found through a gate to the left-hand side on the lane once past the woodland area and the bends in the road, you can’t miss it. In summer on a dry day the path is mainly firm underfoot apart from a few boggy parts, but in winter or through a rainy stint, you will find it rather muddy going, I’d recommend boots for sure. Walking up towards the ridge is quite straightforward and for the main part gradual, the views are beautiful especially if you happen to be lucky with the weather, a misty day will obscure some of the hill tops but I find it refreshing and gorgeous no matter what the weather throws at me, I’m drawn back here time and time again, sometimes doing this route in reverse as I did just 4 weeks after having my youngest son, carrying him in his baby sling. Nothing like a fresh air walk.
From the top on the ridge, the views in both directions are delightful. The great ridge as it’s known is around 3km long from Lose hill to Mam Tor, at the point where our route crosses the great ridge there’s a view point, Hollins Cross which is a popular point to cross the ridge at it’s lowest point, either from Edale to Castleton or vice versa.
The track down into Castleton is rather steep and in places quite uneven, parts are basically a stream which needs careful navigation and I wouldn’t recommend for those who aren’t too stable on their feet especially in bad weather. There is a slightly longer route that veers off to the right and goes along the old Mam Tor road which eroded years ago after a historic landslide, not so muddy and a longer distance but in places still uneven due to the land slip. We had some fun on way down the track into Castleton just as we always do. Winnatts pass can be seen across the valley on the way down, and Mam Tor is another lovely sight. The whole of the Hope Valley can be viewed from the path and the obvious landmark of the Hope cement works.
Castleton village is always a welcome sight, a place I’ve visited so often and where we used to bring the kids at Christmastime to see father Christmas, those days are long gone, but winter visits are still a must if only to see the Christmas decorations and catch a glimpse of the village in a coating of the white stuff, so beautiful! We stopped in the village long enough for a refreshing drink at The Castle, a pub on the main street, before going on our way towards Hope village. Another of my memorable walks took us through Cave Dale, rugged but scenic and almost hidden behind Peveril castle in Castleton.
There’s a public foot path signposted beside the main road on the right-hand side out of Castleton, this takes a rather scenic route alongside the river ending at Hope village which avoids the road, it might be longer than the road route, but the tranquility and sights along the journey far out way speed of passage.
A favourite path to and from Castleton for many a year, usually if we have our dogs with us, they’d be on a close lead though these fields, especially in lambing season, but on that day, we were without the dogs. It’s sweet to watch the lambs with their mums and so curious of us too. Halfway along this route the Hope cement factory can be seen quite close by, the factory train line runs across the route, another navigation to make over the tracks.
Hope village then comes into sight, a place that feels almost like home, I’ve spent so much time there over the years. But not this day, just passing through on the way to the train station. The next part of our journey was about to begin, another train adventure to take us home. There were a couple of train exchanges, one in Sheffield and another in Derby and then of course finding the right platforms and ensuring we boarded the right train. We met some lovely helpful people on our journey, helping each other find platforms and trains. All in all, a fun day full of laughter and adventure with a couple of refreshment stops along the way. Good memories, beautiful places where I know for sure will draw me back again for another walk and to tell another tale.