Mable takes on Castleton and Mam Tor
Time taken: 2 hours
This is a walk which starts with a walk, if you know what I mean. It is one that requires Mable and I to drive and park up in Castleton, which, depending on time of the day; week; year, is not always an easy feat!
Castleton is a fabulous Peak District village, quite often bustling with visitors but always quaint and well worth a visit especially when combined with a country walk around it. If it wasn’t for the fact that Mable doesn’t get on with shoppers (owing to stopping mid tracks quite often to site see and much to the detriment of anyone following) I would spend more time wandering its quaint lanes and alleys, visiting the cafe’s shops and even the small museum. I think, however, that it is also in the most stunning village location, being as it is situated at the head of the Hope Valley, in a bowl surrounded by the most fabulous slopes, sitting at the foot of breath taking drops crowned by the ruins of Peveril Castle - it really is quite unique.
Heading out of Castleton, towards the hills (rather than back to Hope) is a little bit more of that famous “pawdicure” but with the scenery in front, fresh air and expectation of the walk to come, it is well worth the extra effort – you can park nearer to Speedwell Cavern, if you can/want, but when lucky enough to park in the village you can benefit on your return by a taking in the pleasures of a pub or cafe stop, before returning home.
Once you emerge from the village, continue down the road for about 5 minutes until you get to a lane on your right hand side. Follow this for another few minutes and take a left onto to a rough track. From here Mable never seems as interested and I am in the view – Mam Tor, Win Hill and the Treak Cliff Cavern are all in view and whatever the weather, it always presents the Peak District at its most breath taking. Her interests lie in sticks stones and muddy water, which luckily this walk and many of the others I do with her all accomodate.
This walk, really just follows the path and tracks around in a righthand circle, so that eventually you get back to the village, but its simplicity is part of its beauty as whilst there is only really elevation at the start, before the Odin Mine, there is always something new to see (and sniff) on the way.
On reaching Knowlegate Farm there is a signpost pointing out Mam Tor, as if it needs introduction, follow the sign through the small gate and climb the steps to through a couple of stiles until the momentous Mam Tor is directly ahead.
Around this stretch, Mable is kept in close check as with the covered workings and shaft of the old mine, the ground is disturbed and it isn’t the best for nosey and accident prone boxer dogs! Once under the tree cover she is normally allowed to ramble freely with me and make the most of a small spring before proceeding onto the old road, through a gate.
Turning right after the gate, you get to the Odin Mine, which is now in the care of the National Trust and you continue on a gentle uphill stroll along the path until, after a sharp bend to the left you get to a gate, where you need to take a right and head down hill – my favourite bits! – leading to Mam Farm.
Keep to the rear of the farm, following the roadway and on passing in front of two houses, turn right after the second, Tor House through a gate in to and across a field.
In wet weather, Mable normally enjoys this part as the ground, crossed by a sleeper bridge, can be boggy. She likes nothing better than to come home with a “plimsoll line” either part way up all legs, or even better, across her midriff. You can always tell by her face that she considers she has achieved “a result!” when she lollops hom in this condition.
From here follow the marker to the left until you reach a small gate and then stile where, the ground roughens and you need to stay close to the fence. Keep above the farm and farm buildings before making use of the farm road access and approach your descent back down towards Castleton.
With a stream off to the right, depending on weather and inclination, I am generally hard pressed to keep Mable in check at this stage as she tries to divert me off into her “water wonderland”. In sunny weather, I rarely object, though on dank dark days I am happy to ignore her yearnings and continue down through the lanes and bits of woodlands until I return to Peak District civilisation and the warmth of a Castleton pub, before our short journey home.