Start at: Hope
Grid ref: SK171835
Distance: 13.9 kilometres
Total ascent: 553 meters
Approx. time needed: 4 hrs 30 mins
Hope and Castleton circular
From the car park in the middle of Hope turn right along the road, then right again onto Pindale road. Almost immediately a right turn brings you to a path that follows Peakshole Water upstream into Castleton. Join the main road as it enters Castleton and follow it round the ninety degree bend, turning left then walking up past the Youth Hostel to the start of Cave Dale.
The path up Cave Dale, with Peveril Castle high up to the right, leads steadily uphill onto the limestone plateau. As the cliffs give way to steep slopes and then the ground levels out as you reach the limestone plateau you reach a junction where you turn left and continue to a second junction shortly after. Turn right here onto a wide track leading to Rowter Farm easily identifiable by its camp site. As you walk towards the road you walk over a hillside honeycombed with passages radiating from England's deepest cave, Giants' Hole, and the underground watercourses responsible for Castleton's famous tourist attractions. The junction of Millstone Grit and Limestone is responsible for the caves, with water falling on the grit flowing over the surface till it meets the porous limestone. The path, by this stage more of a road, leads past the farm to meet the Sparrowpit to Rushup Edge road. Cross over the road and take the short path across the fields and past Windy Knoll, to the Rushup Edge road. Cross the road and follow the path alongside the left wall of the field to join a well-paved path up to Mam Tor's summit.
On a good day the views from Mam Tor down the Hope Valley, are spectacular while to the left you get good views of Edale nestled below the dark plateau of Kinder Scout. The return route from Mam Tor to Hope follows the ridge that separates the Hope Valley from Edale, with a wall on the left hand side offering both shelter and a bad weather handrail. The path slowly descends to a major junction at Hollins Cross, where paths head off both left and right to drop down into either valley. The ridge path climbs again over Back Tor then up the final climb to Lose Hill. From Lose Hill turn south east and begin the descent into Hope with a well-marked path eventually leading back into the village and your starting point.