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The best hike in Peak District: Castleton, Mam Tor and Great Ridge

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The best hike in Peak District: Castleton, Mam Tor and Great Ridge
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In this post, I wanted to share with you our itinerary for the best hike in Peak District – Castleton, Mam Tor and Great Ridge. If you’re looking for some interesting weekend trip ideas around England and you enjoy walking and hiking, this post is definitely for you. You can even do this hike on a day trip from London or Birmingham; however, it does involve a fair bit of driving, so I would definitely recommend staying somewhere overnight.

If you’re new here, hi, I’m Liza. Born in St. Petersburg, I call London my home now. Having been to over 90 countries, I spent the last year discovering England and visiting places I had on my list for ages. You can find more in my UK travel category.

Here’s what you can find in this post:

Let’s get started!

Where to stay in Peak District (with access to some great hikes)

The first question I’d like to answer is where to stay in Peak District to be able to have access to some of the best hikes. Well, Peak District is quite large, and there are plenty of places to stay for any budgets. However, as this post is about hiking the Mam Tor route, I would naturally recommend staying somewhere near Castleton.

We stayed at YHA Castleton – a hostel/hotel that is sitting right on the route to Kinder Scout. The location couldn’t have been better (and YHA Castleton is picturesque as well). However, if your budget is a bit higher or you’re looking for a more comfortable place, I recommend considering staying at Swiss House and Ye Olde Nags Head as well.

Castleton is an adorable town, so by staying there, you’ll have access to a lot of pubs, cafes and souvenir shops (on top of some amazing hikes as well).

YHA Castleton

Hiking Mam Tor & Great Ridge – things you need to know

Alright, let’s talk about some other things you need to know before hiking Mam Tor & Kinder Scout from Castleton.

When can you hike in Peak District? Well, you can hike in Peak District all year long (depending on the weather, of course), but generally, the best months to hike in Peak District are May to September (we hiked in July).

Do you need special gear, e.g. walking sticks, to hike Mam Tor? The Mam Tor and Kinder Scout Hike doesn’t require any special gear – it’s not that challenging. You don’t need special hiking boots or walking sticks; however, comfortable sneakers or trainers are crucial, as there is a bit of the route where you need to ascend, and there is a part, which is quite slippery! However, that really depends on the weather – if it was raining the day before, I would recommend bringing some proper hiking boots.

Where to park in Castleton? Castleton has a medium-sized parking lot, which fills up rather quickly. If you’re only coming there for a day, I recommend arriving very early. However, if you’re staying overnight, there are chances that your accommodation has a parking spot. As we stayed in YHA 15 minutes walking from Castleton, we left our car there (YHA has a large parking lot).

Now, finally, let’s talk about the route and the hike!

The best hike in Peak District: Castleton, Mam Tor and Great Ridge – the route and our experience

The route

We found this route on All Trails, and it’s available in the free version of the app as well – as long as you have Internet access throughout the walk/hike. You can access the route here.

The walk is around 12.7km and takes around 3 hours to complete.

The ascend

Now you can see that the route starts from Castleton and goes towards Mam Tor through the Great Ridge. We decided to walk the route the other way – starting from YHA Castleton that is located 1 metre away from the trail (quite literally); we started walking towards Lose Hill. It was a great idea as we reached Mam Tor around 10 am when it was still early. We had a short picnic on top of Mam Tor, and by 10:30 am, it got pretty crowded. On the descent from Mam Tor, it actually got so crowded that it was problematic to go down.

If you want the place for yourself, I definitely recommend coming early! The views from Mam Tor are stunning. However, I liked the views from Lose Hill (with Mam Tor in the frame) even more!

The Great Ridge

Now it was the time for the easy part. The walk through the Great Ridge was lovely – we saw a camping site on the way and visited their little shop selling ice cream as well as refilled our water bottles. The rest of the route was also picturesque, albeit not quite as impressive as the first part. However, we still managed to see a few sheep on the route (and in some cases so close that they even blocked our way).

The last part of the route was a little bit challenging as it was a very slippery descent full of stones, large and small. I recommend bringing some proper hiking boots if you know that it was raining a day or two before your hike.

Just another 30 minutes of walking – and you will see the remains of the Castleton Castle!

The best hike in Peak District: Castleton, Mam Tor and Great Ridge

Summary of the best hike in Peak District!

I hope you enjoyed this post about hiking the best route in Peak District – Castleton, Mam Tor and the Great Ridge. Make sure to bring a lot of water and comfortable clothes with you!

Overall, we really enjoyed this hike, and we even had the strength to head to Liverpool afterwards. I hope that we will be able to return to Peak District soon and explore more amazing hikes and walks in the area!

The best hike in Peak District: Castleton, Mam Tor and Great Ridge

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