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Castleton, like many attractions in Derbyshire, has a nickname; 'Gem of the Peaks'
Castleton lies in the Hope Valley between the Dark and the White Peak areas of the Peak District. The Dark Peak to the north is the area of the Gritstone edges, some of the more well known being Froggatt Edge and Kinder Downfall, whereas the White Peak to the south is the area with the Limestone plateaus.
Castleton is a very popular place with visitors. This may be due to Castleton having almost everything a visitor could want. It has spectacular scenery, a ruined Norman castle dominates Castleton, fascinating Geology, good walks for all abilities, a pretty village, many events throughout the year and a large car park.
In 2009, we would recommend the Castle Hotel for food and drink.
In 2006, we would recommend the Bulls Head for accommodation.
Castleton has a Parish Council that can be contacted via the Parish Clerk.
A bus service connects Sheffield (16 miles away) and Castleton.
A shuttle bus from Edale and Hope railway stations, linking the stations to the caverns and Castleton, operates at weekends and on Bank Holidays throughout the year. Edale and Hope stations are about a 50 minutes journey time from Manchester. The rail service is about every two hours in 2005.
The population of Castleton was around 1,200 in the 2001 Census.
In 2010 the Castleton Christmas lights will be switched on at 4:30pm on Saturday 20th November with the last day of Castleton's Christmas Lights being Sunday 2nd January 2011. Other Christmas events include:
The village of Castleton is dominated by the keep of Peveril Castle. This Norman castle was built by William the conqueror's son, William Peveril in 1080. It was built to oversee the King's Royal Forest of the Peak, although little of the forest now remains. Originally it was a wooden building but was rebuilt in stone around 1175 and this is the keep we can see today. The present keep was built under the direction of King Henry II. It was here in 1157 that Henry accepted the submission of King Malcolm of Scotland.
Peveril Castle is run by English Heritage. In 2011, it is open every day from 1st April to 1st November and Thursday to Monday from 2nd November to 31st March 2012. It is also closed from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day and on New Year's Day. There is a new visitor centre which opened in 2006 and tells the story of Peveril as the focal point of the Royal Forest of the Peak, a hunting preserve for the Monarchs. Entrance prices will be £4.20 for adults and £2.10 for children. To find out more visit the English Heritage website.
Castleton itself dates from 1198 and is named after the castle (Castle town)! The earliest known settlement was the Iron Age fort on the top of Mam Tor, although it is thought that the there was settlement in the Bronze Age (around 1,400 BC). Even earlier traces of Stone Age man has been discovered in some caves on Treak Cliff - less than a mile from the centre of Castleton.
On Oak Apple Day 29th May the ancient ceremony of Garlanding takes place and after the Garland has been paraded though the streets, it is hoisted to the top of Saint Edmund's Church tower. The ceremony celebrates the pagan rite for the ending of winter, and the restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660 after the rule by Oliver and Richard Cromwell (1653-58 and 1658-59).
The one metre (3 foot) high Garland is made from a wooden frame, wound with string to which small bunches of wild flowers and leaves are tied. A further small wreath, called the `Queen` is made from choice garden flowers and is place on top. The complete Garland weighs about 25Kgs (56 pounds) and just before the start of the ceremony is lifted onto the shoulders of the `King` who is dressed in Stuart costume.
After touring the village on horseback accompanied by his consort, a procession and a band, the King is relieved of his Garland which is then hoisted up to the top of the tower of St Edmunds Church, where it is left to wither. The Queens wreath is placed round the war memorial and in the market place there is Morris dancing and singing.
Castleton village museum contains a display of Garland memorabilia which includes an outfit worn by a King 200 years ago.
If Oak Apple Day falls on a Sunday, the ceremony is held on the Saturday (28th May).
Expected dates (first Sunday in the month 10am to 3pm) in 2011 for the Castleton Farmers' Market are:
See also the dates of farmers' markets in Bakewell, Matlock, Buxton and Whaley Bridge.
Castleton also boasts four show caves. If there is insufficient time to visit all of them, Treak Cliff should be the first choice.
This information has been given in good faith and it has to be recognised that the caverns can change their opening times without notice. It is highly recommended that the show cave been contacted by telephone to confirm that they are open.
Peak Cavern/Devils Arse. This cave was formally known as the 'Devils Arse' before being called Peak Cavern and was recently renamed to the 'Devils Arse'. It is in the centre of the village, right underneath Peveril Castle. It has the largest natural cave entrance in Britain and the second largest in the world! It even claims to have had a pub in it at one time.
Rope was made in this cave system, the damp atmosphere being a favourable environment for rope making. Bert Marrison, the last rope maker in Castleton, worked here. His ashes, along with some of his tools, are buried in Peak Cavern.
It is open 7 days a week from April to the end of October. The rest of the year it only opens at weekends. It opens from 10am with last admission at 4pm. Admission in 2011 is £8.25 for adults and £6.25 for children (5-15 years old) with under 5s free. A family ticket is available (2 adults and 2 children) for £25.50.
Speedwell Cavern is at the foot of Winnats Pass. Being only 1000 metres (0.6 miles) from the centre of the village of Castleton, it is a very gentle walk along the road. Speedwell began life in the 18th century as a lead mine, but due to the limited amount of lead it closed after 20 years. During the lead mining period the system was flooded. So, unlike the other show caves, this cave can only be explored by underground boat. This underground canal is about 800 metres long and takes the subterranean seafarer to a so called bottomless pit! It is open most of the year from 10am with last admission at 4:00pm. Admission in 2011 is £8.75 for adults and £6.75 for children (5-15 years old) with under 5s free. A family ticket is available (2 adults and 2 children) for £29.00
Visitors to both Peak Cavern and Speedwell Cavern can purchase a joint ticket with about a 15% saving on the combined entry prices.
Winnats Pass gets its name from Wind Gates and is a spectacular limestone gorge. Since the closing of the Mam Tor road (see below) Winnats Pass is the only road to the west of Castleton.
The other two show caves, Treak Cliff and Blue John are close by. Treak Cliff has the prettiest formations. Treak Cliff Cavern has wonderful names for the caverns within it - names such as Witches Cave, Aladdin's Cave, Fairyland, the Dream Cave and the Dome of St Paul's all with an abundance of stalactites and stalagmites. Treak Cliff cavern was opened to public visitors 1935. Entrance is near the gift and coffee shop. Exit from the cave system is through an adit driven during the 1920's spar mining operations.
Treak Cliff (admission in 2009 is £7.95. for adults and £4.00 for children), and to a lesser extent, Blue John have veins of a rare mineral called Blue John (from the French Bleu Jaune meaning Blue Yellow). Blue John, which is a form of fluorspar, was discovered as miners were exploring the cave system for lead. Treak Cliff Cavern still mines about 500 kilograms of Blue John each year. The walk through Treak Cliff Cavern is relatively easy but there are a few low roofs and some steps. The veins of Blue John are easy to see and many of the formations are well lit.
Treak Cliff Cavern is open all year except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, (weather permitting) from 10am with the last tour at 4:20pm from March to October and 3.20pm from November to February.
The roadway from Treak Cliff Cavern to the Blue John Cavern used to be the A625. This road used to run at the foot of Mam Tor, the Shivering Mountain. Mam Tor is composed of horizontal layers of shales and gritstone. As water and ice work their way into these layers, they start to crumble, and the hill side is said to shiver. This had caused many problems for road engineers as the crumbling leads to land slips. These land slips have made the road unstable. Often in the past the road suffered from the land slips and has had to be rebuilt. Eventually in 1977 the road was closed. In 2005 it was estimated that it would cost around £100,000 per year to keep the road open. It is possible to walk along the remains of the road that, in places, is reminiscent of an earthquake zone.
Mam Tor was a late Bronze or early Iron age hill fort, although there is little evidence nowadays. It is a steep climb to the top of Mam Tor, but well worth the walk. From the top of Mam Tor, extensive views of the Hope valley are possible.
There is a local tradition that Odin Mine, at the foot of Mam Tor, was worked in Saxon times (around the 10th or 11th centuries).
It is also possible to walk along footpaths back to Castleton. From Mam Tor, follow the footpath along the ridge for about 700 metres to where several footpaths meet at a point called Hollins Cross. To the left is Edale, directly ahead is the hill known as Lose Hill, and to the right is the Hope Valley. In the dip of the ridge, at Hollins Cross, is a marker stone that shows the paths off of the ridge. Take the path to Castleton that is only 1.5 miles away (and all downhill).
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This information is provided to the best of our knowledge. We have collected and collated it in good faith but we are not responsible for its accuracy and anyone intending to make use of this information is advised to check it out.
Well that's the legal stuff sorted.
Should you decline to comply with this warning, a leather winged demon of the night will soar from the deep malevolent caverns of the white peak into the shadowy moonlit sky and, with a thirst for blood on its salivating fangs, search the very threads of time for the throbbing of your heartbeat. Just thought you'd want to know that.
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