Length: 27.0 km (16.8 mi) [shorter and longer versions possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 683/698m; Net Walking Time: ca. 7 hours
Toughness: 9 out of 10
From Sheffield: take the 09.14 Manchester Piccadilly stopping service via the Hope Valley (Dore & Totley 09.21, Grindleford 09.29, Hathersage 09.32, Bamford 09.36), arriving Hope at 09.40.
From Manchester Piccadilly: take the 08.49 Sheffield stopping service via the Hope Valley (New Mills Central 09.17, Chinley 09.23, Edale 09.32), arriving Hope at 09.38.
Return trains from Hathersage: xx.45/xx.46 until 19.46, then 21.47 and 23.15 towards Sheffield (from Bamford 4 mins earlier) and xx.32 towards Manchester (Bamford 4 mins later).
From/to London: take the 08.02 train from St. Pancras to start an hour behind the group.
Return trains to London: xx.46 until 19.46 (change at Sheffield, just under 3 hours total journey time).
Cheap Advance Tickets from Sheffield are now available, from £18.50 w/o a Railcard.
“This route at the top of the scenic Hope Valley starts with a gentle loop through pastures between the Peak District's breath-taking limestone and gritstone landscapes with ever-changing views to the hills around. You head for the mysterious Mam Tor, before ascending its flank through the large landsliped area at its foot. A variation leads to the dramatic limestone gorge of Winnats Pass and past a couple of the show caves Castleton is famous for. A high-level traverse of pastures-with-views loops down to Castleton through the fascinating Cave Dale (a collapsed cave), past the Norman Castle ruins towering above it.
After lunch you pass the fascinating Hope Cement Works, which dominate the views from any hill walk in the area, pass through Bradwell and go steeply up to Bradwell Edge. The impossibly scenic Over Dale is skirted along its rim and Abney and Offerton Moor are crossed along good paths with surround views. The descent to the Derwent River offers yet more stunning views before a riverside finish to either Hathersage or Bamford.
Note: To protect ground nesting birds, only dogs kept “…under effective control on Public Rights of Way” are allowed on the Access Land of Abney Moor/Smelting Hill/Offerton Moor, until at least 04/2022.”
A late starter might want to – after 4.6 km – follow Hollowford Road for 300m into Castleton for lunch first, before continuing the route (see route map and text).
A Variation in the morning takes you past Speedwell Cavern, the bottom of Winnats Pass dry gorge and Treak Cliff Cavern, rather than past Odin Mine and through the active landslip of Mam Tor.
A Variation of that route leads up through the dramatic dry gorge of Winnats Pass to the side of the road.
Cut out the loop through Castleton Village and past its lunch stops: cut 750m.
An out-and-back in Castleton to Peak Cavern adds 500m.
Finish the walk in Castleton and take a bus back to Hope or Sheffield or Chesterfield (14.0 km/8.7 mi).
Finish the walk in Bradwell and take a bus back to Hope or Sheffield or Chesterfield (16.9 km/10.5 mi).
An Alternative Ending leads to Bamford Bus or Train Station, this is 800m shorter.
A Variation of the Hathersage Ending crosses the Derwent on Stepping Stones and leads to Jagger’s Lane and the heart of the village. This is almost 2 km less distance and even walking on to the station from the village would still be shorter than the main walk route (but with a lot more tarmac and road noise).
Lunch: plenty of options in Castleton (ca. 14 km into the walk) or in Bradwell (ca. 17 km from the start), see the pdf for details.
Tea: Plenty of options in Hathersage, see the pdf for details.
For walk directions
, height profile
and gpx/kml files