A brief guide to the Hope Valley...
Peak Mountaineering is based in the Hope Valley which is, in turn, situated right in the heart of the Peak District National Park. It is the perfect place for outdoor adventures. The valley stretches from Castleton at the west end through to Hathersage in the east. The valley is only 6 miles long so, if you have a vehicle, you can happily choose any village as your base and explore the valley at will. If you are using public transport the bus also runs all the way through the valley and for rail travellers the train stations that are practical are in Hathersage and Hope.
We use different villages along the valley as the starting point for our courses depending on the course type. For first time visitors we have put together this little guide to help make your stay easier and more enjoyable. Wherever it is relevant we have linked through to information on particular websites or other pages on our own site. Of course, if you have questions that aren't answered here we are always just at the end of a phone call or email.
This is our home village and the venue for most of our first aid courses along with some corporate and bespoke events. Castleton is a very popular tourist village with all the amenities a visitor could need. It also has a range of attractions to fill your time if you decide to stay on after your course finishes or want something to do in the evening.
One of Castleton's most famous attractions are the natural caverns. Close to the village there is Speedwell Cavern which, due to it's flooded chambers, is visited by boat. Other good options include Peak Cavern which is a huge cleft carving a path through the limestone hillside and Treak Cliff which is famous for it's supply of the unique Blue John Stone. Sitting atop the hillside in the heart of Castleton is also Peveril Castle.
For visitors wanting something more strenuous Castleton has plenty of options. Bring your bike and there are several great loops for both roadies and mountain bikers (we can easily give you specific information on this). There are also loads of stunning evening walks. Top of the list would be a stroll up the impressive limestone valley of Cavedale or an after dinner ascent of Mam Tor which is the site of an Iron Age hill fort. Even a gentle evening stroll around Castleton's quaint and rambling streets is a pleasant after dinner activity.
If you are travelling by car Castleton is as easy to get to as anywhere in the valley. It is also served by the 272 bus that travels through the length of the valley from Sheffield. There is no train station in Castleton but the station at Hope is about 35 minutes walk away (or we can usually collect you from the station if you let us know in advance).
Places to stay
Castleton is packed with great B&B's (see our accommodation guide here) and just outside the village is a popular and well appointed youth hostel. The campsite within easiest reach of the village is the friendly and peaceful Rowter Farm (although the options listed in the Hope section are only a 5 minute drive away).
Places to eat
Castleton has a range of high quality pubs and they all serve good food and real ales. Our top recommendations are the Bulls Head (our favourite from their menu is the fish & chips) or Old Nags Head (their home made pizza is fantastic). The Nags Head also opens for a feast of a breakfast at 8am. Castleton also has a good Italian restaurant called 1530 and a selection of other cafes and eateries. We even have a traditional sweet shop and some lovely places to get an energy boosting ice cream.
There are public toilets in the centre of the village (next to the bus station), a well stocked post office and, directly opposite on the main road, a general store and bakery (Peveril Stores). There is also a large purpose built information centre with good displays on the history of the village. A lot of parking in the village is pay and display but there's some free on street parking near the church and war memorial. Castleton also has a selection of small outdoor shops in case you've forgotten any essentials (although they are generally focussed on walkers and don't sell climbing equipment).
Hope is usually the starting point for our mountain biking courses and some corporate events. The village is based around the main road that runs through the Hope Valley and it is well positioned if you want to stay centrally in the valley. Hope doesn't have specific 'sights' like Castleton but it has a good range of amenities and is a really pleasant place to spend a few days.
If you are travelling by car Hope is as easy to get to as anywhere throughout the valley. It also has a train station that is within easy walking distance of the village and is on the direct Manchester to Sheffield train line. This makes link ups with the south and various northern cities very easy. Hope is also served by the same 272 bus that travels through the length of the valley from Sheffield.
Places to Stay
Hope is again well served by B&B's (see our accommodation guide here). Just along the road (towards Sheffield) there is the large and popular Laneside Campsite. Just after you'll come to another pub called the Travellers Rest and on the road just behind it is a popular farm campsite called Hard Hurst Farm. Hope is also only a stones throw from Castleton youth hostel.
Places to Eat
In the centre of Hope there are a few well positioned cafes including the Woodbine Cafe which is a legendary bikers, para gliders and cavers hangout. There is also the Courtyard Cafe which has a nice conservatory area at the back. For pub food The Cheshire Cheese on Edale Road (the road next to the post office) is very highly regarded. The pub is about a kilometre from the centre of Hope. Right in the middle of the village is The Old Hall Pub which also serves good food.
Hope has a Spar shop on the main road which is open until 10pm. The main road also has a post office and a deli which makes great sandwiches. There are public toilets by the large car park in the middle of the village and, if you've got too much energy after your course, the public park even has a free outdoor gym! If you need any biking spares or repairs during your stay Hope is also home to the long established cycling shop 18 bikes.
The large car park in the centre of the village is a pay and display but there is usually plenty of places along Edale Road (the turning by the post office) or along Main Road (this is the usual parking spot for mountain bikers).
All our Peak District climbing courses and many of our navigation courses meet in Hathersage. It is a large village that sits at the end of the Hope Valley and offers great access to many amazing gritstone crags. We couldn't choose a better meeting point.
The bulk of visitor amenities in Hathersage are based along the Main Road and there are also several things to see and do in the evening (in the unlikely event that your course hasn't tired you out enough!) At the top end of the main road there is the church where, it is said, Robin Hood's right hand man Little John is buried. Robin Hood has other links to the area which continue at Stanage Edge where there are some caves Robin is said to have used as a hideout from the Sherriff of Nottingham's men (we can easily give you a description of how to find them). Nearer to the village centre there is the chance for a pleasant evening stroll along the banks of the River Derwent or, if you'd rather getting in the water, Hathersage has it's own outdoor swimming pool. The pool is situated on Crossland Road which is just behind Main Street.
Road transport to Hathersage is easy via either Sheffield, Chesterfield or from the Stockport direction. It also has a train station that is on the main Sheffield to Manchester line so travel from north or south by rail is simple. The bus route through the village is the same 272 service that visits the rest of the Hope Valley.
Places to Stay
Hathersage has a selection of B&Bs (see our accommodation guide here). The village also has a youth hostel and, for those wanting to camp, it has a pleasant little campsite called North Lees that sits under Stanage Edge. North Lees is about 5 minutes drive from the village centre so it suits campers who don't mind a drive. It is in a lovely location but is also small and, as large groups aren't allowed, it tends to be peaceful at night. For groups of up to 5 the St Michaels Outdoor Centre also has a small cottage that can be rented for sole occupancy.
Places to Eat
Hathersage has a few good cafes. The one above the Outside Shop serves good food in a pleasant environment and further up the main road Coleman's Deli is another popular choice. For a pre course coffee or breakfast the only place that opens in time is the Pool Cafe which is part of the swimming pool or, if you just want to grab a wake me up coffee after your journey, there is a petrol station in the centre of the village which has a decent self-service machine.
The village has a good selection of pubs with The Scotsman Pack and The Millstone recommended as places for a good meal and real ales at a reasonable price. Hathersage is also home to Sangams Indian Restaurant which is a firm favourite of many local outdoors people.
In the centre of the village there is a petrol station which has a well stocked Spar shop and there are public toilets directly opposite. There are 2 banks (Natwest and RBS) which both have service tills and there is also a post office and chemist which are all on the main road.
If you have forgotten an item of equipment for your course (or want to upgrade) there are plenty of shops in Hathersage to help. The long established independent Outside shop is a large and well stocked equipment treasure trove and further up Main Street Outside own another outdoor store focussed on high end clothing.
Posted by Cal