From caves and castles to gentle walks and all-day hikes, there is so much to do right from your doorstep you can happily while away your time in Edale without the use of a car – perfect if you are coming by train. There are maps and itineraries in all the tents on your arrival but in the meantime here are some suggestions…
The Gathering lies in Grindsbrook Booth, one of the booths that make up the village of Edale in Hope Valley. Edale is a small but lively village that packs a big punch for walkers particularly, being the official start point of the famous 268 mile walk, the Pennine Way. Last year over 250,000 walkers attempted the classic route up the backbone of England to Kirk Yetholm, across the Scottish Border.
The walk begins at the end of Grindslow’s drive just across Grindsbrook, a stream that tumbles down from the heights of Kinder Scout and over the sheep-cropped pasture of Grindsbrook Meadows – and soothes you to sleep in your tents! The village has two pubs, two cafes, a Post Office and shop, a small school (19 children in the whole school – our children make up 10% of the numbers!), a playground, active church and village hall (there is usually something happening in the hall so keep an eye out).
Edale also has the oldest horticultural society! Every year Edale hosts Country Day, a great day-out for the family with countryside stalls and events, a magical bonfire night and Halloween party, several concerts, the infamous Spine Race (one of the toughest fell races in the world), The Skyline Race, The Beer Barrel Race from Snakes Pass, SpoonFest (the international festival of the carved wooden spoon hosted by one of our own, woodsman Robin Wood MBE)… the list goes on!
THE MOORLAND CENTRE
The Moorland Centre, in the heart of the village, is a good place to get acquainted with the area, with some interactive displays about the fauna and wildlife up on the moors. There is also a great supply of maps for all sorts of activities in the area alongside postcards and local gifts.
Our Verdict: If you are knew to the area and want to understand the moors, wildlife and management, kick off your visit here. Also if it is chucking it down it is all indoors and – with little children – can fill in a wet morning… walk to the centre, let them run around, then hit a café to recover!
EDALE VILLAGE PLAYGROUND, TENNIS AND FOOTBALL PITCH
By the village car park there is a super playground for children (with some tougher climbing stuff for bigger kids!). Also a tennis court and football pitch. Please talk to Tommy or Kirsty if you are keen to play a game and we will liaise with the Edale Club about times and costs.
WALKS, HIKES, RAMBLES, CLIMBS AND PICNIC SPOTS
Edale is the starting point for some of the best open-access walks in England and the official start of The Pennine Way. There are lots of lovely circular walks and some lower, flatter walks suitable for younger children, alongside some tough climbs and full day out yomps on the top of Kinder Plateau.
There are some maps in your tent – if you would like any advice on routes and suitability please corner either Kirsty or Tommy to plan your day out. In the meantime here are some simple routes that we regularly enjoy to get you started…
A STROLL FROM EDALE TO OLLERBROOK BOOTH
Circular route. 10 minutes there and 15 minutes back! And very FLAT!
Head down the lane in front of the Nags Head Pub, across the old stone packhorse bridge and up the steps into the meadow – arriving in Ollerbrook Booth, a pretty collection of cottages and farms.
Return to Edale via the farmyard but following the signs to the church and heading diagonally across the meadow.
Our Verdict: Perfect for little ones with little legs and those in the mood for an evening stroll.
UP THE NAB AND DOWN TO OLLERBROOK AND BACK VIA NAGS HEAD PUB
Circular route. Allow an hour for grown-up legs.
A good climb up the stone path and steps to The Nab for those with strong legs – but perfectly suitable for energetic children! – followed by a lovely wind down into the meadows in Ollerbrook and back to the Nags Head Pub for a well-deserved tipple.
Our Verdict: Nice safe walk on a stone path that gets your heart pumping on the climb up and delivers magnificent views of the village and valley below. Ends at the pub for a well-deserved drink.
UP GRINDSBROOK AND BACK TO THE VILLAGE ALONG THE PENNINE WAY
Circular Route. Allow 40 minutes – or more if you head further upstream (some great pools and waterfalls to splash in and picnic spots in abundance).
A lovely walk along the old start of the Pennine Way on a gentle incline, across local woodsman Robin Wood’s hand-carved wooden bridge and up onto the open moor along Grindsbrook.
This route is great for kids who love to splash in streams, build dams and enjoy getting wet! Keep following Grindsbrook upstream for great pools to splash in and waterfalls to clamber. In the summer months and fall, the area is teeming with bilberries and blackberries.
Our Verdict: Having a picnic in the beautiful open moorland of Grindsbrook with kids building dams in the steam is one of life’s best moments. If the weather isn’t great for a picnic, tog up for wet weather and kids will enjoy leaping over the stream as you climb higher up Grindsbrook – a simple form of canyoning!
UP TO UPPER BOOTH AND BACK ON LOWER ROUTE
Circular Route. Allow 2.5 hours – a gently rolling walk half way up the valley and back along the bottom of the valley. Refer to map.
Head into the village and veer right at the Nag’s Head Pub past the pretty cottage and up the new Pennine Way official start. Follow the path to Upper Booth then drop down and return to Edale along the lower path.
Our Verdict: A lovely afternoon/morning walk which is not too strenuous on the knees. Head to the Rambler for supper or lunch on return.
There are oodles of all-day walks around here – but here are some ideas for the more hardy (our children aged 5 and 6 can manage the walk to Castleton and Hope)…
- Around Kinder Plateau – Circular Route – 5 hours – Around Kinder from Grindsbrook and back down Jacob’s Ladder, passing through the incredible Woolpack Stones that inspired artists such as Henry Moore. Refer to map.
- Over Mam Tor to Castleton or along Mam Tor to Hope – One way return via taxi or train (or walk if feeling hardy!) – 2 hours – Head over Mam Tor, an old bronze age fort, and drop down into Castleton for lunch or keep going along the spine towards Losehill and Hope for a bite to eat at the Cheshire Cheese or spa hotel, Losehill House. Then if the legs are too tired to return, jump on the train back to Edale (one stop from Hope) or call 2Nice taxis in Hope 01433 623427.
- Over Kinder to Chinley and Whitehough for lunch – 5 hours – Up over Kinder dropping down towards Chinley and up to Whitehough lunching/early sups at the Old Hall Inn or its sister Paper Mill Inn across the road .Then drop back to Chinley and grab the little train – one stop to Edale (journey time 9 minutes).
Edale is teeming with great mountain bike routes right from the village. Please see the maps in the tents for routes. We have a couple of spare bikes here if you haven’t brought your own.
FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY SHOOT
Lisa is photographer living in the most remote part of Edale Valley, Upper Booth, at the base of Jacob’s Ladder. She has photographed many of the gorgeous photos on our website but in addition offers bespoke ‘Family Sessions’, designed to be a reflection on the relationships between the members of your family, enhanced by being in the great outdoors – giving the sessions more of a sense of an adventure than of a photo shoot. She specialises in natural, vibrant and artistic photography that captures the individuality of the client. Please contact her direct if you would like to book some time with her and your friends and family whilst here and get some fabulous photos to remember your holiday!
CASTLES, CAVES AND CAVERNS
Castleton is awash with them – and that is just over the hill. An hour’s walk or a ten minute drive (head right out of the village and up over Mam Tor – turn left at the T-Junction).
There are four show caves open to the public in and around Castleton: Peak Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern and Blue John Mine.
is the only wholly natural cavern of the four and is the least commercialised. It was known to locals as the Devil’s Arse and the stream issuing from it as the Styx, which give some idea of how the locals used to feel about it. The approach and entry are very impressive, taking you into an immense cleft in the rock below the crag on top of which sits Peveril Castle and into a wide and spacious cave entrance. Beyond this lie miles of passages though the standard tour only goes a few hundred metres into the cavern. There are often concerts going on in the cave so do check online.
lies at the foot of Winnats Pass and is probably the most popular cavern of the four. This is a mine with several natural chambers and an underground canal which forms the centrepiece of the visit. Steps lead down from the entrance to the canal, where visitors take a boat trip leading eventually to the Bottomless Pit, a large water-filled natural cavern so high you cannot see the top.
Treak Cliff Cavern
is higher up the old Mam Tor road and contains a range of nice stalactite and stalagmite formations. The cave was originally a lead mine, but now mines Blue John. The initial sections of the cave pass through the old mine workings and veins of Blue John stone can be clearly seen in the walls.
Blue John Mine
lies just below the crumbling face of Mam Tor and is approached via Winnats Pass (a great drive from Edale down to Castleton – some might spot it from the film The Princess Bride!). Like Treak Cliff, the mine is part natural, part mine-workings, and contains natural chambers, veins of Blue John, fossils and stalactites and stalagmites. It descends a long series of steps to reach several large chambers, all of which contain fine formations and interesting minerals.
Peveril Castle is the reason for the existence of Castleton and looms above the village. It is in the care of English Heritage and is well worth a visit. The views from the castle, down to Cave Dale, to Mam Tor and to Castleton itself are excellent.
You enter the castle up a very steep climb from Castleton, but this was not the original main approach, which went up Goosehill and zig-zagged up the hill to approach along the ridge above Cavedale which reaches towards the keep. Peveril dug a breach in this ridge to create a moat which had a wooden bridge across it. Sadly, this bridge has gone and not been replaced.
The Castleton entrance leads in through the remains of a gatehouse which was built in the 12th century and into the main courtyard of the castle. Around this is the remains of a curtain wall, which was constructed in early Norman times by the Peverils, and includes Roman tiles which presumably were taken from the ruins of the Roman fort at Navio (Brough).
Dominating the site are the remains of the stone-built keep, which was built by Henry II in 1176 and is relatively well preserved. The keep was originally about 60 feet high and was faced with fine gritstone blocks, which still remain on the east and south sides. It dominates the view across both Castleton and Cavedale below. Inside the courtyard it is possible to trace the foundations of a Great Hall and kitchens and other buildings, but it is the view across the surrounding countryside which is the finest feature of the visit.