Perched high above Castleton, on the opposite side to Mam Tor, are the ruins and singular standing tower of Peveril Castle. Built by Henry II in 1176, it is now owned by English Heritage, and you can pay to go inside to explore what’s left of the tower and walls. Alternatively, you can get some pretty good views of Peveril Castle on this Cave Dale walk.
Starting in the picturesque village of Castleton, this circular Cave Dale walk takes you past Peveril Castle and up through the rocky, steep path of Cave Dale to meet the Limestone Way at the top. The views on a clear day here are beautiful. The walk then circles round back into the village, past Peak Cavern (aka “Devil’s Arse”).
It’s a steady climb to the top of Cave Dale and the footpath is rocky and uneven underfoot. Plus after wet weather, a small waterfall flows down the footpath, so waterproof hiking boots are recommended. The last section of this walk is very steep downhill and you may need to do some ‘bum sliding’ (this is obviously a technical hiking term), so it’s also a good idea to have waterproof trousers with you.
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If you are planning a visit to the National Park, please arrive early or late in the day to avoid crowds if visiting over sunny weekends or school holidays. Please also take all litter home with you, don’t bring BBQs and park your car in designated parking areas. Also, please use these walks as a guide; access and stiles may change.
During the winter months, it’s important to be extra prepared and safe when out walking and adventuring in the Peak District. The weather can change so quickly, especially on the exposed escarpments, and we don’t want you to get caught out.
Read our top tips for safe winter walking with the kids.
PARKING INFORMATION: Please do not rely solely on the postcode for parking directions. In the National Park, a postcode can cover a large area. Postcodes are only provided as guidance. Please either use the Google Maps point provided for every walk, or what3words.
Do check out our top tips for hiking with young kids, as well as our essential items to take on a family hike in the Peak District.
Download and print out our walking guides ready for your family walk. There are over 80 downloadable walk guides available, and these include all the main Peak District family walks, pram-friendly walks, and toddler walks.
Each printable download is just £1.50, whether it’s a short 1km stroll or an epic walk up Kinder Scout.
Cave Dale walk map
On all Peak District family walks it’s a good idea to have an Ordnance Survey paper map with you, even if you have your phone on you. For this walk you need the OS Explorer Map OL 01 (Dark Peak). It’s also a good opportunity to show young kids the map features and get them started with map reading.
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Our circular Cave Dale walk follows the below OS Map in a clockwise direction, starting from the main Visitors Centre car park in Castleton (click here for Google Map location).
Get a printable download of this walk
Want to print off this walk guide rather than rely on your mobile? Then click here to download the PDF to print out at home. Perhaps print out a copy for the kids to follow the step-by-step directions and/or photos? It’s a great way to get them engaged with the walk and gives them a sense of responsibility.
All printable downloads are £1.50 each. Click here for the full list of Peak District Kids printable downloads.
Please note that your download link expires 72 hours from order, so make sure you save your PDF somewhere where you’ll remember it. If you are unsure where your download folder is on your mobile device, we recommend you download the PDF on your laptop or desktop.
Need to know
DISTANCE OF WALK: 6km / 3.7 miles
TYPE OF WALK: circular dale walk with hill top views
PARKING: Parking at Castleton Car Park. Click here for location Google Maps, postcode S33 8WH. You can either pay by cash or using PayByPhone (code 806748). There is no option to pay by card. 2-4 hours is £4 and up to 10 hours is £6.
WALK HIGHLIGHTS: Peveril Castle, Cave Dale, little caves to explore, stunning views, “Devil’s Arse”, Visitors Centre.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE: Without kids, this is a 2.5 hour walk. But with young kids, allow 3.5 hours.
TOTAL ASCENT: 256 metres
ACCESSIBILTY: rocky and uneven underfoot. Not pram or wheelchair friendly. Take very little ones in a carrier, although carrying them will be difficult on the steep descent towards the end of the walk. There are also few big stiles to climb over.
FACILITIES: Public toilets can be found at the car park at the start of the walk. There are no other toilet facilities on the walk. In Castleton there are a number of pubs and cafes for pre or post walk refreshments.
START: Castleton Visitors Centre
Click here for Google Map point
Grid reference: SK 1496 8293
Post code: S33 8WH
Route follows a clockwise direction.
1. From the car park entrance, take a left along the road towards the Bulls Head and then cross over the road. Take the first right at the red phone box (which now has a Defibrillator), and follow the road up to the market square, passing the St Edmund’s Church on your left and The George pub on your right.
2. Take a left at the market square, past The Old Barn, and follow the road around to the right. Follow the Cave Dale footpath sign that points to a narrow lane between cottages.
3. Continue through the wooden gate along The Limestone Way, which takes you up through Cave Dale. Make sure you stop to take in the views behind you back to Peveril Castle. There are also little caves to explore enroute. The footpath through Cave Dale is very rocky and uneven underfoot, with lose stones, so take care. Also, after wet weather, there is often a stream running down the footpath. After 1.2km you walk through a drystone wall. Keep going uphill. The path evens out slightly, but with the rocks gone it can be very muddy. The footpath continues along a drystone wall.
4. Eventually you meet a metal gate through a drystone wall, with arrows pointing in the direction of the footpath. When we were last here, there was a huge puddle by the gate, but you can use the stones to help. Continue through the gate and along the footpath.
5. Continue through the next gate. 20 metres on from here is a footpath signpost. Follow the footpath to the left. This footpath veers left, slightly uphill, away from the drystone wall.
6. This footpath leads out to a track. Take a right through the large metal gate. After 200 metres, follow the track around to the right.
7. After 600 metres, walk through a metal gate (there’s a stone stile on the right), and then climb over the large wooden stile to the right, signposted to Castleton. Continue straight ahead with the drystone wall immediately on your right.
8. Walking along this wall, you will pass two metal gates. Walk through the second gate, and cross the field to the left to walk through another metal gate. This section can get exceptionally muddy.
9. Continue straight ahead to a stone stile. It’s difficult to spot until you’re close to it! The pointy hill on the horizon is Win Hill. Climb over and follow the footpath straight ahead, keeping the drystone wall immediately on your right. The town of Castleton soon comes into view.
10. Continue straight ahead, climbing two more stone stiles. After the last stile, the footpath visible in front of you doesn’t quite follow the footpath marked on the OS map. If you continue along the obvious footpath straight ahead, there is a switch back to the left, just before you reach Peveril Castle. This then switches right again to meet the footpath running along the bottom of the hill, along the drystone wall. However, your kids (and you!) may feel that some bum sliding tactics are needed to get down this section.
11. Once you reach the footpath at the bottom of the steep hill, take a right towards Castleton. The drystone wall will be on your left. Walk through the metal gate and into the village along a tarmac lane. If you want to visit Peak Cavern, take the footpath on the right immediately before the stone bridge, along the side of the river.
12. To get back to the beginning of this Cave Dale walk, cross over the stone bridge, and take the footpath immediately on your left past ‘The Little Shop’ with the river on your left. This leads out to the main road through Castleton. The entrance to the car park is immediately opposite.
After your walk
Castleton is one of the most popular villages in the Peak District as there is so much to do, especially with no less than four caverns to explore and all the walks in the area. And don’t forget that this walk takes you almost straight past the entrance to Peak Cavern! Click here for our review of Peak Cavern.
But after this Cave Dale walk with the kids, make a beeline for The Real Fudge Company, handily opposite Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Inn. There’s also a visitors centre at the car park (where this walk starts and ends) that’s worth a nosy.
Check out our guide for things to do in Castleton for more ideas.
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Or perhaps purchase a Peak District Kids iron-on patch. £1 from every sale of the iron-on patches goes towards the Peak District National Park Foundation, a registered charity established to raise funds to care for the Peak District National Park.
Want more ideas for family walks?
Best Family Walks in the Peak District
Pram Friendly Peak District walks
Toddler walks in the Peak District
Also, come and join our friendly Peak District Kids Facebook Group for any questions or to share photos of your walks.