August 20

A Cheap Weekend in England’s Oldest National Park


Ladybower Reservoir, The Peak District
Ladybower Reservoir, The Peak District

Castleton in the Peak District – a Great Base for Exploring England’s Oldest National Park.

England has many protected outdoor areas, each with their own character. The Peak District National Park showcases the highs and lows of visiting rural Britain. This splodgy area between the industrial cities of Sheffield and Manchester contains history, outstanding natural beauty, local character and sporting activities.

Yet the wind and water that lurk in the clouds can still derail all those outdoor plans…think walking boots with ankle support, umbrellas and waterproof trousers.

Easy Leisurely Walks

With the Yorkshire Bridge Inn car park as a starting point, skirt around the edges of the Ladybower Reservoir on the clearly marked paths. With the right weather, this flat path should take you around the calm ripples of the artificial lake, guarded by gently sloping hills on each side. Sheep may well welcome completely ignore you, so remember – as always – to close any gates you use. Walking time – approx 1 hour.

More Strenuous Walks

sheepStill starting from the Yorkshire Bridge Inn car park, stick to Ladybower until you reach the giant plug hole. From here, several paths dart off to the left to direct you to the summit of Win Hill. They vary slightly, but as long as you are travelling upwards then you will reach the peak. Win Hill showcases the rugged splendour of the Peak District – and also exposes you to the elements. Take care in bad weather, as the descent can be treacherous. Walking time (up and down) – approx 2 hours, depending on fitness levels.

Longer but Easier: Walk Through the Hope Valley to Castleton

 This walk takes you alongside the reservoir, through farms, hills and occasionally along quiet roads. Depending on energy and enthusiasm, it takes 2-3 hours each way. Buy a proper Ordnance Survey Map before you set out. To give you a taste of the route, here’s an outline provided by Every Trail:

08/12/07 Castleton Walk III at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Community


If sitting down is more your thing, then hire a bike and enjoy the many cycle routes.

Indoor Activities – The Dambusters Museum

During WWII, pilots trained over the Peak District for one of history’s most dangerous raids: flying at 18 metres above the ground in the heartland of enemy Germany to drop bouncing bombs. The squadron became known as the Dambusters and a small museum tucked into the West Tower of the Derwent Dam tells their story.

Food & Drink – there’s a reason all of these walks start at pubs, after all.

A Giant Yorkshire Pudding
A Giant Yorkshire Pudding

The Peak District specialises in hearty, warming food and ale – and Castleton is no exception. Expect to find Giant Yorkshire Puddings filled with sausages, Full English Breakfasts and Black Pudding Pies. Wash those down with a variety of local(ish) ales such as the honeyed Yorkshire Pride.

You’ll also find a charming, olde-worlde sweet shop in Castleton – full of mint humbugs and homemade fudge transported all the way from the shop next door. That’s fudge with a pretty low carbon footprint.

Just for Fun…

Peak Hotel. Peak District.
Peak Hotel. Peak District.

Watch for the pub names painted in block-white letters on the slate tiles – a Peak District tradition.

Getting Around

Sigh. Like so many national parks, there are plenty of options for getting to the Peak District but once you are there, the easiest way to get around is by car. Check out the transport options available here.


Enjoy exploring the world, one weekend at a time – in Castleton, the Peak District, England’s Oldest National Park.


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