The Mam Tor Walk Guide – 4 Picturesque Mam Tor Walks For All Abilities
Discover the best Mam Tor Walk for you and plan the perfect trip to England’s Peak District.
The Mam Tor Walk is one of the most popular walks in the Peak District and probably in England. Located just outside Castleton in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire, Mam Tor Peak District is the perfect place to come to experience some quintessential, English countryside while connecting with nature.
At 517 meters above sea level, the Mam Tor walk is a great option for walkers of all abilities as well as children and even dogs. The path straight up to Mam Tor is paved for most of the way and it’s a gradual uphill walk.
There are many different paths and routes to take when heading to the ridge of Mam Tor. Many walkers also combine the summit of Mam Tor with the Mam Tor Ridge Walk that’ll take you over to Back Tor or Lose Hill or even the picturesque village of Castleton and Hope. In this guide read about four of the most popular routes and find out which is best for you to plan the perfect day out in the Peak District.
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GETTING TO MAM TOR
Mam Tor is located in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire, England. To get to Mam Tor you’ll first need to get to the Peak District area which is linked by road and rail from other parts of England.
The Peak District Area in general is best explored by car as it gives you the flexibility to go where you want when you want. While public transportation in this area does exist, services aren’t too frequent. If you plan on driving you’ll be able to get to Mam Nick Car Park, Castleton or Hope in the Hope Valley to start the Mam Tor Walk with ease.
It’s also possible to get to Mam Tor Peak District by train. The nearest stations are Edale or Hope. If you take the train, it might be a good idea to get off at Hope and jump straight into Mam Tor Walk 4, which starts in Hope and loops up to Mam Tor and then Back Tor via the Mam Tor Great Ridge Path before heading back down into Hope via Lose Hill.
You can also reach Mam Tor by bus. From Castleton take bus number 200 ( to Chapel-en-le-Frith) or number 272 (to Sheffield) and get off at Mam Tor.
MAM TOR WALK NEED-TO-KNOWS
There are many trails that you can take to the top of Mam Tor and which one you decide to do will depend on a few different factors such as the time you have, fitness ability, weather etc. Some of them are longer than others and require more time and more stamina. You might also decide on a shorter walk if you plan on seeing some other Peak District villages or sights on the same day.
Here are some Mam Tor essentials you’ll need to know before heading out.
How long are the Mam Tor walks?
There are many different trails to get to the summit of Mam Tor. These are the most popular with walkers and are suitable for all abilities.
Mam Tor Walk 1- Up and Down Route – For those with very little time this walk is the quickest way to the top. It’s 0.7 miles (1.1km) and takes around 30 minutes – 1 hour.
Mam Tor Walk 2 – The Mam Tor Circular Walk– This is one of the most popular routes to get to the summit of Mam Tor and get a glimpse of some of the most beautiful valleys in the Peak District from above. This walk is 3 miles (4.8km) long and takes about 1-2 hours depending on how fast you walk and how often you stop to take photos.
Mam Tor Walk 3- The Loop from Castleton – A longer, popular loop trail that’s 6.5 miles (10.5km) long and takes roughly 3-4 hours.
Mam Tor Walk 4 – The Loop from Hope – One of the longer and more difficult loop trails to get to the summit of Mam Tor, this walk is 9 miles (14.5km) long and takes 5-6 hours to complete- a great half/full day hike option for those with more time.
Who are they suitable for?
The Mam Tor Walk is suitable for pretty much anyone as there are trails to suit walkers of all abilities. Even children are able to get to the summit of Mam Tor along the shorter route. Leashed dogs are also welcome to summit Mam Tor.
The shorter route has a gradual elevation gain of about 85 meters so it’s not too steep. You’ll be able to walk at your own pace and take breaks if and when you need to.
Where does the Mam Tor Walk start?
Your starting point will depend on which Mam Tor walk you decide to do. The Up and Down and the Mam Tor Circular Walk both start from Mam Nick Car Park or Mam Tor Car Park as it’s also known which is located just off Rushup Edge, south-west of Mam Tor.
The Mam Tor Car Park belongs to the National Trust. You’ll need to pay unless you are National Trust Member. It costs £3.50 for 4 hours or £5 for anything longer. You’ll need to use the pay by phone options, instructions for which can be found in the car park.
Note that Mam Tor car park is pretty small and while there are some laybys on the roadside they all fill up pretty quickly giving you no other options for Mam Tor parking. My advice is to get here as early as you can to avoid not having a place to park, especially in summer. Otherwise, you might have to park in Castleton and walk from there.
The Loop Mam Tor Walk from Castleton starts and finished in Castleton and the final Mam Tor Walk starts and finishes in the village of Hope.
4 BEST MAM TOR WALKS FOR ALL
MAM TOR WALK 1 – UP & DOWN
If you’re just passing through the Peak District and prioritising other lovely, classic English villages and walks, yet you still want to walk Mam Tor and check out its amazing views, this walk is for you.
At just 0.7 miles this walk can be done in as little as 30 minutes. The brisk and steady walk to the top will allow you to experience this glorious summit and the views from its top. You’ll be able to see down to Castleton, across Hope Valley and behind you, down to Edale and beyond.
Start this walk at Mam Tor Car Park/ Mam Nick Car Park. From the back of the car park, you’ll see the path going up and you’ll soon walk up and alongside the main road. The path follows the main road for a few hundred metres before following the ridge up to Mam Tor’s Summit. Along the ridge, it can get quite windy so make to sure pack a warm layer just in case.
From the summit, take the same path down and come back to the car park the same way you walked up.
MAM TOR WALK 2 – THE POPULAR MAM TOR CIRCULAR WALK
This is the most popular Mam Tor walk route that most take to experience the best of the summit of Mam Tor as well as the surrounding views.
The Mam Tor circular walk also begins at Mam Tor Car Park/Mam Nick Car Park. Follow the path up the back of the car park and through the woodland and follow it as it curves to the right. The path will turn into stone steps which you can follow all the way to the summit of Mam Tor.
From the summit, follow the path going across the top of the ridge towards Hollins Cross or towards Great Ridge. Take a gate on your right and keep following the path as eventually, it loops back around towards Mam Tor. Follow this path back through woodland towards the old A625 in the landslide.
Eventually, you find a car park which you’ll need to head past to get to Blue Johns Cavern. I highly recommend taking a break from your Mam Tor Walk to visit this cavern- one of the most famous in the Peak District. From Blue Johns Cavern, pass the small gate and follow the signs to Windy Knoll. The path will lead you to the main road which you can walk alongside to get back to Mam Tor Car park.
Variation: If you prefer to shorten the walk a little and miss out Blue Johns Cavern, then turn right off the old A625 about 100 metres from the main road. You’ll find an alternative path that will take you across and back to Mam Tor car park without having to walk along the main road.
Check out the full Mam Tor Circular Walk interactive OS Map here
WALK 3 – LOOP FROM CASTLETON
If you’ve made Castleton your base from which to explore the Peak District (highly recommended) then you’ll be please to know you can also start your Mam Tor Walk from the popular town. This walk is also great for those that want a bit more of a longer and challenging hike.
The Loop from Castleton is 6.5 miles (10.5km) long and takes roughly 3-4 hours to hike depending on how many stops and breaks you take.
If you’re staying in Castleton you can park your car are your hotel/B&B or those visiting for the day can find parking at the Castleton Car Park or the Peak Hotel Public Car Park- where we parked. Here you’ll need to pay a day fee of £8 which actually gets refunded to you if you spend £10+ at the Peak hotel- a perfect excuse for a post-walk pint or lunch at their restaurant.
Begin the walk from the Castleton Bus Station toilets and follow the road round along Backs Street, past ye Olde Nag’s Head Pub to your right. Keep following the road, go past all the shops on the right side but make sure to cross the bridge and follow the road up the hill rather than turning towards Peveril Castle.
Follow the sign that says ‘public footpath’ which will lead you into a field with beautiful countryside views. Keep following the path and the signs to Mam Tor and Hollins Cross.
The path soon meets the road to Speedwell Cavern and Winnats Pass. From here crossover and go through the stile in front of the Cavern sign. This path will take you up to Treak Cliff Cavern. Follow the path around and up the hill.
Variation: If you prefer to make the most of the area and also visit the beautiful Winnats Pass on this hike then instead of going through the stile, follow the road up past Speedwell Cavern and detour to do the Winnat’s Pass walk following the path at the side of the road. You can then double back when ready and continue along the path. For the best views, you can also climb up the rocky outcrops for the best view of the snaking road and Winnat’s Pass.
When the footpath splits, keep walking straight and go through the gate. Go through the field and you’ll come to Blue John Cavern. Feel free to go inside and check out one of the best caverns in the Peaks. Keep following the path and go through two gates and cross the field before following the signs to Windy Knoll. Follow the path up the hill towards the summit of Mam Tor.
Once you’re done taking in the beautiful English country views at the summit, take the path on the left down Mam Tor until you get to Hollins Cross and on to Back Tor and Lose Hill Pike. From here turn left down a stony path. Cross the stile, choose the path on the right and go over the next stile, following the path down to Spring House Farm. The way back to Castleton from here is fairly easy.
Check out the full interactive OS Map here before setting out
WALK 4 – THE LOOP FROM HOPE
For the ultimate half-day hike, make the most of your time in the area with one of the longest Mam Tor Walks. This circular loop of Mam Tor from Hope is similar to that of Castleton, the loop is just bigger, encompassing the village of Hope.
This walk is 9 miles (14.5km) long and takes 5-6 hours to complete. It makes a great slow and steady day walk if you want to combine it with Blue Johns Cavern/Speedwell Cavern on the way or a faster half-day walk if you want to make the most of some other Peak District areas too.
This walk can be started from Hope Village or Hope Rail Station, it really depends on what’s more convenient for you. Either way, the trail will loop around to the original starting point. If you’re starting in Hope village you can park at Hope Valley Car Park which costs £6 for up to 10 hours of parking.
From Hope Village, follow Pindale Road uphill up to Hope Pinfold. After the road forks take the public footpath to the right and follow the path across the river. Keep following this path and you’ll soon enough arrive in Castleton, where you can follow the main road through the village. Castleton makes a great place to pause for a while, grab a snack or a coffee or just check out the gorgeous country cottages.
You’ve now joined the Castleton Loop part of this walk so follow the directions for Mam Tour Walk 3- Loop from Castleton (above) until you get to Back Tor and Lose Hill.
From the summit of Lose Hill, instead of turning right to descend down to Castleton, keep following the path straight onto Losehill Farm- there is a public footpath sign from 1938 which you can look out for too. The path starts to descend down towards Hope.
You’ll soon see a gate and you’ll also need to go over a railway bridge and another gate. There are some markers with yellow dots to help keep you on the path so make sure to look out for those. Follow this path straight down to Hope Village.
Check out the interactive OS Map for the Loop from Hope here
Variation: To extend this walk further by 2.7 miles (4.3 km) you can also add Win Hill to the Hope Loop. From the summit of Win Hill, you’ll have incredible views over to Ladybower Reservoir. You can add this extension to the beginning of the walk from Hope Station or Hope Village and walk counter-clockwise doing Win Hill first or leave it until the end by starting out clockwise from Hope Station or town.
For more about the extension to Win Hill check the OS Map here to plan your walk
WALKING PACKING LIST
If you’re planning to do a Mam Tor Walk, you’ll need to bring a few things with you to make your walk comfortable and enjoyable. Depending on the time of year and the weather forecast, things can get very wet, windy and cold- or even hot quite quickly. Make sure not to get caught out by using the checklist below to pack all the essentials.
- Comfortable, hiking footwear. You don’t need mountaineering hiking boots for a Mam Tor walk but wearing Converse isn’t a good idea either. You’ll want a good, comfortable but sturdy walking shoe for the Mam Tor walks. Gore-Tex and water-repellent boots are a good idea. Click here for the hiking shoes I use for short walks.
- Check the weather and pack accordingly. Make sure to bring plenty of layers and a waterproof if necessary. The summit of Mam Tor can be very windy and cold so make sure to bring some extra layers even in summer. In winter don’t forget a hat, scarf and gloves too as the summit of Mam Tor and the Great Ridge can be freezing.
- Bring water and snacks. Make sure you have enough water for the entire walk. Make sure to have at least a litre for the short up and down hike and more for the longer hikes. If it’s hot you’ll need to bring even more. There are no shops or kiosks to buy water or snacks so make sure to bring everything you need. You can also bring a light picnic to enjoy at the summit. Shops are available in Castleton and Hope.
- Bring your phone/camera. You’ll want to take photos and videos of the amazing country views from the top so make sure not to forget your gear. Click here to check out all the gear I use.
So, which Mam Tor walk will you do? Let me know your questions and comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
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