It's Grim Up North
It’s grim up north, isn’t it? Well actually no, it’s not. I live in the city of Sheffield which is a stone throw away from miles upon miles of spectacular countryside and I’m fortunate enough to live just a 20 minute drive from my favourite place in Britain - Castleton. The beautiful village of Castleton is tiny in size, surrounded by farmland with miles of rolling streams, an abundance of caves, hills in every direction and hills (or mountains?) for the walking fraternity of every level. Over many generations, Castleton has been a treasure to savour, come rain or shine (mostly rain) with family and friends. We always enjoy walking through the beautiful countryside with the breeze blowing away the cobwebs and on each day of exploration somehow new gems of Castleton are revealed.
Castleton is a charming little village hidden in the beauty of the High Peak District in Derbyshire and too many people think little village means a quiet life where the quaint can grow boring but these people have obviously never been to Castleton. There may not be the hustle and bustle of its surrounding towns and cities but there is so much to see and do.
You can go on guided cave tours or leave the beaten track and go spelunking, as there is an abundance of caves eager to be explored. My personal favourite is the speedwell cavern where you descend 100 steps to explore the cave in boats. I always go for the guided tours as I have always been incredibly scared about a story of a caver that I once heard. The story of Neil Moss, a university student who went pot-holing alone. Crawling through tight unforgiving passages Neil became stuck 1000 meters from the entrance of the cave, trapped for around 14 hours eventually passing away from CO2 poisoning. Neil’s family requested that his body be left in the cave. So that there would be no more loss of life in attempts to bring Neil back. 50+ years on and the body of Neil Moss is still trapped in the popular tourist destination, Peaks Cavern. The section of the cavern was concreted closed and named Moss Chamber.
There's also lots of above ground ventures to have, you could walk up to Peveril Castle a ruined 11th-century castle which looks down on the village below and the vast beauty surrounding the area. Or you could walk up Winnats Pass, a beautiful hill overrun by sheep. Maybe you are looking for something more difficult to walk up? You could hike up Mam Tor, a bloomin’ big hill. I remember at school, we came to Castleton as a sort of residential thing. There was this one kid, who was known for being incredibly clumsy and he started running down during the descent of the hill. He honestly couldn't bring himself to stop, he was just chaotically running down this massive hill. He was getting really close to a fence at the bottom, fortunately for this kid, a teacher of ours dove in front of him and stopped him hitting this huge fence. In doing so, the teacher broke his arm, or maybe sprained it, it was so dramatic. I also feel bad for the kid though, it’s been 13 years since this happened at it’s the thing I remember most about this whole trip.
I personally like to go to Castleton just to get away from everything, it's honestly my favourite nearby place and I go for a detox from my chaotic life. I love it there and this place is proof that there is nothing grim about the north. The entire area is just pure and natural beauty. The landscape is perfect, the activities are vast and interesting.
Then finally the food, the village has many tiny cafes, restaurants and pubs. I’m not going to sit and rave on about that because I for some reason only ever go to the same three places: The Castle Pub, 1530 Restaurant and the Castleton Chippy. These are the must-go-to’s if you’re in Castleton and need food, all have amazing quality food. I highly recommend the chicken wings at the Castle Pub, they are absolute perfection, and if you go to the chippy then you have to have fish, chips and curry sauce. Ugh it’s sooo good!!!
I really wish I could justify travelling all that way every day to eat.
I can’t even express, how much you need to visit Castleton! It’s fun for the whole family, go for a day if you live nearby. If you don’t, book a room at the b&b, the hostel or rent a holiday home! Just make sure you visit this stunning place and take in everything about the village, its history and all the places to explore. If you don’t know where to start, head to the museum to learn about this rich history, that should inspire you to create a to-do list!
*This post was in collaboration with The Car People