YHA Castleton's 5 Best Travel + Adventures in the Peak District


November 12, 2019

girl walking down the hill in the summit area

The weather has certainly changed over the last few weeks, but those light and cold days are best for hiking if you are properly selected. I was lucky enough to spend 24 hours with YHA in the wonderful Autumn Eyes at Peak District, a charity that will make young people's lives forever through travel and true adventure. They have amazing accommodations and opportunities to explore with their Dinner Club, where travelers eat their own healthy meals after a day out.

As part of my collaboration with YHA, I brought you five of my favorite adventures, using the beautiful YHA Losehill Hall as the basis. Read on, put on a layer and enjoy the great outdoors this winter!

mam tor peak area

Mam Tor

The spectacular Mam Tor – or "mother hill" – is visible as soon as you exit YHA's Losehill Hall rear gate. Its name comes from the many landslides that have made the Mam Tor mini mountains, slipping due to the unstable oil shale, which also gave it an alternative name, Shivering Mountain.

As I climbed Mam Tor, we decided to go very steeply up the grass, with spectacular views of Kinder Scout and Derwent Moors, back across the paved ridge and down the step of my first picture. This is actually the opposite of what most guides recommend, so I wouldn't use my route description as a gospel! One of the best things about staying at YHA is that there are guided walks on site, so whether you are a newcomer to Peaks and need someone to show you the routes, or an experienced hiker looking for more sophisticated routes, their experienced guides can help.

the girl goes up the hill

Lose Hill

Our guide Ruth took us for a walk on Mount Lose, right from the hostel I was happy with because I had never done this before. It takes you down some rolling farmland, up a reasonably challenging hill, then again with some wonderful views of the Great Seljandik. We were a pretty diverse group and everyone did great on this walk, which lasted about two and a half hours. It also included some much needed photo stops, I argue that this walk in particular has the best views of all Peaks!

yha supper club

Supper Club

It only seems relevant that this now includes the YHA Supper Club, which we all enthusiastically upgraded to after a few board rounds in the hostel lounge. The Supper Club is a shared kitchen for all travelers at the hostel, which encourages visitors to share their travel experiences and adventures, and includes vegetables, vegan and gluten-free options. I chose a vegetable pie that came with the creamiest porridge and as many vegetables as you want, followed by a grand vegan chocolate cake.

It's only £ 9.95 for two courses and it's the perfect warm end to a great day out!

the girl ran up the valley secretly

Secret Valley

After a broken sleep in the hostel, co-blogger Lucy and I got our trail shoes together and went out to explore Castleton. I think we know I'm a very good runner but this morning was cold and foggy but the run felt fantastic. Initially, we went out to check out Peveril Castle, which was only a 10-minute walk (or shorter lane!) From the hostel, but we found it would not open until 10pm. Next, we went a little farther to find a small gate by the bush, through a bush, along the path that led to the most prominent valley. Frankly, it felt like we were the first people in the world to discover it!

It was called the Secret Valley (or Cave Dale, if you want its real but less mysterious name) and was made by the melting water of the ice, carving the limestone of the deep valley. It's a challenging climb that requires at least footwear, unstable rocks under your feet, but it's worth it – after feeling like you've been climbing forever, you can turn around and enjoy the views of Castleton and Peveril Castle, made even more spectacular than in the morning we were going up the misty sun.

peveril's fortress from the cave

Although the map shows a steep lane, continue along Dale and finally reach the road that leads you to Castleton. I would not recommend going the way you came – a recommendation that may or may not come from personal experience.

a few kinder at the top of the scout

Kinder Scout

Now it's Castleton's epic, but I couldn't write about my favorite Peaks walks without involving Kinder Scout. This is my absolute approach, and if I do not go in a year, I really will feel overlooked. This photo of Chris and me at the top of the Jacob ladder is maybe about four years old, but ironically I could have said it was the same day as Lose Hill, considering I have the same top!

From YHA Castleton you can take a short drive to the other side of the backwater to park on Ede, or you can head up the stairs to Hollins Cross, directly across the road and start your walk from there. Kinder Scout is a great day out and climbing the Jacob's ladder is quite difficult, so make sure you feel fit, properly dressed and ready to walk (I've covered packing for hiking in my Snowdon post).

I advise you to visit just as summer is turning into autumn, as the hills are covered with purple hemp roses, some of which are shown in the photos above. I would also recommend a festive isotonic pint at The Ramblers Inn in Edale!

castleton village

Explore the caves

Less hiking, but definitely something very interesting. I haven't been since I was a kid, but I'd love to re-explore the many mines around the Peak District – Peak Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, Blue John Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern are in Castleton myself.

In Treak Cliff you can see the beautiful Blue John's Rock, go from the Speedwell cave flooded caves and go deep into the underground. A unique and breathtaking experience for all ages and abilities.


Writing this post has made me realize I need to stay longer than 24 hours at YHA Castleton – next spring I will book a 3 day trip (including Supper Club!) To experience the whole area. Who is with me?

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