Hope Valley

First time visitors may know the Peak District for Bakewell and Chatsworth House. But for the great adventurers out there, the most popular places and attractions are further north in Hope Valley.

What is Hope Valley known for?

The Hope Valley region is the heart and soul of the Peak District because of its vast natural beauty. It’s known for some of the best hill hikes such as Mam Tor and Bamford Edge, the epic ladybower reservoir, unmatched caving experiences, and a cyclist’s haven.

Where is Hope Valley in the Peak District?

It can be quite confusing to figure out the parameters of Hope Valley. Here’s the main area covered on a map:

Hope Valley map

While there’s also a handful of villages south of Hathersage, namely Stoney Middleton, Eyam, Grindleford and Calver, the region is centred around the village of Hope. Everywhere along the A6187 road and surrounding areas within a few miles is safely rooted in this territory and where most visitors stay. In order of popularity, that includes:

  • Castleton
  • Edale
  • Hathersage
  • Bamford
  • Bradwell
  • Hope

So when looking for things to do in Hope Valley, explore all the best spots around these locations. Travel links between them are quick and easy via car, bus, train and cycling – perfect for packing more adventure into one trip.

Things to do in Hope Valley

Castleton

Castleton is in the west end of Hope Valley. It is arguably the most beautiful village in the region. It’s home to Peveril castle, built shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It’s named after the illegitimate son of William the Conquerer, William Peverel, whom was granted lands in Derbyshire and the keeper of the peak’s royal forests in the 11th century. You can enter the castle ruins or admire it from below on the Cave Dale walk, which trails behind it.

Winnats Pass is another sighting on your walk to tick off the bucket list. The windy road that ascends into the rugged hills as you exit the village is a photographer’s dream. If you can manage the 10.9% incline on your bike the ride back down is as epic as it gets. On a side note, a good chunk of the journey from Castleton to Hathersage includes cycle lanes – unlike most other parts of the Peak District. Both end points have challenging hills for a more rigorous but highly rewarding ride, while most of the journey in between the two villages is flat for an easy-going ride.

At the bottom of Winnats Pass you’ll find Speedwell cavern, where you can take a boat trip through underground caves. If you’re not a fan of narrow passages, try the more spacious Peak cavern within Castleton. If its former name, Devil’s Arse (due to flatulant sounds), doesn’t tickle your curiousity as an adult, it is at least a favourite spot among kids. The organizers host concerts and events featuring tributes to some of the greatest rock bands to ever live, and more. It’s not often you get to watch films in a cave or experience the rocky walls light up during a performance.

Further on from Winnats Pass is the most popular mountain peak in the Peak District – Mam Tor. This stairway to heaven is surprising easy for one of the highest points after Kinder Scout. It helps that you can park half way up and get to the top within 40 minutes. Or if you want an extended hike, try a circular walk from Castleton to Mam Tor to Lose Hill and back into the village. Alternatively, head over to Edale.

Edale

Fancy yourself a serious adventurer with an appetite for the wilderness? Edale is your main basecamp. Home to The Old Nags Head, one of the best pubs in the Peak District where travellers often share stories, you’ll have access to amazing walks in every direction such as the Jacob’s Ladder, Grindsbrook Clough for some waterfalls, or Kinder Downfall if you want to momentarily disconnect from civilisation. The vast space beyond Edale is ideal for wild camping, although this is technically not allowed.

Hathersage

Hathersage is a hillside village on the far east side of Hope Valley. It has a good selection of food places from delis to restaurants, butchers, and a tea room. And when you’re ready burn off some calories, there’s a swimming pool and outdoor clothing shops to get all you need to tackle any season in the Peak District. The village is widely visited for its moor walks, close proximity to Sheffield, and historical significance in British culture. Charlotte Bronte often stayed in Hathersage, which provided the inspiration for her iconic novel, Jane Eyre. In fact, you can find the gravestones of the Eyre family at St Michael and All Angels’ church. Nearby, Little John, the friend and lieutenant of Robin Hood rests in peace. The urban legend himself is thought to be from Loxley just north east towards Sheffield and visited this area. Take a trip to the aptly named Robin Hood’s Cave along the Stanage Edge walk in the same direction.

For an easier walk and fantastic views overlooking Hathersage, make your way up to Hathersage Booths at the the top of the village. A car park called Suprise View is also available by car with a public footpath heading north to Millstone Edge or you can follow the road towards Fox House Inn and take a sharp right towards Padley Gorge.

Bamford

Bamford is a wonderful little village heading to the north side of Hope Valley. While there aren’t too many things to do within the village, it’s home to near some of the Peak District’s greatest beauty spots. Ladybower reservoir is one of the most visited reservoirs in England. Its unique plughole forms an incredible cascading waterfall effect to drain water when it overflows. The walking and cycling routes along the water make for a great family day out. There are information boards and a visitor centre to learn about history and wildlife in the area. You’ll also get to enjoy Derwent dam. Continue down to Howden reservoir for a more secluded trail.

Hike up Bamford Edge for a picnic. When you reach the summit, you’ll be greeted with picture-perfect views of the reservoir and bridge crossing it. It’s so climactic people sometimes propose there. And if you’ve ever wanted an epic photo standing over the edge of a cliff, this is your place.

Eyam

Eyam is situated in the South side of Hope Valley. It’s a bit out of the way, which is probably a good thing when you discover it’s history. The remote Derbyshire village is known as ‘plague village’. Making the bold choice to quarantine in order to contain the deadly disease from surrounding areas, 75% of the population was wiped out.