Explore the Dark Peak District around the village of Castleton
FoodSome provided. Details below
Difficulty LevelsMultiple walk options available See itinerary below
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The Peak District is the heart of England. Made up of raised blanket bogs and the hills surrounding them, the Dark Peak in the north of the National Park is where we’ll be spending the weekend. Easily accessible from all the northern cities, the Peak District has that perfect mix of wilderness and accessibility which makes for a great first trip.
Based in Castleton, a village at the head of the Hope Valley, we’ll have perfect access to many of the Dark Peak’s most famous hills, including Mam Tor, Kinder Scout, and Win Hill. There will also be plenty of opportunity to explore the village of Castleton and perhaps take a tour round one of the nearby caves.
As usual with our walking weekends the emphasis is on having great days out with a friendly bunch of people, and then relaxing in the hostel with good fresh food.
In a nutshell:
- Explore some of the most famous hills in Britain, including Kinder Scout, where the fight for our access to the countryside reached a climax more than 80 years ago.
- Relax in the beautiful villages of Castleton and Hope, or explore one of the nearby caves if you feel like a day without walking.
- All meals provided from Friday night to Sunday morning, so you can concentrate on getting the most out of the weekend.
- Knowledgeable walking guides will lead you and the group on a choice of walks in the area.
A bit about the area
The Dark Peak
Once the bottom of a shallow sea, the limestone of the Peak District’s northern valleys are strewn with fossils. These correspond sharply with the famous gritstone moors that make the Peak one of Britain’s most popular walking and climbing locations. The Dark Peak, the northern half of the Peak District, gets it name from the Millstone grit, and the black bog that covers many of its summits. This bog can be explored by a large number of paths that will leave you marvelling at its unique ecology and geology.
Alongside the famous moors are the hills surrounding the Vale of Edale and the Hope Valley, most notably the ridge that runs between Mam Tor and Lose Hill. Beyond Kinder Scout lies the bog of Bleaklow, and over in the west near the Ladybower Reservoir stand the impressive scarps of Stanage Edge and Derwent Edge. Whether it’s to these hills you choose to go, or you head for a wander through the idyllic valleys, you’ll soon be captivated by the Peak District, as so many have before.
You can start arriving at the hostel from 5pm where your Large Outdoors host will be there to greet you and introduce you to your other walking companions. Dinner will be served at 8pm so until then you are free to take a walk through Castleton and perhaps investigate the pubs, or relax in the lounge with a cup of tea.
After dinner we’ll go through the plans for the weekend ahead, including giving you at least two walking options for the next day, a longer and a shorter route. We’ll also talk a bit about the area, weather, equipment needed and facilities. You have until the next morning to decide on the walk, so there’s no rush.
After dinner there’s the legendary cheese board and then you’re free to head out with your new companions or savour the delights of the hostel.
After our sit-down breakfast at 8am, we’ll lay out the packed lunch ingredients and you can set about making sandwiches for the day. There is also plenty of fruit, snacks and crisps to take so don’t worry about being hungry!
The plans for the day will then be confirmed and we’ll separate into groups depending on which walks have been chosen. There may be a short drive in the morning, but it will probably just be into the next valley as everything is very close. Possible walks include.
Late afternoon onwards
When both groups are back from their walks, the time is yours to relax, head to the pub, or stay chatting about your day in the lounge. We’ll be serving up a three course dinner in the evening, so don’t eat too much in those cafés!
After dinner we’ll go over the plans for Sunday and brief you about weather and walking routes.
After breakfast at 8am, it’s time to pack up and leave the hostel, and get into groups for the Sunday walk. As with Saturday, there’ll be two options, a longer and a shorter walk, both guided and both out to see some great parts of the Dark Peak. Walk options include:
Both walks will aim to finish at around 1pm, when the groups will meet up for a farewell lunch in a local pub. This usually finishes at 3pm and then it’s time to say our goodbyes and savour the memories and friendships made over the weekend. Of course if you want to stay and look around the villages for the afternoon then you’re more than welcome to!
We have the exclusive hire of Castleton Mews, a separate building in the grounds of Castleton Losehill Hall, a huge gothic Victorian mansion that has recently been totally renovated. The Mews has a great social space, and sits within easy reach of the village of Castleton, as well as the hills that surround it.
You are welcome to arrive any time from 5pm onwards and settle in before we serve an evening meal at about 8pm. Please let us know if you intend arriving after 10pm.
For this weekend we provide the following meals: evening meals on both Friday and Saturday, breakfasts, and a packed lunch for Saturday’s walk. On the Sunday, we usually head to a local pub or café for lunch which is not included in the price of the weekend.
As well as meals, we also provide a variety of complimentary soft drinks and beverages – tea & coffee which includes herbal, fruit and decaffeinated options and fruit squashes.
We do not supply alcohol but you are welcome to bring your own.
This is offered on a single sex shared room basis. The venue also has a limited number of twin rooms. All bedding is provided but please don’t forget your towel.
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What our members have to say...
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience from beginning to end. The host Kendra was very welcoming upon arrival at the youth hostel, all walkers and climbers were friendly and we got on great as a group. The home cooked food was amazing and the idea of 'kitchen angels' worked really well. The rock climbing instructor and his son were brilliant and helped us all, providing constant guidance and encouragement.Penny GraingerMember Since 2016
I love the concept of the Large Outdoors weekends and I like to have at least one or two booked for the future, to have something to look forward to. A weekend trip finds me visiting some fabulous parts of the country: Northumberland, Dorset, Brecon Beacons, Lake District, North York Moors... hills, mountains, moors and coast - all well covered by the amazing choice of locations to pick from, with decent (or lovely!) accommodation, great food and qualified walk leaders. They're also very good value.Sue LangfordMember since 2008
I have been joining Large Outdoors on their outdoor adventures for many years now. I wasn’t always an active person and as a self-confessed city dweller I never thought I would appreciate so much of what is on offer when you leave the suburbs behind you. Large Outdoors has not only made me appreciate what natural beauty is on our door step, it has also given me the confidence to challenge myself and see things differently.Shad EverettMember since 2009
I have attended Large Outdoors weekends for the last two years , achieving many challenges in the British countryside. Every weekend has been very well organised, in beautiful locations, wonderful walks, nutritious food with lovely people.
I have learned new skills and gained confidence in the outdoors from the mountain leaders. I thoroughly enjoy every weekend and always look forward to the next.Elizabeth BrooksMember Since 2014
Since my first Large Outdoors weekend I have rediscovered my love for the countryside, met so many great people and had a whole lot of fun. I've sailed around the Inner Hebrides on a luxurious yacht, climbed the 3 national peaks Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafel Pike, danced my socks off at the Halloween and New Year celebrations and fallen in love with the beautiful Isle of Skye. Every trip has been amazing fun and I have met so many lovely people and made friends for life. Cheers Large Outdoors!Karen RobertsMember Since 2012