Limestone Way Day 1 - Castleton to Taddington
Updated: Jan 19
Day one on the Limestone Way, and we set off to the start point in Castleton. Castleton is a beautiful town that you might enter through the impressive gorge of Winnats Pass, where towering limestone outcrops overlook the road below. We parked up in the main car park, which weirdly brought a school trip from ten years ago slap bang to the forefront of my mind, which had involved interviewing the throngs of tourists on the streets of the town.
In terms of numbers of people, today didn’t feel too different to back then. It really didn’t feel like there was a global pandemic happening, which was simultaneously wonderful and also quite unsettling. It was so nice to see families and friends out enjoying themselves and feel a taste of normality, but every ‘2m apart’ sign and other subtle reminders of the virus world were abrupt knocks back to reality.
The Limestone Way begins by veering up and out of Castleton through Cave Dale. You pass through this steep-sided valley, rising past Peveril Castle and up onto open pastures that show the telltale signs of past mining activity. That’s one of the many things I love about the Peaks – the landscape becomes a history book as soon as you begin to learn how to read it. At the top of Cave Dale, we looked back at the way we came and took in the views over Mam Tor, with the plateau of Kinder Scout in the distance. Skylarks and wheatears flew overhead.
I’d be lying if I said my family enjoys hiking purely for the magnificent views and joy of the physical activity. A huge part of any walk for us are the fatty snacks we consume along route to keep us going. Pie? Yes please. Bakewell Pudding? Bring it on. We sat down for a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits each.
Larded up, we carried on, accompanied by vistas of lush fields dotted with farms and country roads. Soon enough, we dropped down into the second dale of the day – Hay Dale. The bird life suddenly changed, and the addition of more trees meant chaffinches, goldfinches, great tits and blue tits greeted us as we walked through. Hay Dale morphed into Peter Dale, until we climbed up onto the tops and for a bit and stopped for some lunch. We then walked through Miller’s Dale alongside the crystal clear River Wye, with a traditional Jacklin stop to try and spot some trout.
The final part of the day was a bit of a slog, along the aptly named Long Lane. We trudged up the gradually inclining path and were passed by two smelly motorbikes. Finally, we reached the main road and followed it back into Taddington, where we picked up the car and finished our first day of hiking.