Mam Tor Iron Age fort overlooking Castleton and Hope Valley, Derbyshire
Mam Tor is an Iron Age fort overlooking Castleton and Hope Valley, Derbyshire. It has the remains of impressive Iron Age ramparts and a splendid view.
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|Mam Tor is a famous viewpoint and landmark, rearing up above the valleys of Hope and Edale. Known as the 'shivering mountain', it is comprised of shale and the East face is a dramatic and loose expanse of crumbling rock. The area below the face is constantly on the move and each period of heavy rain undermines the loose shale and causes it to slip further down the valley. The former A625 main road from Stockport to Sheffield once went down this way but was swept away by a landslide in 1974 and has not been rebuilt.|
On the top of the hill was a large Iron Age fort, and the fortifications can still be seen. However, the site was almost certainly occupied long before this. The trig point on the summit of the hill is placed on top of a tumulus which probably dates from the Bronze Age, and a bronze axehead has also been found here. Unfortunately the tumulus is now hard to make out because erosion has forced the National Trust, who own the hill and the nearby Winnats Pass, to pave the summit area.
The ramparts can be followed most of the way around the hilltop, and there are clear remains of two gateways on the paths leading from Mam Nick and from Hollins Cross. Excavations have shown that the original ramparts had a timber pallisade on top, but later the timber was replaced by stone. There are also the foundations of many hut circles within the defences and pottery has also been found, which indicates that this was a fully-fledged village rather than just a defensive site.
The views from the summit of Mam Tor are superb, with a fine view of Edale and Kinder to the north and Hope valley to the east, and a splendid ridge leading from the summit down to Hollins Cross and along to Lose Hill. Mam Tor looks particularly impressive when approached across the limestone moors from the direction of Peak Forest.
The escarpments around Mam Tor and nearby Lord's Seat and Rushup Edge seem to attract winds at all times and this has led to it becoming the most popular local centre for hang-gliding and paragliding.
Mam Tor Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
How to get there
the minor road (formerly A625) from Chapel-en-le-Frith leads to the foot of Mam Tor, as does the B6061, which leaves the A623 at Sparrowpit. From Bakewell, take the B60012 to Calver and Grindleford and continue to Hathersage. Turn left to follow the A6187 up Hope Valley to Castleton, and continue up the Winnats Pass, then turn right at the top. There is a car park below Mam Nick. From Shefflield, take the A625 to Fox House and then the A6187 to Castleton, and then as for Bakewell.
By Bus: the 200 bus from Chapel-en-le-Frith goes to Castleton via the Winnats Pass - alight at Mam Tor. From Sheffield take the 272 bus to Castleton and walk from the village or pick up the 200 bus up Winnats Pass. From Bakewell, take the 173 bus to Tideswell or Litton and there pick up the 174 Baslow-Castleton bus.
By Train: take the Manchester-Sheffield train to Edale station and walk up the hill, an energetic (and uphill) but enjoyable walk of about 3km.
When is it open?
National Trust access land.
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