Peveril Castle

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Peveril Castle and Mam Tor
Peveril Castle and Mam Tor
Peveril Castle stands in an impregnable position on a clifftop above Castleton, flanked by the steep side of Cavedale. It is an evocative place, with an impressive view in all directions and sufficient ruined remains to construct a good idea of how the castle looked in its heyday. The castle bears the name of William Peveril, who was granted the title of bailiff of the Royal Manors of the Peak - in effect the King's agent for the Royal Forest of the Peak - after the Norman conquest of 1066. Peveril is thought to have been an illegitimate son of William I.

Peveril created Castleton and in 1080 he fortified the site of the present castle and constructed a wooden keep. Later, these buildings were converted into stone. However, Peveril's son (also called William) became too independent for Henry II, and in 1155 the King confiscated the Peveril estates and the castle has belonged to the Crown or the Duchy of Lancaster ever since.

Henry visited Castleton several times, to hunt and, on one occasion, to meet King Malcolm of Scotland, who paid homage to Henry here in 1157. The court records show that an enormous amount of wine was consumed on this occasion!

The castle fell into disuse after Tudor times, and by the 17th century only the keep was in use - as a courthouse. When this was abandoned the castle gradually became ruined until what remained was restored this century.

You enter the castle up a very steep climb from Castleton, but this was not the original main approach, which went up Goosehill and zig-zagged up the hill to approach along the ridge above Cavedale which reaches towards the keep. Peveril dug a breach in this ridge to create a moat which had a wooden bridge across it. Sadly, this bridge has gone and not been replaced.

Peveril Castle keep
Peveril Castle keep
The Castleton entrance leads in through the remains of a gatehouse which was built in the 12th century and into the main courtyard of the castle. Around this is the remains of a curtain wall, which was constructed in early Norman times by the Peverils, and includes Roman tiles which presumably were taken from the ruins of the Roman fort at Navio (Brough).

Dominating the site are the remains of the keep, which was built by Henry II in 1176 and is relatively well preserved. The keep was originally about 60 feet high and was faced with fine gritstone blocks, which still remain on the east and south sides. It dominates the view across both Castleton and Cavedale below. Inside the courtyard it is possible to trace the foundations of a Great Hall and kitchens and other buildings, but it is the view across the surrounding countryside which is the finest feature of the visit.

The castle is now in the care of English Heritage.

An excellent short walk around the castle is to go up Cavedale from the centre of Castleton. When the dale begins to level out towards the top, cut up to the right to reach a path coming back along the top of the ridge. This approaches Peveril Castle from the west, and then descends to Goosehill via the original approach route mentioned above.

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Peveril Castle Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Peveril Castle from Cave Dale
0 - Peveril Castle from Cave Dale
Peveril Castle keep
1 - Peveril Castle keep
Peveril Castle view to Mam Tor
2 - Peveril Castle view to Mam Tor
Castleton - looking up Cave Dale
3 - Castleton - looking up Cave Dale
Castleton - looking down from above Peak Cavern entrance
4 - Castleton - looking down from above Peak Cavern entrance

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK149827

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How to get there

By Road:
the A625 road branches off the Manchester-Buxton A6 road at Chapel-en-le-Frith. Below Mam Tor (where the A625 ends because the road collapsed) turn down the steep and narrow Winnats Pass road to get to Castleton. From Sheffield take the A625 to Fox House and the A6187 to Hathersage and Castleton.

By Bus: the 173 bus from Bakewell to Castleton. From Buxton, the 66 bus connects with the 173 at Tideswell, as does the X67 from Chesterfield. The 272 bus runs from Sheffield to Castleton.

By Train: regular trains run from Manchester to Sheffield, stopping at Hope Station, about 4km from Castleton. From here, a pleasant walk, or pick up the 173 bus above.
When is it open?

From 25th March to 30th September: open daily 10am - 6pm

From 1st October to 31st October: open daily 10am - 5pm

From 1st November to February 12th 2017: open weekends 10am-4pm

From 13th February - 17th February: open daily 10am - 4pm

From 18th February to 31st March: weekends only 10am - 4pm

Closed 24-26 December & 31 December & 1 January
What does it cost?

Adults £5.70, Children £3.4, Concessions £5.10, English Heritage Members Free, Family ticket: £14.80

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening


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