The mighty Mam Tor is a carved entry on many a bucket list. This Mam Tor Short Walk is a circular route that climbs to the summit then tracks along the Great Ridge towards Hollins Cross. Skirting around Mam Tor is Hope Valley, one of the most beautiful (and popular!) vantage points in the whole of the Southern Peak District.
The walk starts from the Mam Tor car park. At the top is the stepped climb that carries you straight up to the summit. (Good footwear and inclement clothing are a wise carry in these parts)!
After a sort time the route offers a sneak peak across to Castleton, which helps motivate the push on up.
Underfoot, the path to the summit is paved, gradual and consistent. It’s a considerate path to the summit. Useful for anyone with limited mobility wishing to attempt the summit then return on the same path.
Mam Tor Trig Point
Marking the top of Mam Tor is a trig point for all you navigators and cartographers. There’s a wide cobbled ring around the trig, marking the summit. It’s truly spectacular! an epic 360 degree panorama.
The popularity of Mam Tor does sacrifice solitude. The Tor and Great Ridge are often well populated as they are a crossing point for many a walk via Edale, Hope and Castelton. No amount of traffic can devalue the views though!
Identifying places from the Mam Tor summit
On the path 3 peaks are dotted ahead. First, is Hollins Cross (390m), second; behind that is Back Tor (438m), then touching the sky in the distance is Lose Hill (481m).
Directly to your left is the Hope Valley cradling the village of Edale, and over your left shoulder in the far distance you have the Kinder Scout NNR with Kinder Scout (636m), Kinder Low (633m) and Crowden Head.
Panning clockwise over Edale and through the Hope Valley, the line of the 3 peaks points the rough direction to the river Derwent, Ladybower Resevoir and Ladybower Dam (think.. Dambusters).
Then, over in the far distance the hills roll down to the village of Hope and as you continue to pan clockwise, closer you’ll see Castleton roughly half way between you and the iconic chimney of Hope Cement Works.
Onwards… (Credit: Sue & Sam a.k.a. BackpacksAndBruises)
Departing Mam Tor the path ambles along with lots of places to sit, pour a cuppa and soak it in.
When you eventually reach the ascent to Hollins Cross you find a gated crossroads where we exit right and follow the steep descent turning back on ourselves.
This trail is no longer paved and in places barely any more than a deep rut, as wide as a size 10 walking boot. Stick(s) will help you descend and with only thorny bushes to brake any slips, good gloves are wise wear too.
About half way down the path improves, in no time you reach the trees that eventually drop you onto a narrow access road. Follow this road a little ways and it brings you up to the old collapsed A625.
The Mam Tor leg of the A625 was originally built in 1819 and survived for quite some time. Most notably though, landslides in 1912, 1933, 1946, 1952, 1966 and 1974 caused major roadworks. The 1974 event was a massive collapse and despite regular maintenance through wet years the route was eventually abandoned in 1979.
You’re about to follow that road (what’s left of it).
To the right there’s a stunning view up the rocky face of Mam Tor and to the left, about 1 mile is Castleton.
Anyone for tea? (re-opens Feb 2019)
Reaching the end of the old road you have to ‘hop’ up a steep ledge where the hard stuff’s been washed away.
Just one more bend then appearing on your left is the welcome sight of the Blue John Cavern Cafe
From here it’s a casual amble back to the car park, soaking in the last of the views across the valley floor.
This route is exposed at the summit of Mam Tor! While relatively calm in the car park, at the peak it can be extremely windy and very suddenly wet too. Always dress appropriately and pay attention to your footwear.
The descent from Hollins Cross is steep and awkward with little but balance to keep you upright. A walking stick or friendly helping hand can come in very useful here. It’s walkable, just not hill run territory.
Check open times for the Blue John Cafe (see link above) as it may not be open during some winter months.
Average Pace 3.0mph
Duration Estimate 01h 00m
Total Ascent 636ft
Surface Type Paved climb & mixed return
Surface Condition Variable · Some Tricky
Steepest Ascent +22.2% (at 0.2mi.)
Steepest Descent -23.3% (at 1.3mi.)
Total Uphill 1.6mi. (53%)
Total Downhill 1.3mi. (44%)
Grid Reference SK 12769 83613
Start Latitude 53.349251
Start Longitude -1.8096475
Nearest Post Code S33 8WA
There are some routes that have a power to move you… at the right time, on the right day, this is one them.
It’s a comfortable distance made up almost entirely of either climb or descent, with breathtaking views and varied terrain. A brilliant introduction to the Peak District and in particular the panorama across Hope Valley.
Couple of spare hours? Park up, grab your waterproof and slip on those boots… It’s always a real pleasure!
This rating is subjective and out of 100, taking into account a unique set of criteria. Whether it’s a walk or ride I consider; Terrain Condition, Variety, Seclusion, Services/Pub, Exploration, Photography, Wildlife, Points of Interest, Natural Beauty & Wild Camp Potential. I assess difficulty based on distance and elevation profile (above).