- County: Derbyshire
- Nearest Town(s): Castleton, Edale
- National Park: Peak District
- Difficulty: Medium
- Time: 0.5-2 hours
- Height: 517 m
- Map: OS Explorer OL1 The Peak District, Dark Peak area (OS Explorer Map)*
Mam Tor is a towering peak rising above the town of Castleton that can be approached from several points. Whether you start the walk at low level in Castleton itself or drive up the awe inspiring Winnats Pass first, the walk is beautiful whichever way.
My climbing partner was once an archaeology student in nearby Sheffield. In my opinion he clearly missed his calling as an epic geography teacher. He tells the story of the cave system formed in the limestone rock. This cave system then collapsed to leave the stunning valley you can drive up the centre of today – Winnats Pass. Parking at the top of the pass takes you to a nice mid height start to the walk.
Where to Park
If you want the full experience of the walk you can find parking in either Castleton or Edale – both have several large and well sign posted pay and display car parks.
If you want a slightly easier route in there is limited free on-road parking at the top of Winnats pass, with Mam Tor to the right. For those of the flip flop inclination there is a car park even further up the top, leaving only a few metres of elevation on the well maintained path to tackle.
For this super easy approach just turn right at the top of Winnats, follow the road round to the left then take the next right. Be warned that this parking is often full, but if you keep driving you will get a stunning view as you descend back into Edale.
Our choice approach was from our campsite at Rowter Farm, sitting at the top of Winnats pass. As well as a great campsite and start for Mam Tor it also offers a fast walk in to the top of Winnats Pass to admire the view across the pass and the peak beyond if you should so choose.
Cutting across the two fields between our tent and our goal, using the well signposted trails, we joined the Mam Tor footpath at an easy level. The stepped path has been well maintained by the National Trust Estate team, and offers a fairly simple ascent.
The View from the Pillar
We have climbed Mam Tor many times but always take a time to admire the view across Edale, Kinder scout and as far as Stanage edge. The panorama is simply stunning on a clear day. This is one of my favourite views in the Peak, and is easy for most to access.
Dropping down the ridge line we decided to follow the NT circular route, to offer a little variation. We followed the ridge along until the path split at the small gate, and we turned back downhill on the narrow path towards the woodland. Continuing down the right hand side of the woods the path is a little loose underfoot.
Leaving the woodland and meeting the tarmac the path heads upwards once again. At this point you can see the several breaks in the old road caused by some serious landslides, with sections of the road separated by several metres. In most cases there is an obvious path around the breaks.
Following the path up to the car park full of sunbathers and view seekers we continued back to the level of the current road and headed for the campsite to collect the car and head for the Bull Inn in Castleton. They offer great food at reasonable prices. In the summer sitting out the back by the river in the shadow of Mam Tor itself is stunning.
Mam Tor has a reputation as a beautiful and easily accessible view. In my opinion, it truly deserves this reputation. I recommend it to anyone that sits still long enough to hear my Peak district rantings. Combine it with a walk or drive up Winnats Pass and a pint at the Bull in Castleton and it has the potential to be a great day out.
Be warned, though, on a beautiful bank holiday weekend it gets busy at the top, much like the supermarket shopping queue for cheap burgers and sausages in similar weather. Luckily a super warm and dry bank holiday in the UK is a relatively rare thing – the weather fairies instead taunting us instead with grey wet an miserable on more instances than not.
The closest car park to the Mam Tor summit is the Mam Tor National Trust Car Park. Alternatively, for a longer walk, you can park in the large well-signposted car park in Edale or Castleton.
The length of the Mam Tor walk can vary depending on what you are looking for. Our circular walk is just 3km and takes in the Mam Tor summit and Hollins Cross.
Absolutely! There is pasture land around Mam Tor, so dogs may need to be kept on leads, particularly around livestock.
The highest point on Mam Tor is 517m, offering fantastic views of the Hope Valley, Castleton and Winnats Pass.
There are a variety of fantastic pubs near Mam Tor, in both Edale and Castleton. Our personal favourite is The Bull, serving a range of tasty pub favourites and with a great drinks selection.
Edale and Castleton are the nearest towns to Mam Tor, and both have a selection of quality hotels, B&Bs and campsites. Our personal favourite is Rowters Farm campsite.
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