At the start of the Limestone Way

Published 11 October 2020

Cave Dale at the start of the Limestone Way, at Castleton

I would be hard pushed to think of a walking trail I have done with a more dramatic start than the Limestone Way. The 46 mile walking trail that starts at Castleton in the Peak District and then winds south to Rocester in Staffordshire, does start somewhere quite special.

Cave Dale is a narrow, dry, limestone valley that sits to the south of Castleton village. And when I say south, we’re talking just to the south. One minute you’re on a street with houses on it. The next you go through a gate and then you’re in a valley.

It’s quite a stunning piece of scenery, even more so when you walk up and spot a ruined 11th century castle on the hilltop.

Peveril Castle in Castleton on the Limestone Way

Peveril Castle was built a short time after the Norman Conquest of England. First recorded in 1086, for some time twenty knights were based there, but by 1609 it was described as being in ruins and of being no use. But then they didn’t have tourism back then.

Cave Dale is one of many limestone gorges and valleys that the Limestone Way comes through. One could argue it’s the best of the lot. It would arguably make a splendid end to the trail. Far better than the Limestone Way’s actual ending in Rocester for my money. But the trail’s traditionally walked north to south, probably helped by the fact that it originally ended in the splendid town of Matlock. With its own dramatic hills and valleys, Matlock definitely gives Castleton a run for its money, but now it’s a mere staging post. A place to spend the night in the middle of the trail.

As for the actual start of the trail, well that’s at a gate at the valley entrance. A gate positioned such that you only get a fleeting glimpse of what’s coming. A gate that hints at something special and then leaves you to explore exactly what.

Ah yes, the start of the Limestone Way is special alright.

The start of the Limestone Way at Castleton


Vic Flange

11 October 2020 at 11:57 am

You say ‘Rochester’ (twice); the sign in the picture says ‘Rocester’. Which is right?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

11 October 2020 at 1:46 pm

Whoops! It’s definitely Rocester. As you can imagine, it’s quite easy to go on autopilot and put the wrong place. All corrected now.

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