Looking for a hiking guide to Mam Tor in the Peak District? Look no further! I’d been dying to lace up my hiking boots and tackle Mam Tor in the Peak District for years! This year alone I’ve had five trips planned for the Peaks but been forced to cancel all of them due to crazy, unpredictable weather. Finally, I refused to cancel and packed up the camper van and headed to the Peaks regardless of the weather warnings. I was determined to enjoy a weekend in nature and hike at least a small part of the Peak District. We planned to base ourselves around Bakewell and Castleton for a weekend, knowing that would give us some options if the weather proved too bad for hiking.

I was also super excited to be trialling my new activewear and outdoor clothing from adidas. (gifted items) I’ve been wanting a pair of walking shoes for a long time as my boots aren’t always the most practical option for trips. I wanted something super lightweight, comfy and practical for last-minute hiking trips and my Terrex Trailmaker GORE-TEX Hiking Shoes fit the bill perfectly. I also loved the Techfit range with the 7/8 leggings and matching women’s sports bra which are made from recycled materials and provided all the support I needed to tackle those hills.

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What and where is Mam Tor?

One of the most popular walks in the Peak District National Park, Mam Tor towers 517m over nearby villages Edale and Castleton (which is considered one of the most beautiful villages in the area). The name Mam Tor actually comes from the term “Mother Hill” and was also known as “Shivering Mountain“. The peak has been voted one of the Top 100 walks in the UK and is easily accessible for those travelling from Manchester and Sheffield. The raw beauty of the area proves popular with walkers and visitors, so I recommend you visit Mam Tor early to beat the crowds and secure a parking space. Did you know that the summit of Mam Tor was once home to a fort? It provided a home for the ancient Celtic people some 3,000 years ago.

3 things to know before hiking Mam Tor in the Peak District

  1. The weather in the Peak District is very unpredictable! Make sure you pack for every eventuality – we went from brilliant sunshine and blue skies to sideways hail, a lightning storm and heavy rain in the space of a few hours!
  2. There’s lots of different ways to complete the walk and some have steeper climbs than others. Do your research before you hike, especially if you have younger children or limited mobility.
  3. Everywhere in the Peak District seems to take 30 mins to drive no matter where you are or where you’re going – allow plenty of time to get to places especially if you’re planning a sunrise hike or to beat the weather.

Mam Tor, Castleton and The Great Ridge Walk – Planning Your Route

There are several different route options for tackling the Mam Tor hike in the Peak District, including ones where you can extend the walk or avoid the steepest parts. Here I’ve put together 3 options for walking Mam Tor, see which one would be your favourite!

5 Amazing Routes for Hiking Mam Tor

  • Short Walk from Mam Nick Car Park | 1.1km | 30 minutes
  • The Mam Tor Circular Walk | 4.8km | 2 hours
  • Circular Walk from Castleton via Back Tor | 9km | 3 hours
  • Castleton to Mam Tor Walk – The Great Ridge | 10.5km | 3-4 hours
  • Hope to Mam Tor Walk | 14.5km | 5-6 hours

Route 1: Short Walk from Mam Nick Car Park | 1.1km | 30 minutes

A super quick and easy stroll for those who wish to enjoy the views from Mam Tor but don’t have the time to complete the longer walks. This is also the most accessible way to reach the summit for those who have limited mobility.

  1. Park up at Mam Nick Car Park (easily accessible via Google Maps) where you’ll pay £4.50 for up to 4 hours of parking, or find a free spot nearby on the road. Then head to the back of the car park where you’ll find the footpath to follow up to Mam Tor.
  2. Please be warned that there are a lot of steps to climb to reach the summit and although only 70 elevation gain, it is still challenging for those with limited mobility. We did see a whole range of ages and abilities taking on this part of the hike, plus some four-legged friends, so don’t be put off!
  3. It’s a quick 30 minute stroll (in fact we would have completed it even quicker if we didn’t stop every few minutes to take photos of the view!
  4. Take in the views over Castleton and Hope, along the Great Ridge toward Back Tor and Lose Hill and back toward Chapel-en-le-Frith.
  5. If you wish to extend your walk, follow one of the other trails listed below, or head back down the steps to your car.

Route 2: The Mam Tor Circular Walk | 4.8km | 2 hours

This route is a great way to extend your climb to the Mam Tor summit into a leisurely 5km stroll around this popular peak.

  1. Park up at Mam Nick Car Park (please note there are no facilities or toilets here) then join the footpath at the back of the car park, it will lead you up the stairs and direct to the summit of Mam Tor.
  2. Enjoy the views and snap a photo with the Mam Tor trig point, then follow the Great Ridge towards Hollin’s Cross, but take the gate on your right to take the path back towards Mam Tor.
  3. Continue along the path through the woodland and along the old road until you find a car park, then walk towards Blue John’s Cavern.
  4. There’s a small gate and a sign for Windy Knoll which will point you in the right direction to the road where you will find the Mam Nick Car Park.

This National Trust route guide has full details.

Route 3: Circular Walk from Castleton via Back Tor | 9km | 3 hours

This circular walk is a great way to combine many of the Peak District’s highlights in just one 3 hour route.

  1. Park at the Peak Cavern All Day Car Park next to Castleton Garage on Buxton Road in the village of Castleton. Enjoy views across Castleton, reach the summit of Mam Tor, the spectacular scenery of the Great Ridge and Back Tor.
  2. Head to the back of the car park and turn right after the gate, then follow the road until it narrows to a stone path and bushes, keep following the path to join Arthur’s Way.
  3. There’s a small entrance to a path via the Speedwell Cavern sign, take this route and then join a concrete path to Treak Cliff Cavern.
  4. You’ll see signs for Mam Tor clearly directing you towards Blue John Cavern and the road. Keep following the signs which will lead you to the Mam Tor summit via the stairs.
  5. Next up, follow the Great Ridge past Hollin’s Cross and along towards Back Tor for a mini-scramble up the rocks which will give you epic views of Kinder Scout and Edale. Keep an eye on the signs and you will spot one that gives you various route options including one back down to Castleton via the left route, the right will take you to Edale.
  6. Pass through the gate and down the hill where it joins with the path from Hollins Cross.
  7. Keep following the path and join Hollowford Road which you can follow until you’re back in Castleton and can wander back towards the car park (possibly via a cafe for a well deserved treat!)

Route 4: Castleton to Mam Tor Walk – The Great Ridge | 10.5km | 3-4 hours

This route gives you some of the most spectacular vistas across the Peak District and is a route that can be extended up to 13km if you fancy a challenge. One of the finest ridge walks in the country, you also pass two of the Peak District caverns which are great to explore and add on to your route.

  1. Begin by parking your vehicle at either the Castleton Car Park and Visitor Centre or the Peak Hotel Public Car Park, where they refund your all day fee of £8, if you spend £10 in the Peak Hotel.
  2. From the car park, head left up the main road, turn right at the Castle Inn and then right again past the youth hostel.
  3. Follow the path to a road which will take you past Treak Cliff Cavern and Blue John Cavern.
  4. From here you’ll want to follow the path through the fields and gates until you reach the road by Mam Tor, you’ll find the stairs and can start the ascent to the summit.
  5. At the summit, enjoy the views then take the path towards Hollin’s Cross, then on towards the rugged heights of Back Tor, before following the path to the next high point at Lose Hill Pike.
  6. Start your descent to the right down a stone path towards Spring House Farm – at this point you can choose whether to return directly to Castleton or extend the hike to Hope to take the riverside walk to Castleton.
  7. The route to Hope is well signposted if you choose to take that trail, or if you prefer to head back to Castleton, you can turn right at Spring House Farm.

Check out this route guide for full details.

Route 5: Hope to Mam Tor Walk | 14.5km | 5-6 hours

Fancy a challenge? Why not try the longer and more challenging Hope to Mam Tor Hike for a nearly 15km walk across the Peak District.

  1. Arrive early to Hope village to score free parking outside St Peter’s Church, or pay £6 at Hope Valley Car Park.
  2. Follow Pindale Road uphill and past the Hope Pinfold, then after the road forks, take the public footpath (number 36) across the river. You’ll cross a railway, go past a far and head towards Castleton.
  3. Now you can follow the instructions from Route 4 as you join the Castleton to Mam Tor Walk.
  4. Turn left at Spring House Farm, through two small gates and follow the path (you’ll spot yellow markers to follow). 
  5. Continue straight once you see the old footpath sign which directs walkers to Lose Hill Farm, you’ll see a right turn takes you to Castleton and left to Edale, so go straight ahead towards Hope.
  6. Continue through the gate, over the bridge and left through another gate. Follow the yellow dots and markers, left past the school and follow the church spire to find your way back to the car park.

Cows on Mam Tor Ridge Walk, Peak District

Mam Tor FAQs

Is Mam Tor a difficult walk?

Mam Tor in the Peak District offers a variety of routes suitable for all abilities and ages. This means you can choose how difficult or challenging the Mam Tor hike is. Routes can vary in length from 1km to 9km with varying options to enable you to stretch your legs, challenge yourself with longer hikes and pick whether you tackle the steeper climbs. 

Where is the starting point for the Mam Tor hike?

The best starting point for the Mam Tor hike is the Mam Nick Car Park, it’s the closest point to the summit and means you can quickly walk up to the ridge to enjoy maximum views. There are lots of other options such as parking in Castleton and walking up via a different route, so it does partly depend on where you are arriving from. If you are staying in Castleton it might make more sense to walk up and leave the car behind.

How long is the walk from Castleton to Mam Tor and back?

Starting out the Mam Tor walk from Castleton, you can enjoy a 6km walk up to Mam Tor and along what is considered one of the best ridge walks in the UK. You also have the option to extend the hike to 9km if you fancy more of a challenge. The walk provides you with spectacular views across the Edale and Hope Valleys plus Kinder Scout, so prepare to be wowed!

Is Mam Tor a suitable walk for dogs?

Absolutely! The Mam Tor hike in the Peak District is a great place for dogs. We saw lots of four-legged friends out enjoying walks during our visit.

Where’s the best place to park for the Mam Tor hike?

The Mam Nick Car Park is a great place to park for the Mam Tor hike in the Peak District. It provides direct access to Mam Tor and the Ridge Walk, you can then decide whether you wish to divert to Castleton or one of the other routes. There is a small charge for the car park and you will want to get there early if visiting at the weekend. There’s plenty of space to park cars and camper vans. There are also a lot of free places to park along the roadsides that are suitable for small cars, just please make sure you are not blocking access for farm vehicles. There is a Pay by Phone option, but it is free for National Trust members who have their cards to scan at the machines or you can pay £3.50 for 4 hours and £5 for longer stays (there are instructions in the car park).

Are there toilets at Mam Tor?

There are no toilets at a Mam Nick Car Park. You can extend your hike to Castleton where there are lots of facilities available including toilets, pubs, cafes and shops.