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Advice For The Stunning Alport Castles Walk

Nestled within the remote and captivating expanse of the Peak District National Park, the Alport Castles walk promises an extraordinary journey through nature.

As you set foot on the trail, you’re drawn into a realm of wonders and ever-changing beauty, where each step unveils the captivating story of erosion’s artistry etched upon the landscape.

Ok, that’s the artistic starting paragraphs out of the way, now down to the walk itself.

The Alport Castles Walk is situated in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park, near the town of Hope Valley in Derbyshire, England. The walk takes you through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the region and provides stunning views of natural formations known as Alport Castles.

“Then the rocks finished my sentence –
Tall and architectural:
Their moat of grass
Their keep of clouds,
More intricate than any human fort.”

Helen Mort

Alport Castles Walk Route

Start

This article is an overview of the Alport Castles Walk area but you can find ‘on the ground’ information at the visitors centre at the start of the walk for other possibilities.

Top tip: If you want to take a map for this walk then the best one is the OS Explorer Map OL1 The Peak District: Dark Peak Area (link to Amazon where you can buy it).

Having said that there are signposts on part of the route, but having your own map is always a good idea.

The distance of the walk can vary depending on the route you take, but it’s usually around 9-10 miles (14-16 kilometres) in length.

The Alport Castles Walk is considered moderately challenging due to its hilly terrain and uneven paths. Proper hiking gear and footwear are recommended, especially if it has rained or will be raining.

Also, bear in mind that this is quite a popular walk in the Peak District so if you are going to walk it on the weekend then it’s best to start the walk as early as possible so it won’t be as busy.

This is also the largest landslide area in the U.K. so be careful! There are loose rocks around so don’t get too close to the edges and watch for strong winds.

The walk often begins from the village of Hope or from the Fairholmes car park at the Ladybower Reservoir.

If you are parking your car at Fairholmes car park make sure you bring change to pay for the parking. The Parking cost for a full day is £4.75.

If you want to use public transport then there is a bus you can catch from near the station in Bamford, number 273, that stops near the Fairholmes car park.

Ladybower Reservoir

This route takes you along the shores of the Ladybower Reservoir, offering beautiful views of the water and surrounding hills.

It is one of three reservoirs in the area, collectively known as the Derwent Reservoirs, and it plays a significant role in water supply and management for the region. Ladybower Reservoir was completed in 1945, and it was created by damming the River Derwent.

Ladybower Reservoir.

Lockerbrook Farm

You’ll pass by Lockerbrook Farm, a remote outdoor centre.

Lockerbrook Farm is an educational and residential centre and is often used by schools, youth groups, and organizations for outdoor education, environmental studies, and adventure activities.

The farm offers accommodations and facilities for groups, allowing them to stay on-site and participate in activities such as rock climbing, hiking, orienteering, team-building exercises, and more.

If you are in a group and actually want to stay in the area then Lockerbrook Farm is an excellent option, but make sure to book ahead.

The focus of Lockerbrook Farm is to promote environmental awareness, outdoor learning, and personal development in a natural and picturesque setting.

You continue on a path that leads you uphill from here.

Lockerbrook Farm.

Alport Castles

The highlight of the walk is the Alport Castles, which are not actual castles but rather a striking geological feature. They are towering cliffs and pinnacles carved by erosion into the hillside. The view from this point is spectacular.

Some science stuff:

The feature consists of a large, semicircular cliff face with numerous smaller cliffs and pinnacles below it. The cliffs can reach heights of up to 60 meters (200 feet) and create an impressive visual spectacle.

The Alport Castles were formed by a combination of glacial and river-related processes over millions of years. The area was sculpted by glaciers during the last Ice Age and later modified by the flow of water from the River Alport.

The rocks in the area are mainly composed of gritstone and shale, which have eroded at different rates due to their varying levels of resistance to weathering. This differential erosion has contributed to the distinctive features of Alport Castles.

Alport Castles.

Return Route

After enjoying the views at Alport Castles, you can choose to return to your starting point the same way you came or there’s the possibility to do the return route following a different path, offering a change of scenery.

Check at the visitors centre next to the Fairholmes car park at the beginning of the walk to see what some of the other walking options are.


Alport Castles Walk Advice

Top tip: This is without a doubt my favourite book for the area: Peak District: Local, characterful guides to Britain’s special places (Bradt Travel Guides) Click on the book image below or that link to get it on Amazon.

Check the weather forecast before embarking on the walk and dress appropriately. Carry enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized.

Wear sturdy hiking boots, as some sections of the trail can be uneven and rocky. A map or GPS device can be helpful to stay on the right path.

Be respectful of the natural environment and follow the “Leave No Trace” principles.

Another great book for walking in the region is Peak District 40 Favourite Walks.

Remember that conditions can change, so always be prepared and prioritize safety. It’s a good idea to consult local hiking guides or resources for the most up-to-date information on the Alport Castles walk before you go.

For more on hiking in Britain take a look at the Brecon Beacons Waterfalls Walk in Wales.

Highlights of the Alport Castles Walk

Stunning vistas of the Ladybower Reservoir and the surrounding hills.

The dramatic and unique landscape of Alport Castles is especially impressive after periods of rainfall when water flows over the cliffs.

Challenging terrain that provides a sense of accomplishment and a rewarding hiking experience.


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