Limestone Way - Peak District
Time: 6-7 hours
Start Point: Edale station (or Castleton)
Limestone Way spans across the southern part of Peak District.
I decided to do Limestone Way as a continuation of Penine Way I did the previous year. I finished Penine Way in Edale and I thought Edale was a good start to continue and do Limestone Way.
Limestone Way starts at Castleton, a beautiful little town, but I decided to start at Edale. Why? Read below.
How do I get there?
Because Limestone Way runs north to south and there are no train stations for the entire span of it, it's tricky logistically (unless someone drops you off and picks you up. So you need to rely of different means of transport. Buses and trains. So, here's what I did:
I left my car here at New Mills (I chose this location as it's close to New Mills Newtown station where I was returning) and took a train from New Mills Central (15 min walk) to Edale, and returning I took a bus from Taddington to Buxton and a train from Buxton to New Mills.
Edale - Castleton: 1 hour
Castleton - A623 junction: 2 hours
A 623 junction - Hay Dale: 40 minutes
Hay Dale - Monk's Dale: 1 hour
Monk's Dale - Miller's Dale: 50 minutes
Miller's Dale - Taddington: 50 minutes
I started from Edale because I could get there by train but also because the trail from Edale to Castleton is beautiful. Definitely worth doing it.
As you leave Edale station, there is a nice cafe right by it ;-)
Anyway, as you leave the train station (or cafe) turn right and go down the road. You'll get to a T-junction, where you turn left and follow the road for a few hundred metres. You'll need to do this section walking on the road unfortunately as there is no pavement.
After a few hundred metres, you'll see a path cross the road - that's your trail. You're turning right, go through the gate, and into a road going up towards farmers' buildings:
As you go pass the farmers' buildings, the trail finally starts going strongly up the hill. That's where the fun begins. And amazing views, too:
It should only take you about 30-40 minutes from the station to get to the top for some amazing 360 views. From here on, you could walk the Ridge but we'll start moving down towards Castleton.
Here's the ridge:
Leaving the top - Hollins Cross - there will be two paths, I took the one to the left. It's got stones on it. This will take you quite steeply down and in about 25 minutes you'll reach a road, asphalt, which will take you to Castleton.
Limestone Way starts here.
As you reach Castleton, just keep walking straight through a square and towards Cave Dale (there'll be signs).
Walking through Castleton, I found it to be a beautiful little town. Definitely worth a visit. At the same time, I found it odd that every single cafe on the way was closed... and it was early september, still summer. So something to keep in mind. Have your our tea/coffee in thermos ;-)
Cave Dale is beautiful - just look at this:
It's a really nice walk through Cave Dale, slowly climbing up, with rocks all around you. And sheep start showing. They'll be with us for most of the Limestone Way.
As you slowly climb up through Cave Dale, look backwards at some point and you'll see ruins of a castle - Peveril Castle:
Once you get to the top of the valley, the walk will start going flat. From here on, you'll have views all around you with a flat and quite boring walk.
This next section, from Castleton to A623 junction, will take you just under 2 hours, most of the time flat. And plenty of sheep. And even cows. At some point, I came across a herd of sheep (maybe even bulls, who knows) right in the middle of the path. I had to do a big circle around them and get back to the trail.
Flat part of the trail:
As you're getting closer to A623 junction, the trail will run between the fields, so there should be no cows or sheep in your way. This section of the trail is also quite well marked so you should have no problems finding your way but as always I highely recommend that you take a map with you - in this case you'll need Ordnance Survey Explorer OL 24 and for the section between Edale and almost up to A623 junction OL1.
When you get to the junction, turn slight left, follow the road for about 50 metres, and turn right into an asphalt road leading towards Limeston Way farm.
From the junction, you'll follow the road for about 15 minutes and then turn right into a path leading down into the first valley - Hay Dale:
Now, for the first time in this walk, you'll actually get to walk in a forest (a small one). Good change and great if it's a hot day. There will be plenty of shadow to hide.
It's a very pleasant walk through the dale and very easy to follow, and then you cross the road and walk into another one - Peter Dale.
In my case, this was another meeting with a field of cows, and they were right in the middle of the path! So a bit of waling around again, and then into the dale.
They all seem to be very similiar and what I really liked walking in these dales was the trees. A very nice change from treeless, empty plains of Peak District.
Hay Dale to Monk's Dale (the next one on our route) takes about 1 hour.
Just before you get to Monk's Dale, Limestone Way turns left into an asphalt road (Limestone Way does not go through Monk's Dale) but it's worth it to go through Monk's Dale instead of walking on asphalt.
Monk's Dale is the longest and very dense in forest. Definitely not for a walk with a stroller and probably not on a very wet day as it gets very muddy. Walk through Monk's Dale takes about an hour, and towards the end you get out of the forest into an open space with some beautiful views around you:
A tip at this point. As you getting onto the open space, your path will split into two: one going upwards and one going right down by what looked like a stream. I took the one going upwards (for some views) and I was happy I did this as at some point I saw a big herd of cows right down by the lower path.
Now it's just a short walk into Miller's Dale, where you can take a bus to Buxton (or in opposite direction) or you can ccontinue walking towards Taddington as I did as I had some time and energy left.
At this point in walk, we have done almost 6 hours of walking so a bus is an option. It takes another 40-45 minutes to Taddington from here.
The trail from Miller's Dale initially follows the main road (no pavement) and after a moment you turn left into a path running very close to the main road but is very quiet and too narrow for cars.
It's just a straight path, although quite steep in its first half, and once you get to the top it's a just a simple stroll down towards A6 and the bus stop is right in front of you on the other side of the road if you're going to Buxton.