William Peverel originally built Peveril Castle. He was a favourite knight of William the Conqueror who made him bailiff of the royal manors in north western Derbyshire. At that time the Peak Forest was rich in both game and minerals and the castle was ideal for protecting both. King Henry II built the stone keep almost 100 years later in 1176. It still stands today and can be viewed at close quarters by those prepared to climb the steep zigzag path leading up to the castle, made famous by Sir Walter Scott, in his novel ‘Peveril of the Peak’.
Under the protection of the castle the village grew up in a distinct gridiron formation, inside a protective Town Ditch, parts of which can still be seen. It was an important stopover for packhorses and, in later years, stagecoaches. The village takes its name from the castle, ‘ton’ being of Anglo-Saxon origin and meaning ‘an enclosure’.
Castleton is a delightful cluster of old stone cottages that invite exploration. The sparkling little stream leading to Peak Cavern takes you through the oldest part of the village. Along the main street are a large variety of gift shops, cafes and restaurants to suit all tastes.
At Christmas Castleton takes on a magical appeal with pretty lights, decorations and an array of Christmas trees, which attracts visitors from far and wide. A splendid new information centre opened its doors on 2nd April 2004. It incorporates a museum, where the Castleton Historical Society stage a range of displays and a community meeting room.
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Peveril Castle (Tel. 01433 620613) rises impressively up above the pretty village of Castleton. The great keep of Henry II boasts a medieval garderobe and magnificent views. Open to the public. There is a new visitor centre. Further information by telephoning or by visiting www.english-heritage.org.uk
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
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Frequently referred to, as the gem of the Peak, Castleton is one of Britain’s most appealing villages, set in a magnificent location with wonderful views in all directions.
The village is a delightful cluster of old stone cottages that invite exploration. The sparkling little stream leading to Peak Cavern takes you through the oldest part of Castleton. Along the main street are a large variety of gift shops, cafes and restaurants to suit all tastes.
A great walk with magnificent views, a Norman Castle, four of Europe's most spectacular caverns and an historic village.
Cave Dale is one of the most beautiful parts of Castleton with cliffs rising almost perpendicular at the start of the walk with Peveril Castle towering above. After reaching the head of the dale the route becomes more open with expansive views.
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