Alport Castles
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HomeHikingA Quick Guide to Alport Castles
EnglandPeak District

A Quick Guide to Alport Castles

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‘Hidden Gem’ is a phrase that gets thrown about a little too often, and in reality, there are very few – if any – hidden gems in a national park as popular as the Peak District. The Alport Castles walk is no secret, but it’s very rarely mentioned when people are recommending routes in the Peak District. After doing this walk earlier in the year, I’m struggling to see why.

This walk has everything you’d hope for in a Peak District walk. Easy-to-follow trails, stunning views over hills and moorland, and impressive gritstone outcrops. What more could you want?

The Alport Castles Walk

DISTANCE

15 km return

ESTIMATED TIME

4-5 hrs

ELEVATION GAIN

640 m

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

Alport Castles gets its name from the large rock pinnacles that were left behind after a landslide. Known as The Tower, the largest of these pinnacles can be seen from quite a distance away and resembles the tower of a castle.

The walk to Alport Castles is a relatively easy one. Parking at the northern end of the Ladybower Reservoir, near the Upper Derwent Visitor’s Centre, this route heads up and away from the reservoir on the opposite side of the road, and up into the hills. After a long but gentle climb, the trail reaches an open moorland plateau and heads over to Alport Castles.

I did this walk back in January on a cold but clear morning. I’ve been on many walks in the areas surrounding Ladybower Reservoir but never in the direction of Alport Castles. At just over nine miles it’s definitely not a short walk, but the imposing pinnacles and rocky outcrops make this walk well worth the effort.

We spent more than an hour exploring around the pinnacle, scrambling over rocks and trying to find perfect angles for photos, and in that time we only saw the odd few people around. On a beautiful sunny, Sunday morning such as this, that was quite surprising.

It’s said that there are Peregrine Falcons nesting in the crags, but unfortunately, we didn’t spot any on our visit. On a warmer day, it would have been great to sit for a while and wait for a sighting, but not on a cold January day with biting winds.

  • You can view the full route of the Alport Castles walk on OS Maps here

Alport Castles Parking

Parking for this route is near the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre. If you arrive early there are several laybys with free parking, but these will fill early as there are many walking and cycling routes nearby. There is a pay and display car park at the visitor centre as well as a cafe and toilet facilities.

Use postcode S33 0AQ

Alport Castles

When is the Best Time to Walk the Alport Castles Route?

The rocky terrain in the immediate area around Alport Castles could be treacherous in wet and icy conditions, but this would otherwise be a great route all year round. I went on a bitterly cold winters day and thoroughly enjoyed the walk, but plan to go back on a warmer day when I can sit for a while and hopefully spot some Peregrine Falcons.

The Alport Castles Route

This is a nine-mile route that circles up over the moorland and back down towards the reservoir, however, there are multiple options to extend your walk by linking into any of the many other trails nearby.

  • You can view the full route of the Alport Castles walk on OS Maps here

Make It A Weekend Adventure

There is absolutely loads to do in this area and you could very easily make it a full weekend of adventure. There are countless walking routes nearby, as well as mountain biking trails and climbing and bouldering locations.

If you’re looking for budget accommodation in the Peak District, YHA might be a great option for you. There are hostels all over the Peak District ready to welcome walkers and bikers, with options for private rooms or shared dorm rooms.

If you’re willing to spend a bit more, the Peak District has hundreds of great places to stay. From boutique hotels to cosy B&Bs, there’s something to suit everyone.

Places to Stay in the Peak District

Booking.com

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