Skip to Content

Mam Tor: 5 Stunning Trails To A Peak District Classic

Mam Tor: 5 Stunning Trails To A Peak District Classic

Have you even been to the Peak District if you haven’t walked Mam Tor? But, seriously. As one of the Peak District National Park’s most well-loved, well-walked and well-known ‘peaks’, it really has to be up there on any Peak District walking itinerary. In addition, given the wealth of walks and route options to the summit of Mam Tor, there really has to be a trail to suit everybody. Here, we’ll cover five of our favourites and tell you why we think walking Mam Tor for sunrise is an absolute must.

In this guide, we’ll tell you a little about Mam Tor, where it is and how to get there. Then, we’ll jump into our five favourite walks to the summit before telling you just why you should hike at sunrise. Afterwards, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about walking to Mam Tor, tell you other things to do in the Hope Valley area as well as suggest some other incredible walks in the Peak District.

About Mam Tor

Mam Tor is one of the most well-known and recognisable ‘peaks’ in the Peak District National Park. The huge hillside stands tall over the quaint village of Castleton in the High Peak, from where you can begin a fair few of the many different walking trails to the Mam Tor summit.

Mam Tor stands at 517 metres above sea level and those who walk to its summit can enjoy extensive views across the Derbyshire Peak District. Although the Mam Tor height isn’t especially huge, its steep but easily manageable climb makes it one of the Peak District’s most well-walked and beloved trails.

Nestled in the sublime Hope Valley, any walk to Mam Tor will leave you keen to explore more of this delightful part of the Peak District National Park.

Why Is it Called Mam Tor?

The name Mam Tor directly translates to ‘mother hill‘. Why Mother Hill? Well, the eastern face of the hillside has experienced many landslips, resulting in countless small hills forming at the base. The landslips are caused by layers of shale at the base of Mam Tor being unstable, similar to that at nearby Alport Castles. The land then collapses under the weight of heavier sandstone on top. This has also meant Mam Tor is known as the ‘Shivering Mountain‘.

History of Mam Tor

Mam Tor has a rich history dating back to the Bronze Age. At the summit is a hill fort dating back to the late Bronze and early Iron Ages. Scientific evidence shows occupation at Mam Tor dates back as early as 1200 BC, with the discovery of two Bronze Age burial sites. Understandably, this archaeological significance has resulted in Scheduled Ancient Monument status being granted. And for anyone wanting to walk up Mam Tor, it’s just one more excellent reason to visit.

Where Is Mam Tor?

Mam Tor sits in the High Peak of the Peak District National Park, at the western end of the Great Ridge, which separates Edale from Castleton in the Hope Valley. In fact, the huge hill lies at the meeting of the Peak District’s Dark Peak and White Peak, where the rocky terrain changes from the rich sandstones found at Kinder Scout to the lighter limestones as evidenced at the famous Winnats Pass (guide coming soon).

​​​​​How to Get to Mam Tor

The best way to get to Mam Tor in the Peak District is with your own set of wheels. This is especially true if you intend to walk Mam Tor for sunrise. Conveniently, any visit to the Peak District National Park isn’t too far from the cities of Manchester and Sheffield. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the nearest places to travel from. We’ll include the distance and drive time.

  • Manchester: 1 hour // 28 miles (45km)
  • Sheffield: 45 minutes // 20 miles (32km)
  • Buxton: 20 minutes // 10 miles (16km)
  • Bakewell: 30 minutes // 16 miles (26km)

If you don’t have access to your own vehicle, then we recommend hiring something. Of course, this can easily be organised from both Manchester and Sheffield.

Car Hire

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

Public Transport

Although driving yourself to the Peak District for the Mam Tor walk is much more straightforward, it’s certainly possible to take public transport. In fact, the Peak District offers a fairly reliable bus and train service throughout the national park.

From both Manchester and Sheffield, you should take the train to Edale Station. The train takes less than an hour and is actually a pretty scenic way to see more of the Peak District. You’ll begin the walk to Mam Tor from Edale. See below for more information about that trail option. Of course, if you want to walk up Mam Tor for sunrise, you’ll be pushing it a bit using public transport. The first trains tend to leave the cities around 6am. So, a sunrise walk to Mam Tor might need to be reserved for the winter, when the sun rises a little later in the morning.

You can check the train services here. Also, we recommend using Google Maps to help plan your journey.

Booking Trains


Trainline is one of the best online platforms for booking trains. By using Trainline, you can easily find the best available prices and times for your journey. We always use Trainline to book our train journeys in the UK and in Europe.

​​​​​​​Mam Tor Parking

There are numerous places to park for walks to Mam Tor. The closest and most convenient Mam Tor Car Park is the Mam Nick Car Park which sits at the southern edge of the hillside and belongs to the National Trust. The Mam Nick Car Park (AKA the Mam Tor National Trust Car Park) is pay and display but is free to National Trust members who can simply scan their card at the machine. Although the Mam Nick Car Park is of decent size, you should arrive early if you want to park here. Indeed, this is even more essential at weekends and during school holidays. You’ll be surprised how many people arrive early to walk Mam Tor at sunrise.

Parking can also be found in Castleton, where you can begin the walk to Mam Tor from also. More on that below. In Castleton, you’ll find a stretch of on-street parking. A small portion of the road is free and the rest is pay and display. There’s also a car park at the Castleton Visitor Centre, where you’ll also find public toilets for your convenience.

If completing the Great Ridge or Hope to Mam Tor walk, then you can find parking here. And if you’re walking Mam Tor from the Edale direction, you can find parking at the train station here.

Do not park in lay-bys that are designed as passing points or along double yellow lines along access roads. You’ll just cause a hazard.

Dan and Beck on the walk to Mam Tor

Mam Tor Walking Routes

Whether you walk Mam Tor for sunrise, sunset or anything in between, this Peak District hike is a firm favourite for all who visit. The walking routes we’ll cover below vary in length and difficulty. They also start from various different points, allowing different aspects of the Peak District to be viewed. Indeed, we’ve certainly walked to Mam Tor on many different occasions and at different times of the day. We never tire of this excellent place. The walks to Mam Tor routes we’ll include are numbered below.

  1. Mam Tor Circular Walk
  2. Castleton to Mam Tor Walk
  3. Hope to Mam Tor Walk
  4. Edale to Mam Tor Walk
  5. Great Ridge and Win Hill Walk

1. Mam Tor Circular Walk

  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Distance: 4.5km
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 200m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Mam Nick Car Park (National Trust)
  • Map: Wikiloc

The easiest and shortest of the walks we’ll describe is the Mam Tor Circular. Beginning from the National Trust’s Mam Nick Car Park, it’s a simple short and steep walk along a paved pathway and steps to the Mam Tor summit. Expect a busy trail by taking this route option.

The summit of Mam Tor is marked by a trig point. Once you’ve enjoyed the splendid views, continue along the beginning of the Great Ridge Path towards Hollins Cross. Here, you’ll enter through the gate and take the trail on the right, starting the descent off the hillside. Follow the trail down onto Broken Road and past Mam Farm. Eventually, you’ll join back up with the road close to Blue John Cavern. Then, you’ll follow this back up to the car park.

Peak District views from Mam Tor

2. Castleton to Mam Tor Walk

  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Distance: 11km
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 440m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Castleton
  • Map: Wikiloc

If the car park at Mam Nick is full, or you simply want a slightly longer walk, then you can begin the trail from Castleton. The Mam Tor walk from Castleton has many route variations, but essentially you’ll follow signposts that lead up and along the edge of Winnats Pass. From here, you’ll pass through the open fields towards Blue John Cavern, before taking a trail that joins the path from Mam Nick Car Park.

From this point in the trail, simply follow the instructions as described above in the Mam Tor Circular walk. Alternatively, once you get to Hollins Cross, you can continue a little further along the Great Ridge and all the way up to Lose Hill. From Lose Hill, take the trail to the right and descend back down towards Castleton to complete the loop.

Sheep on Winnats Pass

3. Hope to Mam Tor Walk

  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Distance: 17km
  • Time: 5–6 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 530m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Hope Village
  • Map: Wikiloc

For a direct walk to Mam Tor across the sublime Great Ridge, then the Hope to Mam Tor out and back trail is a fantastic option. It’s a steep climb up to Lose Hill from Hope village. But, once at the peak, it’s a much easier walk across the sweeping Great Ridge towards Mam Tor. The views are delightful and if you’re up for it, consider a short out and back to the Lord’s Seat summit.

The Great Ridge walking Mam Tor

4. Edale to Mam Tor Walk

  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Distance: 8km
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 340m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Edale
  • Map: Wikiloc

Beginning from Edale Valley is another short but somewhat steep walk up to Mam Tor. You can either complete this hike as an out and back or make another stunning circular walk. Beginning from Edale train station, you’ll find the trailhead directly opposite and the path leads straight up the north face of Mam Tor. It’s a steep little hike, but it does the job. You can either return the way you walked up or head down the Great Ridge to Back Tor, before turning onto a trail to the left and looping back to Edale.

Dan walking Mam Tor

5. Great Ridge and Win Hill

  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Distance: 20km
  • Time: 6–8 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 705m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Hope or Nether Booth (see map link below)
  • Map: Wikiloc

For a truly rewarding and more challenging hike, then the Great Ridge and Win Hill walk could be right up your street. This 20km Mam Tor ridge walk encompasses some of the best of the Peak District, traversing arguably Britain’s most popular ridgeline walk. Along the walk, you’ll also pass Lose Hill and Back Tor before looping back around via Edale and Ladybower Reservoir.

Sunrise at Mam Tor

Mam Tor Sunrise

Having taken on the walk to Mam Tor numerous times, we can assure you our favourite is always visiting at sunrise. That’s regardless of whichever trail you choose. Seeing cloud inversions rest in the Hope Valley below, and watching the sun popping up over the Great Ridge and surrounding hillsides is beyond spectacular. Its little wonder walking to Mam Tor for sunrise is so popular.

Of course, most visitors will opt to park at the Mam Nick Car Park for a quicker hike to reach the summit. Just another reason why this car park fills up so quickly. But, an early start and quick hike in the dark is certainly worth it for the experience of a Mam Tor sunrise.

Dan and I are morning people through and through, so a Mam Tor sunrise is perfect for us. But, for those night owls out there, we hear a sunset is pretty spectacular too.

Dan and Beck on one of the walks to Mam Tor

What is the Best Time To Walk Mam Tor?

You can walk to Mam Tor any time of the year. And indeed you should. Winters bring crisp mornings where a mesmerising sunrise is on offer. Whereas long summer days mean loitering at the Mam Tor summit and waiting for a relaxing sunset, before a chill walk back down. Pack a picnic and simply enjoy the views.

Of course, those in the know will tell you that August is a wonderful time for hiking in the Peak District. That’s because in late summer the vibrant purple heather is in bloom and shrouds the rolling hills of the Peak District in an incredible purple blanket.

Given its location, the Peak District can and does see a fair amount of rainfall. This can make trails muddy and slippery at times. Also, you’ll want clear weather and good visibility to enjoy the fantastic views. Indeed, on a clear day, you can see all the way to Manchester!

Mam Tor Weather

As I always say, if you wait for the perfect weather to hike in the UK, then you’ll never hike anywhere! But, with that being said, nobody wants to end up a soggy mess when out walking for the day. So, you can plan ahead and check the forecast here before you venture out into the Peak District.


Below, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Mam Tor walks in the Peak District National Park.

How Long Is the Mam Tor Walk?

This, of course, depends on the route you choose to take and how long you plan to spend at the summit. If you walk to Mam Tor for sunrise, then you’ll likely be at the summit for some time as you wait for the light show. With that being said, you can expect anything from 2–8 hours depending on the walk you take.

Is Mam Tor a Hard Walk?

No. Although longer walking routes to Mam Tor will likely be a little more challenging, this is generally due to their length. All the walking routes are well-trodden and signed, so all you really need to be equipped with is a little stamina and a sense of adventure.

Is Mam Tor Suitable For Children?

Yes, we’ve seen plenty of families out walking Mam Tor. Of course, only you know the ability of your child. But certainly, the walk from Mam Nick Car Park is the most doable for children.

Where Do You Park For the Mam Tor Circular Walk?

Again, this depends on your start point and the length of walk you’d like to do. Please refer to our Mam Tor Parking section for more information.

Is Mam Tor Dog Friendly?

If you can’t bare the thought of walking without your four-legged friend, then good news, Mam Tor is most certainly dog friendly. Just be mindful of other walkers if the trail is busy.

Is Mam Tor in the Peak District?

It sure is. Mam Tor falls within the Derbyshire Peak District in the High Peaks. It’s one of the most visited attractions and overlooks the popular spots of Castleton and Edale.

Becj enjoying sunrise at Mam Tor in the Peak District

Other Things To Do in the Hope Valley

After the Mam Tor walk (or even before), you’ll find a wealth of other things to do in this part of the Peak District.

  • Caves: the area around Mam Tor is rife with caves, including the world-famous Blue John Cavern, where the semi-precious mineral is still mined. There’s also Treak Cliff Cavern, Peak Cavern and Speedwell Cavern.
  • Village life: what better way to round off a day walking Mam Tor than with a mooch around a quaint village and a quick drink in the local pub. Be sure to check out Castleton, Edale and Hope. Especially convenient if you’ve parked in any of these villages.
  • Scenic drives: in the shadow of Mam Tor lies one of the UK’s most scenic driving routes. Winnats Pass is a gorgeous winding road that cuts through the towering limestone cliffs of the White Peak. It’s quite breathtaking.
  • Castles: nearby lies Peveril Castle ruin. The castle sits high above the village of Castleton and dates back to the 12th century.
Castleton village

Other Walks in the Peak District National Park

There are plenty of Peak District walks. Seriously, loads. But, these are some of our favourites.

  • Chrome Hill: witness true peaks with a walk over the Dragon’s Back.
  • Alport Castles: a hidden gem in the Peak District, the Alport Castles are the result of one of the largest landslips in the UK.
  • Derwent Edge: a beautiful walk up a typical Peak District escarpment and across the wild open moorland. Additionally, there are a number of interesting rock formations along the trail.
  • The Roaches and Lud’s Church: hike up and around the famous rocky ridge in the south Peaks and add on the fairytale rocky chasm of Lud’s Church.
  • Kinder Scout and Downfall: hike to the Peak District’s highest point and enjoy the seasonal waterfall from this vast open plateau.
  • Stanage Edge: whether you hike or climb, a visit to the Stanage Edge escarpment will indeed leave you spellbound.
  • Dovedale to Milldale: a walk through the beautiful Dovedale passes hidden caves, picturesque forest and clifftop trails. Also, be sure to add Thorpe’s Cloud and Bunster Hill to your hike.
  • Three Shires Head: at the point where Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire meet is a pretty little cascade.
  • Thor’s Cave: this impressive natural cavern has fantastic views across the Manifold Valley in the south of the Peak District.
  • Dovestone Circular: a fantastic circular walk around reservoirs and moorland, enjoying the ever-popular Trinnacles rock formation.
  • Bamford Edge: easily one of the most photographed parts of the Peak District.
  • Padley Gorge: a deep and narrow valley offers a magical woodland walk to all who venture within.

Hiking Essentials

These are our hiking gear essentials for the Mam Tor walks in the Peak District! You should also pack water, snacks and warm clothing if visiting at sunrise.

Osprey Skarab 30
Osprey Skarab 30

The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover

A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.

GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.

BUFF Original Ecostretch
BUFF Original Ecostretch

The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII
Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.

Bonus Tips and Information

  • Accommodation options: if you want to stay nearby, you’ll find some excellent camping options close to Edale. Additionally, there are also some wonderful holiday cottages in Castleton such as Dunscar Farm Bed & Breakfast, Beech Croft Holiday Cottage and even the old pub at The George Inn.
  • What county are The Peaks in? there are indeed five counties that each get to claim a little slice of the Peak District National Park. They include Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire. So, there’s plenty to see and do.

Save or share this post with your hiking buddies before your next trip to the Peak District National Park!

Beck Piggott

With an art and design based background, Beck uses photography and writing to help inspire readers to climb mountains, hike coastal trails and chase waterfalls around the globe.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *