Peveril Castle is an 11th-century tower overlooking the pretty village of Castleton in Derbyshire’s Peak District. It is looked after by English Heritage and is protected as a monument.
It is not exactly a castle anymore. What’s left behind are just the ruins of Peveril Castle. It is a treat to the eyes for all history buffs and anyone wishing to have a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Peak District.
So, let’s explore the beautiful Peveril Castle. Also, do not forget to check on our last trip to Peak Cavern in the Peak District.
About Peveril Castle
Peveril Castle is one of England’s earliest Norman Fortresses. Today it gives breathtaking views over the Hope Valley of the Peak District.
Peveril Castle was the main accommodation of William Peveril, also known as the Honour of Peveril.
The castle was founded sometime between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and 1080. The exact time is unknown, but it must have been under construction by the time the Domesday Book was written in 1086. Peveril Castle was recorded as the only castle from Derbyshire by Peveril.
Even though the Peveril Castle was constructed in a typical commanding and defensive layout, it was used as a centre of administration for William Peveril. The latter flourished under the rule of Henry I.
The Peveril Castle was inherited by William’s son- William Peverel the Younger. Unfortunately, the Peveril name was soon linked to perfidy.
During the civil war known as the Anarchy, William Peveril the Younger reinforced Empress Matilda’s attempt to grab the throne and was defeated.
William ended up losing most of his father’s wealth. In 1153, William was accused of treachery and plundering by the future King Henry III.
After two years, Peveril Castle was confiscated and taken under royal hold. It then became the administrative focus of the Royal Forest of the Peak as well as a Royal hunting preserve.
Several years after the Civil war, King Henry II tried to reinstate the power of kingship. New castles were built while others were upgraded. Peveril Castle provided an essential centre for overseeing the Earl of Derby, Robert Ferrers.
With a few noble rebellions, Peveril Castle stayed in the royals’ hands. It was finally reduced to ruins in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Let’s explore Peveril Castle.
I took the A52 route to Castleton Village, which took me just over an hour minus my usual stop at Tagg Lane for ice cream. (If it falls in your route, do try it. It is one of my favourite ice cream spots in England!)
I parked my car in the Castleton Car/ Coach Park in Castleton village, about a 5 minutes walk from the Peveril Castle.
It is located at a very central point, and most of the tourist spots nearby are just a 15 to 20 minutes distance on foot. There is a toilet facility as well and that too without charge.
However, I found the car spaces to be smaller than usual with narrow spaces between, so you have to be careful not to scratch your neighboring car. Another downside is that this car park only takes payment by coins or via the application on the cell phone.
Peveril Castle Visitor Centre
A short walk from the parking space and a few stairs led me to the visitor centre. I met the friendliest staff members and got my ticket for 9£ and a fridge magnet from the souvenir shop.
At the entrance/exit area of the visitor centre, there is a very detailed and labeled model of the castle with its original buildings.
From the ground level, the castle seemed sky high, but once I started, it didn’t seem too far up. Yes, the climb is steep, and after the initial part of the trail, there isn’t any rail either. However, the path is wide enough even for someone like me who can not walk in a straight line.
I stopped a couple of times on the way up and sat for a few minutes on the benches, so it took me about 20 to 25 minutes to get to the top. When I turned around to look at the view, I was mesmerized.
The castle’s entrance is through the ruins of a gate constructed in the 12th century and leads to the Peveril Castle’s courtyard. Surrounding it from all sides are the remnants of a curtain wall with Roman tiles.
The Keep, built by King Henry II in 1176, is relatively well preserved. It was initially about 60 feet high. The roof has worn off, but you can still see the fine gritstone on two sides.
The Keep bestows the views across both Castleton and Cave Dale below. You can still see a few traces of the substructure of a Great Hall, a medieval lavatory, and some other buildings, but I loved the view across the surrounding landscape the most.
The site within the Peveril Castle doesn’t take very long to explore since it’s only The Keep and the grounds around it. I took along my picnic mat and sat for over an hour, enjoying the scenic beauty.
Things to Keep in Mind When Visiting Peveril Castle
- You don’t need to book a visit in advance, but you might see some discounts and ensure a guaranteed entry by buying online tickets. It is an all-day pass so that you can come at any time of the day. Do note that the timings go up till 5 pm.
- There is a steep climb to the top, but you’ll see several benches along the way where you can sit down to catch your breath or admire the serene views of Hope Valley.
- I’d also suggest you keep a water bottle along. Even if you don’t, it’s perfectly fine. The visitor centre is very well equipped with all such items.
- Dogs are allowed if they’re kept on a leash.
- You don’t need to worry about toilets either because the visitor centre also has that facility.
If you’re looking for a short steep slope to walk on or wishing to stand on a hill overlooking panoramic views of Mam Tor, Lose Hill, and the surrounding countryside of the Peak District- look no further.
Peveril Castle is the perfect place for a family day. Not only do you get to visit the remains of a historic building, but you also get to experience the magnificent scenery Peak District has to offer. You may take a little picnic basket, a mat, or a card game like I did.
Castleton is a beautiful village with lots of holiday cottages and farmhouses to plan night stays. The food here is also delicious, with ample vegan choices, cafés, and pubs. I’d recommend you include Peveril Castle’s in your checklist when you visit this village. It’s worth it!