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Castleton - 'Gem Of The Peaks'
Castleton village is full of history and centred around a square and is surrounded on three sides by hills. Most prominent is the ridge to the north. This is called the Great Ridge;
it runs east from Mam Tor to Back Tor and Lose Hill, via the pass (hause) of Hollins Cross.
Castleton village was mentioned as Pechesers in the Domesday book in 1086 where "Arnbiorn and Hundingr held the land of William Peveril's
castle in Castleton".The castle was built in 1080 on a promontory of rock overlooking Cave Dale by William Peveril (reputedly a bastard son of William the Conquerer)
for the purpose of overseeing the King’s Royal Forest of the Peak, the castle is still a prominent fixture of the village. It was initially made out of wood, in 1175
a settlement grew up beneath the castle and the village church was begun about the same time as the castle was rebuilt in stone.
The village prospered from lead mining; the Odin Mine, one of the oldest lead mines in the country, is situated 1.5 kilometres west
of the village. This created and enlarged local caverns, four of which are now open to the public as Peak Cavern,
Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern.
Being one of the most popular tourist destinations of the Peak District for some of the
best walking, cycling, caving, hang-gliding and rock climbing in England. Castleton also has an unusual annual festival, held each year on the 29th May called 'Garland or Oak-Apple day', when the
village is thronged by visitors all wearing a sprig of oak leaf and a couple parade through the village on horseback in period dress,
with the man wearing an immense garland of flowers.
Castleton is not just a place to visit in summer. In winter the village turns on a spectacular range of decorations each year in
mid-November, and many people visit in order to do some shopping on a crisp winter's evening. At Christmas, there are Carol
Concerts in Peak Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern, accompanied by local brass bands.
Modern Castleton has something for everyone, and everything for someone, from its historic castle and buildings, fascinating caves and rock faces to its breath taking scenary
and emporiums of excellence.
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