“ Castle Street / Castleton / Hope Valley / Derbyshire / S33 8WG / Tel: 01433 620679 „
Address and contact information:
Castleton Visitor Centre, Buxton Road, Castleton, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S33 8WN
Telephone: 01629 816572
Fax: 01443 623726
The Castleton information centre opened in early April 2004 at the cost of around a million pounds.
The centre is free admission and holds a small, but very interesting museum, using some up to date computer technology to tell the life of the village of Castleton and the Hope Valley throughout the years, consisting of a rather intriguing pot holing display, a model of a paraglide which makes you almost feel like you're gliding above the beautiful scenery of the surrounding area.
Also inside the centre there is advice on accommodation, pubs, cafes, in fact, everything to help your visit to the Derbyshire valleys be as nice and pleasant as possible... including maps, books, guides, clothing and gifts for all to buy as a nice little souvenir of their visit to Castleton.
In 2008 the centre did achieve a silver award of excellence in the East Midlands Enjoy England awards for its part in helping tourism...
The centre is easily recognisable and is situated right at the entrance to the main car park, which is situated in the centre of the village.
*BUS...The 272 bus, which runs to and from Sheffield, running every hour, drops you off at the Castleton 'terminal' which is just a short walk to the Information Centre.
* TRAIN... The nearest railway station is in Hope, approximately 2 and a ½ miles away, then you can either walk the pleasant level couple of miles or wait for the bus
*CAR...From Sheffield take the A625 onto the A6187.... from Stockport take the A623 then the A625 then onto the A6187... The A6187 takes you into the heart of Castleton, where you will find the Information centre on the right of the painted roundabout, leading into the main car park.
The main car park, and other smaller car parks, are pay and display, although there is free parking along the main road as you drive towards Winnats Pass and beyond, (these spaces are quickly taken up so be early).
WARNING: All the Car parks do fill up quickly and early, especially during peak season.
* OPENING TIMES...
10.00am-5.30pm everyday except Christmas day. (although opening times are shorter in the off peak.
The visitor centre is fully accessible to visitors with disabilities.
* 8 Disabled car parking spaces next to centre in main car park.
* Easy access to the information centre via automatic doors.
* Everything on one levels for easy manoeuvring
* Information available in Braille and large print with some available on CD
* Hearing aid loops
* Toilets. (also with baby changing facilities)
* IN CONCLUSION
I found this a very interesting place to visit when visiting Castleton as it is brimming with so much useful information about the entire area... including the many mines for which Castleton is so well known for.
The area inside is well laid out with a good selection of interesting things to read and touch... including some rather fascinating historical facts about the area and how it grew.
Although it can become crowded in busy periods it is still easy to manoeuvre around, although when busy it can be a little trick for wheelchairs and prams... although the staff are very helpful and will do what they can to help with your visit...
And with the information it supplies via touch screen technology there is something of interest for all the family, including the younger children who tend to enjoy prodding the screen so the picture changes, (but as long as they're happy and not whinging then let them), there are even one or two screen on the outside of the building as you walk around.
Just around the corner from the entrance to the centre there is a small kiosk which sell everything from ice cream to cheese burgers... something for everyone, and with the seating arrangement opposite the kiosk being under a transparent cover you can eat outside even if the weather changes for the worse, (which is expected in the Hope Valley region)
If you have never been to Castleton before, or even if you have, then I do recommend taking a visit to the information centre as it may be of some interest and may be worth while...
Castleton is a popular town in the High Peak region of Derbyshire's Peak District National Park. The Castleton Information Centre & Museum is located right in the centre of the town and provides a fascinating and unique experience for anyone visiting the area that wants to learn a little bit more about this beautiful area.
This building is free to enter and combines both an information centre offering vital local information for the tourists and a museum. The museum occupies the largest part of the building and houses a wide range of different displays and artefacts relating to the local area.
One of the first items that you encounter when you walk into the museum is a head carved out stone. This is kept safely inside a glass display cabinet and the information on the side of this cabinet tells us that this Celtic head was found in a local garden in 1995, where it had formed a feature of the garden wall for the past few centuries. This head is around 2,000 years old and is believed to have been worshipped by the local Brigantine people that occupied this area. They believed that a person's soul was inside his head.
Castleton is famous for its limestone caves and in particular a rare form of mineral called Blue John which is claimed to be only found here. It is not surprising therefore to find that there is quite a large section of this museum relating to the formation, quarrying and its uses in modern day Jewellery and other articles.
Blue John derives its name from the French words Bleu Jaune meaning Blue Yellow and there is no doubt that this is a very pretty semi-precious stone. One of the largest items of Blue John on display here is a huge 18th century fruit bowl.
All of the articles on display here have a direct link to the town. There is a display that covers the geological formation of this area millions of years ago and how the area was shaped through the various periods up to the last age Ice Age 12,000 years ago.
The next section covers the period from the last Ice Age through to the early civilisation of the caves in this area by prehistoric man. There is a lot of information regarding the animals that once roamed freely in this region and there are many bones on display that have been found locally from creatures that have long disappeared from Western Europe.
I was interested to discover that Wolves and Bears probably still survived in this area until as recently as a couple of hundred years ago, and this was probably one of their last remaining strongholds in the British Isles. Other animals like the Woolly Rhinoceros and the Mammoth are now completely extinct.
Elsewhere in the museum there is a section about a local girl that became a nurse in the late 19th century and there are many personal articles on display including certificates of achievement and the uniform that she wore.
I was also fascinated by the sight of a an old wooden coffin bearer. This hand pulled contraption was used in the Town to carry the coffins to the local cemetery for 150 years until 1968. It was made by a local family of undertakers and has remained in their possession ever since. It is on display here on loan from the family.
Apart from Blue John there are also lots of information about potholing and mining which were both prominent in this area and still are today. Many of the local people were employed in the local lead mines and there is a cabinet full of miner's leather boots, lamps and helmets etc.
Another large section of this museum is dedicated to the local school. The current school was built in 1874 but there was a much older school in the village from around 1650. One of the items on display in this section is a maths book belonging to a local girl aged 10. It is dated 1824 and the page is full of handwritten mathematical formulas calculating the length of the sides of various shapes. I studied this page for quite a while and it made no sense to me whatsoever. She was obviously a very clever little girl.
At the end of the museum there is a section that relates to the more modern history of the village. Here you watch actual snippets of film about the local life of the villager's on TV screens from the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's.
This leads nicely back into the Tourist Information Centre where your journey began. Here there are maps, leaflets, computers and a small gift shop.
If you are in Castleton then I would definitely recommend a visit to this place. It is a fascinating place to spend an hour or so of your day and above all it is completely free.
State of the art guide to the history of this quaint village and its breathtaking Peak District setting.