The Peak District is steeped in history and characterized by its wild natural landscapes and finely preserved ancient buildings, stately homes and villages. Many of the places have a dark and intriguing past and literally hundreds of ghost sightings have taken place here. The area attracts many ghost hunting visitors and if you are interested in all things supernatural please feel free to use our Ghost Trail* to cover the main reportedly haunted locations. If you want to cover all the areas we have suggested allow yourself two to three days depending on how long you want to spend in each area.
Castleton is a popular tourist spot and pretty ancient village, it’s also reputedly to be very haunted and would be great place to start on Ghost Trail. The village was featured in episode 3 of the UK paranormal documentary reality television programme Most Haunted: Midsummer Murders. During the programme the team focuses on the murder of an engaged couple said to have taken place in the 1700s. A lot of time was spent investigating in Speedwell Cavern and a local miner is said to have confessed to the murders on his deathbed after being haunted by the dead couple, he also implicated others involved. Winnats Pass (a road from Castleton which is surrounded by limestone pinnacles) is said to be haunted by this couple and the sounds of several miners attacking and murdering the couple have been reported. There has also been many other ghosts sightings in this area including the Blue John Mine, here a phantom man in grey is said to sometimes appears along with ghostly echoes whistling around the chambers and tunnels. In the English Heritage owned Perevil Castle positioned high upon the hill in Castleton there have been sightings of a white knight standing near the ramparts, a phantom horse and an old lady as well as strange banging and clanking noises which are sometimes heard after dark.
Other unusual occurrences in Castleton are the rumours of the ‘Castleton Triangle’. There have been reports of people having electrical problems with their cars when parking in the area around the post office, Co-op and NatWest bank in the village. Car alarms sometimes go off, engines don’t turn over and doors refuse to unlock. Some residents blamed the nearby RAF radar (at Fylingdales) although the Commander here dismissed these claims as unlikely.
With it’s dark history of isolation and death from the bubonic plague it’s no surprise that Eyam Village also has had some unusual sightings! Eyam is a pleasant 30 minute drive Castleton and is another popular visitor spot. Eyam Hall is a beautifully preserved Jacobean Manor house built between 1671 and 1676 and is now open to the public, it’s also a good place to start for ghost hunting. A young servant girl called Sarah Mills drowned herself in the well and is now said to still answer the night bell. In an upstairs room of the a ghost of a man appeared so much that the door was permanently locked!
The Miner’s Arms is a 17th Century Inn and Restaurant was built in 1630 (just before the great plague found it’s way to Eyam) and is also thought to be one of the most haunted buildings in Derbyshire. Two playful spirits have been heard in the pub, opening and closing doors and hiding small items. Footsteps have also been heard at night and other strange occurrences in the bedrooms have even caused some guests to leave in the middle of the night! The plague cottages are remembered as the homes involved in the start of the outbreak and one of the cottages is rumoured to be haunted by a lady in a blue smock who sometimes wakes the owners in the middle of the night.
Chatsworth House is a stunning large country house and the Peak District’s premier tourist attraction. The Chatsworth Estate is located about 6 miles from Eyam which is about a 13 minute drive. It’s also home to many ghostly sightings and other strange goings on such as doors opening and closing by themselves, footsteps, muffled voices and banging noises. A ghostly lady has been spotted wandering along corridors and in some of the rooms (including the library) the ghost drifts from shelf to shelf. The ghost is thought to be Eyelyn the wife of the late 9th Duke of Devonshire. Others say Bess of Hardwick (the original owner of Chatsworth) haunts the building and many think it might be Mary Queen of Scots still wandering around the place where she was once held captive. The bridge on the grounds is also said to be haunted by a screaming woman who was forced to watch her baby drowned after it was thrown into the river by her partner.
Bakewell is a small historic market town famous for it’s tasty puddings. The town is very close to Chatsworth House- about 4 miles which is approximately a 12 minute drive. Bakewell featured in the last episode of the Most Haunted: Midsummer Murders. In the programme a team of investigators uncovered the secrets of a murder which took place in the 1800s on Christmas Eve. It was also thought to be the most scariest live episode ever as the corpses of two unknown men buried in soil were found.
Castle Hill is a bed and breakfast in Bakewell and is another place in the town where ghosts are said to appear. Jim Marlowe was a butler who shot himself one Friday night to escape his nagging wife and now his footsteps are apparently heard once a week on Friday nights.
Haddon Hall is an impressive and intriguing medieval manor house located very near Bakewell and the ghost of Dorothy Vernon has been reported as appearing here many times. Dorothy was the daughter of Sir George Vernon (the owner of Haddon Hall) and in 1558 she eloped with the husband her father disapproved of, now it is said that she appears on the steps, running down them as if being chased. Other ghosts in the Hall include a blue woman, a young boy and a phantom monk.
Youlgreave is an ancient village lying on the River Bradford and just 4 miles from Bakewell and even less if you are coming from Haddon Hall. It will take about 10 minutes driving. It’s worth a stop because of its reputation for paranormal activity. The most talked about ghosts are the duelling spirits appearing once a year in Youlgreave Hall always on a dark night in November. A ghostly Cavalier and a phantom Roundhead meet and fight reenacting their actual fight to their deaths during the English Civil War.
Other ghosts in the area appear at the Old Hall farm in the form of a grey lady and of an apparition of a coach and horses appearing between the road between Youlgreave and Middleton (in the area known as Roughwood Hollow). There is a story of gamekeeper being forced to flatten himself against a wall as a phantom coach being pulled by eight horses thundered past.
Winster lies approximately another 4 miles from Youlgreave (14 minutes by car) and is a pretty ancient conservation village often thought to be one of the oldest villages in the Peak. Winster has over 60 listed buildings and also a dark reputation! The local doctor was murdered in 1821 here and there have been many ghostly sightings. Two old inns in Winster are supposed to be haunted, The Old Angel is a former 17th century coaching inn where a sighting of a decapitated ghost climbing the stairs caused one witness to faint. The local legend tells of a story of a woman and her lover who committed suicide just before she was due to marry another man. Phantom footsteps and doors that open by themselves are also a phenomenon here. The Miners Standard Inn dating from 1753 is the second Inn in Winster that is reputed to be haunted with sightings of two ghosts!
Winster Hall is an impressive house built in 1628 located on the main street and its forecourt is said to be haunted by the ghost of a ‘White Lady’. The legend says the owner’s daughter fell in love with a servant and they leaped from the parapet to their deaths in a suicide ‘lover’s leap’ when their forbidden relationship was revealed. After a sighting by soldiers billeted at the hall in the 1940′s one young trooper was so convinced at the sighting of the ghost he shot at it, passing a bullet straight through the ghostly apparition.
The pretty and ancient village of Tissington is about half an hour drive from Winster. Privately owned Tissington Hall built in 1609 appeared on the UK paranormal television programme “Most Haunted”. In 1862 a young Wilhemina Fitzherbert tragically set herself alight with a candle and later died from her injuries, her ghost is said to appear regularly and Tissington Hall offer ghost nights and paranormal tours where mediums and psychic investigators are called in.
Ashbourne is a historical small market town just outside the national park but not far from Tissington (only about a 10 minute drive). It’s supposedly full of paranormal activity and even runs ghost tours around the town. The most significant is the church where a little girl has been seen walking around the churchyard and others have reported seeing vanishing beggars. The Green Man Inn is a 17th century coaching Inn where guests have reported hearing a coach and horses and also seeing a ghostly figure appearing at the window. Other sightings include a headless figure on the Ashbourne ‘Hanging Bridge’ and another ghost seen leaping into the River Henmore.
*Please note we do not hold any responsibility for anything you may or may not see on our Ghost Trail!