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Peak District Towns and Villages: Ashbourne
Villages around Ashbourne
|Blore is a secluded village just south of Ilam and the entrance to Dovedale, with a fine hall and a beautiful old church. The church was founded in the early 12th century and much of it dates from about then, though with many later additions. It is notable for not having been restored by the usual over-zealous Victorians. The result is that the church is almost as it was when the last additions were made in the early 17th century - an absolute gem.|
This is not the only interesting monument in the church - beneath the North Aisle is a 15th century brass commemorating William Bassett II and his wife Joan, and there is some notable old stained glass.
The situation of Blore, overlooking the lower end of the Manifold and facing the end of Dovedale, is very pretty and at Blore Pastures on the road between Ilam and Blore there is a car park which has a particularly beautiful view of the area and is well worth visiting.
Blore Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Fenny Bentley is likely to be the first village the visitor encounters on entering the Peak from the South. To the tourist passing through its main feature appears to be the steep hill which exits the village and carries the A515 road up into the Peak District, crossed half-way up by the bridge of former Buxton-Ashbourne railway, now the Tissington Trail.|
Across the road from the church is another remnant of Thomas Beresford - the fortified manor house which he built for himself and which still stands. Known as Cherry Orchard Farm, the house has a fortified square tower which is unique in the Peak. It is still a working farm.
Fenny Bentley Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Kniveton is a pretty and quite ancient village which lies on the road between Ashbourne and Wirksworthin the southern area of the White Peak. The village has the same name as the original lords of the manor, whose coat of arms may be seen in ancient stained glass in the 13th century church. |
The village has many fine old houses and pretty cottages, especially off the main road. There is also a pub but few other amenities.
Kniveton Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Mayfield is a large, sprawling village on the Staffordshire side of the River Dove, close to Ashbourne. Upper Mayfield has some lovely 17th and 18th century houses. Lower Mayfield, down by the river and the oldest part of the village, has the church and an old yarn mill. The main part of the modern village is situated between Upper and Lower Mayfield.|
It is an old village with a lovely church and since the end of the 18th century it has mostly made a living through the cotton mills situated along the River Dove. One is still active - a rarity nowadays.
Another point of interest is that Mayfield was the home of the Irish poet Thomas Moore - a close friend of the poet Byron, who visited regularly. One of Byron's young daughters is buried in the churchyard as she died while on a visit here.
Mayfield has a well-dressing in mid-June and is one of the few places outside Derbyshire to hold one.
|Thorpe is strategically situated at the end of Dovedale and is therefore a busy place on summer weekends. However, the main part of the village lies in a cul-de-sac off the through road and is a surprisingly peaceful spot. At the end of this cul-de-sac a track leads down to Coldwall Bridge across the River Dove south of the present access to Dove Dale - this is the old route south from here. |
The village clusters around a beautiful little church with a Norman tower, built about 1100 AD, and with suggestions of Saxon work here and there. The nave was added in the 14th century, possibly replacing a Saxon construction, and a vestry in the 19th century. There is a fine tomb of the Millward family (1632) by the altar.
The road down to Dovedale first passes the three star hotel, Peveril of the Peak, and then the distinctive cone of Thorpe Cloud, the hill which guards the entrance to Dovedale. (Cloud is a corruption of the Old English word 'clud', meaning hill.) The summit is a short but stiff climb from any direction, though the approach from Thorpe village is probably easier than that from Dovedale, and certainly involves less gain in height. Whichever way you ascend it the climb is well worthwhile, for the panoramic view is really splendid, including Dovedale all the way to Alstonefield as well as Ilam and lower Manifold valley.
Thorpe Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Tissington is one of the prettiest villages in this area of the Peak and is also a convenient point of access to the Tissington Trail. It is therefore a popular place on a summer weekend. |
The village church sits on a mound almost opposite the hall and has a Norman doorway and font, but was heavily restored in Victorian times. However it contains the monumental 17th century memorial to Francis and Thomas FitzHerbert, which is well worth a look.
The village has no less than five wells and is now mainly notable for its well-dressing, which takes place each year on Ascension Day, making it the first Peak District well dressing of the year, and usually one of the best.
The fields along the A515 road outside the village are significant for their clear remains of the old medieval strip field system.
Tissington Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
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