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Peak District Towns and Villages: Curbar

Villages around Curbar

Baslow


Slideshow
Baslow is the largest of the Derwent villages downstream of Hathersage but still within the boundary of the Peak Park. It owes its current size and importance to its location close to the northern entrance to Chatsworth Park and as the starting point for the main route over the moors to Chesterfield.

The village divides into three main sections. Bridge End is the original settlement, clustered around the church and the ancient bridge and ford across the River Derwent. The church has a Saxon coffin lid in the porch entrance but the oldest part of the current building (the north aisle) dates from about 1200. The tower was constructed in the 13th century but the rest of the church is newer and it was heavily 'restored' (i.e. rebuilt) in the 19th century. Clustered around the church are several shops, plus the Rutland Arms and 'Rowleys' (was the Prince of Wales Inn).

Baslow old bridge
Baslow old bridge
Just behind the church lies the old bridge, also known as Bubnell Bridge, which is probably more interesting. Built in 1603, this is the only bridge across the Derwent which has never been destroyed by floods and a path leading down beside it allows you to examine the fine workmanship beneath the arches. For about two centuries after its construction there were no bridges over the river downstream of this before Derby. The hamlet on the west side of the river is known as Bubnell and at the east end of the bridge there is a dog-kennel-like watchman's hut - perhaps intended to keep a check on the Bubnell folk, to prevent people carrying too-heavy loads across the precious bridge or maybe to collect tolls.

The modern centre of the village is the eastern end, called Nether End, around the entrance to Chatsworth Park. It provides a number of tourist services with hotels, restaurants, tea rooms, caravan site and the pedestrian entrance to Chatsworth Park. The largest and oldest hotel is the Cavendish Hotel. An 18th century building, it now belongs to the Duke of Devonshire and sports his crest but once belonged to the Duke of Rutland and was called the Peacock Hotel, which is his symbol. Continuing out of the village you come to the so-called Golden Gates, built by Paxton as the main entrance to the Chatsworth Estate but now rarely used.

The third area of Baslow is called Over End and is a residential area on the hillside to the north of the rest of the village. It contains Baslow Hall, which was once occupied by Sebastian de Ferranti, the radio and electrical pioneer and inventor. There was once a large Hydropathic Hotel here too, but this was demolished in 1936.

View from Baslow Edge
View from Baslow Edge
The edges around Baslow offer fine walking with splendid views over the Derwent valley. Baslow Edge to the north of the village was once quarried for gritstone and features the Eagle Rock, an isolated 6 metre high block of gritstone. Tradition has it that the local men had to climb this rock before they were worthy of marriage! It is not a particularly easy ascent so there must have been quite a few bachelors around. Just behind it there is a monument to Wellington, raised in 1866 by a local worthy, Dr Wrench.

Gardoms Edge and Birchens Edge lie to the east of Baslow. Gardoms is heavily wooded and somewhat inaccessible. It was once the site of an Iron Age fort and cup and ring marked stones and hut circles have been discovered around here. It is also a fine edge for rock climbing. Birchens is more rounded and easily accessible from the Robin Hood Inn on the Chesterfield road. On the top of the edge is a monument raised to Nelson on the occasion of the battle of Trafalgar. Nearby, three large erratic boulders on have the names 'Victory', 'Defiance' and 'Royal Soverin'(sic) carved into them in honour of the three vessels of the same name involved in the battle. They are collectively known as the 'Three Ships'.

Chatsworth Edge and Dobb Edge lie to the south of the Chesterfield road and a walk from Baslow going into Chatsworth Park and then heading east will take you along these to emerge near the Robin Hood. On the way you pass the Jubilee Stone where the village celebrated Queen Victoria's Jubilee.

Baslow Old Bridge over the River Derwent
0 - Baslow Old Bridge over the River Derwent
Baslow Edge View
1 - Baslow Edge View
Baslow Edge - Eagle Stone
2 - Baslow Edge - Eagle Stone
Baslow Edge - Derwent Valley temperature inversion
3 - Baslow Edge - Derwent Valley temperature inversion
Curbar Edge
4 - Curbar Edge
Curbar Edge view
5 - Curbar Edge view
Gardoms Edge - cup and ring marked stone
6 - Gardoms Edge - cup and ring marked stone
Gardoms Edge climber
7 - Gardoms Edge climber
Pilsley pub
8 - Pilsley pub

Bretton


Slideshow
The Barrel Inn
The Barrel Inn
Bretton is a quiet hamlet high up on a gritstone ridge which rears up steeply above the limestone plateau below. The view from here is splendid - it is said that on a clear day you can see for 30 miles.

The original turnpike road from Sheffield and Grindleford to Buxton went along this ridge, and an ancient packhorse way from Eyam to Hathersage passed nearby, so it is no surprise that the pub, the Barrel, is dated 1597.

There is a Youth Hostel nearby and the fascinating Bretton Clough and all the great walking it offers is a just over the back of the settlement. Nearby is the radio-masted summit of William Hill, which offers superb 360 degree views of this area of the Peak District.

Bretton - the Barrel Inn
0 - Bretton - the Barrel Inn
Bretton Clough and Abney Low view
1 - Bretton Clough and Abney Low view
Eyam - brass band in welldressing parade
2 - Eyam - brass band in welldressing parade
Eyam Hall
3 - Eyam Hall
Foolow village green
4 - Foolow village green
Foolow - Waterfall swallet
5 - Foolow - Waterfall swallet

Calver


Calver was once a centre for cotton spinning and the impressive 7-storey Calver Mill that operated from 1785 to 1920 still stands on the River Derwent to the East of the main village at Calver Bridge, just off the A623. The mill's somewhat austere external appearance allowed it stand as a film-double for Colditz Castle in a film about the prisoner of war camp but it has since been converted to flats and its appearance has now softened considerably.

The centre of Calver village itself is to the west of the main road, clustered around the Derwent Water Arms. There are some lovely old houses plus a lot of new ones, for this is now quite a fashionable place to live.

Calver Sough lies just to the north of Calver village, near the traffic lights where the Bakewell to Grindleford Road crosses the A623. The spot obtains its name from the 'sough' or mine drainage canal which emerges just near here. It was built to drain the lead mines on Longstone Edge behind and there are a number of similar soughs nearby, the best known of which is Stoke Sough, to the north of Calver. This emerges on private land belonging to Stoke House (now a hotel) and a bathhouse was constructed over the sough exit.

Calver Sough has a pub, a useful petrol station/shop and a branch of Outside, the outdoor equipment shop, which has also a cafe.

Edensor


Slideshow
Edensor is a very pretty and very unusual village. It is located within the Chatsworth Park boundaries. The modern village of Edensor is a relatively recent creation - the former village was deemed to be too close to Chatsworth House and was moved to the edge of Chatsworth park in the early 19th Century, so the modern village dates mainly from the 1830s and later.

The original village stood several hundred meters closer to the main House and one of the original houses remains and can still be seen. The sixth Duke had the village moved to it's new and current position so that it could not be seen from the House and legend has it that many designs for the houses of the new village were submitted to the Duke but he couldn't decide which one he wanted so had a house built in each of the proposed styles, making each house in Edensor unique and the village a very curious place indeed.

Chatsworth - view across the park
0 - Chatsworth - view across the park
Chatsworth House
1 - Chatsworth House
Chatsworth - the 'grotto' in the gardens
2 - Chatsworth - the 'grotto' in the gardens
Chatsworth - view across the Derwent
3 - Chatsworth - view across the Derwent
Chatsworth - east facade
4 - Chatsworth - east facade
Chatsworth - the stables
5 - Chatsworth - the stables
Chatsworth - the maze in the gardens
6 - Chatsworth - the maze in the gardens
Chatsworth - the Canal Pond and Emperor Fountain
7 - Chatsworth - the Canal Pond and Emperor Fountain
Chatsworth - the cascade in the gardens
8 - Chatsworth - the cascade in the gardens
Chatsworth - Tiepolo ceiling in the house
9 - Chatsworth - Tiepolo ceiling in the house
Chatsworth - the Huntingtower
10 - Chatsworth - the Huntingtower
Chatsworth - garden statues
11 - Chatsworth - garden statues
Edensor
12 - Edensor
Pilsley pub
13 - Pilsley pub
Chatsworth - the hothouses in the gardens
14 - Chatsworth - the hothouses in the gardens
Chatsworth - the house viewed from the gardens
15 - Chatsworth - the house viewed from the gardens
Chatsworth - the Emperor fountain
16 - Chatsworth - the Emperor fountain
Chatsworth Park - the bridge over the River Derwent
17 - Chatsworth Park - the bridge over the River Derwent
Chatsworth - the house seen from the park
18 - Chatsworth - the house seen from the park

Eyam


Slideshow
Eyam is one of the best-preserved villages in the vicinity and is the famous 'plague village', which went into voluntary quarantine when the plague was imported from London in 1665. Above the village lies Eyam Moor which is a fine area for walking, with good views across the Derwent valley and many Bronze Age remains and monuments.

Eyam Church
Eyam Church
The church in the centre of the village has many relics of the Plague, including Mompesson's chair, gravestones of Plague victims and the Parish Register recording the deaths. Within the church there is a small exhibition about the Plague. The church has two Norman columns, and may be built on Saxon foundations, but dates mostly from the 13th and 14th centuries. In the churchyard there is a magnificent Saxon cross dating probably from the 9th century and carved with a mixture of pagan and Christian symbols. There is also a fine sundial on the wall of the church.

The Rectory next door to the church was the birthplace in 1747 of Anna Seward, the 'Swan of Lichfield', a noted literary character of the 18th Century who wrote poetry in the 'Augustan' style, which is now thoroughly out of fashion. Amongst many other works, she wrote a touching poem 'Eyam' which was about the village, and she was a friend of Sir Walter Scott amongst others.

Eyam Hall
Eyam Hall
There are many fine old houses in Eyam and parts of the village have been kept as they looked several centuries ago, especially the area at Townend, around the Miner's Arms. Many of the buildings also have plaques giving details of their history and the part their inhabitants played in the Plague saga, notably the Plague Cottages, where the outbreak began, which are on the main street on the west side of the church.

Also on the main street lies Eyam Hall, built in 1676 but in a style which was already out of fashion, so it looks like an early Jacobean mansion. It is the home of the Wright family who built it and have lived there ever since, and the house is open to visitors in the summer months, as well as housing a small craft centre.

Waterfall Swallett
Waterfall Swallett
The local industries were lead-mining (the lead-miners were noted Non-Conformists and Wesley preached here), silk weaving and shoe-making. The discovery of the Hucklow Side Vein in 1777 led to a boom in lead mining in this area for the next hundred years and next to the village school is a mound which still houses the shaft of Glebe Mine, a lead mine which was later worked for fluorspar until 1965. At the West end of the village is Townhead factory, built as a silk mill, and there is a former shoe factory in the centre of the village. Eyam had one of the earliest public water supplies of anywhere in the area (1588) and parts of this system can still be seen around the village.

To the West of the village, off the road to Foolow, lies Little and Greater Waterfall Swallet, good examples of natural potholes. The water which disappears into these swallets reappears near Stoney Middleton.

Eyam has several shops and tea rooms, plus one pub, the Miner's Arms. This is dated 1630 and is the former meeting place of the Barmote Court, which dealt with lead mining disputes. It is also is reputed to be one of the most haunted buildings in Derbyshire, which would surely add interest to a night's stay! Just outside the village is a public carpark and toilets with a small museum opposite. On the edge above the village there is a Youth Hostel.

Eyam has a well-dressing in late August.

Eyam Plague Cottages
0 - Eyam Plague Cottages
Eyam Churchyard
1 - Eyam Churchyard
Eyam cottages with plague signpost
2 - Eyam cottages with plague signpost
Eyam churchyard - Plague gravestone
3 - Eyam churchyard - Plague gravestone
Eyam - Riley Graves
4 - Eyam - Riley Graves
Eyam - Riley Graves
5 - Eyam - Riley Graves
Eyam Saxon cross
6 - Eyam Saxon cross
Eyam - brass band in welldressing parade
7 - Eyam - brass band in welldressing parade
Eyam Hall
8 - Eyam Hall
Eyam moor view of Froggatt edge
9 - Eyam moor view of Froggatt edge

Foolow


Slideshow
Foolow
Foolow
Foolow is a picturesque village clustered around a village green with an ancient cross and duckpond. It was formerly a lead-mining village and many of the houses are from the 17th century. The mere, or pond, is fed by natural springs and the shaft of the village cross is medieval, though the base is more recent and has a bull-baiting ring attached to it. There are no shops but there is a pub, the Bull's Head.

The area around is limestone and the village stands on the 'Foolow Beds'. Huge, deep slabs of Carboniferous limestones that mark the transition from the Dark Peak in the north to the White Peak in the south. There is much evidence of lead-mining locally. There are also some interesting geological features, such as Waterfall Swallet, where one of the local streams disappears underground. This lies along the road to Eyam. To the north the ground rises up to Eyam edge and the landscape changes rapidly to gritstone. The whole surrounding area is a fine one for relatively gentle walks.

Foolow has a well-dressing in late August.

Bretton - the Barrel Inn
0 - Bretton - the Barrel Inn
Bretton Clough and Abney Low view
1 - Bretton Clough and Abney Low view
Foolow village green
2 - Foolow village green
Foolow - Waterfall swallet
3 - Foolow - Waterfall swallet

Froggatt


Slideshow
Froggatt is a small picturesque village which clings to the hillsides north of Baslow. It is sandwiched between the River Derwent below and the gritstone edges, from which it gets name, above and is surrounded by beautiful woodlands.

There is a pub, The Chequers, on the road to the top of the village but no other amenities. There is a fine old bridge across the River Derwent and good walking both along the river side and along Froggatt Edge above the village, which is one of the best gritstone rock climbing edges in Derbyshire. On the river there is a very large and impressive weir that was built in the 19th century to provide power for the mill downstream at Calver Bridge.

Curbar Edge
0 - Curbar Edge
Curbar Edge view
1 - Curbar Edge view
Froggatt Edge - Chequers Crack
2 - Froggatt Edge - Chequers Crack
Froggatt Edge
3 - Froggatt Edge
Froggatt Edge climbers
4 - Froggatt Edge climbers
Froggat Edge - climbers on Valkyrie
5 - Froggat Edge - climbers on Valkyrie

Grindleford


Slideshow
Grindleford actually comprises Grindleford itself on the west bank of the River Derwent, and Padley on the east bank. Of the two, Padley has the more interesting history for Padley Hall was the seat of the Eyres of Padley, who were the local landlords for several centuries. The ruins of the hall lie beyond Grindleford station, (which also actually lies in Padley) just off the road which climbs up from Grindleford bridge to Fox House and Sheffield.

Modern Grindleford is a centre for walks, especially up Padley Gorge, a picturesque remnant of the deciduous forest which once covered the whole area. Above the gorge are the moors around Burbage and Froggatt edges and the isolated pub at Fox House, on the road to Sheffield. The station makes a good base for exploring the area and there is an excellent cafe here, which now also processes and sells Grindleford Spring Water.

On the Padley side there is a large hotel, the Maynard Arms, while on the edge of the village nearest Hathersage there is the Sir William, a pub taking its name from the old turnpike road which runs up the hill to Bretton. There are various shops and also the Derwent Gallery, which exhibits and sells the work of local artists. There is excellent walking also to be had on Eyam Moor to the West, with more deciduous woodland remnants and neolithic sites.

Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
0 - Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
1 - Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
Burbage Brook
2 - Burbage Brook
Froggatt Edge - Chequers Crack
3 - Froggatt Edge - Chequers Crack
Froggatt Edge
4 - Froggatt Edge
Froggatt Edge climbers
5 - Froggatt Edge climbers
Froggat Edge - climbers on Valkyrie
6 - Froggat Edge - climbers on Valkyrie
Padley Chapel
7 - Padley Chapel

Hassop


Hassop has an imposing look, due to the splendour of the architecture left behind by the Eyre family, the local landlords and builders of Hassop Hall. The Hall is now a private hotel but it retains the fine buildings and classical park (with lake) that the Eyres erected. The Eyres were devout Catholics and so the large Classical style church which draws your eye as you pass through the village is a Catholic one. As well as being landowners, the family made much money from lead-mining and it is said that there are two large manholes in the floor of the cellar of the Hall which lead to a former lead-mine.

The village has a pub called, not surprisingly, the Eyre Arms.

Longstone


Slideshow
Longstone is made up of two small villages, Great and Little Longstone. The villages have many fine 18th century cottages, built during an era of prosperity from lead-mining and shoemaking. There is a village green in Great Longstone, with an ancient cross and a nearby manor house which has medieval origins. Across the road is Longstone Hall, originally built during the 14th century, but rebuilt in the mid 18th, with a prominent brick facade. There is a rather nice church hidden round the back of the village.

Great Longstone church
Great Longstone church
There is a shop and two pubs in Great Longstone, the Crispin (patron saint of shoemakers) and The White Lion, while Little Longstone has the Packhorse.

Great Longstone and Little Longstone have well-dressings in late July.

Just along the road, to the west of Little Longstone, is Monsal Head, a famous beauty spot and viewpoint. There is a small car park with a fine view down the valley, and a much larger car park, with public toilets, 100m away. A few hundred metres towards Ashford there is an old Quaker burial ground.

To the north of Longstone lies Longstone Edge, a fine viewpoint for the surrounding countryside. Unfortunately the top of the edge has been intensively quarried for lead and, more recently fluorspar, which has left some impressive holes in the ground but rather detracts from its scenic value.

Monsal Head Viaduct
0 - Monsal Head Viaduct
Monsal Dale - river Wye
1 - Monsal Dale - river Wye
Monsal Dale
2 - Monsal Dale
Longstone parish church
3 - Longstone parish church
Entrance to Headstone Tunnel below Monsal Head
4 - Entrance to Headstone Tunnel below Monsal Head

Pilsley


Slideshow
Pilsley is one of the villages of the Chatsworth Estate and is built of a mellow local sandstone. There is a public house (the Devonshire Arms, naturally) and on the other side of the road there is the Chatsworth Farm Shop, housed in the former Shire Horse Stud building.

Pilsley has a well-dressing in mid-July.

Baslow Old Bridge over the River Derwent
0 - Baslow Old Bridge over the River Derwent
Edensor
1 - Edensor
Pilsley pub
2 - Pilsley pub

Stoney Middleton


Slideshow
Stoney Middleton lies at the foot of Middleton Dale, a spectacular cliff-lined valley which has been much affected by long years of quarrying. The village centre lies just off the main A623 road and is surprisingly secluded and quiet.

There is a small church, St Martin's, which was originally built by Joan Eyre to commemorate her husband's safe return from Agincourt in 1415. Only the tower is original, the nave having burnt down in a fire in 1757 to be replaced in 1759 by an unusual octagonal building.

Nearby are some low buildings which are advertised as the 'Roman Baths', though the current building was constructed in the 19th century. These are fed by some warm springs which issue from the hillside and historical evidence indicates that they were in use from Celtic times, probably forming the focus of a shrine to an aquatic goddess. The earliest documented references to the springs are medieval, but numerous Roman coins have been found locally.

Clustered along the main road is the former toll bar, now a fish and chip shop, a pub called The Moon and an Indian restaurant. Just above the restaurant is 'Lover's Leap' where, in 1762 the jilted Hannah Baddaley flung herself off the clifftop, only to be saved by her voluminous skirts, which acted as a parachute. Sadly she died of natural causes only two years later, still unwed.

Higher up the valley, at the foot of Middleton Dale, the scenery is dominated by Windover Buttress, home of some of the most spectacular rock climbs of the area. There are also several important pot-holes in this dale, notably Carlswark cavern.

Stoney Middleton has a well-dressing in late July.

The upland area to the south of Middleton Dale (between Stoney Middleton and Longstone Edge) has been mined extensively for Fluorspar, leaving large settling ponds full of 'tailings', and resembles a moonscape. It is well worth a visit just to see this scene of desolation. Further south there is the open moorlands of Longstone Edge, one of the few ecologically sensitive Limestone Heaths in the area. Longstone Edge offers excellent walking and views.

Eyam Plague Cottages
0 - Eyam Plague Cottages
Eyam Churchyard
1 - Eyam Churchyard
Eyam cottages with plague signpost
2 - Eyam cottages with plague signpost
Eyam churchyard - Plague gravestone
3 - Eyam churchyard - Plague gravestone
Eyam - Riley Graves
4 - Eyam - Riley Graves
Eyam - Riley Graves
5 - Eyam - Riley Graves
Eyam Saxon cross
6 - Eyam Saxon cross
Eyam - brass band in welldressing parade
7 - Eyam - brass band in welldressing parade
Eyam Hall
8 - Eyam Hall

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