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Peak District Towns and Villages: Hathersage
Villages around Hathersage
On the road down to Hathersage lies Highlow Hall, an Elizabethan manor house and the seat of one of the branches of the Eyre family. A Robert Eyre of Highlow was High Sheriff of Derbyshire at one time. The building is quite distinctive and is reputedly one of the most haunted buildings in Derbyshire, with at least four ghosts.
To the west, on Hucklow Edge, there is the headquarters of the Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club and at weekends gliders are often in the sky above.
Abney Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Bamford is a former mill-village and occupies the hillside underneath Bamford Edge and above the River Derwent. There is a lot more to the village than can be seen when just passing through. It has some lovely quiet corners and the Derwent is especially pretty around the millpool just above the mill itself. The impressive wier can be admired from the footbridge below the mill that carries the Public Footpath across to the south bank. There is a well-dressing festival here in mid-July.|
The mill is the first of many on the course of the Derwent and was built around 1780, burnt down and rebuilt in 1791-2. It was a cotton mill but closed for this purpose in 1965 and was used by an electric furnace manufacturer until the 1990s. It has now been converted into apartments.
Ladybower Reservoir, about 3km away. At the bottom end there is the railway station, which very conveniently links Bamford with both Manchester and Sheffield. On the road just below the station the Peak Park have re-erected the Mytham Bridge toll gate which used to stand nearby. This was one of the toll gates on the first turnpike in the area - built in 1758 to link Sheffield to Sparrowpit. Higher up, at the centre of the village there are some shops and two pubs.
Nearer to Ladybower there is the settlement of Yorkshire Bridge, with a pub of the same name. This settlement was built to rehouse some of the people who were displaced when Ladybower dam was constructed in the 1940s.
Bamford Edge is a fine gritstone edge which overlooks the village and offers a fine view of Ladybower. The edge is private land and was not readily accessible to walkers until the 'Right to Roam' legislation came into effect. This means it is considerably less well tramped or eroded than other edges. The view from the edge is very worthwhile.
Below Bamford, across the Derwent lies the hamlet of Shatton. This straggles up a lane south of the River Noe leading up onto Shatton Edge. At the end of the lane lies Shatton Hall and Nether House, one of the houses Robert Eyre of Highlow built for his seven sons in Elizabethan times. Shatton Edge, high above the hamlet, offers fine views over the Hope Valley and good walking country.
Bamford Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Bradwell (or Bradda as it is known locally) owns something of a distinction. A sprawling but interesting collection of old cottages, the village actually retains a significant amount of local industry and is not dependant on tourism. Engineering, quarrying and ice cream-making are all important here but have surprisingly limited impact on the appeal of the settlement they serve.|
The discreet charms of Bradwell are fairly well hidden from the average passer-by, for the main part of the village clings to a steep hillside above the main road and can hardly be seen. The centre of the village, which lies above the brook just south of the main road, is a rabbit-warren of tiny cottages and narrow lanes with picturesque names like Soft Water Lane, Hungry Lane and Hollowgate. From here the houses spread right up the hillside, from where there are fine views across the Hope Valley.
On the road to Tideswell up Bradwell Dale lies Hazelbadge Hall, one of the oldest houses in the area, which was built in 1549 and still has the arms of the Vernon family on its wall. Bradwell is also noted as the home of Samuel Fox, the inventor of the modern umbrella mechanism. His house is marked with a plaque and lies just off the main street.
Also of interest is the home of Bradwell's Home-made Dairy Ice Cream, in the centre of the village, and Bagshawe Cavern, (open to visitors & adventure caving groups) up the hill to the South.
Brough is a nearby small hamlet on the banks of the River Noe, important in Roman times as the site of the Anavio fort, an important factor in the Roman occupation of the Peak District. Here Batham Gate, the Roman road from Buxton, met the roads from Melandra (near Glossop) and that which came from Sheffield and Doncaster via Stanage edge. On the mound behind the modern hamlet the Romans built a wooden stockade about AD70 and this was replaced by a stone one around AD150. Altars and a commemorative stone from the fort are in the Buxton museum. After about AD200 the fort was only intermittently garrisoned but a settlement grew up around this important road junction.
Bradwell Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
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 Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|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.|
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.
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.
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 Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
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.
Foolow Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|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.
Froggatt Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Great Hucklow & Little Hucklow
|Great Hucklow was once a lead-mining village and one of the former mines beneath the village was afterwards mined for fluorspar. It is now a pretty little village nestling below Hucklow Edge and has become a popular place to live. It was a centre of Unitarianism from the late 17th century and now has a Unitarian Conference Centre. |
The village was once famous for its plays, which were written by a local resident, L. du Garde Peach, who lived in what is now the conference centre, and performed in a converted lead-smelting mill. These plays were based on local Derbyshire 'types' and acted by local people - du Garde Peach effectively created his own genre. The theatre ran from 1927 to 1972 and when du Garde Peach died in 1976 the tradition unfortunately died with him.
Above the village, on the plateau behind Hucklow Edge, there is the 'airfield' of the Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club, and most weekends a number of gliders will be airborne overhead.
Great Hucklow has a well-dressing in mid-August.
Near to Great Hucklow are the small hamlets of Windmill, Grindlow and Little Hucklow. The walking around here is gentle and very pleasant with easily followed footpaths crossing old drystone wall field systems while above Great Hucklow there is access into the beautiful Bretton Clough.
Great Hucklow & Little Hucklow Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|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.
Grindleford Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Hope is about the same size as nearby Castleton but of quite a different character, for though tourists do come to Hope, most of them pass through to other centres. The village is quite pretty, but dominated by the cement works which lies at the foot of Pindale.|
The village lies at the junction of the River Noe and Peakshole Water, where the Edale valley meets the Hope valley. It was the base of the Eyre family, whose various branches became major landowners in this area of the Peak and played a significant role in its history. The original Eyre was said to have come with William the Conqueror and lost a leg in the battle of Hastings - hence the family crest has an armoured leg above the shield.
Around the church there are several shops and two pubs - the Woodroffe Arms Hotel and the Old Hall Hotel - the latter was once the house of the Balguys, a family of local landowners. There is also a car park with public toilets. There are further pubs along the road towards Castleton and along the Edale road.
On the north side of Hope valley, between the Noe and the Derwent, lie the two small secluded hamlets of Thornhill and Aston. Originally the Eyre family had their seat at Thornhill but there is nothing to see of this now.
Hope has a railway station 1km east of the village, near to Aston. This is on the Sheffield to Manchester line and has fairly frequent trains to both cities.
Hope has a well-dressing festival at the end of June. The large car-park at the centre of the village means that it is a good base for those wishing to walk the Great Ridge, over Lose Hill to Mam Tor
Hope Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Castleton is a centre for visiting many of these old workings, which can also be seen at Bagshawe Cavern near Bradwell and at Poole's Cavern in Buxton. Blue John is turned into jewellery in Castleton's craft shops and the village is famous too for its Christmas lights and the ancient Garland Ceremony held every May.
To the north of the valley a walk from Mam Tor to Losehill along the ridge dividing the Hope and Edale valleys gives unrivalled views in both directions.
The train from Manchester or Sheffield is a popular way to visit the valley. From the west, the line bursts out of the Cowburn Tunnel to stop at Edale - the next valley north of Hope Valley, a great centre for walkers, pony trekkers and campers and the start of the Pennine Way. The railway follows the Edale Valley to its junction with Hope Valley just east of Hope Village and continues eastwards with stations at Hope, Bamford and Hathersage.
The three rivers which define the valley are; Peak Water, rising from Peak Cavern and flowing to Hope; the River Noe, rising on Kinder Scout near Edale and flowing down to join Peak Water near Hope; and the River Derwent, rising on Howden Moor before flowing through a series of massive reservoirs on its way to meet the Noe at Bamford. These reservoirs are another important recreational centre. Bicycles can be hired to explore their pine clad slopes or perhaps you would rather sample the excellent fishing on the Ladybower Reservoir at the Eastern end of the A57, Snake Pass.
At Hathersage the Derwent makes a sharp right turn to flow southwards. This appears to make the Hope Valley appear apart from the rest of the Derwent Valley and from the surrounding uplands - hemmed in by the slopes of Mam Tor to the west and by the gritstone edges to the east.
Hope Valley Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|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.
Stoney Middleton Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
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