Arbor Low | Peak District Towns and Villages | Staffordshire | Derbyshire | England | UK
Peak District Towns and Villages: Arbor Low
Villages around Arbor Low
|Biggin is a farming community located in the highest parts of the limestone plateau of the white peak close to the A515; the old Roman road from Derventio (Derby) to Aqua Arnemetiae (Buxton), near Newhaven. It sprawls gently along a straight minor road that links the A515 to Hartington and is well situated for walks around Wolfscote Dale, Beresford Dale as well as the excellent cycling available on the Tissington Trail so becomes surprisingly busy at summer weekends. Biggin Dale, which leads down to Wolfscote Dale and the River Dove, is a National Nature Reserve and contains a fine range of flowers in spring. Biggin's remote nature means that in times past it has been cut off for long periods during harsh winters and sustained only by the now redundant railway line, which passes close by.|
The village has a pub, The Waterloo, with its own caravan park behind. Next door lies Biggin Hall, which is now Biggin Hall Country House Hotel.
Two other farming hamlets lie nearby - Heathcote, just north of Biggin, and Newhaven a couple of kilometres to the east, around the junction of the A515 and A5012 roads.
Biggin Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Crowdecote is a lovely little hamlet in the Upper Dove. Clustered around the bridge that carries the road from Longnor to Monyash across the river, from Staffordshire into Derbyshire. There is a very nice pub, The Pack Horse Inn, and a very interesting pottery. Just down the river is the ancient site of the Norman Pilsbury Castle, whose Motte and bailey can still be clearly seen. A recent Heritage project researched and documented the castle, whose history is somewhat obscure.|
Crowdecote Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Elton is a pretty village constructed of a warm-coloured local sandstone. It is situated on the hillside looking down towards Youlgreave and Stanton-in-the-Peak and the views from nearby Blake Low are particularly fine. Robin Hood's Stride and Cratcliff Tor are within easy walking distance.|
The village is situated just off the Iron Age road known as The Portway, and that and the presence of local springs probably accounts for its existence here, placed high on the hillside in an otherwise exposed position. It was a lead-mining centre in the 18th and 19th centuries and the church, which dates from 1812, replaced an earlier building which collapsed in 1805 due to mining subsidence.
At the village centre there is a pub and a cafe, while further along the main street there is a the former Elton Hall which until recently was a Youth Hostel.
Elton Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Flagg is located between Monyash and Taddington, high up in the centre of the limestone dome that makes up the White Peak. It is rich pastureland and Flagg is a predominantly farming community. Aside from the many local farms there is a Hall of 16th Century origin.|
On the A515, which pass Flagg to the south, lie two pubs, the Duke of York and the Bull I' th' Thorn. The latter has been a hostelry since 1472, much added to since that time, but is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the area. It is well worth a visit to sample its interior, in the centre of which is the medieval hall house which predates the hostelry.
Flagg races, a point-to-point event, take place here on Easter Tuesday every year. This is a quite unique event of the area and usually attracts large crowds. Point-to-point over an area of limestone walls is a notably dangerous sport!
Flagg Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge
|Hartington is the major village on the central section of the valley of the Dove and is therefore an important tourist centre, which means it can get busy at summer weekends. An old village which was granted a market charter in 1203, it has a long history and and some very nice buildings arranged around a large marketplace/common/green at its centre.|
There is still a cheese shop outside selling a range of local cheeses but of course none now from Hartington.
Hartington has several pubs and shops and there is a public car park along the Warslow Road with public toilets opposite, next to Rooke's Pottery.
Hartington Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Middleton by Youlgreave
The most notable feature of the village is the grave of Thomas Bateman (1820-61), an important local archaeologist and excavator of some 500 local barrows. Though he took some care to record and analyse his finds, his methods were unfortunately not nearly as scientific as modern techniques, and he was known to have excavated as many as five barrows in one day. Many of his finds are now in Sheffield Museum, and some in the British Museum. He is buried in a field behind the former Congregational chapel, in a small enclosure surrounded by cast-iron railings. A barrow would perhaps have been more appropriate.
On the village green there is a playground and public toilets, and alongside there is a more recent memorial to the crew of a Lancaster bomber which crashed at nearby Smerrill in 1944.
The walking around Middleton is excellent. Bradford Dale is beautiful and the high, limestone pasturelands around the village harbour much archaeology, both ancient and industrial.
Middleton by Youlgreave Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Monyash is an unspoilt village clustered around the village green, its main preoccupation is now farming and tourism but at it was an important lead-mining centre from medieval times to the end of the 19th century and had its own Barmote Court. The village cross dates from 1340, when Monyash was granted a licence for a weekly market and two annual fairs. Around the village may be seen characteristic narrow fields which were enclosures of medieval strips and, further away, the larger fields which resulted from the 1771 Enclosures Act. |
Monyash and the surrounding area have been settled since Neolithic times, as can be inferred from its proximity to Arbor Low, which dates from 2000BC or earlier. The village has a good water source and sits on a deposit of clay, which means that the water does not sink immediately into underlying limestone, as it usually does in this area. This led to the creation of several ponds or 'meres' and at least one survives until the present day. The village was mentioned in the Domesday Book as 'Maneis', which is often translated as 'many ash trees' (cf. Oxford Dictionary of British Placenames), but research by Professor Bob Johnston indicates that it is more likely derived from the Old English words mani and eas for many waters.
The Romans built a road which follows the ridge to the south-east of the village, and which probably follows the line of a much earlier trackway. Later, the Saxons overran the area, which became part of the territory of the 'Pecsaete' tribe (some people believe that 'Peak District' is derived from this tribe's name) and a celebrated Saxon burial at Benty Grange just south of Monyash was probably one of their chieftains.
The lead mines for which Monyash was famous also provide a Quaker connection, since they were worked in the 17th and 18th centuries by the London Lead Company, a Quaker firm. Sheldon House was once one of the mining offices and the miners were said to have queued for their pay here.
Evidence of other industries of bygone days may be found in the local names of Shuttle Lane and Chandler House. Monyash's most recent claim to fame is as the burial place of Sir Maurice Oldfield, a local man who became the head of MI6 and was the model for 'M' in the James Bond books.
The village lies at the head of Lathkill Dale and is therefore very busy with walkers and hikers at weekends, since it is a good base for exploring the surrounding area. There is a pub, the Bull's Head, where the Barmote Court still meets twice yearly. Next door to the Bull's Head there is a popular cafe. Monyash has an annual well-dressing at the end of May.
Monyash Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Over Haddon is a picturesque former lead-mining village clinging to the top of the steep side of Lathkill Dale to the south of Bakewell. It is a popular stopping point for weekend walkers in the Lathkill valley and has a useful car park, though using this does involve a steep descent (and thus ascent) into (and out of) Lathkill Dale below. The village has a pub called The Lathkill.|
Lathkill Dale is a beautiful and fascinating place. An alternative perspective can be achieved by following the gorge top access land from the access point to the south of Haddon Grove Farm, one mile to the west of Over Haddon.
Over Haddon Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Pikehall is a small farming hamlet on the A5012 road between Buxton and Cromford, approximately where the modern road is crossed by the line of the old Roman road leading south from Buxton. The hamlet is a useful access point to the High Peak Trail, which passes just to the south of here and is notable for the annual 'trotting' races which are held on a field just outside the hamlet.|
The parking area nearby on the High Peak trail is a useful starting point not only for the trail itself but also for the exploration of Royston Rocks and Royston Grange to the south and Gratton Dale to the north.
Pikehall Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Sheen is a small village strung out along a gritstone ridge between the Dove and Manifold valleys. It is a quiet place, far removed from the bustle of nearby Hartington. Most of the village exists on farming, but there is also a small engineering works here.|
The village is built of local stone and has a church of unusual design, and a pub called the Staffordshire Knot. To the north of the village Sheen Hill is a fine viewpoint from which to survey the upper Dove and Manifold valleys.
For many years Sheen has had the peculiar distinction of producing both mens and womens world class tug-of-war teams.
Sheen Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Sheldon is a small farming hamlet perched high above the River Wye, South of Ashford. From just outside the village there are fine views of the Wye and the lower part of Monsal Dale.|
Lead mining flourished around here in the 18th and 19th centuries and most of Sheldon dates from this period. One of the most famous and certainly the best-preserved Peak District mine, the Magpie Mine, lies just 1km south of here.
Sheldon has a pub, the Cock and Pullet, popular with hikers.
Sheldon Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Youlgrave (or Youlgreave as the Ordnance Survey persist in calling it) is a sleepy village. Now mainly devoted to farming it was once one of the centres of the Derbyshire lead-mining industry. Though lead is no longer mined some of the old mines are still used for the extraction of fluorspar and calcite but this is low-level and unobtrusive.|
At the crossroads at the eastern end of the village lie the George Hotel and the church and from here the main road goes westwards past rows of old cottages.
The church is one of the most interesting in the Peak, and the village contains many rows of lovely old cottages. Behind the Market Place is the original Hall, now Old Hall Farm, a grand building dated 1630, and there are some fine buildings along the main street.
Downstream of Youlgreave the hamlet of Alport lies at the junction of the Lathkill and Bradford rivers. It is a pretty spot and a good place to start a circular walk of the two valleys.
Youlgrave Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
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