Carsington Water | Peak District Towns and Villages | Staffordshire | Derbyshire | England | UK
Peak District Towns and Villages: Carsington Water
Villages around Carsington Water
In the 18th century Aldwark was a busy staging post for stagecoaches plying the Buxton - Derby route, and had several inns, but these have all closed and now it is a peaceful and secluded farming hamlet.
Aldwark Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge
|Ballidon is tiny farming hamlet at the end of a dale which leads almost all the way up to Pikehall. There are half a dozen farms of largely Georgian construction and a curious church which sits alone in the middle of a field. Heavily modified by the Victorians it's hard to tell that it dates from the Norman period. Beyond the farms and somewhat hidden away is the entrance to one of the area's largest limestone quarries.|
The area around Ballidon has been farmed for a long time and up the dale from the hamlet lie both the Stone Age burial site of Minninglow and Royston Grange, which was a monastic farm in medieval times and has the foundations of a Roman farm nearby. The Royston Grange archaeology trail takes you around the Roman field system, the Roman house and medieval grange and is well worth a visit.
Ballidon Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Brassington & Bradbourne
|Brassington is a former lead-mining village, nestling high on the southern edge of the high ridge of Limestone which forms Minninglow, Harboro rocks and the outcrops above Middleton by Wirksworth.|
Nearby Harboro Rocks are an outcrop of Magnesian Limestone which has been eroded to form a line of rock pillars, very popular with the rock climbing community. Within the edge is Harboro Cave, a substantial cave which was inhabited from prehistoric times until relatively recently. When Daniel Defoe made his journey around England in the 1680s he came across a family living in this cave.
Bradbourne lies about 1 mile west of Brassington. It too has a fine church which is also partly Norman in construction. The point of greatest interest however is the Saxon Cross which stands in the churchyard. This probably dates from the 8th or 9th centuries and, though made from soft sandstone and very weathered, is still quite impressive.
Brassington & Bradbourne Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Carsington & Hopton
|Carsington and Hopton are two small villages to the north of Carsington Water that run into each other along the single narrow lane that connects them. They are well placed for exploring Carsington Water and the southern edge of the Peak. There is a pub at the Carsington Water end of the village. |
Hopton Hall, which is hidden behind and interesting and curvaceous high brick wall, is the home of the Gell family, who have been here since 1208. They were the lords of the manor of Wirksworth and became rich on the proceeds of lead-mining. Many of their tombs are in Worksworth church. Others were more widely famous - Sir John Gell was a Parliamentarian general during the Civil War and held Derby for Parliament. He brought the Mace here from the House of Commons when Cromwell finally dissolved Parliament during the Commonwealth. Another Gell founded the school at Wirksworth and yet another built a road to connect the lead-mines along the Griffe Grange Valley above Cromford - this became known as the 'Via Gellia' and is now the A5012.
Carsington & Hopton 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
Grangemill & Ible
|Grangemill is situated at a crossroads on the Via Gellia, the A5012 road from Cromford to Buxton. There are a few houses, the former mill, and a pub called the Hollybush. |
Ible is situated on the hilltop just to the east. Relatively untouched and untroubled, it is one of the Peak's best hidden little hamlets, with a small cluster of farms on a bluff overlooking the Griffe Grange Valley below.
|Hognaston is a sleepy little village within sight of Carsington Reservoir, in the south of the White Peak. |
The village has some fine old houses and boasts a pub, the Red Lion, and a post office. It is a beautiful and quiet place, having been bypassed by the road which now serves the reservoir, and a good centre from which to explore the area.
Hognaston Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Hulland, and its more recent neighbour Hulland Ward, grew up out of old farming communities that were clustered along the old roadways that exploit the high ground around here to offer fast and mud-free travel between larger and more significant destinations. The Romans, for example, are known to have used these routes to get from Derby to Buxton and the presence of local place names such as 'Crossways' and 'Cross O The Hands' illustrates the location as being an important point on intersecting through routes. The local presence of significant remnants of a 'Park Pale', or deer park boundary fence, probably built by the de Ferrers family in the 12th century suggest also that there was significant influence in the area from local nobility, which probably affected the manner in which the villages around here developed. Kedleston Hall is also near here and there is a long history of the countryside north of Derby attracting the interests of landed and influential families.|
The Hullands have retained their pleasantly rural character and the immediate area is both undeveloped and unspoiled. There is a shop here, a petrol station, pubs and a post office.
|Idridgehey is a winding strung-out village along the B5023, the route from Wirksworth to Derby. It has a pub, the Black Swan, and some nice looking houses.|
Further west, and much higher up, is the small hamlet of Kirk Ireton. This interesting place name suggests the original inhabitants were Vikings who arrived here via Ireland. It is now a pretty hamlet with a rather distinctive public house where the beer is still drawn from the barrel tap rather than via a pump.
There is some very good walking around here, with fabulous views available from the nearby Alport Heights and bluebell woods on the line of the ridge to the west.
|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
Middleton by Wirksworth
|Middleton by Wirksworth (so called to distinguish it from another Middleton near to Youlgrave) is perched high on a hillside above Wirksworth and Cromford.|
Founded in Saxon times as a farming hamlet around an unusually high spring, the village developed in the 17th and 18th centuries as a lead-mining centre (like nearby Wirksworth) and a few of the older buildings in the upper part of the village date from this period.
The arrival in 1825 of the Cromford and High Peak Railway, which passes just below the village, brought rapid change. Middleton sits on some of the purest limestone in Europe, and the ability to transport this stone meant that large quarries developed all around the village and higgledy-piggledy groups of quarrymens' cottages spread across the hillside. Among other things, Middleton stone is noted for being used for WWI war gravestones.
The quarries around the village closed in the late 20th century and Middleton is now more of a commuter village with some light industry centred around the former quarries.
The village is spread out around a long main street with several narrow sections where it passes between old buildings. There are two pubs and a post office, plus a nice Victorian church and several Non-Conformist chapels, only one of which is still active.
DH Lawrence spent a year here living in a cottage on the road down to the Via Gellia to the north of Middleton.
Middleton by Wirksworth Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Parwich, with its neat cottages, has the feel of an estate village similar to nearby Tissington but it is much quieter, lying as it does somewhat off the beaten track. It is an attractive village with a peaceful atmosphere and some fine old buildings.|
Parwich church is fairly grand for a small village and pretends to be Norman, but it is actually Victorian, having been completely rebuilt in 1873 by Robinson of Derby. Only a few remnants of a much older Norman (or Saxon?) structure remain - notably the tympanun which stands above the west door. This has carvings of allegorical animals and could date from any time between 700AD to 1100AD. Traces of earthworks around the church area suggest the presence of a Saxon building on the site.
The other principal building is the hall, built in 1747 and having an unusual brick facade. This is occasionally open to the public. It is surrounded by many pretty cottages dating from this period onwards.
There is also a pub called the Sycamore Inn, a branch of the British Legion, a primary school and a village shop. The area around is pleasant, rolling limestone country - good for gentle walks.
Parwich 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
Wirksworth was well established by Saxon times and the Abbey of Repton owned the mining rights here in the 8th century, the Abess sending a coffin of Wirksworth lead for the burial of St Guthlac in 714. After the Danes sacked Repton in the 9th century the area fell under Danish influence, giving rise to typically Danish names like 'Wapentake'.
The town is now a small bustling local centre whose main industry is limestone quarrying. It has a range of small shops and as many pubs as you would expect in an old market town, of which the Hope and Anchor, the Red Lion and the Black's Head are the most notable.
The town has a welldressing in Whit week, and every September there occurs the unusual ceremony of 'Clypping', in which the church is encircled by the congregation holding hands around it. Wirksworth has also recently developed an excellent Arts Festival, which happens over a weekend in September. The Festival includes all forms of Art, with the market Square the centre for music, dance and street acts while many of the houses around the village play hosts to many different forms of artistic expression. Tours and tour maps can be bought in the local shops during the festival.
Wirksworth Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
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