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Peak District Towns and Villages: Chatsworth House and Park
Villages around Chatsworth House and Park
The town was built on the West bank of the Wye at a spot where it was fordable and the site was probably occupied in Roman times (there is a Roman altar at Haddon Hall, found nearby). The Saxons left their mark here and in 924 Edward the Elder ordered a fortified borough to be built here.
The church was founded in 920 and some Saxon fragments can be seen in the porch. However, although parts are Norman, most of the modern building dates from the 13th century and it was then virtually rebuilt in the 1840s. It contains many interesting monuments and is well worth a visit.
A few yards up the hill from the church is the award-winning Old House Museum, housed in one of the few genuinely medieval buildings of the area. This house serves as a local history museum and is in the care of the Bakewell Historical Society. Other places of historical interest include Bagshaw Hall, a fine 17th century house built by a rich lawyer, and several old buildings down King Street, such as the Old Town Hall, the Red Tudor House and the Hospital of the Knight of St John. Just off the Buxton Road lies Victoria Mill, which ground corn from water power until 1939.
One such building is the Rutland Arms, overlooking the town square and built in 1804. Jane Austen stayed here in 1811 and in Pride and Prejudice she has Elizabeth Bennet stopping here to meet the Darcys and Mr Bingley. However the Rutland Arms' chief claim to fame is as the place where the Bakewell Pudding (Bakewell has never heard of tarts) was invented by a chef of 1859 who made a mistake. You can now buy Bakewell Puddings at several establishments across the town, all claiming to have the original unique recipe.
Bakewell has one of the oldest markets in the area, dating from at least 1300. The first recorded fair was held in 1254. Markets are still held every Monday and, unlike most of the other local centres, there is a thriving livestock market at the recently rebuilt Agricultural Centre, which is well worth a visit. The big event of the year is the annual Bakewell Show, which takes place the first Wednesday and Thursday in August and attracts farmers and many others from all over the Peak District and surrounding area.
Bakewell has a full range of shops, pubs and restaurants. There are numerous options for accommodation and there is also a Youth Hostel.
Bakewell has an annual well dressing and carnival, held in late June and it is the home of the Peak District National Park Authority, who have their main offices at Aldern House, Baslow Road. They also operate the town's information centre which is in the old Market Hall in Bridge street, with a parking area (except on market days) and public toilets next to it. It is open daily 9.30am - 5.30pm in summer and 9.30am - 1pm in winter. Telephone: 01629 813227
Bakewell Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|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).
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.
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 Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Beeley is one of the Chatsworth estate villages. Now bypassed by the road into Chatsworth, until the late 1700s it was a through route for traffic traveling to and from the estate. Following the construction of the new road it exists as a tranquil, set-back village with a group of cul-de-sacs with cottages constructed of honey-coloured gritstone, quarried from Fallinge Edge above. There is a nice pub, which is unsurprisingly called the Devonshire Arms, a free public car park opposite. The church has a Norman doorway and a 16th century tower but was over-restored by zealous Victorians. The church also has a fine, ancient specimen yew in the churchyard, thought to predate the church itself. There is also an excellent cafe and wholefoods shop called The Old Smithy located just up from the pub.|
Beeley Moor, high to the east of the village, is a fine open, wild area with good walking and occasional views of Chatsworth Park. This area was heavily populated in the Bronze Age and the moor is dotted with hut circles and tumuli, the most celebrated of which is Hob Hurst's House - an unusual square tumulus which is a scheduled national monument. At one time Beeley grit was famous for being especially hard and was used to make grindstones, but this trade has long ceased.
Travelling north, you soon arrive at the boundary of Chatsworth Park. The road crosses the Derwent into the park on Beeley Bridge, which was constructed in 1761 and is a fine example of an 18th century bridge.
Beeley Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge
|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.
|Curbar inhabits the soft, wooded slopes below the hard gritstone edges of the Eastern Moors. It's a quiet, secluded place. A cluster of stone-built houses which seem to melt into against the hillside to hide themselves but it's surprisingly extensive, reaching all the way to the Derwent below. There are no amenities and the chief point of interest is Curbar Edge above the village, which provides a fine view of the Derwent valley, some excellent walking and some of the hardest gritstone rock climbing in Derbyshire.|
The road up through the village, which crosses the River Derwent at Calver Bridge and continues up, passing through Curbar Gap at the top of the edge, is an ancient packhorse route which was one of the 'salt routes' from Cheshire to Chesterfield.
Curbar Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|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.
Edensor 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
|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 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 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.
Longstone Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|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.
Pilsley Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Rowsley lies at the junction of the Wye and Derwent rivers and is bisected by the main road, the A6. The village is in two sections - the original village lies in the 'Y' between the two rivers while to the east is the so-called 'railway village' constructed around the former Midland railway station. The two sections form an interesting contrast - the old part is made of gritstone cottages and farmhouses and has connections with nearby Haddon and Chatsworth, while the newer part is more utilitarian.|
In the old village there is a Victorian church just to the north of the old railway line. Over the bridge across the Derwent there is a second pub and a small 'shopping village' behind it.
Rowsley Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Stanton in the Peak
|Stanton-in-the-Peak is an estate village mostly constructed by the Thornhill family during the 18th and 19th centuries. Stanton Hall lies well hidden just to the south of the village, much of which is pleasingly built around stone courtyards and alleyways. The village faces west and catches the afternoon and evening sun all year. It is a fine vantage point from which to view the Wye valley, with Haddon Hall in clear view.|
The church is an imposing building dating from the 1830s. The village pub is called The Flying Childers, named after an otherwise long-forgotten race-horse. The main interest around here lies above the village on Stanton Moor, with its stone circles, standing stones and Bronze Age enclosures plus fine views across the Derwent valley.
Stanton Lees is a small hamlet on the east side of Stanton Moor with a spectacular view across Darley Dale and the Derwent Valley.
Stanton in the Peak 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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