Villages around Derwent Dams

Abney

Slideshow

A view of a farm near Abney
A view of a farm near Abney
Abney is a tiny hamlet of a few farms lying in a remote valley high up above the Derwent to the south of Hope Valley. It is beautifully situated and the area around is excellent for walking, with Shatton Edge, Bretton Clough and Eyam Moor all nearby. The settlement was mentioned as 'Habenai' in the Domesday book, so it is very ancient and probably hasn't got much bigger since those times.

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.
 

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Abney Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Bretton Clough and Abney Low view
0 - Bretton Clough and Abney Low view
Abney Grange - a typical hill farm
1 - Abney Grange - a typical hill farm
Eyam Moor barrow and view to Hathersage
2 - Eyam Moor barrow and view to Hathersage

Bamford

Slideshow

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
Ladybower
The modern village is mainly strung out along the road which leads from the A625 up towards 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
Ladybower - View to Crook Hill
0 - Ladybower - View to Crook Hill
Ladybower from Win Hill
1 - Ladybower from Win Hill
Win Hill summit
2 - Win Hill summit
Bamford Edge view of Ladybower
3 - Bamford Edge view of Ladybower

Bradwell

Slideshow

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.

A view of Hope cement works
A view of Hope cement works
Like many other villages of the area, Bradwell was once an important centre for lead-mining (the 'Bradda Beaver' hat was universally worn in the lead mines in the 19th century) and the moor above the village is scarred by the remains of many mines, some of which are now being worked for Fluorspar.

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.

Bradwell
Bradwell
Though most of the village dates from the lead-mining era, Bradwell has a long history - the narrow street called Smalldale follows the line of the Roman road between Brough and Buxton. A Saxon earthwork called the Grey Ditch runs from Bradwell Edge to Micklow Hill near the New Bath Hotel, where there is a thermal spring and the remains of a Roman Bath were found.

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
Abney Grange - a typical hill farm
0 - Abney Grange - a typical hill farm
Bradwell welldressing
1 - Bradwell welldressing
Bradwell village
2 - Bradwell village
Cement Works, Hope Valley
3 - Cement Works, Hope Valley
Hope Church
4 - Hope Church
Castleton view with Mam Tor behind
5 - Castleton view with Mam Tor behind
Hope Churchyard - Saxon cross
6 - Hope Churchyard - Saxon cross
Bradwell - White Hart Inn
7 - Bradwell - White Hart Inn

Castleton

Slideshow

Castleton, with Mam Tor dominating the skyline behind
Castleton, with Mam Tor dominating the skyline behind
Castleton is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to the Peak District. Maybe this is because it has everything the visitor might want - picturesque scenery, a ruined Norman castle, showcaves, interesting geology, good walks, places to eat and a pretty village. However, this also means that you must be prepared to share the village with the crowds, even on winter weekends.

Peveril castle from Cavedale
Peveril castle from Cavedale
The village is centred around a square in which the church lies - this is just off the main road and directly beneath Peveril Castle on the hill behind. The castle was built in 1080 as a wooden building and rebuilt in stone around 1175. The church was begun about the same time and has a fine Norman arch across the Nave, which was constructed from 1190 to 1250. The tower was added in 1450-1500 and more additions were made in the 19th century. Other signs of the Norman era still remain - across the main road by the Bull's Head Inn you can see a section of the Town Ditch, a defensive earthwork built around the village. This was once a feature of many of the villages of the region.

The two main features of interest, apart from the castle, are Cave Dale and Peak Cavern. Both are reached from the top of the main square - Cave Dale to the left (east) and Peak Cavern to the right (west). Cave Dale is a collapsed cavern and the very bottom part was covered by a natural arch until 200 years ago. It is a spectacular walk up the dale, which is very deep and narrow, with mineral veins crossing it at intervals. As you climb up the Dale, directly above the subterranean chambers of Peak Cavern, you get a good view of Peveril Castle.

Peak Cavern entrance
Peak Cavern entrance
Until very recently, Peak Cavern was the most impressive natural cavern in the Peak District. It is open as a showcave from April to October but is worth walking up to even if the cave attraction itself is shut. Take a narrow lane from the top corner of the village square (past the chip shop) to reach Peakshole Water, the stream which flows from the cavern. Take the path up the right hand bank of the stream into the deep chasm which is the entrance to the cavern. You'll notice on the other side a small stream flowing into Peakshole Water. This is the water from Russett Well, water that has come underground from caverns on the west side of Winnats pass - tracing the source of the water took the local geologists a long time! Now approach the impressive entrance to the cavern, which was once used by a family of ropemakers who built their cottages actually within the cave entrance.

The recently discovered Titan cavern under nearby Hurd Low dwarfs Peak Cavern and means that in the future Peak Cavern will have more competition for visitors but Titan remains inaccessible to the public for the foreseeable future.

Around the village square there are some fine old houses and cottages, including a Youth Hostel and some pubs. On the main road there are several shops selling Blue John (a local variety of Fluorspar with a fine colouring), jewellery made from this or souvenirs. One shop here houses the Ollerenshaw Collection, which contains a range of fine specimens of Blue John jewellery and artefacts.

Towards Mam Tor there is a public car park with public toilets and the Peak National Park Information Centre (telephone 01433 620679).

Castleton has a carnival at the end of May, the main event of which is called Garland Day on May 29th, when large garlands of flowers are made and the participants wear sprigs of oak. The Garland King and Queen are weighed down with immense garlands and a parade takes place through the village to the main square, when the King's garland is placed on top of the church tower. The ceremony is said to commemorate the Restoration of Charles II (hence the oak sprigs), but may well be a relic of some ancient fertility rite.
 
Castleton Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Mine workings outside the Odin Mine Castleton
0 - Mine workings outside the Odin Mine Castleton
Mam Tor Iron Age ramparts and the view across Edale
1 - Mam Tor Iron Age ramparts and the view across Edale
Mam Tor summit with Kinder Scout behind
2 - Mam Tor summit with Kinder Scout behind
Winnats Pass view
3 - Winnats Pass view
Mam Tor summit looking down to Lose Hill
4 - Mam Tor summit looking down to Lose Hill
Peveril Castle from Cave Dale
5 - Peveril Castle from Cave Dale
Peveril Castle keep
6 - Peveril Castle keep
Winnats Pass
7 - Winnats Pass
Castleton - the entrance to Peak Cavern
8 - Castleton - the entrance to Peak Cavern
Castleton - Peak Cavern entrance with Peveril castle above
9 - Castleton - Peak Cavern entrance with Peveril castle above
Mam Tor view in temperature inversion
10 - Mam Tor view in temperature inversion
Bradwell welldressing
11 - Bradwell welldressing
Bradwell village
12 - Bradwell village
Cement Works, Hope Valley
13 - Cement Works, Hope Valley
Castleton Garland Day
14 - Castleton Garland Day
Castleton Garland King
15 - Castleton Garland King
Hope Church
16 - Hope Church
Hang glider waiting to take off above Winnats Pass
17 - Hang glider waiting to take off above Winnats Pass
Paragliders above Hope Valley
18 - Paragliders above Hope Valley
Hangglider taking off from Mam Tor
19 - Hangglider taking off from Mam Tor
Hangglider near Mam Tor
20 - Hangglider near Mam Tor
Hangglider near Mam Tor
21 - Hangglider near Mam Tor
Castleton view with Mam Tor behind
22 - Castleton view with Mam Tor behind
Hollins Cross and Lose Hill frombelow Mam Tor
23 - Hollins Cross and Lose Hill frombelow Mam Tor
Winnats Pass from Mam Tor
24 - Winnats Pass from Mam Tor
Castleton - looking up Cave Dale
25 - Castleton - looking up Cave Dale
Castleton - Cave Dale
26 - Castleton - Cave Dale
Mam Tor view to Lose Hill
27 - Mam Tor view to Lose Hill
Peveril Castle view to Mam Tor
28 - Peveril Castle view to Mam Tor
Hope Churchyard - Saxon cross
29 - Hope Churchyard - Saxon cross
Castleton - looking down from above Peak Cavern entrance
30 - Castleton - looking down from above Peak Cavern entrance
Bradwell - White Hart Inn
31 - Bradwell - White Hart Inn

Hathersage

Slideshow

Hathersage is one of the more interesting villages in the area, with historical associations to Robin Hood and the Eyre family. The village centres around a road junction above the River Derwent, where the road to Sheffield branches off the route which follows the Derwent downstream. The ancient centre of the village was just above the church, which itself stands above and to the north of the modern village centre. On a knoll next to it there is an earthwork called Camp Green, which is probably Danish in origin.

Hathersage Church
Hathersage Church
Hathersage is a popular centre for walkers and rock-climbers, for on its east side the village is overlooked by moorland and a line of gritstone edges of which Stanage Edge is the largest. There are also spectacular tors, such as Higgar Tor, and the enigmatic hillfort at Carl Wark, which has so far defied archaeologists' attempts to date it. Several of the edges were quarried and the area was a major source of millstones for grinding corn and metals.

Until the late 18th century Hathersage was a small agricultural village with cottage industries making brass buttons and wire, but in 1750 a Henry Cocker started the Atlas Works, a mill for making wire. By the early 19th century there were several such mills in operation and activities had spread to the manufacture of needles and pins, for which Hathersage became famous.
Millstones on the moor above Hathersage
Millstones on the moor above Hathersage


A paper mill was also in operation near North Lees, making wrapping paper for the pins and needles produced. Though water power was used initially for the mills, this was superseded by steam in the mid 19th century and the result was that the village was usually enveloped in a pall of smoke. Conditions for the workers were bad too. To make their points the needles had to be ground on a rotating gritstone wheel, a process which gave off fragments of dust and steel. Occasionally millstones would shatter while grinding, injuring the grinder. The lungs of the grinders gradually filled up with dust and their average life expectancy was 30 years. This prompted the interest of a Royal Commission in 1867 which led to one of the first Factory Acts, laying down working hours, requiring machinery to be protected and making it illegal for children to be employed on some types of work.

Wire and needle making moved to Sheffield at the end of the 19th century and the last mill here closed in 1902, but several of the mills are still standing - Dale Mill lies along the road to Ringinglow, Darvell's mill is at the top of the main street, and down near the stream at the bottom of the village are Atlas Works and Barnfield Works.

North Lees Hall
North Lees Hall
Charlotte Bronte visited Hathersage in 1845 and used it as the 'Norton' of the story 'Jane Eyre' - taking the heroine's surname from the local family. She also used North Lees Hall, an Elizabethan manor house 2km north of Hathersage as the house where Mrs Rochester jumped from the roof to her death. North Lees is one seven halls built by Robert Eyre of Highlow (there were many local Robert Eyres) for his seven sons and is one of the finest Elizabethan buildings in the region - a tall square tower with a long wing adjoining.

The modern village has a range of pubs, hotels and shops including banks, cycle hire shops and Outside, the outdoor equipment suppliers, with a cafe above. Behind the main street there is a public car park and the surprising luxury of an outdoor swimming pool (open only in summer). The railway station, on the Manchester-Sheffield line, lies on the southern edge of the village, while at the western end of the village there is a Youth Hostel.

At a hamlet called Leadmill on the Grindleford road there is an interesting modern cutlery factory, the David Mellor roundhouse.


 
Hathersage Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Hathersage Church
0 - Hathersage Church
Hathersage Church - Eyre family brass rubbing
1 - Hathersage Church - Eyre family brass rubbing
Stanage Edge
2 - Stanage Edge
Stanage Edge - Robin Hoods Cave
3 - Stanage Edge - Robin Hoods Cave
Stanage Edge - South end
4 - Stanage Edge - South end
Stanage Edge - Climbing on the popular end
5 - Stanage Edge - Climbing on the popular end
Stanage Edge - Air ambulance taking off
6 - Stanage Edge - Air ambulance taking off
Stanage Edge in snow
7 - Stanage Edge in snow
Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
8 - Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
9 - Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
Eyam Moor barrow and view to Hathersage
10 - Eyam Moor barrow and view to Hathersage
Hathersage Moor
11 - Hathersage Moor
Hathersage - North Lees Hall
12 - Hathersage - North Lees Hall
Padley Chapel
13 - Padley Chapel

Hope

Slideshow

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.

Hope Church
Hope Church
The church is mainly 14th Century and has a spire, unlike most other local churches. In the churchyard there is the stump of a Saxon Cross, indicating that this is a very old settlement. The South side of the church also has some fine gargoyles and there is a Norman font inside.

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 - the entrance to Peak Cavern
0 - Castleton - the entrance to Peak Cavern
Castleton - Peak Cavern entrance with Peveril castle above
1 - Castleton - Peak Cavern entrance with Peveril castle above
Ladybower from Win Hill
2 - Ladybower from Win Hill
Cement Works, Hope Valley
3 - Cement Works, Hope Valley
Castleton Garland Day
4 - Castleton Garland Day
Castleton Garland King
5 - Castleton Garland King
Hope Church
6 - Hope Church
Win Hill summit
7 - Win Hill summit
Win Hill - climbing up from Twitchill Farm
8 - Win Hill - climbing up from Twitchill Farm
Win Hill - walking along Hope Brink
9 - Win Hill - walking along Hope Brink
Castleton - looking up Cave Dale
10 - Castleton - looking up Cave Dale
Hope Churchyard - Saxon cross
11 - Hope Churchyard - Saxon cross
Bamford Edge view of Ladybower
12 - Bamford Edge view of Ladybower

Hope Valley

Slideshow

Mam Tor
Mam Tor
The Hope Valley is a large, wide valley running East-West along the boundary between the gritstone moors and edges of the 'Dark Peak' and the limestone outcrops and deep cut dales of the 'White Peak'. Best known as wonderful walking country, it is also a haven for many others including bikers, pony trekkers, hang-gliders, rockclimbers and potholers as well as for the quieter activities of artists, anglers and birdwatchers.

Winnats Pass
Winnats Pass
Mam Tor, the 'Shivering Mountain' heads the valley. Now a launch pad for hang-gliders, it was once the home of Iron Age people whose fort can still be seen on top of the hill. The spectacular Winnats Pass is the only road in from the west now that the road down the shivering face of Mam Tor has been swept away by repeated landslips. A classic collapsed gorge, Winnats Pass threads its way between steep limestone crags in an area honeycombed with potholes and old lead mines, source of the unique and attractive Blue John stone.

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.

Peveril castle
Peveril castle
Guarding the village is the prominent Norman keep of Peveril Castle, halfway up the cliff above it and built in 1088 by William I's illegitimate son William Peveril. A man despised by the locals at the time.

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.
Climbers on Stanage
Climbers on Stanage
From here the walker can descend into Hope - the central village of the valley, with its fine church and Saxon cross. Additional attractions here include tempting shops and the old established sheep and cattle market.

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.

Ladybower Reservoir
Ladybower Reservoir
After leaving Bamford, the Derwent meanders tranquilly to Hathersage, the largest village in the valley and another good shopping centre but which also has a swimming pool, a church which is famous for brass rubbings and the reputed site of Little John's grave. Above Hathersage the rocks of Stanage Edge and other gritstone edges loom on the horizon - these are a testing training ground for rock-climbers of all abilities.

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
Castleton - the entrance to Peak Cavern
0 - Castleton - the entrance to Peak Cavern
Castleton - Peak Cavern entrance with Peveril castle above
1 - Castleton - Peak Cavern entrance with Peveril castle above
Ladybower from Win Hill
2 - Ladybower from Win Hill
Cement Works, Hope Valley
3 - Cement Works, Hope Valley
Castleton Garland Day
4 - Castleton Garland Day
Castleton Garland King
5 - Castleton Garland King
Hope Church
6 - Hope Church
Win Hill summit
7 - Win Hill summit
Win Hill - climbing up from Twitchill Farm
8 - Win Hill - climbing up from Twitchill Farm
Win Hill - walking along Hope Brink
9 - Win Hill - walking along Hope Brink
Castleton - looking up Cave Dale
10 - Castleton - looking up Cave Dale
Hope Churchyard - Saxon cross
11 - Hope Churchyard - Saxon cross
Bamford Edge view of Ladybower
12 - Bamford Edge view of Ladybower

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