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Peak District Towns and Villages: Mam Tor

Villages around Mam Tor

Slideshow

 Bradwell


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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
Slideshow

 Castleton


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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
Slideshow

 Edale


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Edale is the name given both to the valley between Mam Tor, Lose Hill and Kinder Scout and to its main settlement. As well as the main village there are several small farming hamlets strung out along the valley - Barber Booth, Ollerbrook Booth and Nether Booth.

Old Nags Head, Edale
Old Nags Head, Edale
There are three main reasons for the popularity of Edale as a centre for walkers and hikers. First, it lies in a beautiful setting below Kinder Scout. Second, it is the start of the Pennine Way, England's first and most famous long-distance footpath; and third, it is served by the railway - a factor which may be less important than it used to be but which played its part in making Edale accessible to the hard-working folk in Manchester and Sheffield.

View of Edale Village
View of Edale Village
The main village is pretty and lies on a side road off the main road along the valley. There is a large car-park at the road junction and the railway station is just nearby. Just above it is The Rambler, the first of two pubs. The road into the village proper continues past Fieldhead, the Peak National Park's information centre and camp site, past the church and on to end at a small square outside the school and a second pub the Old Nag's Head. This is usually accepted as the start of the Pennine Way. Just opposite lies the Post Office and general store and Cooper's Farm camp site - an alternative to the National Park site.

At the head of the valley, in Barber Booth, it is often possible to obtain teas at weekends and there are several campsites between here and Edale village. Further down the valley, horse rides are available at Lady Booth Farm in Nether Booth. There is a Youth Hostel high on the the side of Kinder at Rowland Cote, above Nether Booth.
 
Edale 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
Mam Tor summit looking down to Lose Hill
3 - Mam Tor summit looking down to Lose Hill
Back Tor
4 - Back Tor
Kinder Scout - Mushroom stone at the head of Grindsbrook
5 - Kinder Scout - Mushroom stone at the head of Grindsbrook
Kinder Scout - Grindsbrook view
6 - Kinder Scout - Grindsbrook view
Mam Tor view in temperature inversion
7 - Mam Tor view in temperature inversion
Kinder Scout - Grindsbrook
8 - Kinder Scout - Grindsbrook
Ashop Valley
9 - Ashop Valley
Edale Valley from Grindslow
10 - Edale Valley from Grindslow
Edale - Old Nags Head Inn, start of the Pennine Way
11 - Edale - Old Nags Head Inn, start of the Pennine Way
Edale - view of Nether Tor and Ringing Roger
12 - Edale - view of Nether Tor and Ringing Roger
Edale Village
13 - Edale Village
Edale Walkers
14 - Edale Walkers
Edale Valley view of Lose Hill and Back Tor
15 - Edale Valley view of Lose Hill and Back Tor
Mountain bikers near Lord's Seat
16 - Mountain bikers near Lord's Seat
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
Hollins Cross and Lose Hill frombelow Mam Tor
22 - Hollins Cross and Lose Hill frombelow Mam Tor
Winnats Pass from Mam Tor
23 - Winnats Pass from Mam Tor
Mam Tor view to Lose Hill
24 - Mam Tor view to Lose Hill
Slideshow

 Hope


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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
Slideshow

 Hope Valley


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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
Slideshow

 Peak Forest


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Peak Forest does not have many trees, for it is named after the Royal Forest of the Peak; a 'forest' being an area set aside for hunting rather than a wooded place. North-west of the village lies Chamber Knowl Farm, where the Swainmote (one of the courts of the Royal Forest) used to meet, but the present building dates from the eighteenth century, long after the forest was abolished.

The Royal Forest originally covered most of the northern half of the Peak District when founded by William the Conquerer, but this area was gradually whittled away by encroachment until only a small area around Peak Forest remained by the 16th century, and the forest was finally abolished in 1674.

The current church dates only from the late 19th century, but the church on this site has an interesting history. It was founded in 1657 by the Countess of Devonshire (at a time when the Commonwealth had forbidden church-building), and is one of a very few in the country dedicated to Charles the King and Martyr - so it is clear where the Devonshires' sympathies lay! Until the late eighteenth century the vicar had the right to conduct marriages between 'any persons', 'from anywhere' and 'at any time'. The village hence became a sort of local Gretna Green.

A less accessible feature of Peak Forest is Eldon Hole, one of the seven wonders of the Peak. It is the deepest local pothole; an alarming, evil-looking chasm in the side of Eldon Hill to the north of the village. Access from the village is via Eldon Lane, and is a half-hour walk. The hole is approximately 60 metres deep, but was probably once much deeper, having been part-filled by stones over the years. It was first descended in 1780 and is now quite regularly descended by potholers. Near to Edlon Hill is Starvehouse Moor, a very interesting area and one of the few Limestone Heaths that can be found in the Peak District. Here you will find the curious phenomenon of heather growing on limestone. Made possible by the acid nature of the Loess soils in which it grows.

The village has a shop and a pub, the Devonshire Arms. There is a well-dressing in mid-July.
 
Peak Forest Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge
Eldon Hole, Peak Forest
0 - Eldon Hole, Peak Forest
Slideshow

 Sparrowpit


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The quaintly named hamlet of Sparrowpit nestles in a wind-swept spot on a high shoulder where the road from Winnats Pass meets the A623 road, which runs between Chapel-en-le-Frith and Chesterfield. The gritstone houses seem to try to shelter behind the hillside to avoid the wind, for there is little natural shelter here.

The only amenity is a pub, called the Wanted Inn. This contains some good pictures of the caves as well as snow-bound winter shots of the pub.
 

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