Robin Hoods Stride | Peak District Towns and Villages | Staffordshire | Derbyshire | England | UK
Peak District Towns and Villages: Robin Hoods Stride
Villages around Robin Hood's Stride
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
|Birchover is larger than first appears, with rows of cottages clustered along a road which heads straight up the hillside to the historically significant Stanton Moor. It is a very good centre for exploring both Stanton Moor and Harthill Moor on the opposite side of the valley.|
At the bottom of the village is the Druid Inn and there is a church hidden in a hollow below it. The church has some unusual paintings which seem more appropriate to the namesakes of the Inn than a church. Behind the Druid Inn is Rowtor Rocks, a small gritstone tor with a fine view similar to the better-known Robin Hood's Stride across the valley from it. It contains several finely balanced rocking stones which can be moved by the application of a shoulder. One of these could once be moved easily by hand, but was shifted from its position as a prank by fourteen young men on Whit Sunday 1799 and although it was replaced it is not now so finely balanced. The steps and seats which are carved out of the rock here were the work of the Reverend Thomas Eyre, the builder of the village church.
At the top of the village there is an active and important stone-cutting works and behind this are quarries where high-quality gritstone is extracted for building purposes.
Birchover Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|After the bustle and noise of Matlock Bath it comes as a surprise to find just over the hill a peaceful village like Bonsall nestling in a deep dale. Bonsall is a village of many parts; The steep road up from the Via Gellia is called The Clatterway. At the village green The Dale splits off to the left while the High Street carries on all the way to Town Head. Between Town Head and The Dale is Uppertown while just along from The Dale is the hamlet of Slaley. |
Bonsall has a long lead-mining heritage and once boasted five pubs. The moor above is pock-marked with the remains of lead-mines and the village comprises mainly small lead-miners and weavers cottages.
At the centre of the village is an old market cross on a circular base of steps outside one of the two remaining pubs, The King's Head, dating from 1677. Just along church lane is the Victorian church, which overlooks the village. Over in The Dale is the other remaining pub, The Barley Mow, which hosts the annual Bonsall Chicken Race on the first Saturday in August.
Bonsall Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Darley Dale is a long, drawn out Derwent Valley settlement that lies A6 to the north-west of Matlock. It is principally residential now but was the location of the Mill Close Mine - the last major lead mine in the Peak, which closed in 1939. Now there is a lead smelter on the site. Largely ignored by the traffic passing through it nonetheless has some very interesting nooks and crannies. The old town is down and to the west of the road towards the river and the parish church has a Norman font and a very old and impressive yew tree with a 33-foot girth. The tree is claimed to be over 2,000 years old. On the main A6 road above the church is the Whitworth Institute, founded by Sir Joseph Whitworth, a local industrialist and local benefactor.|
Either side of Darley Dale there are excellent walking prospects and scenery. To the West is Stanton Moor with both ancient and industrial heritage while to the east is the much quieter Fallinge Edge, now largely accessible thanks to the CROW act. Both Stanton and Fallinge are gritstone and sport incredible heather in late July and August.
Darley Dale 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
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.
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
|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
|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
|Wensley is a small village of former lead-miners' cottages which overlooks the Derwent Valley above Darley Dale. It provides good access to the beautiful Clough Wood and Cambridge Wood and from there to Stanton Moor. Deer are frequently seen around this area. There is a pub here.|
Wensley Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
The village still has the feel of a lead-mining centre, with rows of former miners' cottages clinging to the slope of the north side of the hill. There are shops and a pub called the Bowling Green, which bears the date 1473 though the present building is much newer. Outside the village proper to the south is the Miners' Standard, a well-known former miners' pub and just up the hill from this there is an unusual building which was once used for storing lead ore.
Parking in Winster can be a bit tricky if you are planning to use it as a base from which to explore the area and it is best to park in the vicinity of the Miners' Standard rather than the Main Street
Winster 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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