Stanton Moor | Peak District Towns and Villages | Staffordshire | Derbyshire | England | UK
Peak District Towns and Villages: Stanton Moor
Villages around Stanton Moor
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
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
|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
|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.
|Matlock, the county town of Derbyshire, is a former spa town situated at a sharp bend in the River Derwent, where it turns south to carve its way through the ridge of limestone which bars its route towards Derby. Just downriver of the main town lies Matlock Bath, which is enclosed by the limestone cliffs of the gorge and contains the main tourist attractions of the locality.|
The coming of the railways in the 1870s transformed Matlock again, this time into a resort for day-trippers from the Derby-Nottingham area and further south. From then on Matlock spawned tourist attractions in the form of show caverns, cable railways, petrifying wells, pleasure gardens and even recently a theme park. The evidence of the change which came over the place can be seen best at Matlock Bath, where the amusement arcades along the main road provide a sharp contrast with the elegant Victorian villas above.
The town has a full range of shops and facilities, however the principal hotels are both in the Bath - the New Bath Hotel is out on the road to Cromford opposite Wildcat crags and the Temple Hotel is on the hill below the Heights of Abraham. The Grand Pavilion at Matlock Bath is a pleasure palace built in 1910 alongside the River Derwent. It houses the Peak District Lead Mining Museum and has recently been purchased by the community after years of neglect. There are plans to refurbish it with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant as a theatre and venue.
The tourist information centre is now at the Peak Rail
shop on Matlock Station. The telephone number is 01335 343666.
Matlock Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
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
|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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