Villages around Thor's Cave

Alsop-en-le-Dale

Slideshow

Alsop-en-le-Dale is a small farming hamlet, which nestles in a side valley below the main Ashbourne to Buxton road not too far from Parwich. The main road once passed through Alsop but was diverted to save stagecoaches the climb down into the valley and then back up again. As a result Alsop now enjoys quiet seclusion and only sees traffic en-route to or from Parwich.

Alsop Church
Alsop Church
The village is very pretty, with a fine Norman church which was built in the early 12th century and renovated and extended in the 1883. Fortunately the Victorian renovators did a sensitive job and the church is very beautiful, indeed it is hard to see which is their work and which is original and it is a surprise to discover that the tower is actually not original! Opposite the church is a fine old hall, of which parts date from the 17th century.

Above the village, the former railway station has been converted into a car park for the Tissington Trail, which passes through here. It's also a convenient place to start a walk into Wolfscote Dale, which comes close to the trail here.
 

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Alsop-en-le-Dale Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Dovedale - Ilam Rock
0 - Dovedale - Ilam Rock
Alsop-en-le-Dale church
1 - Alsop-en-le-Dale church
Alsop-en-le-Dale hall
2 - Alsop-en-le-Dale hall
Alstonefield
3 - Alstonefield
Biggin - Liffs Low from the Tissington Trail
4 - Biggin - Liffs Low from the Tissington Trail
Wolfscote Dale - Lode Mill
5 - Wolfscote Dale - Lode Mill
Tissington Trail
6 - Tissington Trail

Alstonefield

Slideshow

Alstonefield is the major village of the region which lies between the lower Dove and Manifold valleys. It is a pretty village which has not been spoilt by the large number of tourists it receives each weekend.

Alstonefield village green
Alstonefield village green
The village is centred around the village green with the George Inn on one side, the church is down a cul-de-sac to the south and the newer part of the village to the north and west.

The village was once a busy junction of packhorse routes and was granted a market charter in 1308. It is not known how long markets continued, but livestock markets were held up until Victorian times. Alstonefield's situation between the steep-sided Dove and Manifold valleys have meant that the major modern transport routes have passed it by, leaving it as a backwater apart from tourism.

The church is mostly 16th century, built in 1590, though there are some Norman bits and there was a Saxon church on the site as a pastoral visit of the Archbishop of York is recorded from 892 AD. Like many other local churches it was heavily restored in Victorian times.

An interesting internal feature is the unusual box pew (painted a rather garish colour) of the Cotton family, owners of nearby Beresford Hall, whose famous scion Charles Cotton featured in 'The Compleat Angler', written by his friend Izaak Walton. This box pew contrasts sharply with much simpler seats available for the rest of the congregation.

From the church it is a fine walk to Milldale and the Dove. In the direction of the village green there lies the Manor House, dated 1587, which used to be the rectory, and a fine old tithe barn.

Around the green there was once a workhouse (built in 1790 and now private dwellings), a reading room, a village pump (which can still be seen), and a tea shop cum post office which has recently closed.

Hopedale and Stanshope are two hamlets situated just to the south of Alstonefield. Hopedale lies in a valley leading down to Milldale and has a very nice pub, the Watts Russell Arms, and once had a cheese factory. Stanshope is a farming hamlet centred around Stanshope Hall Farm, a fine 18th century building.
 
Alstonefield Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Dovedale - Ilam Rock
0 - Dovedale - Ilam Rock
Manifold Valley - Beeston Tor
1 - Manifold Valley - Beeston Tor
Biggin Dale - Lower part of the dale
2 - Biggin Dale - Lower part of the dale
Throwley Old Hall
3 - Throwley Old Hall
Alstonefield
4 - Alstonefield
Wolfscote Dale - Drabber Tor
5 - Wolfscote Dale - Drabber Tor
Wolfscote Dale - Lode Mill
6 - Wolfscote Dale - Lode Mill
Milldale
7 - Milldale
Dovedale - Raven's Tor
8 - Dovedale - Raven's Tor
Wetton Church
9 - Wetton Church
Wetton- Royal Oak Inn
10 - Wetton- Royal Oak Inn

Butterton

Slideshow

Butterton
Butterton
Butterton is a lovely, quiet, strung-out village just off the Manifold Valley, in an area known as the Staffordshire Moorlands. It is a good centre from which to explore the central section of the Manfold Valley, there being an excellent network of footpaths from here and also to Wetton Mill and Ecton. The village is built of local sandstone and its outlook is dominated by the soaring steeple of the local church, constructed in 1879, a few years after the main part of the church. Previous churches on this site can be traced back to the 13th century.

The village is primarily a farming community and is clustered around the pub, the Black Lion Inn, built in 1782. The part from here down to the ford across Hoo Brook is very picturesque.
 
Butterton Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Manifold Valley - Thors Cave
0 - Manifold Valley - Thors Cave
Manifold Valley near Swainsley
1 - Manifold Valley near Swainsley
Manifold Valley from Thor's Cave
2 - Manifold Valley from Thor's Cave
Manifold Valley near Wetton
3 - Manifold Valley near Wetton
Butterton
4 - Butterton
Ecton Hill
5 - Ecton Hill
Ecton Hill adit entrance
6 - Ecton Hill adit entrance
Grindon Church and Rindle Stone
7 - Grindon Church and Rindle Stone
Grindon Cottage
8 - Grindon Cottage
Manifold Trail below Thors Cave
9 - Manifold Trail below Thors Cave
Thors Cave - looking out up the Manifold Valley
10 - Thors Cave - looking out up the Manifold Valley

Elkstone

Slideshow

Elkstone comprises two farming hamlets, Upper and Lower Elkstone, which nestle into the hillside above Warslow Brook, sheltered to the west by the moorland ridge of Morridge, on which the Mermaid Inn stands.

The settlements are centred on the church in Upper Elkstone. This was built in 1788 and has been hardly altered since, so it is a perfect example of a Georgian country church. It is a gem.

There are some pretty cottages with lovely gardens and little else in Elkstone. Making it a beautifully quiet and hidden corder of the Peaks. Access from here to the Morridge uplands is very straightforward and on the ridge some two miles above the village there is the Mermaid Inn. This old coaching inn has magnificent views across to the Roaches and Ramshaw Rocks which are well worth the trip to see.
 
Elkstone Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Butterton
0 - Butterton
Elkstone Church
1 - Elkstone Church
Elkstone Cottage
2 - Elkstone Cottage

Grindon

Slideshow

Grindon is a delightful village strategically situated above the most interesting and exciting section of the Manifold valley, close to its junction with the Hamps. The village has a long history and was mentioned in the Domesday Book as Grendon, meaning green hill. It was a staging post along the packhorse route from Ecton Hill, once the most productive copper mine in the country, and in its heyday many of the local people would have been miners or worked in associated trades.

Grindon Church
Grindon Church
The current church dates only from 1848 and has a soaring spire similar to that at Butterton nearby, but there has been a church here since at least the 11th century. The modern church replaced a 16th century building which was burnt down in the early 19th century. Outside the church entrance there is an unusual sight - a 'Rindle' stone. This records that: 'The Lord of the Manor of Grindon Established his right to this rindle at Stafford Assizes on March 17th 1872'. A rindle is a brook which runs only in wet weather - quite why the lord of the manor should want to assert his right to the rindle is unclear, but the stone is unique.

Inside the church there is a memorial to the crew of a Halifax bomber which crashed on the moors near Grindon in the harsh winter of 1947. The bomber was dropping relief supplies to the villages of the area, which were completely cut off by snowdrifts.

There is a car park and picnic spot beside the church and not far distant is The Cavalier, the village pub - one of the quainter ones in the area. There are fine walks from Grindon down into both the River Manifold and the River Hamps, to Thors Cave and the Wetton and Alstonefield.
 
Grindon Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Manifold Valley - Thors Cave
0 - Manifold Valley - Thors Cave
Manifold Valley - Beeston Tor
1 - Manifold Valley - Beeston Tor
Manifold Valley from Thor's Cave
2 - Manifold Valley from Thor's Cave
Manifold Valley near Grindon
3 - Manifold Valley near Grindon
Manifold Valley near Wetton
4 - Manifold Valley near Wetton
Throwley Old Hall
5 - Throwley Old Hall
Butterton
6 - Butterton
Grindon Church and Rindle Stone
7 - Grindon Church and Rindle Stone
Grindon Cottage
8 - Grindon Cottage
Hamps Valley near Grindon
9 - Hamps Valley near Grindon
Wetton Church
10 - Wetton Church
Wetton- Royal Oak Inn
11 - Wetton- Royal Oak Inn
Manifold Trail below Thors Cave
12 - Manifold Trail below Thors Cave
Thors Cave - looking out up the Manifold Valley
13 - Thors Cave - looking out up the Manifold Valley

Hartington

Slideshow

Hartington is the major village on the central section of the valley of the Dove and is therefore an important tourist centre, which means it can get busy at summer weekends. An old village which was granted a market charter in 1203, it has a long history and and some very nice buildings arranged around a large marketplace/common/green at its centre.

Hartington Duckpond
Hartington Duckpond
The entrance to Nuttall's creamery, once a source of Stilton and Buxton Blue cheese, lies just off the green and cheese was produced here from 1900 to 2009. Sadly, in 2008 the creamery was sold by Dairy Crest to Long Cleaton Dairy, a rival Stilton maker (Leicestershire is one of the two other areas permitted to make Stilton cheese) and within a month they took steps to close the creamery down - with the loss of 190 jobs. Until then Hartington was the supplier of 25% of the world output of Stilton cheese.

There is still a cheese shop outside selling a range of local cheeses but of course none now from Hartington.

Hartington Church
Hartington Church
The church lies on a rise to the east of the green and is built of a attractively coloured local sandstone. It was mostly constructed in the 14th and 15th centuries and has a fine tower in Perpendicular style. In the street below the church is the Old School House, dated 1758. The 17th century Hartington Hall is a fine building which stands on the hill opposite the church, on the road to Biggin and is now a Youth Hostel. The hostel restaurant has a licensed bar and offers competitively evening meals.

Hartington has several pubs and shops and there is a public car park along the Warslow Road with public toilets opposite, next to Rooke's Pottery.
 
Hartington Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Beresford Dale - Left Celestial Twin
0 - Beresford Dale - Left Celestial Twin
Beresford Dale - the Ceslestial Twins
1 - Beresford Dale - the Ceslestial Twins
Beresford Dale view
2 - Beresford Dale view
Biggin Dale view
3 - Biggin Dale view
Hartington pub
4 - Hartington pub
Hartington church
5 - Hartington church
Hartington Youth Hostel
6 - Hartington Youth Hostel
Hartington village pond
7 - Hartington village pond
Hulme End railway station on Manifold light railway
8 - Hulme End railway station on Manifold light railway
Hulme End
9 - Hulme End
Wolfscote Dale
10 - Wolfscote Dale
Hartington - the cheese shop
11 - Hartington - the cheese shop
Hartington - the old Town Hall
12 - Hartington - the old Town Hall
Hartington Market Place and village pump
13 - Hartington Market Place and village pump
Wolfscote Hill view of Hartinton and the Upper Dove
14 - Wolfscote Hill view of Hartinton and the Upper Dove
Wolfscote Dale
15 - Wolfscote Dale
Heron in Wolfscote Dale
16 - Heron in Wolfscote Dale

Hulme End & Ecton

Slideshow

Hulme End is a small hamlet situated where the Hartington to Warslow road crosses the River Manifold. It was once the terminus of the Leek and Manifold Light Railway and the old station building at the western end of the hamlet has been beautifully restored and is now a visitor centre, with public toilets and a car park. The cycle track down the path of the former railway starts from here.

By the bridge over the Manifold there is a pub, once called the Light Railway, but now named the Manifold Inn. There are also two campsites here.

Ecton lies a couple of kilometres downstream, overshadowed by the conical shape of Ecton Hill. Spoil heaps on the hillside betray the former importance of this tiny hamlet for Ecton Hill contained a massive vertical pipe-vein rich in copper ore and in their heyday in the late 18th century the mines were the richest in the country. Even what little now remains can still make a walk around Ecton an interesting excursion, and the view from the top of the hill is excellent.
 
Hulme End & Ecton Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Manifold Valley near Swainsley
0 - Manifold Valley near Swainsley
Ecton Hill
1 - Ecton Hill
Ecton Hill adit entrance
2 - Ecton Hill adit entrance
Hulme End railway station on Manifold light railway
3 - Hulme End railway station on Manifold light railway
Hulme End
4 - Hulme End

Ilam

Slideshow

Ilam lies at the lower end of the River Manifold and is one of the prettiest villages in this area of the Peak, with one of the longest histories. The current village was moved in the 1820s by Jesse Watts-Russell from its position near Ilam Hall and rebuilt in its current location in what Watts-Russell considered to be 'Alpine style'. This explains both the unusual style of the buildings and the surprising distance between them and the village church. The centre of the village is dominated by a memorial cross similar to Charing Cross, erected by Jesse Watts-Russell in 1840 to commemorate his wife, Mary.

The village was inhabited in Saxon times and the church incorporates some Saxon stonework as well as the tomb of the Saxon saint, Bertram, who lived as a hermit in this area. In 1004 the village was given to Burton on Trent Abbey and a small monastic settlement was established here - after the dissolution of the monasteries this was purchased by the Port family who owned the estate for the next 300 years and established the first Ilam Hall, which was torn down and rebuilt in grand style by Jesse Watts-Russell in the 1820s. The main part of his hall was demolished in the 1930s, but the remaining section is a Youth Hostel and the whole estate now belongs to the National Trust.

At the hall there are tea rooms and a National Trust Information centre, plus a very well-appointed National Trust caravan site.

Throwley Hall
Throwley Hall
Three kilometres to the north-west, up the Manifold Valley, lies Throwley Hall, where the ruins of a fine Elizabethan manor house stand next to its less charismatic 18th century replacement. The manor house was built in 1603 for Simon Meverell, a scion of the Meverell family to whom Throwley belonged from 1203 to the mid 17th century. The house passed to Charles Cotton on his marriage to the widow of the last of the Meverells, but was later allowed to go to ruin. What remains is currently being made safe and restored by English Heritage.

Like Castern on the hillside opposite, Throwley was once a small agricultural village but rural depopulation has left just the hall, which is actually a large farm specialising in raising beef cattle.
 
Ilam Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Ilam Church
0 - Ilam Church
Ilam Church - the Saxon font
1 - Ilam Church - the Saxon font
Ilam Church - Pike Watts tomb
2 - Ilam Church - Pike Watts tomb
Ilam Hall - Saxon cross
3 - Ilam Hall - Saxon cross
Ilam Hall
4 - Ilam Hall
Dovedale from below Thorpe Cloud
5 - Dovedale from below Thorpe Cloud
Dovedale - The Stepping Stones
6 - Dovedale - The Stepping Stones
Dovedale - The Stepping Stones on a busy day
7 - Dovedale - The Stepping Stones on a busy day
Dovedale - The Twelve Apostles
8 - Dovedale - The Twelve Apostles
Thorpe Cloud from the river Dove
9 - Thorpe Cloud from the river Dove
Thorpe Cloud - The view up Dovedale
10 - Thorpe Cloud - The view up Dovedale
Thorpe Cloud - Descending towards Lindale
11 - Thorpe Cloud - Descending towards Lindale
Dovedale - Tissington Spires
12 - Dovedale - Tissington Spires
Dovedale - Reynards Cave
13 - Dovedale - Reynards Cave
Dovedale - Ilam Rock
14 - Dovedale - Ilam Rock
Blore Church
15 - Blore Church
Dovedale view from Blore Pastures
16 - Dovedale view from Blore Pastures
Ilam - the cross
17 - Ilam - the cross
Ilam - houses
18 - Ilam - houses
Blore Church - Bassett tomb
19 - Blore Church - Bassett tomb
Manifold Valley from Throwley
20 - Manifold Valley from Throwley
Manifold Valley - dried up river
21 - Manifold Valley - dried up river
Throwley Old Hall
22 - Throwley Old Hall
Ilam - St Bertrand's Bridge
23 - Ilam - St Bertrand's Bridge
Ilam Church - Tomb of St Bertram
24 - Ilam Church - Tomb of St Bertram
Ilam Hall
25 - Ilam Hall
Ilam Cross
26 - Ilam Cross

Milldale

Slideshow

Viators Bridge at Milldale
Viators Bridge at Milldale
Milldale is a tiny hamlet on the River Dove, and is the chief northerly access point for Dovedale. There is a large, very handy carpark half a kilometer outside it on the road toward Alstonefield.

The hamlet derives its name from an old corn mill situated here but demolished in the mid 19th century. The foundations can still be seen and so can the pool where local farmers washed their sheep in the river prior to shearing - this practice was only abandoned here in the 1960s.

Milldale is famous for the role it plays in 'The Compleat Angler', the book published by Isaak Walton in 1653 which detailed his conversations with his friend Charles Cotton about fishing on the River Dove. The book is written as a conversation between 'Viator' and 'Pescator', and the packhorse bridge leading out of Milldale across the river is known as Viator's bridge.

There is a very informative National Trust Information Barn by the bridge, and public toilets nearby. As you would expect in a popular tourist spot. Drinks, ice-creams, postcards and tea are usually available hereabouts.
 
Milldale Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Dovedale - Reynards Cave
0 - Dovedale - Reynards Cave
Dovedale - Ilam Rock
1 - Dovedale - Ilam Rock
Alstonefield
2 - Alstonefield
Wolfscote Dale - Lode Mill
3 - Wolfscote Dale - Lode Mill
Milldale
4 - Milldale
Dovedale - Raven's Tor
5 - Dovedale - Raven's Tor

Onecote

Slideshow

Onecote is a small village which serves as a centre for a farming community scattered around and above the upper valley of the River Hamps in the south west of the Peak District.

The houses are attractively built in the local sandstone, with the Georgian style church at the centre and a pub, the Jervis Arms on the main road. The walk up the upper Hamps to the Mermaid Inn is a fine outing and takes you past Mixon, the site of a disused copper mine which was exploited about the same period as the Ecton Hill mines. There is also good access onto the uplands of Morridge, which offer superb views across the to the south west of the Peaks, particularly The Roaches, Ramshsawe Rocks and Tittesworth and sunsets from up here can be spectacular.
 
Onecote Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Butterton
0 - Butterton
Onecote church
1 - Onecote church

Sheen

Slideshow

Sheen is a small village strung out along a gritstone ridge between the Dove and Manifold valleys. It is a quiet place, far removed from the bustle of nearby Hartington. Most of the village exists on farming, but there is also a small engineering works here.

The village is built of local stone and has a church of unusual design, and a pub called the Staffordshire Knot. To the north of the village Sheen Hill is a fine viewpoint from which to survey the upper Dove and Manifold valleys.

For many years Sheen has had the peculiar distinction of producing both mens and womens world class tug-of-war teams.
 
Sheen Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Hulme End railway station on Manifold light railway
0 - Hulme End railway station on Manifold light railway
Hulme End
1 - Hulme End
Hartington - the cheese shop
2 - Hartington - the cheese shop
Hartington - the old Town Hall
3 - Hartington - the old Town Hall
Hartington Market Place and village pump
4 - Hartington Market Place and village pump
Pilsbury Castle
5 - Pilsbury Castle

Warslow

Slideshow

Warslow featured in the Domesday book and was probably relatively more important then than it is now, having been been eclipsed as a local centre by Hartington.

Situated on the edge of the Revidge Moors along the road south from Longnor, it has a fine view of the Manifold valley (Thor's Cave can be seen from the top of the village). There are some pretty cottages made of the local sandstone, and a pub called the Waterloo.

The church is a mixture of Georgian and Victorian and contains relics of the local notables - a box pew belonging to the Harpur-Crewe family who had estates here (and around Longnor) and who used Warslow Hall for grouse shooting sessions; and a window which commemorates Sir Thomas Wardle, a silk mill owner from Leek who built Swainsley Hall, which is below the village in the Manifold valley.
 
Warslow Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Manifold Valley near Swainsley
0 - Manifold Valley near Swainsley
Butterton
1 - Butterton
Ecton Hill
2 - Ecton Hill
Ecton Hill adit entrance
3 - Ecton Hill adit entrance
Hulme End railway station on Manifold light railway
4 - Hulme End railway station on Manifold light railway
Hulme End
5 - Hulme End

Waterhouses

Slideshow

Waterhouses is the largest village on the south-western edge of the Pea, and the most substantial settlement in the Hamps valley. The large limestone quarry complex at nearby Cauldon provides much of the local employment but does not impose on the village.

The village centre is where the Leek to Ashbourne road, the A523, crosses the Hamps and the road to Cauldon turns off south. There are rows of cottages clustered around this junction and a pub, Ye Olde Crown Hotel (open for real ale and home-cooked food), on the corner. Just above here is the old station, once the terminus of the Manifold and Hamps Light Railway. The remaining station buildings have been restored by the Peak Park and converted into an information and cycle hire centre. There is a substantial car park and public toilets here too so it is a good base from which to explore this interesting part of the Peak District.

The village has two pubs (though recently one was boarded up), a school, a couple of shops and a fish and chip shop.

The small farming hamlet of Waterfall lies a kilometre and a half away to the north. This is a pretty little village with a quaint inn, the Red Lion, and a fine late Georgian church. It gains its name from the fact that the Hamps disappears underground not far away.

Calton is a another nearby small farming hamlet situated between the lower Hamps and Manifold rivers. Calton has an excellent network of paths and lanes around it and provides good walking access to the Manifold and Hamps valleys. Musden Wood in particular is well worth a visit.
 
Waterhouses Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Manifold Valley from Throwley
0 - Manifold Valley from Throwley
Throwley Old Hall
1 - Throwley Old Hall

Wetton

Slideshow

Wetton is a delightful little village situated above the Manifold valley near Thor's cave. It is a good centre for exploring this area of the Limestone uplands. In the centre of the village the church and the local pub, the Royal Oak, lie side-by-side. The church dates at least in part from the 14th century and is notable for having 6 bells, which seems rather a lot for a small village church. The pub is an excellent one, with a small field at the rear that is used as a camp site.

Wetton Church
Wetton Church
To the north, Wetton Hill is a 'reef knoll', formed from the ancient remains of a coral reef. The area around here has been farmed since Neolithic times, and there is a Long Barrow at Long Low (towards Castern) which is at least 4,500 years old, and slightly more recent barrows on Wetton Low.

Royal Oak
Royal Oak
Wetton is essentially a farming village, relying on a mixture of dairy and sheep farming though at one time there must have been some arable farming because in the Manifold Valley below the village lies Wetton Mill, which was once a corn mill and is now in the care of the National Trust. The area to the east of the village is marked out with long narrow fields, whose origin probably dates back to medieval strips.

With its position close to Thor's Cave and the other attractions of the Manifold Valley, Wetton is a popular tourist location and a good place to start a walk or a cycle ride. There is a car park and public toilets just along the road towards Grindon.
 
Wetton Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Manifold Valley - Thors Cave
0 - Manifold Valley - Thors Cave
Manifold Valley - Beeston Tor
1 - Manifold Valley - Beeston Tor
Manifold Valley near Swainsley
2 - Manifold Valley near Swainsley
Manifold Valley from Thor's Cave
3 - Manifold Valley from Thor's Cave
Manifold Valley near Grindon
4 - Manifold Valley near Grindon
Manifold Valley near Wetton
5 - Manifold Valley near Wetton
Throwley Old Hall
6 - Throwley Old Hall
Grindon Cottage
7 - Grindon Cottage
Hamps Valley near Grindon
8 - Hamps Valley near Grindon
Wetton Church
9 - Wetton Church
Wetton- Royal Oak Inn
10 - Wetton- Royal Oak Inn
Manifold Trail below Thors Cave
11 - Manifold Trail below Thors Cave
Thors Cave - looking out up the Manifold Valley
12 - Thors Cave - looking out up the Manifold Valley

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