Ashbourne: Tourist Attractions and Places to Visit in the Peak District - Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire

A directory of tourist and visitor attractions near Ashbourne in the Peak District area of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. Historic houses, churches, dams and reservoirs, theme parks, museums, railways and castles

Visitor Attractions around Ashbourne

good for childrengood for exercisegood scenery

 Carsington Water

Slideshow
360 degree view
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View of Carsington Water
View of Carsington Water
Carsington Dam
Carsington Dam
Carsington Water has been a very popular visitor attraction since the reservoir was opened by the Queen in May 1992.

The reservoir is owned and operated by Severn Trent Water and is part of a 'water compensation' scheme. This means that water is pumped here from the River Derwent at times of high rainfall, stored in the reservoir and returned to the Derwent when the river level would otherwise be too low to allow water extraction for treatment (and drinking) further downstream. No water is actually extracted from Carsington Water itself.

There is a Visitor Centre (with wheelchair access) which has within it a permanent exhibition explaining the role of water in our daily lives, and a wide range of facilities including shops selling souvenirs, craft items, embroidery materials, ceramics, books etc and a cafe and restaurant. It gets very busy on summer weekends.

Carsington is a favourite place for sailing
Carsington is a favourite place for sailing
The Visitor Centre
The Visitor Centre
A remarkable centrepiece of the courtyard is the Kugel Stone, a ball of granite weighing over 1 tonne and which revolves on a thin film of water under pressure. It can be moved with the touch of your hand! There is a classroom within the courtyard offering pre-booked schools a full day of activities to complement school based work on a variety of themes relating to water and the environment.

Carsington Water is a local centre for outdoor activities - there is a sailing club active next door to the Visitor Centre, and there are many opportunities for walking and cycling around the reservoir and the surrounding villages.

A hundred yards from the visitor centre is the watersports centre, where you can hire canoes, paddleboards, rowing boats and dinghys. Cycle hire is also available from here. See www.carsingtonwater.com.

There is plentiful car parking (with charges). For young children there is a children's playground near the visitor centre.

Events & Activities Hotline: 0870 179 1111
 
Carsington Water Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Carsington Water
0 - Carsington Water
Carsington Water and boats
1 - Carsington Water and boats
Carsington Water Visitor Centre
2 - Carsington Water Visitor Centre
Carsington Water Dam
3 - Carsington Water Dam

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK241516


See location on Streetmap.co.uk



How to get there

By Road:
the reservoir lies just off the B5035 Ashbourne - Cromford road. Turn off the road by the Knockerdown Inn, between the Hognaston and Brassington turns. From Derby, take the A6 to Duffield, then the B5023 Wirksworth road, turning left onto the A517 at the traffic lights at Cowers Lane. In Hulland Ward turn right by the church towards Hognaston and 1km later, right again.

By Bus: the 411 service from Ashbourne to Matlock goes to Carsington Water. Coming from Derby, take the Trans-Peak bus to Cromford and there pick up the 411 bus.
When is it open?

The Visitor Centre is open every day except Christmas Day from 10.00am. For further information please contact the Visitor Centre by telephoning 01629 540696.
What does it cost?

No charge for the Visitor Centre but the main car park is £2.50 up to 2 hours and £4.70 for all day.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

Website: http://www.stwater.co.uk/leisure-and-learning/reservoir-locations/carsington-water/

good for childrengood for exercisegood scenery

 Dovedale and Thorpe Cloud

Slideshow
360 degree view
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Dovedale
Dovedale
Ilam Rock
Ilam Rock
Dovedale is the name given to the section of the Dove valley between Milldale and Thorpe Cloud, which contains some of the most spectacular limestone gorge scenery available in this country. Everywhere the river is flanked by steep cliffs, with numerous caves and rock pillars, of which Ilam Rock is only the most spectacular.

Below Ilam Rock the valley narrows, and the path even has a short stretch where duck-boards have been erected to save walkers from having to wade the river. Then it opens out again and high on the left lies Reynard's Cave, a large cave with a natural arch in front. From the cave you have a fine view of the Dale.

Reynards Cave
Reynards Cave
Below here there are more crags - Tissington Spires - which are almost like blades or fins of rock alongside the river. The next stretch of the river is again narrow and craggy, so the path climbs up the hillside above Lover's Leap to pass Sharplow Point and then down to emerge at the famous stepping-stones where Dovedale meets Lindale, overlooked by the conical mass of Thorpe Cloud. This is the end of the gorge, and soon after the Dove is joined by the Manifold for the combined river to meander through gentler and less exciting countryside to eventually meet the Trent near Burton.

The Stepping Stones
The Stepping Stones
The river is a well known trout fishing area, made famous by Izaak Walton in his classic 17th century book 'The Compleat Angler', and you will frequently see anglers by the side of the river.

View from Thorpe Cloud
View from Thorpe Cloud
The classic view of the lower section of Dovedale is obtained from the summit of Thorpe Cloud, the conical hill which guards the entrance to the valley. The hill can be climbed from any direction, though erosion has caused the owners, the National Trust, to direct visitors up particular routes. The easiest ascent is from Thorpe village along the ridge on the eastern side.

The view is superb, with Dovedale laid out below you, Alstonefield on the northern horizon and Ilam Hall clearly visible to the west. On the north side of the hill the deep-cut valley of Lindale descends to the Dove and at their junction are the famous stepping-stones which thousands of visitors use each year to start their trip up the valley. This is not a place to come on a summer Sunday unless you like crowds!
 
Dovedale and Thorpe Cloud Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Dovedale from below Thorpe Cloud
0 - Dovedale from below Thorpe Cloud
Dovedale - The Stepping Stones
1 - Dovedale - The Stepping Stones
Dovedale - The Stepping Stones on a busy day
2 - Dovedale - The Stepping Stones on a busy day
Thorpe Cloud from the river Dove
3 - Thorpe Cloud from the river Dove
Thorpe Cloud - The view up Dovedale
4 - Thorpe Cloud - The view up Dovedale
Thorpe Cloud - Descending towards Lindale
5 - Thorpe Cloud - Descending towards Lindale
Dovedale - The Twelve Apostles
6 - Dovedale - The Twelve Apostles
Dovedale - Tissington Spires
7 - Dovedale - Tissington Spires
Dovedale - Reynards Cave
8 - Dovedale - Reynards Cave
Dovedale - Ilam Rock
9 - Dovedale - Ilam Rock
Dovedale - Raven's Tor
10 - Dovedale - Raven's Tor

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK146508


See location on Streetmap.co.uk



How to get there

By Road:
take the A515 Buxton road out of Ashbourne and turn left to Thorpe after 2km. Follow the road through Thorpe, cross the bridge over the River Dove and turn right to the privately owned car park (charge of approximately 2). To reach Milldale, continue north about 10km from Ashbourne and turn left to Alstonefield. After crossing the river, turn left again to Milldale. Restricted pay and display parking.

By Bus: the 443 bus from Ashbourne will take you to past the Thorpe Cloud and the entrance to Dovedale. The 441 bus from Hartington goes to Milldale at the top end of Dovedale - this connects with the 442 Buxton-Ashbourne bus.
When is it open?

National Trust access land. No restrictions.


historic interestgood for exercisegood scenery

 Ilam Church and Hall

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Ilam church lies in a park
Ilam church lies in a park
Ilam has been a place of pilgrimage since the days of St Bertram, a Saxon saint and hermit who lived here, and today there are more 'pilgrims' (in the form of tourists) than ever. The saint was a Saxon prince of Mercia who travelled to Ireland to marry an Irish princess. On their way back to Mercia she had a child and they rested in the forest here while Bertram went off to seek food. When he returned he discovered that wolves had killed both his wife and child and, broken-hearted, he lived as a hermit around here for the rest of his life.

The saint's tomb lies in the church, a trim little building sitting apart from the rest of the village. The church was originally within the village - but the village was moved by Jesse Watts Russell to improve the view from the hall he built here in the 1820s. Some small parts of Saxon architecture may still be traced on the south wall where there is a walled-up old Saxon doorway, and there are the stumps of two Saxon crosses in the churchyard. Inside the church there is a magnificent Saxon font, which is worth a visit for itself.

Pike Watts tomb
Pike Watts tomb
Much of the church is Norman and Early English, (the tower is 13th century, for example), but there have been some notable later additions. The first is St Bertram's Chapel, built in 1618 by the Meverell family of Throwley Hall to house the saint's tomb, which is still a place of pilgrimage. Also in the chapel is the Meverell family's own tomb, a fine early 17th century edifice which is almost hidden by the organ. A more recent addition is the Chantry Chapel, added by Jesse Watts Russell in a Victorian Gothic style which jars slightly with the rest of the church. The chapel is a mausoleum to Jesse Watt Russell's father-in-law, David Pike Watts, and takes its name from the sculptor of the fine marble statue which depicts David Pike Watts on his deathbed.

Ilam Hall
Ilam Hall
The first Ilam Hall was built by the Port family in the 16th century but this was demolished by Jesse Watts Russell to make way for his much grander hall of the 1820s. On his death it passed into the Hanbury family, but after the First World War it was too large and expensive to run and by the 1920s it was being used as a hotel and restaurant. This venture failed and most of the hall was demolished before Sir Robert McDougall bought the estate and donated it to the National Trust in 1934. Since then, the main remaining part of the hall has been used as a Youth Hostel and the grounds have been open to the public.

If you want to walk around then start from the tea-room and cross the Italian Gardens heading east towards St Bertram's well, which is just south of the church. This is said to have provided fresh water here since Saxon times. Just further on, St Bertram's bridge is the old bridge across the Manifold, and was the main crossing until the new bridge was built downstream in 1828.

The Saxon font
The Saxon font
Don't cross the river, but turn upstream. On your right is the site of the bandstand, where bands would play to entertain the hall guests. Upstream of the bridge there are two weirs and just above the second are the 'Boil Holes', where the water from the Manifold river resurges, having flowed (in summer) underground for several miles. If you follow the river further upstream, you will find in summer that it contains nothing but a few stagnant pools.

Follow the river upstream a little way. On your right, in the woods, lies a grotto where the playwright William Congreave is said to have written his first play, 'The Old Bachelor' in 1689. The path emerges from the trees and follows their edge, moving away from the river bank. This is 'Paradise Walk', created as a place where the hall guests could take their exercise. The path takes you past 'The Battlestone', a Saxon cross unearthed during the building of the new Ilam village and which is thought to commemorate a battle with the Danes.

At the end of Paradise Walk you reach the river again and can either follow it upstream and return to the hall across the park, or cross the footbridge and take the sometimes steep and slippery path through Hinkley Wood, which is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) on account of its numerous Lime trees. This path returns you to St Bertram's bridge, giving some good views of the Hall en route.
 
Ilam Church and Hall 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
3 - Ilam Hall
Ilam Hall - Saxon cross
4 - Ilam Hall - Saxon cross
Ilam - St Bertrand's Bridge
5 - Ilam - St Bertrand's Bridge
Ilam Hall
6 - Ilam Hall

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK131505


See location on Streetmap.co.uk



How to get there

By Road:
Take the A515 Buxton road out of Ashbourne and turn left onto the minor road signposted to Thorpe and Dovedale. Pass through Thorpe, cross the River Dove and arrive in Ilam. The church is close to the cross, which is a copy of Charing Cross.

By Bus: the 443 bus from Ashbourne will take you to Ilam.
When is it open?

Usually open every day in day time.
What does it cost?

No charge.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening

Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

historic interestgood for exercisegood scenery

 Ilam Hall and Park

Slideshow

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The first Ilam Hall was built by the Port family in the 16th century but this was demolished by Jesse Watts Russell to make way for his much grander hall of the 1820s. Most of the hall was demolished in the 1920s before Sir Robert McDougall bought the estate and donated it to the National Trust in 1934. Since then, the main remaining part of the hall has been used as a Youth Hostel and the grounds have been open to the public.

If you want to walk around then start from the tea-room and cross the Italian Gardens heading east towards St Bertram's well, which is just south of the church. This is said to have provided fresh water here since Saxon times. Just further on, St Bertram's bridge is the old bridge across the Manifold, and was the main crossing until the new bridge was built downstream in 1828. Don't cross the river, but turn upstream.

On your right is the site of the bandstand, where bands would play to entertain the hall guests. Upstream of the bridge there are two weirs and just above the second are the 'Boil Holes', where the water from the Manifold and Hamps rivers resurges, having flowed underground for several miles. If you follow the river further upstream, you will find in summer that it contains nothing but a few stagnant pools. Follow the river upstream a little way. On your right, in the woods, lies a grotto where the playwright William Congreave is said to have written his first play, 'The Old Batchelor' in 1689.

The path emerges from the trees and follows their edge, moving away from the river bank. This is 'Paradise Walk', created as a place where the hall guests could take their exercise. The path takes you past 'The Battlestone', a Saxon cross unearthed during the building of the new Ilam village and which is thought to commemorate a battle with the Danes.

At the end of Paradise Walk you reach the river again and can either follow it upstream and return to the hall across the park, or cross the footbridge and take the sometimes steep and slippery path through Hinkley Wood, which is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) on account of its numerous Lime trees. This path returns you to St Bertram's bridge, giving some good views of the Hall en route.
 
Ilam Hall and Park Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Ilam Hall
0 - Ilam Hall
Ilam Hall
1 - Ilam Hall
Ilam Church
2 - Ilam Church
Ilam - St Bertrand's Bridge
3 - Ilam - St Bertrand's Bridge
Ilam Hall - Saxon cross
4 - Ilam Hall - Saxon cross
Ilam - houses
5 - Ilam - houses

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK132500


See location on Streetmap.co.uk



How to get there

By Road:
Turn left off the A515 heading north from Ashbourne along the road signposted to Thorpe. Pass through Thorpe to the next village, which is Ilam.

By Bus: The 443 and 202 buses from Ashbourne on schooldays go to Ilam. Also the 442 bus from Ashbourne to Buxton goes to Thorpe, which is not too far to walk to Ilam.
When is it open?

Ilam Hall is a Youth Hostel, with a National Trust visitor centre, tea room and shop. Ilam Park is open 24 hours, every day.
What does it cost?

No charge for entry to Ilam Park

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

historic interest

 Tissington Hall

Slideshow

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Tissington Hall is the 17th century home of the FitzHerbert family in Tissington Village, a few miles north of Ashbourne. Wonderful furniture, paintings and porcelain collection.
 
Tissington Hall Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Tissington Hall
0 - Tissington Hall
Tissington Church
1 - Tissington Church
Tissington Church - Fitzherbert memorial
2 - Tissington Church - Fitzherbert memorial
Tissington Cottages
3 - Tissington Cottages

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK176523


See location on Streetmap.co.uk



How to get there

By Road:
from Ashbourne or Buxton, Tissington lies just off the A515 road between these towns, about 5 miles north of Ashbourne.

By Bus: the 441 Ashbourne to Hartington bus goes to Tissington.
When is it open?

Open for guided tour only - parties by arrangement - from 12.00 3.00pm. No pre-booking necessary, on the following dates:

Easter Week: 17 - 20th April

May Bank Holiday: 1st May

During 3 Days of the Well Dressing Festival: 29th - 31st May

Summer Opening MONDAY - THURSDAY ONLY: 31st July - 24th August


What does it cost?

Hall & Gardens - Adult £10.00/ Children (10-16yrs) £5.00/ Concessions £9.00

Gardens Only - Adult £5.00 / Children £2.50 / Concessions £4.00

Check the Tissington Hall web site for prices for special events.



Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

Website: http://www.tissington-hall.com

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