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

A directory of tourist and visitor attractions near Cressbrook 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 Cressbrook

historic interestgood for children

 Eyam Museum and Plague Village

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The story of how Eyam was infected with the bubonic plague and chose to go into quarantine rather than spread the infection to the surrounding area is an epic tale of self-sacrifice. The village has a small museum and you can follow a signed trail around the village to see the major buildings and sites linked with the Plague.

Plague Cottages
Plague Cottages
George Viccars, a tailor who lived in a cottage near Eyam church (now known as Plague Cottage) was sent some cloth from London in September 1665, but the cloth was infected and Viccars died within four days. The Plague spread through the village and the young Rector, William Mompesson, with his predecessor Thomas Stanley, persuaded the villagers to stay in the village and seal themselves off to avoid spreading the infection to the surrounding area. Though a few villagers left (and it is said that Mompesson arranged to send his children out of the village), most stayed, and 257 died (of a total population of perhaps 350) before the Plague died out in October 1666. In August 1666 alone, 78 people died including Mompesson's wife Catherine, who is buried in the churchyard.

During the period of isolation, food was left for the villagers at Mompesson's well, on the parish boundary high up on the hill above the village, and paid for by coins which were dipped in vinegar to disinfect them. The grim task of burying the dead fell to the village sexton and the victims were often buried hurriedly in graves which were scattered around the village. Usually there was no funeral service, for gatherings of people were discouraged for fear of spreading the infection. Particularly notable are the Riley Graves which are situated just off the Grindleford road approximately 1km from the village centre. Here a Mrs Hancock buried six of her family within the space of a few days.

Plague gravestone in Eyam churchyard
Plague gravestone in Eyam churchyard
A walk around the village shows many relics and monuments of the Plague. Starting at the church, look for Catherine Mompesson's grave - she is the only plague victim buried in the churchyard, though there is a gravestone for Abel Rowland propped up against the side of the church. Just to the west of the church, towards Foolow, is the original Plague Cottage and at the western end of the village, in Tideswell Lane, there is the cottage of Marshall Howe, who was the plague sexton.

At the eastern end of the village, from the Bull Ring, walk up Lydgate. Here you will see several cottages which belonged to plague victims, and a small enclosure for the Lydgate graves, where Thomas and Mary Danby are buried. Going in a northerly direction from the Bull Ring, up Water Lane, will lead you to Mompesson's Well - but this is nearly a kilometre away, steeply uphill!

The Riley Graves
The Riley Graves
The most poignant memorial is the Riley graves. To find these, take the road to Grindleford out of the village, and branch left to Riley farm. Follow the track up the hill and past the farm until you see a stone-walled enclosure (which is in the care of the National Trust) in the field. In this lonely spot, with a magnificent view across Middleton Dale, you can sense the devastation wrought upon the Hancock family.

Eyam museum is housed in a former church just opposite the car park and information centre and is a small but award-winning museum, packed with interesting displays.
 
Eyam Museum and Plague Village Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Eyam Churchyard
0 - Eyam Churchyard
Eyam churchyard - Plague gravestone
1 - Eyam churchyard - Plague gravestone
Eyam Plague Cottages
2 - Eyam Plague Cottages
Eyam cottages with plague signpost
3 - Eyam cottages with plague signpost
Eyam - Riley Graves
4 - Eyam - Riley Graves
Eyam - Riley Graves
5 - Eyam - Riley Graves

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK217765


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How to get there

By Road:
from the A623 Chapel-en-le-Frith to Chesterfield road, turn off in Stoney Middleton Dale on the B6521 to Eyam.

By Bus: the 66 Chesterfield-Buxton bus goes through Eyam, as does the X67 bus from Chesterfield. From Sheffield, take the 65 bus. From Bakewell, take the 173 bus, which connects with the Trans-Peak bus from Derby and Matlock.
When is it open?

Museum open 28th March to 5tyh November from Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays: 10.00 am to 4.30 pm. (Last admissions at 4.00pm).

Open February half-term (except Monday) 11am - 4pm
What does it cost?

Adult £2.50/ Children £2.00/ Concessions £2.00/ Family (2 adults and 2 children) £7.50. School groups: £1.25 per child. Adult groups: £2.00 per adult. Cash only.

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

Website: http://www.eyam-museum.org.uk

historic interest

 Magpie Mine

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The Magpie Mine, just South of Sheldon, was one of the most famous lead mines in the Peak District and is the only one with a significant part of its building still standing, having been taken into the care of the Peak District Mines Historical Society in 1962. The mine buildings can be seen from the Bakewell - Chelmorton road.

The mine is at the junction of the Magpie vein, the Bole vein and the Butts vein, and was only one of several mines exploiting these veins - the Red Soil Mine and the Maypitts mine lay within only a few hundred metres of the Magpie. The mine is first recorded in 1795, though the workings are probably much older. It finally ceased operations in 1958, though the working in the 1950s mined little actual lead. The heyday of the mine was in the mid 19th Century.

Magpie Mine buildings
Magpie Mine buildings
The proximity of other mines often led to disputes, and the Magpie Mine and the Red Soil mine disputed the working of the Bole Vein on which they both lay. In 1833 this led to the deaths of 3 miners from the Red Soil Mine who were suffocated underground when the Magpie miners lit a fire to try to drive out the men from the opposing mine. Three miners were tried for murder, but acquitted. However, it was said afterwards that the Magpie was cursed and it never really prospered thereafter.

Lead-mining was a speculative business with big profits to be made sometimes and huge losses at others, so the mine changed hands frequently. Though the mine was very profitable in the early 1840s, it closed from 1846 to 1868, and when it was re-opened a large Cornish pumping engine was installed in the engine house which is now the major building on the site. However, water was a problem in this mine as in many others and when the price of lead fell the cost of pumping made the mine unprofitable and led the owners to consider driving a 'sough' or drainage tunnel from the River Wye into the mine workings.

Reconstruction of machinery at Magpie Mine
Reconstruction of machinery at Magpie Mine
The sough was built between 1873 and 1881 - an epic undertaking since the rock proved to be mostly 'toadstone', a variety of basalt, and very hard. It was the last major sough to be constructed in this area and is now one of the best preserved. The cost was 18,000, a very large sum for those days, and far more than the shareholders had budgeted for.

The sough enabled the mineshaft to be deepened to 728 feet, but despite this the mine never became profitable again and closed in 1883. It was worked again at intervals until 1923 and reopened in a limited way in the 1950s but only ever employed a few men and rarely made money.

The buildings still visible are enough to be able to construct a picture of what an 19th century leadmine must have looked like - except for the corrugated iron section which is a relic of the 1950s! Around the buildings there would also have been areas for crushing the ore and washing and dressing it prior to smelting.

Further Reading:

The best book is Lead Mining in the Peak District, Edited by Trevor D Ford & J H Rieuwerts, Published by the Peak Park Planning Board.

There are numerous other books on lead mining in this area, of which one is: Peakland Lead Mines and Miners, H M Parker & L M Willies, Moorland Publishing.
 
Magpie Mine Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Magpie Mine
0 - Magpie Mine
Magpie Mine
1 - Magpie Mine
Magpie Mine
2 - Magpie Mine

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK172682


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How to get there

By Road:
Take the Monyash road out of Bakewell and after about 3 km turn right on a minor road to Chelmorton. The mine buildings can be seen on the right after about 2km.
When is it open?

Entry to the mine area is not a right of way but access is not normally a problem and it is possible to walk up to the buildings and look around.


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

good for exercisegood scenery

 Monsal Head

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Monsal Head view of the railway viaduct
Monsal Head view of the railway viaduct
Monsal Head is a famous beauty spot with a magnificent view down Monsal Dale and up the Wye valley. The position is at a spot where the Wye, on its passage eastwards to meet the Derwent, encounters a band of harder rock and is forced to make a sharp turn southwards and carve its way through a high ridge of limestone. The view is spectacular, with the river far below, winding through a steep-sided and often rocky valley.

Looking up Monsal Dale
Looking up Monsal Dale
The route of the former Midland Railway makes its way along Monsal Dale and was carried by a viaduct over the river and into a tunnel which goes right beneath Monsal Head.

This is now part of the Monsal Trail, a popular route with walkers at weekends. The viaduct is now an accepted feature of the landscape, but when the railway was built in the 1870s, John Ruskin campaigned against the damage done to this unique environment, simply 'so that any fool from Bakewell can be in Buxton by lunchtime'.
 
Monsal Head Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Monsal Head Viaduct
0 - Monsal Head Viaduct
Monsal Dale
1 - Monsal Dale
Monsal Dale - river Wye
2 - Monsal Dale - river Wye

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK185715


See location on Streetmap.co.uk



How to get there

By Road:
Monsal Head lies just off the B6465 road, which joins the A6 at Ashford with the A632 Chapel-en-le-Frith to Chesterfield road. There is a large public car park with public toilets behind the Monsal Head Hotel, which overlooks Monsal Dale. However this is a popular spot and the carpark is often full on summer weekends.

By Bus: the 27 bus from Bakewell to Tideswell passes Monsal Head.
When is it open?

Public land, no restrictions. Numerous footpaths around the dale.


good for exercisegood scenery

 Monsal Trail

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Monsal Head viaduct
Monsal Head viaduct
The Monsal Trail follows the path of the former Midland Railway from Blackwell Mill cottages to Coombs Viaduct, about 1km past the former Bakewell station - a distance of about 20km. For the most part the trail follows the path of the River Wye, which means it offers some spectacular scenery.

The Peak District National Park have recently spent £2.5m on re-opening the tunnels so it is possible to walk, cycle or horse-ride right the way along the trail. It was opened in May 2011.

When a railway through this valley was first proposed early conservationists led by John Ruskin voiced vehement opposition, but now it seems part of the landscape.

The Monsal Trail in Cheedale
The Monsal Trail in Cheedale
From the western end, approach the trail from Wyedale car park at Topley Pike. About 1 km along the track you reach a railway bridge - go under it and on your right a path leads up onto the former track. There is a new refreshment stop and cycle hire shop here, opposite Blackwell Mill cottages.

Once on the trail, follow it down a further 2 km in the magnificent surroundings of Cheedale before entering a short tunnel leading to a bridge over the Wye. Notice on your right, a path leads down to a the river and a footbridge taking you back across it. This leads to a riverside path which gives access to Chee Tor and by-passes the Chee Tor tunnel.
Stepping stones near Chee Tor
Stepping stones near Chee Tor
It includes stepping stones which can be well underwater in flood conditions. (It is not suitable for cycling!)

However, now the tunnels have been re-opened you no longer need to take this path, but can continue straight on through Chee Tor tunnel, which is about 400m long and emerges near the viaduct at the foot of Blackwell Dale, where the riverside path rejoins the trail.

Continue along the railway track to Miller's Dale, where you cross the Wye by the imposing viaducts. The section downstream gives fine views of Ravenstor and leads to Litton Mill, where you enter another tunnel, followed by a short open cutting and a second tunnel - the Cressbrook Tunnel, which at 800m is the longest on the route. You emerge in Monsal Dale.

If you are on foot and wish to see more of the scenery, we recommend dropping off the trail at Litton Mill, cross the river and turn right to go through the yard of Litton Mill and follow the delightful riverside path through Water-cum-Jolly to Cressbrook Millpond. At the far end of the millpond re-cross the river and follow the path to re-join the trail. Note however that this path can also be submerged in places after heavy rain.

In Monsal dale
In Monsal dale
Follow the trail down Monsal Dale and across the magnificent Monsal viaduct to another tunnel - the Headstone tunnel. Once through this you emerge amongst fields near Little Longstone. An alternative is to climb up just before the tunnel to Monsal Head (ice creams available!) and follow the small road opposite into Little Longstone, where a path across the fields (just after the Packhorse Inn) allows you to regain the railway track.

The section from Longstone is relatively uneventful. It follows the railway track all the way through Hassop station (where there is a cafe and cycle hire available) to Bakewell, easy cycling if you are on a bike, pleasant walking if you are on foot. Get off at the former Bakewell station and cycle down the hill into the town if you wish to go into the town. The trail continues a short distance beyond Bakewell to terminate at the Coombs viaduct not far from Haddon Hall.

Note - if you cycle this trail in the reverse direction and want to continue to Buxton then this is rather problematic. The obvious route is to follow the A6 alongside the River Wye, but this is narrow, twisting, very busy and positively dangerous for cyclists. The best alternative is to follow the A6 for 800m, going under a viaduct, then take a bridle path which crosses the river via a small bridge. Go right up the dale (Woo Dale) to reach a narrow road (Church Lane) in an area called Green Fairfield. Follow this to a T-junction (turn right) and eventually to a major road (Waterswallows Road). Turn left and follow the road alongside the golf course to reach the A6 on the north side of Buxton. Turn left again and descend into the town. This is only suitable for mountain bikes and is a long way round, but much better than the alternatives.

If you want to walk from Wye Dale to Buxton then we recommend crossing the A6 by Topley Pike Quarry and going up Deep Dale to Thirst House Cave, then ascend the right-hand wall of the dale to reach King Sterndale. Continue from here towards Cowdale and then on to Staden and Buxton (OS map required to find this route).
 
Monsal Trail Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Entrance to Headstone Tunnel below Monsal Head
0 - Entrance to Headstone Tunnel below Monsal Head
Blackwell Mill cottages
1 - Blackwell Mill cottages
Cheedale
2 - Cheedale
Cheedale - Plum Buttress
3 - Cheedale - Plum Buttress
Cheedale stepping stones
4 - Cheedale stepping stones
Miller's Dale
5 - Miller's Dale
Miller's Dale - Raven Tor
6 - Miller's Dale - Raven Tor
Water cum Jolly from the Monsal Trail
7 - Water cum Jolly from the Monsal Trail
Water cum Jolly and Cressbrook millpond
8 - Water cum Jolly and Cressbrook millpond
Monsal Dale - river Wye
9 - Monsal Dale - river Wye
Monsal Dale
10 - Monsal Dale
Monsal Head Viaduct
11 - Monsal Head Viaduct
Monsal Trail - at Water-cum-Jolly
12 - Monsal Trail - at Water-cum-Jolly

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK140733


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How to get there

By Road:
The western end of the trail is at Wye Dale car park, opposite Topley Pike quarry, on the A6 Buxton - Bakewell road. The eastern end at Bakewell lies at Coombs Viaduct, one mile east of Bakewell, close to the A6 and not far from Haddon Hall. There is no parking here but there is parking at the old Bakewell Station (turn up the hill off the Baslow Road, just over the river from the town centre). Other places to park are Hassop Station and Millers Dale Station.

By Bus: If you are coming from Buxton then there are 3 buses which take you to Wye Dale - the 65, 66 and 218 - all running from the Market Place and from the Eastern end of Spring Gardens. To return to Buxton from Bakewell the Trans-Peak Nottingham to Manchester bus (hourly) or the 218 (4 times per day) will get you back.

If you walk the trail from Bakewell and want to return from Wye Dale then only the 218 (4 times per day) runs to Bakewell along the A6 and past Wye Dale. Similarly, if you park your car at Wye Dale and walk to Bakewell, this is the only direct bus back. The best alternative to this is to take the (hourly) Trans-Peak bus from Bakewell and ask to get off at the Chelmorton turn. From there, walk about 200m along the verge of the road until a bridle path forks off right, leading back down the the trail in Cheedale. Alternatively, you can get off the Trans-Peak at Blackwell and try connecting with the no.65 or no.66 buses which come from Tideswell up Blackwell Dale - these will take you to Wye Dale car park. (See www.travelineeastmidlands.co.uk for details of connections - the stop you want for Wye Dale car park is King Sterndale - Topley Pike).


When is it open?

Open all day all year. No restrictions.


historic interest

 Tideswell Church

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Tideswell church in winter
Tideswell church in winter
The church of St John the Baptist in Tideswell is rightly known as the 'Cathedral of the Peak', for it is one of the largest and certainly the most perfect church in the area.

Tideswell was recorded in the Domesday book and the first known priest for the village was appointed in 1193. The present church probably replaced a much smaller Norman one, and faint traces of this may be seen in the Chancel. The beauty of the current church is that it was all built about the same period, with few alterations or additions - being started about 1320 and completed soon after 1400. The Nave, Aisles and Transepts were begun about 1340 in the Late Gothic style, and the Chancel and Tower were added at the end of the century in a Perpendicular style. Between the two it is thought that church-building was interrupted by the Black Death, which is thought to have killed nearly a third of the population of England. The church was restored in 1875, but this was a proper restoration rather than a rebuilding, as at Bakewell.

Tomb of Thurstan de Bower
Tomb of Thurstan de Bower
There are many interesting items in the church. Notice the wooded screen which separates the Nave from the Chancel - it is the original - and the beautiful Sedilla by the altar. In the centre of the Chancel lies the altar tomb of Sir Samson Meverill, a local knight and land-owner (1388 -1462). He probably fought at Agincourt and certainly served in France later with the Duke of Bedford, struggling to retain English control of France against Joan of Arc. By all accounts he was a colourful character who was not above abducting jurors brought to try him over a land dispute! His tomb (which was restored in 1875) has a marble slab with brasses in it. In the centre is a Trinity plate which is original, but some of the other brasses were replaced after a theft in 1688. Beneath the slab is a stone cadaver surrounded by an alabaster frieze.

In the floor of the chancel nearby there is an even older tomb - that of John Foljambe, who died in 1358. The Foljambes are though to have come to the area with the Conquerer and were local landowners. The brass on the grave was placed there by a descendant in 1875, for the original was stolen, probably in the 17th century.

Carving by Advent Hunstone
Carving by Advent Hunstone
Next to this is an original brass, this time to Bishop Robert Purseglove, who was born in the village about 1510 and died here in 1579. Purseglove was a distinguished clergyman who became Bishop of Hull in 1538. He was an agent of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's chancellor, and was involved in the dissolution of the monasteries, becoming rich in the process. Though he was created a bishop by Henry and served the Protestant Edward VI, taking the oath renouncing the authority of the Pope, he also served as bishop under the Catholic Mary I. However, when Elizabeth became queen and in 1559 required all the clergy to swear an oath of supremacy to her, Purseglove refused and lost his bishopric. He retired to Tideswell and lived quietly there until his death, giving money to charities and founding the local Grammar School in 1560.

The South transept of the church contain the Lytton chapel and the Bower chapel. One of the original bells, removed in 1928, sits on the floor of the Lytton chapel. In the floor of the Aisle nearby, under a carpet, is the tomb of Robert Lytton (died 1483) and his wife Isabel (died 1458). The purpose of the carpet is to protect the fine brasses of Robert and Isabel on their tombstone. Robert was the squire of Litton and Under-Treasurer of England in the reign of Henry VI, so he was a man of some importance. The Bower chapel contains perhaps the most impressive tomb, thought to be that of Sir Thurstan de Bower and his wife Margaret (about 1395). The recumbent alabaster figures of the couple on the tomb are worn by the ravages of time, but still give a strong impression of the couple.

In the North transept (the Lady Chapel) there are two stone gravestones of women, dating from 1300 and 1375, while the pews have some exquisite carvings by Advent Hunstone, a local man.
 
Tideswell Church Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Tideswell Church
0 - Tideswell Church
Tideswell Church in snow
1 - Tideswell Church in snow
Tideswell Church - the tomb of Thurstan de Bower
2 - Tideswell Church - the tomb of Thurstan de Bower
Tideswell Church - medieval womens graves
3 - Tideswell Church - medieval womens graves
Tideswell Church - carving by Advent Hunstone
4 - Tideswell Church - carving by Advent Hunstone

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK152758


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How to get there

By Road:
Tideswell lies just off the A623 Chapel-en-le-Frith to Chesterfield road, just south of the junction with the B6049, which comes from Hope Valley. The B6049 continues through the village to meet the A6 between Buxton and Bakewell.

By Bus: the 65 Buxton - Sheffield bus and the 66 Buxton - Chesterfield bus both pass through Tideswell. The 173 bus from Bakewell also goes to the village.
When is it open?

Normally open in day time.
What does it cost?

No charge.

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

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