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Peak District Towns and Villages: Carl Wark

Villages around Carl Wark


A view of a farm near Abney
A view of a farm near Abney
Abney is a tiny hamlet of a few farms lying in a remote valley high up above the Derwent to the south of Hope Valley. It is beautifully situated and the area around is excellent for walking, with Shatton Edge, Bretton Clough and Eyam Moor all nearby. The settlement was mentioned as 'Habenai' in the Domesday book, so it is very ancient and probably hasn't got much bigger since those times.

On the road down to Hathersage lies Highlow Hall, an Elizabethan manor house and the seat of one of the branches of the Eyre family. A Robert Eyre of Highlow was High Sheriff of Derbyshire at one time. The building is quite distinctive and is reputedly one of the most haunted buildings in Derbyshire, with at least four ghosts.

To the west, on Hucklow Edge, there is the headquarters of the Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club and at weekends gliders are often in the sky above.

Bretton Clough and Abney Low view
0 - Bretton Clough and Abney Low view
Abney Grange - a typical hill farm
1 - Abney Grange - a typical hill farm
Eyam Moor barrow and view to Hathersage
2 - Eyam Moor barrow and view to Hathersage


Bamford is a former mill-village and occupies the hillside underneath Bamford Edge and above the River Derwent. There is a lot more to the village than can be seen when just passing through. It has some lovely quiet corners and the Derwent is especially pretty around the millpool just above the mill itself. The impressive wier can be admired from the footbridge below the mill that carries the Public Footpath across to the south bank. There is a well-dressing festival here in mid-July.

The mill is the first of many on the course of the Derwent and was built around 1780, burnt down and rebuilt in 1791-2. It was a cotton mill but closed for this purpose in 1965 and was used by an electric furnace manufacturer until the 1990s. It has now been converted into apartments.

The modern village is mainly strung out along the road which leads from the A625 up towards Ladybower Reservoir, about 3km away. At the bottom end there is the railway station, which very conveniently links Bamford with both Manchester and Sheffield. On the road just below the station the Peak Park have re-erected the Mytham Bridge toll gate which used to stand nearby. This was one of the toll gates on the first turnpike in the area - built in 1758 to link Sheffield to Sparrowpit. Higher up, at the centre of the village there are some shops and two pubs.

Nearer to Ladybower there is the settlement of Yorkshire Bridge, with a pub of the same name. This settlement was built to rehouse some of the people who were displaced when Ladybower dam was constructed in the 1940s.

Bamford Edge is a fine gritstone edge which overlooks the village and offers a fine view of Ladybower. The edge is private land and was not readily accessible to walkers until the 'Right to Roam' legislation came into effect. This means it is considerably less well tramped or eroded than other edges. The view from the edge is very worthwhile.

Below Bamford, across the Derwent lies the hamlet of Shatton. This straggles up a lane south of the River Noe leading up onto Shatton Edge. At the end of the lane lies Shatton Hall and Nether House, one of the houses Robert Eyre of Highlow built for his seven sons in Elizabethan times. Shatton Edge, high above the hamlet, offers fine views over the Hope Valley and good walking country.

Ladybower - View to Crook Hill
0 - Ladybower - View to Crook Hill
Ladybower from Win Hill
1 - Ladybower from Win Hill
Win Hill summit
2 - Win Hill summit
Bamford Edge view of Ladybower
3 - Bamford Edge view of Ladybower


Curbar inhabits the soft, wooded slopes below the hard gritstone edges of the Eastern Moors. It's a quiet, secluded place. A cluster of stone-built houses which seem to melt into against the hillside to hide themselves but it's surprisingly extensive, reaching all the way to the Derwent below. There are no amenities and the chief point of interest is Curbar Edge above the village, which provides a fine view of the Derwent valley, some excellent walking and some of the hardest gritstone rock climbing in Derbyshire.

The road up through the village, which crosses the River Derwent at Calver Bridge and continues up, passing through Curbar Gap at the top of the edge, is an ancient packhorse route which was one of the 'salt routes' from Cheshire to Chesterfield.

Baslow Edge View
0 - Baslow Edge View
Baslow Edge - Eagle Stone
1 - Baslow Edge - Eagle Stone
Baslow Edge - Derwent Valley temperature inversion
2 - Baslow Edge - Derwent Valley temperature inversion
Curbar Edge
3 - Curbar Edge
Curbar Edge view
4 - Curbar Edge view
Froggatt Edge - Chequers Crack
5 - Froggatt Edge - Chequers Crack
Froggatt Edge
6 - Froggatt Edge
Froggatt Edge climbers
7 - Froggatt Edge climbers
Froggat Edge - climbers on Valkyrie
8 - Froggat Edge - climbers on Valkyrie


Eyam is one of the best-preserved villages in the vicinity and is the famous 'plague village', which went into voluntary quarantine when the plague was imported from London in 1665. Above the village lies Eyam Moor which is a fine area for walking, with good views across the Derwent valley and many Bronze Age remains and monuments.

Eyam Church
Eyam Church
The church in the centre of the village has many relics of the Plague, including Mompesson's chair, gravestones of Plague victims and the Parish Register recording the deaths. Within the church there is a small exhibition about the Plague. The church has two Norman columns, and may be built on Saxon foundations, but dates mostly from the 13th and 14th centuries. In the churchyard there is a magnificent Saxon cross dating probably from the 9th century and carved with a mixture of pagan and Christian symbols. There is also a fine sundial on the wall of the church.

The Rectory next door to the church was the birthplace in 1747 of Anna Seward, the 'Swan of Lichfield', a noted literary character of the 18th Century who wrote poetry in the 'Augustan' style, which is now thoroughly out of fashion. Amongst many other works, she wrote a touching poem 'Eyam' which was about the village, and she was a friend of Sir Walter Scott amongst others.

Eyam Hall
Eyam Hall
There are many fine old houses in Eyam and parts of the village have been kept as they looked several centuries ago, especially the area at Townend, around the Miner's Arms. Many of the buildings also have plaques giving details of their history and the part their inhabitants played in the Plague saga, notably the Plague Cottages, where the outbreak began, which are on the main street on the west side of the church.

Also on the main street lies Eyam Hall, built in 1676 but in a style which was already out of fashion, so it looks like an early Jacobean mansion. It is the home of the Wright family who built it and have lived there ever since, and the house is open to visitors in the summer months, as well as housing a small craft centre.

Waterfall Swallett
Waterfall Swallett
The local industries were lead-mining (the lead-miners were noted Non-Conformists and Wesley preached here), silk weaving and shoe-making. The discovery of the Hucklow Side Vein in 1777 led to a boom in lead mining in this area for the next hundred years and next to the village school is a mound which still houses the shaft of Glebe Mine, a lead mine which was later worked for fluorspar until 1965. At the West end of the village is Townhead factory, built as a silk mill, and there is a former shoe factory in the centre of the village. Eyam had one of the earliest public water supplies of anywhere in the area (1588) and parts of this system can still be seen around the village.

To the West of the village, off the road to Foolow, lies Little and Greater Waterfall Swallet, good examples of natural potholes. The water which disappears into these swallets reappears near Stoney Middleton.

Eyam has several shops and tea rooms, plus one pub, the Miner's Arms. This is dated 1630 and is the former meeting place of the Barmote Court, which dealt with lead mining disputes. It is also is reputed to be one of the most haunted buildings in Derbyshire, which would surely add interest to a night's stay! Just outside the village is a public carpark and toilets with a small museum opposite. On the edge above the village there is a Youth Hostel.

Eyam has a well-dressing in late August.

Eyam Plague Cottages
0 - Eyam Plague Cottages
Eyam Churchyard
1 - Eyam Churchyard
Eyam cottages with plague signpost
2 - Eyam cottages with plague signpost
Eyam churchyard - Plague gravestone
3 - Eyam churchyard - Plague gravestone
Eyam - Riley Graves
4 - Eyam - Riley Graves
Eyam - Riley Graves
5 - Eyam - Riley Graves
Eyam Saxon cross
6 - Eyam Saxon cross
Eyam - brass band in welldressing parade
7 - Eyam - brass band in welldressing parade
Eyam Hall
8 - Eyam Hall
Eyam moor view of Froggatt edge
9 - Eyam moor view of Froggatt edge


Froggatt is a small picturesque village which clings to the hillsides north of Baslow. It is sandwiched between the River Derwent below and the gritstone edges, from which it gets name, above and is surrounded by beautiful woodlands.

There is a pub, The Chequers, on the road to the top of the village but no other amenities. There is a fine old bridge across the River Derwent and good walking both along the river side and along Froggatt Edge above the village, which is one of the best gritstone rock climbing edges in Derbyshire. On the river there is a very large and impressive weir that was built in the 19th century to provide power for the mill downstream at Calver Bridge.

Curbar Edge
0 - Curbar Edge
Curbar Edge view
1 - Curbar Edge view
Froggatt Edge - Chequers Crack
2 - Froggatt Edge - Chequers Crack
Froggatt Edge
3 - Froggatt Edge
Froggatt Edge climbers
4 - Froggatt Edge climbers
Froggat Edge - climbers on Valkyrie
5 - Froggat Edge - climbers on Valkyrie


Grindleford actually comprises Grindleford itself on the west bank of the River Derwent, and Padley on the east bank. Of the two, Padley has the more interesting history for Padley Hall was the seat of the Eyres of Padley, who were the local landlords for several centuries. The ruins of the hall lie beyond Grindleford station, (which also actually lies in Padley) just off the road which climbs up from Grindleford bridge to Fox House and Sheffield.

Modern Grindleford is a centre for walks, especially up Padley Gorge, a picturesque remnant of the deciduous forest which once covered the whole area. Above the gorge are the moors around Burbage and Froggatt edges and the isolated pub at Fox House, on the road to Sheffield. The station makes a good base for exploring the area and there is an excellent cafe here, which now also processes and sells Grindleford Spring Water.

On the Padley side there is a large hotel, the Maynard Arms, while on the edge of the village nearest Hathersage there is the Sir William, a pub taking its name from the old turnpike road which runs up the hill to Bretton. There are various shops and also the Derwent Gallery, which exhibits and sells the work of local artists. There is excellent walking also to be had on Eyam Moor to the West, with more deciduous woodland remnants and neolithic sites.

Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
0 - Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
1 - Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
Burbage Brook
2 - Burbage Brook
Froggatt Edge - Chequers Crack
3 - Froggatt Edge - Chequers Crack
Froggatt Edge
4 - Froggatt Edge
Froggatt Edge climbers
5 - Froggatt Edge climbers
Froggat Edge - climbers on Valkyrie
6 - Froggat Edge - climbers on Valkyrie
Padley Chapel
7 - Padley Chapel


Hathersage is one of the more interesting villages in the area, with historical associations to Robin Hood and the Eyre family. The village centres around a road junction above the River Derwent, where the road to Sheffield branches off the route which follows the Derwent downstream. The ancient centre of the village was just above the church, which itself stands above and to the north of the modern village centre. On a knoll next to it there is an earthwork called Camp Green, which is probably Danish in origin.

Hathersage Church
Hathersage Church
Hathersage is a popular centre for walkers and rock-climbers, for on its east side the village is overlooked by moorland and a line of gritstone edges of which Stanage Edge is the largest. There are also spectacular tors, such as Higgar Tor, and the enigmatic hillfort at Carl Wark, which has so far defied archaeologists' attempts to date it. Several of the edges were quarried and the area was a major source of millstones for grinding corn and metals.

Until the late 18th century Hathersage was a small agricultural village with cottage industries making brass buttons and wire, but in 1750 a Henry Cocker started the Atlas Works, a mill for making wire. By the early 19th century there were several such mills in operation and activities had spread to the manufacture of needles and pins, for which Hathersage became famous.
Millstones on the moor above Hathersage
Millstones on the moor above Hathersage

A paper mill was also in operation near North Lees, making wrapping paper for the pins and needles produced. Though water power was used initially for the mills, this was superseded by steam in the mid 19th century and the result was that the village was usually enveloped in a pall of smoke. Conditions for the workers were bad too. To make their points the needles had to be ground on a rotating gritstone wheel, a process which gave off fragments of dust and steel. Occasionally millstones would shatter while grinding, injuring the grinder. The lungs of the grinders gradually filled up with dust and their average life expectancy was 30 years. This prompted the interest of a Royal Commission in 1867 which led to one of the first Factory Acts, laying down working hours, requiring machinery to be protected and making it illegal for children to be employed on some types of work.

Wire and needle making moved to Sheffield at the end of the 19th century and the last mill here closed in 1902, but several of the mills are still standing - Dale Mill lies along the road to Ringinglow, Darvell's mill is at the top of the main street, and down near the stream at the bottom of the village are Atlas Works and Barnfield Works.

North Lees Hall
North Lees Hall
Charlotte Bronte visited Hathersage in 1845 and used it as the 'Norton' of the story 'Jane Eyre' - taking the heroine's surname from the local family. She also used North Lees Hall, an Elizabethan manor house 2km north of Hathersage as the house where Mrs Rochester jumped from the roof to her death. North Lees is one seven halls built by Robert Eyre of Highlow (there were many local Robert Eyres) for his seven sons and is one of the finest Elizabethan buildings in the region - a tall square tower with a long wing adjoining.

The modern village has a range of pubs, hotels and shops including banks, cycle hire shops and Outside, the outdoor equipment suppliers, with a cafe above. Behind the main street there is a public car park and the surprising luxury of an outdoor swimming pool (open only in summer). The railway station, on the Manchester-Sheffield line, lies on the southern edge of the village, while at the western end of the village there is a Youth Hostel.

At a hamlet called Leadmill on the Grindleford road there is an interesting modern cutlery factory, the David Mellor roundhouse.

Hathersage Church
0 - Hathersage Church
Hathersage Church - Eyre family brass rubbing
1 - Hathersage Church - Eyre family brass rubbing
Stanage Edge
2 - Stanage Edge
Stanage Edge - Robin Hoods Cave
3 - Stanage Edge - Robin Hoods Cave
Stanage Edge - South end
4 - Stanage Edge - South end
Stanage Edge - Climbing on the popular end
5 - Stanage Edge - Climbing on the popular end
Stanage Edge - Air ambulance taking off
6 - Stanage Edge - Air ambulance taking off
Stanage Edge in snow
7 - Stanage Edge in snow
Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
8 - Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
9 - Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
Eyam Moor barrow and view to Hathersage
10 - Eyam Moor barrow and view to Hathersage
Hathersage Moor
11 - Hathersage Moor
Hathersage - North Lees Hall
12 - Hathersage - North Lees Hall
Padley Chapel
13 - Padley Chapel

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