Cressbrook Peak District Information Website - accommodation, holiday cottages, attractions, towns villages, walking climbing cycling

Chestnut Centre, Chapel-en-le-Frith | Peak District Towns and Villages | Staffordshire | Derbyshire | England | UK

Peak District Towns and Villages: Chestnut Centre, Chapel-en-le-Frith

Villages around Chestnut Centre, Chapel-en-le-Frith

Chapel-en-le-Frith


Slideshow
Frith is an old-English word for forest, and Chapel-en-le-Frith is the settlement which grew up around the church which was erected here by Foresters from the Royal Forest of the Peak in 1225. The church was dedicated to St Thomas Becket, murdered in 1170. The site chosen was on a ridge of land overlooking the upper Blackbrook valley and close to the junction of the Buxton-Glossop road with the salt trail, which came from Cheshire and crossed Rushup Edge into Edale on its way to Sheffield and Yorkshire.

Chapel church
Chapel church
With its strategic location the settlement grew quickly, becoming one of the centres of government of the Royal Forest of the Peak. With the coming of the railways in the 19th century the town's expansion was rapid but it's influence and importance faded with its subsequent closure of the Midland line from Manchester to London. The south station (on the Buxton-Manchester line) remains and keeps Chapel linked to the rail network.

The town's current prosperity is due in the main to the local company, Ferodo, that is still based here. Its founder, Henry Ferodo, was a local man and one of the inventors of brake linings.

Parts of the old village survive around the church, which is situated on a knoll just north of the main road. Although initially it looks Georgian, this applies only to the tower and south front, which were erected in 1733. The rest of the church, including almost all the interior, was constructed in the 14th century and is a fine example of the architecture of the period, though less ornate or imposing than Tideswell church, for instance.

There are some fine box pews in the church and in the churchyard is a badly worn Saxon cross, which was brought here from nearby Ollerenshaw. Among the many gravestones there is one which is thought to be that of a 13th century forester. The most notable incident in the history of the church occurred in 1648 during the Civil war, when 1500 Scottish soldiers, taken prisoner after the battle of Ribbleton Moor, were incarcerated here by Cromwell's troops. When the church doors were reopened after two weeks, 44 soldiers had died.

Chapel Market place
Chapel Market place
The cobbled market square lies just 100 metres south-west of the church and is surrounded by pubs, though fewer than in the past, and most of the remaining old buildings of the town. It also contains a fine old market cross, the old town stocks, the war memorial and a horse trough placed here to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. It is well worth taking a short walk around this area to sample the neat little cottages down Chapel Brow, for example, or down to the 'Hearse House' which is now the information centre.

Just to the west of the town lies Eccles Pike, a fine local viewpoint, and below it is Bradshaw Hall, one of the finest local examples of a 16th century manor house.

Nonconformism was a strong influence in the area in the 16th and 17th centuries - John Bennet, a powerful early Methodist preacher lived here and Wesley was a regular visitor. Links with Nonconformism also exist in several of the interesting little hamlets and old halls in the surrounding area, notably Chapel Milton with its fine early 18th century chapel, Wash with a Quaker burial ground, and Ford Hall, which was the home of William Bagshawe, the 'Apostle of the Peak' who was forced to resign his ministry in 1662 for refusing to accept the Book of Common Prayer. Despite this Bagshawe continued to hold secret Nonconformist services at his house for many years.

Though it lies just outside the Peak National Park, Chapel-en-le-Frith is strategically placed for easy access to most of the western and central areas of the National Park and there is good walking to be had locally, with both Eccles Pike and Castle Naze offering excellent views of the area. There is a well-dressing and carnival the first week in July.


Chinley Chapel
0 - Chinley Chapel
Chinley Chapel interior
1 - Chinley Chapel interior
Chestnut Centre otters
2 - Chestnut Centre otters
Chapel-en-le-Frith church
3 - Chapel-en-le-Frith church
Chapel-en-le-Frith cottages
4 - Chapel-en-le-Frith cottages
Chapel-en-le-Frith market cross
5 - Chapel-en-le-Frith market cross
Chapel-en-le-Frith stocks
6 - Chapel-en-le-Frith stocks
Chapel-en-le-Frith Hearse House
7 - Chapel-en-le-Frith Hearse House
Chinley Farm
8 - Chinley Farm
Chinley with Cracken Edge behind
9 - Chinley with Cracken Edge behind
Chinley - Whitehough Old Hall
10 - Chinley - Whitehough Old Hall
Chinley shops
11 - Chinley shops

Chinley


Slideshow
Modern Chinley is a large busy village with many stone-built Victorian buildings. It is situated just on the western edge of the Peak District National Park. It is a good base for exploration of the western side of the Peak District and for walks up onto Kinder and its outlying hills.

View of Chinley and Cracken Edge
View of Chinley and Cracken Edge
The area around the village was part of the Royal Forest of the Peak and there was probably little but a few isolated farms here until the 17th century. The oldest building in the area is the Elizabethan hall built at the nearby hamlet of Whitehough by the Kyrke family at the end of the 16th century and now the Old Hall Inn, but some farms along Stubbins Lane are also quite old and in 1711 Charles Wesley was entertained at Chinley End Farm, which still stands in Lower Lane.

In fact Wesley was a regular visitor here and preached often at nearby Chapel Milton, for the area was a hotbed of early Nonconformism. Perhaps one reason why he came was because Chinley was also the home of Grace Murray (later the wife of Charles Bennet, another famous preacher), who is said to be the only woman Wesley loved and would have wished to marry.

The New Chapel
The New Chapel
The industrial revolution came to the Chinley area and brought the construction of three mills along the Blackbrook which runs through the village. These were followed in 1799 by the Peak Forest tramway, a crude railway which used horse-drawn wagons to carry stone from the quarries at Dove Holes to the canal at nearby Bugsworth basin. The arrival of the railway in 1867 and its later extension in 1901 to carry trains to Sheffield saw Chinley grow rapidly and in the early years of the 20th century it was an important railway junction and a regular stopping-point for trainloads of ramblers at weekends. The modern village contains many houses from this era, built out of stone quarried from nearby Cracken Edge for wealthy commuters who took the train to Manchester every morning. The railway is still an important connection from Chinley to the wider rail network.

The centre of the village has some shops and there is a pub at nearby Whitehough. Chinley is beautifully situated with plenty of walking close at hand and a walk up Chinley Churn or Cracken Edge gives an excellent view across the area.

Chinley Chapel
0 - Chinley Chapel
Chinley Chapel interior
1 - Chinley Chapel interior
Chapel-en-le-Frith church
2 - Chapel-en-le-Frith church
Chapel-en-le-Frith cottages
3 - Chapel-en-le-Frith cottages
Chapel-en-le-Frith market cross
4 - Chapel-en-le-Frith market cross
Chapel-en-le-Frith stocks
5 - Chapel-en-le-Frith stocks
Chapel-en-le-Frith Hearse House
6 - Chapel-en-le-Frith Hearse House
Chinley Farm
7 - Chinley Farm
Chinley with Cracken Edge behind
8 - Chinley with Cracken Edge behind
Chinley - Whitehough Old Hall
9 - Chinley - Whitehough Old Hall
Chinley shops
10 - Chinley shops
Combs and Combs Edge view from Eccles Pike
11 - Combs and Combs Edge view from Eccles Pike
Chinley and Chinley Churn from Eccles Pike
12 - Chinley and Chinley Churn from Eccles Pike
Chapel-en-le-Frith from Eccles Pike
13 - Chapel-en-le-Frith from Eccles Pike

Combs


Slideshow
Combs is a small hamlet off the Chapel-en-le-Frith to Whaley Bridge road. It nestles in a sheltered valley between Ladder Hill and Combs Edge. Once largely a farming community, it is now a popular place for Manchester commuters because of its good road and rail communications.

The village centres around the Beehive Inn, while to the north of the village lies Combs reservoir, which supports a local sailing club. To the east the village is overshadowed by Castle Naze, a gritstone crag at the apex of Combs edge, which provides splendid views across Chapel-en-le-Frith and the surrounding area. This was also one of the crags where rock-climbing was pioneered and it is still popular with local climbers.

Castle Naze was the site of an Iron Age fortress and the ruins of the ramparts are probably the best preserved of any in the area. This and the view make it well worth a visit.

Castle Naze
0 - Castle Naze
Castle Naze ramparts
1 - Castle Naze ramparts
Combs village
2 - Combs village

Dove Holes


Slideshow
Dove Holes is located high up in the limestone heartland of the White Peak, with both dramatic scenery and weather. An active and lively community, it is home to many of the workers from the surrounding quarries and carries a life within it that some of the surrounding dormer and holiday villages often lack. The 'international' beer and jazz festival held annually in early July is not to be missed.

The main historical point of interest here is the Bull Ring, a Stone Age henge monument similar to Arbor Low, and the next best example in the Peak. It is situated behind the school and church and accessed via the track to the Community centre. The bank and ditch, with a raised area in the centre, are clearly visible, but there are no stones. Local tradition has it that the stones were removed to be used as sleepers for the Peak Forest Tramway, a crude early railway constructed in the 1790s to carry stone to the canal at Buxworth. Despite this loss the Bull Ring remains an impressive place and worth visiting.

Dove Holes - Bull Ring view
0 - Dove Holes - Bull Ring view
Dove Holes - Bull Ring view
1 - Dove Holes - Bull Ring view

Edale


Slideshow
Edale is the name given both to the valley between Mam Tor, Lose Hill and Kinder Scout and to its main settlement. As well as the main village there are several small farming hamlets strung out along the valley - Barber Booth, Ollerbrook Booth and Nether Booth.

Old Nags Head, Edale
Old Nags Head, Edale
There are three main reasons for the popularity of Edale as a centre for walkers and hikers. First, it lies in a beautiful setting below Kinder Scout. Second, it is the start of the Pennine Way, England's first and most famous long-distance footpath; and third, it is served by the railway - a factor which may be less important than it used to be but which played its part in making Edale accessible to the hard-working folk in Manchester and Sheffield.

View of Edale Village
View of Edale Village
The main village is pretty and lies on a side road off the main road along the valley. There is a large car-park at the road junction and the railway station is just nearby. Just above it is The Rambler, the first of two pubs. The road into the village proper continues past Fieldhead, the Peak National Park's information centre and camp site, past the church and on to end at a small square outside the school and a second pub the Old Nag's Head. This is usually accepted as the start of the Pennine Way. Just opposite lies the Post Office and general store and Cooper's Farm camp site - an alternative to the National Park site.

At the head of the valley, in Barber Booth, it is often possible to obtain teas at weekends and there are several campsites between here and Edale village. Further down the valley, horse rides are available at Lady Booth Farm in Nether Booth. There is a Youth Hostel high on the the side of Kinder at Rowland Cote, above Nether Booth.

Mine workings outside the Odin Mine Castleton
0 - Mine workings outside the Odin Mine Castleton
Mam Tor Iron Age ramparts and the view across Edale
1 - Mam Tor Iron Age ramparts and the view across Edale
Mam Tor summit with Kinder Scout behind
2 - Mam Tor summit with Kinder Scout behind
Mam Tor summit looking down to Lose Hill
3 - Mam Tor summit looking down to Lose Hill
Back Tor
4 - Back Tor
Kinder Scout - Mushroom stone at the head of Grindsbrook
5 - Kinder Scout - Mushroom stone at the head of Grindsbrook
Kinder Scout - Grindsbrook view
6 - Kinder Scout - Grindsbrook view
Mam Tor view in temperature inversion
7 - Mam Tor view in temperature inversion
Kinder Scout - Grindsbrook
8 - Kinder Scout - Grindsbrook
Ashop Valley
9 - Ashop Valley
Edale Valley from Grindslow
10 - Edale Valley from Grindslow
Edale - Old Nags Head Inn, start of the Pennine Way
11 - Edale - Old Nags Head Inn, start of the Pennine Way
Edale - view of Nether Tor and Ringing Roger
12 - Edale - view of Nether Tor and Ringing Roger
Edale Village
13 - Edale Village
Edale Walkers
14 - Edale Walkers
Edale Valley view of Lose Hill and Back Tor
15 - Edale Valley view of Lose Hill and Back Tor
Mountain bikers near Lord's Seat
16 - Mountain bikers near Lord's Seat
Hang glider waiting to take off above Winnats Pass
17 - Hang glider waiting to take off above Winnats Pass
Paragliders above Hope Valley
18 - Paragliders above Hope Valley
Hangglider taking off from Mam Tor
19 - Hangglider taking off from Mam Tor
Hangglider near Mam Tor
20 - Hangglider near Mam Tor
Hangglider near Mam Tor
21 - Hangglider near Mam Tor
Hollins Cross and Lose Hill frombelow Mam Tor
22 - Hollins Cross and Lose Hill frombelow Mam Tor
Winnats Pass from Mam Tor
23 - Winnats Pass from Mam Tor
Mam Tor view to Lose Hill
24 - Mam Tor view to Lose Hill

Hayfield


Slideshow
Overlooked by Kinder Scout, Hayfield is an old village which was once a staging post on the pack-horse route across the Pennines from Cheshire to Yorkshire. The old pack-horse route went from here the up the Sett valley and over the watershed at Edale Cross (where the old stump of a cross still exists) and descended Jacob's Ladder into Edale. The age of the settlement can be seen from the old cottages which survive around the centre of the old village, and some of the farms around here date from the late 17th century.

Hayfield cottages
Hayfield cottages
In the 19th century cotton arrived followed by the railway and Hayfield grew enormously so it now straggles down the Sett valley and merges into Birch Vale and New Mills. However the old centre of the village, to the east of the main road which cuts the village in two, is really quite charming, with a fine church and lots of old cottages. It is also packed with amenities for the visitor with pubs, shops and cafes.

Hayfield view
Hayfield view
The main importance of Hayfield for the visitor is that it is the gateway to the west side of Kinder and the narrow road which leads off the side of the Royal Hotel takes you in that direction. On the way it passes another pub, the Sportsman, before arriving at Bowden Bridge quarry, the starting point for the famous 'Mass Trespass' and now a car park with public toilets and a small Peak Park camp site opposite.

The road to Glossop takes you via Little Hayfield, a small hamlet about 1km north of the main village. The mill here survives, though it has been converted into flats, and the pub here is called The Lantern Pike after the sharply pointed hill which overshadows the place. It's well worth an ascent - the view is excellent.

Kinder Scout from Hayfield reservoir
0 - Kinder Scout from Hayfield reservoir
Hayfield from Mount Famine
1 - Hayfield from Mount Famine
Hayfield view from Hollinworth Head
2 - Hayfield view from Hollinworth Head
Hayfield cottages alongside the River Sett
3 - Hayfield cottages alongside the River Sett
Hayfield - mass trespass plaque
4 - Hayfield - mass trespass plaque
New Mills view from Ollersett Moor
5 - New Mills view from Ollersett Moor
Birch Vale print workers cottages
6 - Birch Vale print workers cottages
Hayfield from Lantern Pike
7 - Hayfield from Lantern Pike
Little Hayfield and Kinder Scout from Lantern Pike
8 - Little Hayfield and Kinder Scout from Lantern Pike
Hayfield War Memorial and Royal Inn
9 - Hayfield War Memorial and Royal Inn

Peak Dale


Slideshow
Peak Dale, which is divided almost in two by the former Midland Railway, comprises Upper End on the west side of the railway and Smalldale on the east. Both were built to house quarrymen in the days when the stone was largely hewn from the quarries by hand, and so the settlements are composed mostly of small stone cottages and are surrounded by past, present and future limestone quarries.

Some of the former quarries have been filled in and landscaped, but others have been flooded and are now filled by blue lagoons. Some of the old quarries are used for various sports activities.

Dove Holes - Bull Ring view
0 - Dove Holes - Bull Ring view
Dove Holes - Bull Ring view
1 - Dove Holes - Bull Ring view

Peak Forest


Slideshow
Peak Forest does not have many trees, for it is named after the Royal Forest of the Peak; a 'forest' being an area set aside for hunting rather than a wooded place. North-west of the village lies Chamber Knowl Farm, where the Swainmote (one of the courts of the Royal Forest) used to meet, but the present building dates from the eighteenth century, long after the forest was abolished.

The Royal Forest originally covered most of the northern half of the Peak District when founded by William the Conquerer, but this area was gradually whittled away by encroachment until only a small area around Peak Forest remained by the 16th century, and the forest was finally abolished in 1674.

The current church dates only from the late 19th century, but the church on this site has an interesting history. It was founded in 1657 by the Countess of Devonshire (at a time when the Commonwealth had forbidden church-building), and is one of a very few in the country dedicated to Charles the King and Martyr - so it is clear where the Devonshires' sympathies lay! Until the late eighteenth century the vicar had the right to conduct marriages between 'any persons', 'from anywhere' and 'at any time'. The village hence became a sort of local Gretna Green.

A less accessible feature of Peak Forest is Eldon Hole, one of the seven wonders of the Peak. It is the deepest local pothole; an alarming, evil-looking chasm in the side of Eldon Hill to the north of the village. Access from the village is via Eldon Lane, and is a half-hour walk. The hole is approximately 60 metres deep, but was probably once much deeper, having been part-filled by stones over the years. It was first descended in 1780 and is now quite regularly descended by potholers. Near to Edlon Hill is Starvehouse Moor, a very interesting area and one of the few Limestone Heaths that can be found in the Peak District. Here you will find the curious phenomenon of heather growing on limestone. Made possible by the acid nature of the Loess soils in which it grows.

The village has a shop and a pub, the Devonshire Arms. There is a well-dressing in mid-July.

Eldon Hole, Peak Forest
0 - Eldon Hole, Peak Forest

Sparrowpit


The quaintly named hamlet of Sparrowpit nestles in a wind-swept spot on a high shoulder where the road from Winnats Pass meets the A623 road, which runs between Chapel-en-le-Frith and Chesterfield. The gritstone houses seem to try to shelter behind the hillside to avoid the wind, for there is little natural shelter here.

The only amenity is a pub, called the Wanted Inn. This contains some good pictures of the caves as well as snow-bound winter shots of the pub.

Whaley Bridge


Slideshow
Whaley Bridge is a former mill village centred around the River Goyt, which runs through the village. Until recently the village was dominated by a dyeworks, which provided the main local employment but this closed in the late 1990s.

Whaley Bridge first came to prominence as the terminus of the High Peak Canal - built at the end of the 18th century to carry limestone from the quarries above Chapel-en-le-Frith to Manchester and beyond. This was originally serviced by the High Peak Tramway - a primitive railway built in the 1780s which linked the quarries at Dove Holes with the main canal basin at nearby Buxworth. The Tramway was an interesting piece of engineering, comprising several fairly level sections with steep 'inclined planes' in between them. Horses pulled wagons full of stone along the level sections, and on the inclined planes there were stationary steam engines to haul the wagons up and down.

The Cromford and High Peak Railway opened in 1830 and linked Whaley Bridge with Buxton and then across the White Peak to Cromford. This unique railway crossed some formidable terrain with steep inclines and used a mixture of stationary engines hauling wagons up steep inclines, like that at High peak Junction south of Cromford, with normal sections of railway track in between. Rather similar in principle to the earlier High Peak Tramway.

The railway brought stone from the quarries above Buxton down to the canal at Whaley Bridge but turned out not to be viable so it shut before the end of the 19th century.

The railway linking Buxton to Manchester was constructed in the 1870s and passed through Whaley Bridge, bringing improved communications and boom conditions to this and other settlements along the line, with a rapid expansion of the local textile industry as well as the possibility of commuting to Manchester. Most of the buildings of the village date from this period.

Bugsworth Canal Basin
0 - Bugsworth Canal Basin
Bugsworth Canal Basin
1 - Bugsworth Canal Basin
Bugsworth Canal Basin
2 - Bugsworth Canal Basin
Bugsworth - Navigation Inn
3 - Bugsworth - Navigation Inn

All material © Cressbrook Multimedia 1997-2017