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Peak District Towns and Villages: Longshaw Estate and Country Park

Villages around Longshaw Estate and Country Park

Abney


Slideshow
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

Calver


Calver was once a centre for cotton spinning and the impressive 7-storey Calver Mill that operated from 1785 to 1920 still stands on the River Derwent to the East of the main village at Calver Bridge, just off the A623. The mill's somewhat austere external appearance allowed it stand as a film-double for Colditz Castle in a film about the prisoner of war camp but it has since been converted to flats and its appearance has now softened considerably.

The centre of Calver village itself is to the west of the main road, clustered around the Derwent Water Arms. There are some lovely old houses plus a lot of new ones, for this is now quite a fashionable place to live.

Calver Sough lies just to the north of Calver village, near the traffic lights where the Bakewell to Grindleford Road crosses the A623. The spot obtains its name from the 'sough' or mine drainage canal which emerges just near here. It was built to drain the lead mines on Longstone Edge behind and there are a number of similar soughs nearby, the best known of which is Stoke Sough, to the north of Calver. This emerges on private land belonging to Stoke House (now a hotel) and a bathhouse was constructed over the sough exit.

Calver Sough has a pub, a useful petrol station/shop and a branch of Outside, the outdoor equipment shop, which has also a cafe.

Curbar


Slideshow
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


Slideshow
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


Slideshow
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


Slideshow
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


Slideshow
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

Holmesfield


Slideshow
Holmesfield is a small village perched on a ridge overlooking the head of the Cordwell valley. Outside the Peak Park boundaries, it is nevertheless beautifully situated, surrounded by fine countryside and with good views towards both Sheffield and Chesterfield. The village was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.

The area was settled by Anglians in the 5th century and in Saxon times was on the northern edge of the Kingdom of Mercia. However, the name of the village is of combined Norse and Anglo-Saxon origin, (meaning raised pasture-land), so at some time the area was presumably settled by Vikings. The fact that many old local road names have the suffix 'gate' (from Old Norse for 'way') is another sign of Viking influence.

What is known is that in 641AD a group of monks from Lindisfarne in Northumbria set up a place of worship here, on top of the hill where the church now stands. The first record of a chapel here is from 1461, but the modern church (dedicated to St Swithin) dates only from 1826 and little is known about the building it replaced, though it would have been medieval and may have included Norman or Saxon fragments. There is the stump of a Saxon cross in the churchyard - this was damaged during the Reformation and has been converted into a sundial.

The manor of Holmesfield would have been held by a Saxon 'Thegn', and at the Conquest in 1066 it was given to the Deigncourts, who built a small 'motte and bailey' castle on the hilltop 200m west of the church. Later this was replaced by a moated manor house, and still later, in the 1450s, a large timber-framed hall was constructed for William Lord Lovell, the then lord of the manor. This stood about 100m along the main road west of the church, on the opposite side of the Angel Inn, which is thought to have originated as the Lord of the Manor's brewhouse. The Hall still stands but was rebuilt in stone from the 17th century onwards and has more recently been converted into several dwellings.

In 1586 the lordship of the manor passed to Sir John Manners of Haddon Hall, near Bakewell, and his descendants the Dukes of Rutland still own much of the local land.

For several centuries coppicing and smelting were profitable occupations around Holmesfield. Holmesfield Park Wood, originally created by John Deigncourt in 1252 as a deer park, was used as a coppice wood from the 16th century to the First World War. It provided charcoal (for iron smelting - locally and in Sheffield) and white coal (used for lead smelting). In the reign of Elizabeth I there was an iron smelting works in Smeekley Wood situated in the Cordwell Valley below Holmesfield. The 'white coal' was most likely transported to Derbyshire and the lead smelting done there. A network of 'holloways' or sunken tracks once used by carts to transport the products of these industries can be traced around the area.

There are several fine 16th and 17th century houses around Holmesfield. These include the previously mentioned Holmesfield Hall (which has a date stone of 1613), Cartledge Hall (which also has sections which may date from the 15th century) and Unthank Old Hall, in the nearby hamlet of Unthank. The Victorian author Robert Murray Gilchrist (1867-1917) lived at Cartledge Hall from 1892 until his death. He wrote numerous gothic horror and romantic short stories, many of them with local settings and in local dialect, and was a popular local figure.

At one time farming was an important local industry, but in modern times the village is essentially a suburb of Sheffield and most local people work in Sheffield, Chesterfield, or the other nearby cities and towns.

Holmesfield - Cartledge Hall
0 - Holmesfield - Cartledge Hall
Holmesfield Church
1 - Holmesfield Church

Stoney Middleton


Slideshow
Stoney Middleton lies at the foot of Middleton Dale, a spectacular cliff-lined valley which has been much affected by long years of quarrying. The village centre lies just off the main A623 road and is surprisingly secluded and quiet.

There is a small church, St Martin's, which was originally built by Joan Eyre to commemorate her husband's safe return from Agincourt in 1415. Only the tower is original, the nave having burnt down in a fire in 1757 to be replaced in 1759 by an unusual octagonal building.

Nearby are some low buildings which are advertised as the 'Roman Baths', though the current building was constructed in the 19th century. These are fed by some warm springs which issue from the hillside and historical evidence indicates that they were in use from Celtic times, probably forming the focus of a shrine to an aquatic goddess. The earliest documented references to the springs are medieval, but numerous Roman coins have been found locally.

Clustered along the main road is the former toll bar, now a fish and chip shop, a pub called The Moon and an Indian restaurant. Just above the restaurant is 'Lover's Leap' where, in 1762 the jilted Hannah Baddaley flung herself off the clifftop, only to be saved by her voluminous skirts, which acted as a parachute. Sadly she died of natural causes only two years later, still unwed.

Higher up the valley, at the foot of Middleton Dale, the scenery is dominated by Windover Buttress, home of some of the most spectacular rock climbs of the area. There are also several important pot-holes in this dale, notably Carlswark cavern.

Stoney Middleton has a well-dressing in late July.

The upland area to the south of Middleton Dale (between Stoney Middleton and Longstone Edge) has been mined extensively for Fluorspar, leaving large settling ponds full of 'tailings', and resembles a moonscape. It is well worth a visit just to see this scene of desolation. Further south there is the open moorlands of Longstone Edge, one of the few ecologically sensitive Limestone Heaths in the area. Longstone Edge offers excellent walking and views.

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

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