A Pictorial and Descriptive
Guide to Buxton, The Peak, Dovedale, Etc.

Ward, Lock & Co.'s

Illustrated Guide Books
Series 1939-40

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013



Scope of Book - The Peak and the “Lows” - Derbyshire Valleys - The Buxton District - Geology, Botany, Archaeology - Natural History - Historical Note - Books to Read - Railway Routes - Hotels and Tariffs.

THE region described in this Guide is with excellent reason considered one of the most picturesque and interesting in Great Britain and also one of the most restorative. With Buxton as its centre, it extends southward, through Dovedale, to Ashbourne, and northward over the Peak District, that extensive tract of hilly moorland composing the southern extremity of the Pennine Range.

As a holiday ground for walkers and cyclists it is an area almost without rival in England; and although few of the roads are of the wide, flat and straight order which is supposed to delight the motorist, those who bring their cars are not likely to regret it. The car, in fact, has opened up many delightful but formerly remote parts of the district: where few visitors but hardy pedestrians were seen a few years ago, there are now parking places for cars; motor-coaches run through erstwhile quiet valleys, and every other cottage advertises “Teas”.

The Peak and the “Lows”.

To prevent misunderstanding and possible disappointment, it is well to say at once that the word “peak”, as used in connection with the district, has a meaning out of the ordinary. The small area of high ground that is “the Peak” according to the Ordnance Survey is no sharply-pointed hill, but a plateau, and throughout the district true peaks are a rarity, the hills, with few exceptions, having rounded summits. Another term apt to be misunderstood is the word “low”, which enters into certain names: It is a derivation from the Saxon hlow, a covering, and indicates probably in every instance an ancient burial-place. The choice of hill-tops by



the early Britons for this purpose was perhaps not invariable, but the cultivation of the lower ground has removed practically all traces there. Many of the Derbyshire hills with names ending in low have been examined, and skeletons, arrow-heads, celts or daggers, and other relics have been, found in nearly all (consult Bateman's Antiquities of Derbyshire).

Derbyshire Valleys.

It is not the heights, however, which form the most remarkable feature of the Peak District, but the valleys. Some of these are narrow and precipitous, but clad with foliage, and so winding and land-locked that they seem to possess their own sky; others are broad, flat and verdant, with their sides rising to a cornice of brown rock. Ruskin wrote of Derbyshire: “The whole gift of the country is in its glens. The wide acreage of field or moor above is wholly without interest; it is only in the clefts of it, and the dingles, that traveller finds his joy”. He can, however, have thought only of the two limestone tablelands between Buxton and Dovedale and between Buxton and Castleton, which are bleak and marred by many stone walls; for the hills of Derby - especially those on the gritstone, have an unrivalled to all who love space and air, and a wide and varied landscape. Byron declared enthusiastically that “There are prospects in Derbyshire as noble as any in Greece or Switzerland”.

A Geological Note.

For visitors who find pleasure in studying the rocks the area presents features of endless interest. Looking at the district geologically, we see that its surface is divided, almost in equal proportions, between millstone grit and secondary limestone. In many parts the carboniferous limestone abounds in fossils. Encrinites are found on Grin Low, and corals at the Miller's Dale end of the road thence to Tideswell. Near Fairfield and in many other places are large deposits of Toadstone (locally Dunstone), the lava of extinct volcanoes. Also claiming a visit for their special features are Chrome Hill, Park House Hill and High Wheeldon. On the margin of the limestone formation “swallow holes” may be seen in all stages, while the caves in the area around Castleton are unrivalled in Britain.


The millstone grit on the north and west sides of the town shows interesting escarpments of its strata, and along the courses of the River Wye and its tributaries are the Yoredale shales. Derbyshire is rich in minerals, and yields fine specimens of the ores of lead, copper and zinc, as well as good specimens of quartz and other crystals and of bitumen. Helpful books are Arnold Bemrose's Geology of Derbyshire; Mello's Handbook to the Geology of Derbyshire, Dale's Scenery and Geology of the Peak of Derbyshire, and the Memoirs the Geological Society on the Carboniferous Limestone and the Geology of the Country round Stockport, Macclesfield, and Leak.

For Botanists

no less than for geologists does the area around Buxton possess special interest. On one side is the flora peculiar to a limestone tract, on the other is the widely different vegetation that flourishes on the gritstone hills and peaty moorlands, and in each division rare flowers are found. Ferns and mosses are present in rich variety, and although fungi are less fully represented than in more wooded parts, a fair number of species may be found, the best hunting-grounds being Dovedale and the Dane Valley. Among the books the botanist may find useful are Linton's Flora of Derbyshire, Painter's Flora of Derbyshire, Jewitt's Wild Plants of Buxton (1811), Howe's Ferns of Derbyshire, Gerard Smith's Ferns Derbyshire, and Robertson's A Guide to Buxton and the Peak of Derbyshire.


who visit Buxton are in the midst of an almost continuous record of the advance of civilization from the days of Palaeolithic man. Long barrows, round barrows and other relics of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages are found throughout the district. Only a few miles from Buxton is Arbor Low, “the Stonehenge, of the Midlands”. By the side of the London Road, near the Duke of York, there can be seen the line of one of the Roman roads that met at Buxton, where the invaders built baths, in which to enjoy and utilize the warm healing waters that still benefit multitudes. The Batham Gate, passing through Fairfield, and The Street, near Goyt's Bridge, are of Roman origin Of the period that followed the withdrawal of the Rom there are numerous relics, taken from the caves into which


the Britons fled to escape the Picts. There are battlefield where Danes and Saxons fought to the death. The triumph of Peace is marked by the early Christian crosses at Bakewell, Eyam and Taddington, and in not a few of the churches that arose in succeeding years are tombs and brasses of archaeological interest. If books are needed, the following may be of service:- Early Man in Britain, W. Boyd Dawkins; Ten Years' Diggings, Bateman; Scenery and Geology of the Peak of Derbyshire, E. Dale; Ancient Remains near Buxton, Ward and M. Salt; Churches of Derbyshire, Cox.

Natural History.

Grouse, snipe, curlew and blackcock, merlin, magpie, jay, pipits, sparrow-hawk, kestrel, and more small birds than can here be named make the moorlands their home. The dipper haunts the mountain streams, and occasionally a heron or a kingfisher maybe seen. Wagtails, willow-warblers, jackdaws, missel-thrushes and all the swallow tribe favour the limestone dales. Otters prey on the fish in the Dove, and even the badger is not yet extinct. W.H. Hudson devoted three chapters of his Adventures among Birds to observations made about Axe Edge.

Monsal Dale, Deep Dale and Combs Lake are most attractive spots for the entomologist, and in the limestone district around Buxton the conchologist finds many a treasure.

Undoubtedly the best record of Derbyshire birds is the nine-section contribution of the Rev. F.C.R. Jourdain and others to the journal of the Derbyshire Natural History Society (1908-19I7).

The best book authority is F.B. Whitlock's Birds of Derbyshire, published in 1893. The earliest is, we believe, Dr. C. Leigh's Natural History of Lancashire, Cheshire and the Peak of Derbyshire, published in 1700.

From references already made it will have been gathered that-

The History of the District

may be traced through many centuries. Buxton is the on place in England, besides Bath, where warm mineral springs were regularly used during the Roman period and fitted with buildings suitable for the use of bathers. Lead-covered


baths were then in existence, and traces of Roman masonry have from time to time been discovered. Seven Roman road converged on this important centre. Bakewell and its bath were known and appreciated in the Saxon period. Castleton carries back the imagination to the days when William the Conqueror and his son Peveril erected a strong castle to secure Norman ascendancy in the neighbourhood. In Plantagenet and Tudor times Buxton was much frequented by suffer from rheumatic and similar affections, although for a b period immediately after the Reformation its “milk-warm waters” were tabooed. In pre-Reformation days the springs and fountains, by reason of the medicinal effect of the water, were dedicated to St. Anne, who “gives health and living great to those who love her most”, and the walls of a chapel dedicated to her were decorated, from time immemorial, with votive offerings and the crutches of cured cripples. On the introduction of the reformed religion these interesting tokens of gratitude were destroyed, and the use of the waters was prohibited by Sir William Basset, at the instance of Lord Cromwell. The closing of the baths and wells, however, cannot have been of long duration, for Mary Queen of Scots, visited Buxton at least four times while in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury at Tutbury, to obtain relief from “the rheum” contracted during her imprisonment in cold and damp cells.

As years passed the waters became more and more appreciated, but still Buxton remained a village, and less than a century ago was but part of the parish of Bakewell. The present-day importance of Buxton is a matter of common knowledge.

Books to Read.

Many writers have been attracted by the romantic scenery and the traditions and historical incidents of the district, so that there is quite a long list of novels which to other merits add the charm of locality. Among these books for holiday reading are Sir Walter Scott's Peveril of the Peak; George Eliot's Adam Bede; Mrs. Humphry Ward's History of David Grieve; Joseph Hatton's The Banishment of Jesop Blythe (a story of Castleton and the Peak Cavern), also his , story of Eyam, The Dagger and the Cross; Adeline Sergeant's Sibyl Fletcher; The Brave Men of Eyam, by the Rev: G.


Hoare; A Peakland Faggot, The Rue Bargain, Willowbrake, A Courtesy Dame, and others by Murray Gilchrist, who was essentially the novelist of the Peak District; Yoxall's Romany Stone, a story of gypsy and Methodist life in the Peak District about the beginning of the last century; The Heiress of Haddon, by W.E. Doubleday; Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall, by Charles Major; Sweet Doll of Haddon Hall, by Muddock; Lady Newdigate's Cheverals of Cheveral Manor; The King of the Peak, by Bennet; Paul's Blacksmith of Voe; Judge Ruegg's detective story, Flash; Jack o' Winnats, by M. Andrews; A Derbyshire Tragedy, F.C. Boden. Among non-fiction works (in addition to those noted on pp. 11-12) may be mentioned: Highways and Byways of Derbyshire, by J.B. Frith; A Derbyshire Anthology, by Thomas Moult;; The Peak of Derbyshire, by John Leyland; Pictures of the Peak, by E. Bradbury; certain chapters of C.E. Montague's book of essays on The Right Place; The Churches of Derbyshire and Memorials of Old Derbyshire, by Cox; Old Halls, Manors, and Families of Derbyshire, by J.T.; Guide to Tapestries, by Lady Victoria Manners; the immortal Compleat Angler of Izaak Walton; Paxton and the Bachelor Duke, the story of the rise of Chatsworth, by Violet Markham.

Railway Facilities.


Buxton is connected with London and the South by the London Midland and Scottish Railway. The former Midland Route runs up by way of Derby and a short branch line 5½ miles) from Miller's Dale - the final 10 miles or so being among the most beautiful on any English railway. From London (St. Pancras) the distance is 165 miles, the journey taking about 3¾ hours. Ordinary Return Fares: 68s. 10d. first, 41s. 4d. third. Monthly Return: 41s. 9d. first, 27s. 9d. third.

The former London & North-Western Ashbourne line provides an alternative route to Buxton which, though slightly longer than the Midland, is very popular. Ordinary Return Fares from Euston: 74s. 2d. first, 44s. 6d. third. Monthly Return: 44s. 9d. first, 29s. 9d. third.

Further connections are provided by the lines formerly known as the North Staffordshire Railway, a system which throws out arms from Stoke-on-Trent to Crewe. Market


Drayton, Stafford, etc., to Ashbourne, Burton and Derby, to Macclesfield, Stockport, Marple, etc.

The London & North Eastern Railway enters the district at Chesterfield and at Derby by a branch from Nottingham.

Routes from the West.

Passengers from the West may travel southwards to Rocester (London Midland & Scottish Railway - Ashbourne branch) by the Churnet Valley Line, or they may go northwards to join the Manchester trunk lines.

Manchester to Buxton

I. The former London and North-Western Route (London Road Station).- This route, 25¼ miles in length, passes through Stockport, and 12 miles from Manchester reaches Disley. Here may be seen, upon a height on the right, a square turreted building called Lyme Cage. Beyond Disley the line runs at a considerable height along the west side of the Goyt Valley, but it is almost level with the river at Whaley Bridge 16¼ miles), where the Goyt Valley is left and the line passes eastward to Chapel-en-le-Frith, “the Chapel in the Forest”.

II. The former Midland Route (Central Station).- route, 32 miles in length, is viâ New Mills 17½ miles); Chinley, and Chapel-en-le-Frith (22 miles). It passes through Dove Holes Tunnel, which at a depth of 200 feet bores the limestone and gritstone of Cow Low for a distance of nearly 3,000 yards. On leaving the tunnel, the line reaches Peak Forest station. There it attains its summit level 985 feet, descending thence for nearly five miles, through Great Rocks Dale and beautiful Chee Dale.

Sheffield to Buxton.

By the Dore and Chinley Line.- This part of the former Midland system has the distinction of being “the most tunnelled bit of railway in this or any other country”. Over four miles of the twenty which lie between the two places from which it is named are run through the Peak district mountains. The open part is through three beautiful valleys - Derwent Dale, Hope Dale and Edale, embracing the finest scenery of Upper Peakland.


Holiday Contract Tickets.

Holiday Contract Tickets, permitting unlimited railway travel in the Buxton area for one week for 10s. third class and 15s. first class, are very useful for those intending to use the railway freely. Ticket for a bicycle is 5s., and for a dog 2s. 6d. a week.

To Buxton by Motor-Coach.

Many visitors take advantage of the regular services connecting Buxton with the principal towns and cities. Details are too variable to be quoted here, but are usually well advertised.

For Motor Routes and notes on Motoring in the Buxton district, see pp. 19-26.

Hotels and Tariffs.

The hotels of Buxton have long been noted for their excellence. The town also contains some good hydropathic establishments, as well as numerous boarding and apartment houses. All over the district of which the town is the centre the traveller will find himself well cared for. The tariffs in the list on following pages have been obtained by direct inquiry from the proprietors, but owing to fluctuations of price and possible changes of management the terms should be regarded only as an approximate indication of the grade of establishment. In all cases prices should be arranged by previous inquiry.

[ABBREVIATIONS: R., bedroom; b., breakfast; l., Luncheon; t., tea; d., dinner; a., attendance; temp., temperance; fr. from. Week-end terms include dinner or supper on Saturday and breakfast on Monday.]



Spa: R. and b., fr. 10/6; l., 3/6; t., 1/6; d., 6/- Boarding terms: fr. 13/6 per day.

Lee Wood.

Old Hall: R. and b., 10/6; l., 3/6; t., 1/6; d., 6/-. Boarding terms:: fr. 15/- per day; fr. 105/- per week; fr. 25/- per week-end.

St. Ann's: R. and b., fr. 10/6; l., 3/6; t., 1/6; d., 6/-. Boarding terms: fr. 16/6 per day.

Grove: R. and b., fr. 8/6; l., fr. 3/-; t., 1/6; d., fr. 4/6. Boarding terms: fr. 12/6 per day; fr. 73/6 per week.

Savoy: R. and b., fr. 8/6; l., 3/6; t., 1/6; d., 4/6. Boarding terms: fr. 15 /6 per day.

Eagle: R. and b., fr. 8/6; l., 2/6; t., fr. r/-; d., 4/-.

Hydropathic Establishments.

Haddon Hall Hydro.

Buxton Hydro.


[ABBREVIATIONS: R., bedroom; b., breakfast; L., Luncheon; t., tea; d., dinner; a., attendance; temp., temperance; fr. from. Week-end terms include dinner or supper on Saturday and breakfast on Monday.]

Buxton - continued.

Private Hotels and Boarding Houses.

Bedford: R. and b., fr. 7/6; l., 2/6; t., 1/-; d., 3/6. Boarding terms: fr. 10, 10/6 per day; fr. 73/6 per week.

Buckingham: R. and b., fr. 8/6; l., 2/6; t., 1/-; d., 3/6. Boarding terms: fr. 10/6 per day.



Towers, College Road: R., b., and bath, 7/6; l., 2/6; t., 9d., d., 3/6. Boarding terms: fr. 9/- per day.



New Inns.


Green Man and Black's Head: R. and b., 9/6; l., 3/-; t., 1/3; d., 4/-. Boarding terms: fr. 12/6 per day; 84/- per week.

George and Dragon.



Rutland Arms: R. and b., 9/6; l., 3/6; t., 1/6; d., 5/-. Boarding terms: fr. 15/- per day.

Royal Oak: R. and b., 6/6; l., 2/6; t., fr. 1/3. Boarding terms: 10/6 per day; fr. 63/- per week.


Marquis of Granby.


Peacock: R. and b., 8/-; l., 3/-; t., 1/6; d., 4/-. Boarding terms: fr.14/- per day.

Devonshire Arms: R. and b., 6/6, l., 2/6; t., 1/3; d., 4/-. Boarding terms: 12/6 per day.


Bull's Head. Castle: R. and b., 6/6; l., 2/6; t., 1/3; d., 4/-. Boarding terms: 10/- per day.

Nag's Head.

George: R. and b., 7/6; l., 3/-; t., 1/6; d., 3/6. Boarding terms: 12/6 per day.

Peak: R. and b., 6/-; l., fr. 1/6; t., fr. 1/-; d., fr. 2/6. Boarding terms: 8/6 per day.


King's Arms.

Royal Oak.

Bull's Head.


Church: R. and b., fr. 7/-; l., 216; t., 1/4; d., fr. 3/6. Boarding terms: fr.10/6 per day.

Nag's Head.


Bull's Head.

Royal Oak.

Miners' Arms.

Great Longstone.


White Lion.

Grindleford Bridge.

Maynard Arms: R. and b., single, 5/-; double, 10/-; l., 3/-; t., 1/6; d., 4/6. Boarding terms: 12/6 per day; 87/6 per week; 25/- per week-end.


Charles Cotton.




Ordnance Arms.


Scotsman's Pack.


[ABBREVIATIONS: R., bedroom; b., breakfast; L., Luncheon; t., tea; d., dinner; a., attendance; temp., temperance; fr. from. Week-end terms include dinner or supper on Saturday and breakfast on Monday.]





Old Hall.


Izaak Walton: R. and b., single, fr. 7/6; l., 3/6; t., 1/6; d., 4/6. Boarding terms: 100/- per week.


Red Lion.



Okeover (temp.)

Miller's Dale.

Anglers' Rest.

Over Haddon.

Lathkill View.


Peacock: R. and b., fr. 13/6; l., 4/-; t., 2/-; d., 6/-. Boarding terms: fr. 21/- per day.


Queen's Arms.



Dog and Partridge: R. and b., 6/6; l., 2/6; t., fr. 1/3; d., 3/6. Boarding terms: 9/6 per day; 55/- per week.

Peveril of the Peak: R. and b., 8/6; l., 2/6; t., 1/3; d., 4/6. Boarding terms: 84/- per week.


George: R. and b., 6/-; l., 1/9; t., 1/3; d., 2/6. Boarding terms: 8/6 per day.

Bull's Head.


New Inn.


Bull's Head.


Thornhill Arms.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in November 2013.

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