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




THIS portion of the Peak District lies to the north-east of Buxton, from which it can be visited by rail or by road.


Buxton is left by way of Fairfield, some 2 miles beyond which is the quarrying village of-


so called on account of the large number of small water-swallows in the neighbourhood. In local dialect it is “Darf holes” - Anglicé, “dwarf holes”.

A Water-Swallow is a hole in which a stream disappears, descending into an underground channel and emerging to the surface at a distance, in some cases, of several miles. In many instances, when the streams are full, the swallow is unable to receive the whole of the water, and the diminished flow continues its course along the surface; but in dry weather the entire stream disappears.

Lying on the right of the main road is the ancient circle known as the “Bull Ring”, now scheduled for protection as an ancient monument, though to-day no stones remain to show its link with the past.

The road turns sharply to the right at the foot of the hill opposite The Clough Inn and half a mile farther reaches the Ebbing and Flowing Well, a “Wonder of the Peak”. This is by the roadside, on the right hand, almost opposite the gates of Bennetston Hall.

After much rain the phenomenon, although not as marked as it used to be, takes place every ten or fifteen minutes, the water issuing from a small aperture in the side of the hillock on which the well is located. The ebb and flow is believed to be due to a curved conduit through which the water has to



pass. One limb of this conduit becomes gradually filled with water as it drains to the surface. At the same time the water rises to the same level in the other limb of this natural syphon; and when the second limb has become filled to its farther extremity the flow takes place and continues until both limbs of the conduit are emptied, when the flow ceases, and the syphon has to be again filled. The visitor must not, however, expect to see a picturesque fountain or anything romantic. The well looks what it really is - nothing more than an ordinary watering-place for cattle, one side of which is protected by a stout stone wall.

According to Charles Cotton's Wonders of the Peake, 1683

“. . . whether this a Wonder be; or no
'Twill be one, Reader, if thou seest it flow,
For having been there ten times, for the nonce
I never yet could see it flow but once!”

At the top of the hill is a hamlet bearing the singular name of Sparrowpit.

By making a digression to the right we can visit the rather bleak village of Peak Forest. The Church, founded by the Countess of Devonshire, is dedicated to King Charles the Martyr. By virtue of Royal grant it had a “peculiar” jurisdiction, and thus became a kind of Gretna Green, for the priest could celebrate a valid marriage ceremony between “any persons”, from “anywhere”, at “any time”! At one period about 100 marriages a year were solemnized here.

This locality was formerly the centre of a huge Royal Deer Forest; now it is one vast quarry. From Sparrowpit the road lies straight on and after a mile and a half there is a track on the right leading to Elden Hole, another “Wonder of the Peak”. It is a chasm on the southern side of Elden Hill (1,543 feet) and was formerly looked upon with awe as being fathomless, so that Sir Aston Cockayne, of Ashbourne, wrote in 1658-

“Here, on a hill's side steep
Is Elden Hole, so depe
That no man living knows
How far its hollow goes”.

In 1780, however, an explorer discovered the bottom at a depth of 180 feet. The hole is a natural cavern having its


roof and walls covered with stalactitic deposits - in some places smooth and white as marble, in others like frosted silver - the rougher portions of the rock assuming all sorts of fantastic shapes. The Cavern is not accessible to the general public.

In a mile or so the main road reaches its highest point at Winnats Head (1,351 feet). Unless it is desired to visit the Blue John Mine and the Treak Cliff Cavern, walkers should here turn off to the right and reach Castleton by way of the Winnats Pass. The road is too rough for anything but “trial” motoring. From Winnats Head the main road skirts the foot of Mam Tor, passing the Blue John Mine (p. 75), and after a hairpin bend descends into Castleton, passing the Treak Cliff Cavern (p. 74). Before reaching the village a lane leads sharply back to the Speedwell Mine (p. 73) and the Winnats.

Those who reach Castleton by railway travel viâ Chinley over the Dore and Chinley Line, “the most tunnelled bit of railway in this or any other country”. As already mentioned, over four miles of the twenty which lie between the two places from which it is named are run through the bowels of the earth. In its open part it traverses two beautiful valleys-Edale and the Hope Valley.

One of the tunnels - the Cowburn - is entered some 2 miles from Chinley Junction. It is 3,700 yards in length, and lies 900 feet below the surface of the long hill through which it is driven. A mile or so from the eastern end of the tunnel is the old-world village of-


giving its name to the charming Vale of Edale (p. 55). Radiating from the station are delightful walks, through scenery unsurpassed in the Peak District. One of the most interesting, affording a fine view of the whole Edale valley, lies along a path west of the village towards the hamlet of Upper Booth. Jacob's Ladder, as stepping-stones on the hillside are called, is not far distant, and readers of David Grieve may acquaint themselves with one of the scenes pictured in the story by going as far as Edale Cross (p. 53), from which Hayfield station is only 3 miles distant.

The high ground south of Edale Station and separating Edale from Castleton commands fine views of the Vale of


Edale and Hope Valley, the latter including Castleton and the picturesque ruins of Peveril Castle; and as already stated (p. 56) provides a splendid ridge walk all the way from Rushup Edge to Hope. Or one can descend directly to Castleton.

At the eastern end of Edale is-


a very ancient village, built near the junction of the Styx (sometimes called the Peak's Hole Water, because it flows out of the Peak Cavern, p. 72) with the Noe. Its principal feature is the Parish Church (St. Peter's), built about the fifteenth century, in the Perpendicular style. This quaint-looking little structure, standing close to the Noe and almost hidden by sycamore and lime trees, has a squat tower and a curiously stunted spire, which, seen through the trees, appear by no means ungraceful. The porch has a parvise and a canopied niche. The transepts and chancel are surmounted by an embattled parapet, with crocketed pinnacles. The gargoyles are very peculiar. In the interior of the church are to be seen a piscina, sedilia, an old Norman font, and a well-preserved carved oak pulpit, dating from 1652. The Old Hall Hotel was formerly the seat of the Balguys, a family possessing extensive estates in the neighbourhood in the seventeenth century.

Surrounded as it is by Mam Tor, or the Shivering Mountain (1,709 feet, see p. 76), Lose Hill (1,563 feet), and the curiously named Win Hill (1,532 feet), there is no vale in the Peak District more beautiful than that of Hope, though others may be grander and more rugged.

The most popular walk from Hope is north-eastward over Win Hill to Ashopton. Take the Edale road, beside the Old Hall Inn and in a third of a mile, at a bend in the road, a lane goes down to the river and crosses it just below a weir. Some 200 yards beyond the bridge, stone steps lead up the bank on the right, to a path crossing the railway. This path leads up to Twitchill Farm, then bears up to the left, crossing the ridge a little to the left of the highest point and descending to Ashopton.

At Ashopton we enter the main Derwent valley, just where the waters of the Ashop, coming down from Kinder Scout and the Glossop moors, join it. The inn and one or two cafés and farmhouses constitute the hamlet, which is, as it were,


the axle of a wheel, of which the roads to Sheffield, Hathersage, Glossop, and Derwent Chapel are the spokes. In all directions the scenery ranks amongst the finest of the Peak District and the ascent of Win Hill is as pleasant and remunerative a little climb as any in Derbyshire. Unfortunately the beauty of the scene is doomed, for a great new reservoir is being built here in connection with the extension of the Derwent Water Works. It is estimated that the new Lady Bower Reservoir will be completed in 1940.

It is a charming walk or drive of some 5 miles from Ashopton to the Derwent Reservoirs, from which Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham draw water. Midway is the ancient village of Derwent. The Hall (formerly a seat of the Duke of Norfolk; now a Youth Hostel) was built in 1672, and has been repeatedly enlarged. The Parish Church, consecrated in 1869, has a font bearing the date 1670 and the arms of the Balguys, the original owners of the Hall. The Reservoirs are two lakes, each about 2 miles long. The water is held up by massive lofty dams across the valley of the Derwent. To meet future requirements, it is proposed to impound water in such a manner and on such a scale that Derwent Hall, with two villages and 3,000 acres of farm lands, will b completely submerged. Fortunately, some years yet remain ere the Hall will be required for sacrifice.

According to a local saying: “Mony a one lives in Hope as ne'er saw Castleton”; but for visitors who come by rail Hope is the station which gives access to the villages of Castleton and Bradwell (p. 77).


Hotels.- See Introduction, p. 17.
Motor-buses to or from Hope Station, 2 miles; and from Buxton, Sheffield, etc.

Motorists making the circular tour embracing the following route usually make the outward journey from Buxton viâ Doveholes, returning from Castleton viâ Tideswell.

The public motors to Castleton from Buxton generally run viâ Miller's Dale (p. 57) and Tideswell (p. 118). From the latter the route takes a north-easterly direction past Tideswell Lane Head, a long half-mile, to Windmill, where it turns to the north-north-west. Soon Bradwell Dale is reached, with towering rocks on either side. At the bottom of the Dale is Bradwell (p. 77), 4 miles from Tideswell. From Bradwell the route lies along part of an old Roman road to


Brough, 1½ miles, the site of a Roman station (Anavio). Thence it passes through Hope, a mile distant, and, turning to the west, reaches Castleton, 2 miles beyond Hope. By this route the distance between Buxton and Castleton is 16 miles.

Castleton is set amidst picturesque scenery and is a convenient centre for the most mountainous part of the Peak District, whilst its remarkable caverns attract many visitors.

Among the old customs which still linger here is the ringing of the curfew during the winter months; another gives the villagers a carnival on May 29, called Garland Day, when there is a procession, with a mounted king and queen, the former carrying a huge garland of flowers. A band of music and morris-dancers enliven the nooks and corners of the village, and a Maypole on the market-place becomes the centre of a joyous crowd. Sprigs of oak are worn by the villagers, many of whom ascribe the gaiety as commemorating the Restoration of King Charles II, who landed at Dover on May 29, 1660. At sunset the great garland is hoisted by means of a rope to the summit of the church tower, being there secured on the central pinnacle, which it decorates until it is withered.

The Parish Church

(generally closed; key can be obtained at the Vicarage, close by)

is dedicated to St. Edmund, and dates from the Norman Conquest, when it was built by Peveril, the founder - or restorer, as the case may be - of the Castle. The Church exhibits all the styles of architecture which have prevailed since that period. It consists of chancel, nave with aisles, and south porch, and has a pinnacled tower at the west end. It contains an ancient stone font, and there is a fine Norman archway between nave and chancel. The chancel contains a painting by Van Dyck, representing the Appearance to the Shepherds. The doors of the old oak pews still bear the names of the occupants in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The vestry contains a good library, the gift of a former vicar, including some valuable and curious works - among others, a copy of the “Breeches” Bible (so called from the unusual rendering of Genesis iii. 7) and a Cranmer Bible.

Castleton obtained its name from its close connection with-


Peveril Castle

(Admission, threepence. Official guide, 2d., on sale at the gate.)

a fortress which towers above the quaint small houses of the village and which is a conspicuous feature in any characteristic view of Castleton. The ruin is reached by a zigzag path. The stronghold is inaccessible on every side save one, and even there the approach is an artificial one, to obviate the severity of the ascent; and the very narrow isthmus was guarded by a keep. “The fortress hangs over the mouth of the Devil's Cavern; its founder chose his nest”, says Sir Walter Scott, “upon the principles upon which an eagle selects her eyry, and built it in such a fashion, as if he had intended it, as an Irishman said of the Martello towers, for the sole purpose of puzzling posterity”. Its position was wellnigh impregnable before the discovery of gunpowder.

The lordship was granted, with a number of others in Derbyshire, by William the Conqueror to William Peveril in 1068. The north curtain wall may be ascribed to him and to his son, William, who was disinherited in 1155, his estates being forfeited to the Crown. In 1157 Henry II received the homage of Malcolm, King of Scotland, within its walls. He visited it on several occasions, and in 1176 erected the keep at a cost of £135. During the rebellion of the barons against King John, the Castle was garrisoned by the rebels. In the reign of Edward III it passed to the Duchy of Lancaster, of which it still forms a part.

The few remains are very interesting, and recently H.M. Office of Works has carried out some of its intelligent repairs. The north curtain wall is well preserved and there are parts of the west curtain, which is of a later date. The keep is also standing, and forms a prominent object in the landscape from every direction. St. John Hope describes it as “a characteristic Late Norman rectangular keep, about 60 feet high, and measuring 21 feet A inches by 19 feet 2 inches internally, with walls 8 feet thick”. The castle-yard occupied nearly the whole of the summit, and was cut off from the remainder of the ridge by a dry ditch. The gateway was on the east side. Portions of the ashlar masonry of the keep are embodied in Castleton church.

On the south side of the precipice on which the Castle stands is-


Cave Dale,

a beautiful and secluded valley reached through a little gap leading from the village Square. The narrow floor is formed of short soft turf. It is a spot which the visitor with time at his disposal should not miss. In the course of an ascent of the Dale delightful views varying with each upward step are obtained of the Castle and Hope Valley. The Dale emerges on to the moors where there is a junction of four moorland tracks: Hope - Buxton - Chapel - Castleton. The latter may be regained by way of the Winnats (p. 76), with Mam Tor in front of us, increasing in grandeur as we approach it, and the fine mass of Rushup Edge keeping guard on our left.

The Caverns.

The Caverns, etc.- It should be noted that inspection of the various caves involves certain expenses in guides' fees, lighting, etc., and that if only one or two visitors share these the cost of visiting one place may be as much as 5s. per head. During the season there is usually no difficulty, as parties are made up every half-hour or so, or even more frequently; but out of the season it is advisable, if economy be an object, to visit Castleton on a Saturday.
Those who are not perfectly sound in wind and limb should also bear in mind that although the inspection of the Peak Cavern involves practically no steps (the path being more or less level throughout)-a remark which also applies to the Treak Cliff Cavern, and the flight of steps down to the Speedwell Mine is perfectly safe and well lit, the tour of the Blue John Mine involves a descent of some 160 steps and a number of steep passages - and their consequent re-ascent.

The Caverns usually shown at and near Castleton are four in number, and differ much in character, but the hills have many smaller caves and also old mine shafts. Of their kind these caves are the most remarkable in the country; but they lack the marvellous beauty of the Cheddar Caves. The Peak Cavern is almost wholly a natural formation, the sole work of man being the enlargement of some of the passages. The Speedwell Mine comes next in point of distance, and is rightly regarded as the most sensational. The Blue John Mine has the finest incrustations, though the recently opened Treak Cliff Cavern is hardly less remarkable in this respect. Nearest to the centre of the village is the Peak Cavern. This is reached by a lane from the north-west corner of the Square which passes the Douglas Museum (admission 6d., children 3d.), of far greater interest than many more pretentious establishments. There are a number of interesting locks, ancient and modern; beautiful specimens of local mineral


and, perhaps most fascinating of all, a collection of miniature models of machinery, buildings, etc.

A few yards beyond the Museum the lane reaches the river known, from its adventurous upper course, as the Peakshole Water (of which more is seen when we visit the Peak Cavern). Do not cross the bridge, but turn up the passage between the cottages on the left and through the garden to the Russett Well, a small, crystal-clear pool that is of far greater interest than it appears to be. It is actually part of a mysterious river which has its source up near Buxton, quickly disappears underground, is seen again in the Speedwell Mine (see p. 73), where it drops into the “Bottomless Pit” and is not again seen until it reaches this point. What happens to the waters after plunging into the Bottomless Pit is not known, but by colouring the water in the Pit and noting the time at which the coloured water reaches the Russett Well it has been found that the journey occupies many hours - a very clear indication that the course is extremely tortuous. Below the well, the waters join with those proceeding out of the Great Cavern - another of the underground rivers for which this district is famous.

Returning to the road, cross the bridge and immediately take the riverside path, which leads up between cottages to the entrance to-

The Peak Cavern.

Admission.- See p. 71.

The approach is impressive. The sheer limestone cliffs here make a slight recess, above which Peveril's Castle keeps guard. Below the path a slight stream issues from a “swallow” - the same stream which is seen intermittently inside the Cavern - and then as the path bears to the right the huge, semicircular opening of the Cavern confronts us.

This great curiosity, the “Devil's Cavern” of Sir Walter Scott, is 200 yards below the surface of the mountain in which natural forces have excavated it.

The cave is entered by a natural arch, 60 feet high, 114 feet wide, and 300 feet in depth. Beyond this hall, which has been utilized as a rope-walk for over 300 years, a narrow low passage, closed by a door at which candles are lighted, conducts the visitor to a spacious opening, called the Bell-House, from a number of round holes in the roof. It is separated


from the interior by a stream of water, the Styx, which is now passed by a path leading through a passage, but which was formerly traversed in a flat-bottomed punt. The passage leads to the Great Cave, a spacious chamber, parts of which are estimated to be 200 feet long, 150 feet in width and 100 feet high, the whole being enarched with a magnificence of general effect and a beauty and variety of detail which baffle description. A passage has been discovered, leading from this chamber, through the roof, coming out near to Peveril Castle. The extremity of this hall narrows into a second passage, near the farther end of which is a group of broken rocks which have received the name of Roger Rain's House, from the constant trickling of water down their sides. Thence to the Chancel, a naturally-formed opening high in the rock, with stalactitic encrustations. Beyond is Pluto's Dining-Room, from which a rapid descent leads to the Half-Way House, and thence, through a succession of natural archways cut in the rock as regularly as though carved by man, to Victoria Cavern, and Great Tom of Lincoln; the latter so named from a concavity in the roof somewhat in the form of a bell. The distance from this point to the termination of the cavern is short. The sides contract, and the roof descends until barely sufficient room is left for the passage of the water, and further progress is precluded at a distance of 1,z10 yards from the entrance.

Leaving the Cavern, follow the path alongside the stream, cross the bridge and in a few yards turn left along a path which leads to the main road. Here turn left, and keep left at the fork in about half a mile for-

The Speedwell Mine.

Admission.- See p. 71.

This mine is at the foot of Long Cliff, near the entrance to the Winnats, three-quarters of a mile from Castleton. Entrance to the mine is gained by an arched vault, closed by a door, whence a descent of 72 feet, made by means of steps, leads to a “level”, now converted into a subterranean canal, traversed by a large flat-bottomed boat. The canal is a cutting in the rock made towards the end of the eighteenth century by a party of adventurers engaged in mining for lead. After eleven years' effort and the expenditure of £14,000, work was abandoned. The stream which


flows through the mine has its source at Perry Foot Well, on the uplands between Castleton and Buxton. After its subterranean journey, it reappears at the Russet Well, only half a mile away, but the passage occupies twenty-two hours. The natural outlets of the water are blocked to an extent sufficient to maintain a depth of 3 feet 6 inches. As the boat passes along, the conductor places candles at intervals on the sides of the tunnel, which is so straight that the whole of the lights can be seen from end to end. The effect is very striking.

The narrow passage continues for about 750 yards; then suddenly becomes an enormous gulf, at an immense cavern which was struck during the excavations. The most probable theory is that the cavern was formed by the dissolution of a vein of soft limestone by the water which permeated it. A broad platform, protected by a stout iron railing, has been thrown across the chasm to allow visitors to survey the abyss - “The Bottomless Pit ” - in safety and comfort.

Opposite the entrance to the Speedwell Mine, a footpath provides a short cut to the main road, above which, a few hundred yards to the left, is the entrance to the-

Treak Cliff Cavern,

(Admission.- See p. 71.)

first opened to the public in 1935. This cavern rivals those of Cheddar in the profuse display of scores of stalactites and the attendant stalagmitic formations. The colour contrasts are indeed astonishing for their delicacy and variety. The most remarkable characteristic of the hill, known as Treak Cliff, is that it is the only place in the world where Blue John stone is found. It stands alone at the western extremity of Hope Valley, at the base of Mam Tor, and is isolated by faults and deep ravines on every side. It was while mining for Blue John stone in 1926 that the workers discovered the Treak Cliff Caverns. Visitors are conducted through the old workings, with veins of Blue John stone (see p. 75) in situ, beyond which are the natural caverns, containing a most remarkable show of stalactites and stalagmites. The cavern is lit by electricity.

Rather less than a mile from Castleton, there appears on the left of the road a deep cleft in the cliff: the remains of the Odin Mine, one of the oldest and most valuable source


of lead in the district. The Saxons are said to have worked it by aid of convicts, and it was the Saxons who gave the mine its name. The mine is of further interest as marking - the, junction of the Limestone (to the east) with the Yoredale Shales which are so pronounced a feature of neighbouring Mam Tor. Near the entrance to the mine are some small caves: they are wet, not particularly interesting, and hardly worth the slight toil of reaching them.

The Blue John Mine.

Admission.- March to November. Other months by application in the Village. See p. 71.

The Blue John Mine is reached by following the main road as it curves round steeply before the face of Mam Tor. The entrance to the mine will be seen on the left soon after the steepest part of the ascent has been passed.

It is desirable to warn visitors that the full inspection of the mine entails a descent and corresponding ascent of some 160 steps, as well as of a number of steep gradients. For those to whom such work offers no terrors the visit is well worth while.

The mine takes its name from the very beautiful variety of fluor spar known as Blue John, or “The Peakland jewel” which is found in it. Fluor spar is generally white. So rare is this bluish-purple mineral that orders for it are always on hand. Tazzas and other works of art made from Blue John grace many palaces and famous houses; a particularly fine example is in the Vatican Library; there is a large one at Chatsworth House, whilst two Blue John vases have been discovered at Pompeii.

“The name was given in contradistinction to a metal-blend known to the old miners as Black Jack. The first stone mined was blue in colour, so Blue John and Black Jack are namesakes. The stone is 'calcium fluoride', or 'fluor spar'. Every form is found in Castleton: blue, red, purple, and dark colours, displayed in banded veins of extraordinary richness and beauty. There are 14 distinct varieties, and all are found at different depths from the summit of the hill. I know a vein that runs up within a yard of the surface, and another 280 feet deep, there being twelve intermediate kinds between the two levels. The level seems to determine both the veinings and the colour. Blue John is found only in very small limestone caverns, averaging 6 feet high, and coats the roof, the sides, and the floor. The veins run horizontally in seams averaging 2½ inches thick and between the top and bottom vein sulphate of baryta and clay in equal proportions are always


found. The last deposit of the series is clay. This points
indubitably to the Blue John being a water deposit”. - The Geology of Castleton, by John Royse.

The principal attractions of this series of caves, which extend for over 2 miles, are the large stalactites, the immense variety of shell - fossils embedded in the limestone on its sides, and the uninterrupted range of caverns and Blue John stone.

One of the openings, known as Lord Mulgrave's Dining-Room, is 30 feet wide and 150 feet in height. It owes its name to the fact that Lord Mulgrave, who took a great interest in the exploration of the caves and mine, entertained the workmen in it. Vast portions of the sides of the Crystal Waterfall are covered with sparry incrustations of great variety, reflecting most beautifully the illuminations, and presenting the appearance of a great cascade. The dome of the Crystallized Cavern is of exceptional beauty and colour. The Variegated Cavern is also visited; here dark patches of manganese dioxide (the colouring matter of Blue John) glitter in great profusion.

The Winnats,

is a pass through a narrow rift in the limestone hills, on the old Buxton road, just outside Castleton. “Winnats” is a corruption of Wind Gates, a name the pass obtained from the gusts of wind which constantly sweep through. South-west breezes make themselves felt with special force. The view through the great rocky portals presents a scene of magnificent extent and beauty.

At the top of the pass, a mile and a quarter from Castleton and three-quarters of a mile from the Speedwell Mine, stands Winnats Head Farm, where milk and light refreshment can be obtained. There, too, is a sign-post pointing out a footpath to the Blue John Mine, 200 yards distant. Westward of Castleton rises-

Mam Tor,

a hill of very singular aspect, much of the surface presenting the appearance of having been scooped out. The hollows are due to the action of the atmosphere on the silicious shale and sandstone of which the hill is composed. Exposure to the atmosphere causes the disintegration of the shale and sandstone, which then trickle down into the valley below.


On account of this movement the hill is called the Shivering Mountain, and is one of the “Wonders of the Peak”. In the opinion of one writer, “It may be doubted whether there is anything finer to be seen in England than the view from the summit of Main Tor. It includes almost everything which goes to form magnificent scenery, except water”. To reach the hill proceed as to the Blue John Mine, and then continue along the Chapel-en-le-Frith road. About half a mile from the mine one can cross a field on the right to Mam Nick, a slight depression on the west side of the hill, or go on a little farther to a road which leads back to the same point. From the “Nick”, Main Tor is but a quarter of mile distant, and the way is perfectly plain. The “Nick” provides a very fine surprise view of Edale and the High Peak. Castleton may be regained from the summit of Mam Tor by the exceptionally fine ridge walk to Back Tor and thence by either of the routes to the village.

From Castleton a visit can also be paid to the picturesque village of-


2 miles to the south-east. Many of the houses are quaintly perched on overhanging crags. In 1893 a relic of the ancient lead works - a pig of that metal cast by Roman miners - was ' unearthed here.

The principal object of interest is the Bagshaw Cavern, a few minutes' walk from the centre of village. One of the most curious of the Derbyshire caves, it is entered from the hillside by a long flight of steps, cut in the rock; and it comprises a number of fantastic chambers, hung with stalactites and sparkling crystals. It may be visited in company of a guide on application at Mr. Revell's cycle shop near the Post Office. (The charges for admission are for any number up to three, 3s.; over six, 1s. each, and a satisfactory exploration cannot be made in less time than an hour.)

Some 5 miles east of Castleton and connected with it by road and rail is-


It is a quaint, old-world village on the slope of a range of hills which protect it from east winds. Hathersage claims to be the place in which Robin Hood's famous henchman, Little John, first saw the light of day; a house, said to have been his, stood near the church. There is little


doubt that he was buried here. His grave, on the south side of the church, is marked by two small stones, with a yew at head and foot and enclosed by a low iron fence. On being opened in 1782 it disclosed bones of enormous size. The grave was rifled for the second time in the early years of the nineteenth century, and a thigh-bone measuring 32 inches was taken from it. The ghoulish party also removed from the church, where they had hung for centuries, an ancient cap and bow said to have belonged to the freebooter. Tradition affirms that the outlaw pointed out the spot where he desired to be buried, and directed that his cap and bow should be hung in the church; and the ballad adds:-

“His bow was in the chancel hung;
His last good bolt they drave
Down to the rocks, its measured length
Westward fro' the grave.

And root and bud this shaft put forth
When spring returned anon;
It grew a tree, and threw a shade,
Where slept staunch Little John”.

The fine old Parish Church (St. Michael's) stands on a height above the village. Universally voted one of the most beautiful ecclesiastical edifices in the county, it is of Decorated architecture, and consists of a nave, aisles and chancel. It has a handsome clerestory, and a beautiful tower of three stages, surmounted by an octagonal spire. The interior contains the altar-tomb of Robert Eyre, of Highlow, an Agincourt hero, and his wife and fourteen children.

The village was formerly noted for the manufacture of needles, heckle-pins, and umbrella frames, but these trades have all gone, and the place is now known as the pleasant site of country residences of Sheffield manufacturers and tradesmen. Sheep dog trials take place in the neighbourhood annually, and the event attracts many visitors. Hathersage is generally held to have been the village Charlotte Brontë had in mind when describing the hamlet of Morton, whither Jane Eyre wandered after her escape from Mr. Rochester and Thornfield Hall; and the lonely house on the Moors where she found shelter is North Lees Hall, an Elizabethan mansion, once the residence of the Eyr


family, about a mile from the church, in the valley of the Hood. It is now used as a farmhouse, but retains its mullioned windows, central circular staircase, and other interesting memorials of the age in which it was built. The ruins of the Chapel built by the Eyres in 1686 for the services of the Roman Catholic Church, to which they belonged, and destroyed by a mob in 1688, are to be seen in a wood a little below the house. Part of it has recently been restored for use.

North-west of Hathersage is Bamford, a picturesque village that is the starting-point of some good walks. On the Sheffield road, about 1½ miles above Hathersage, is Millstone Edge Nick, called also the Surprise, by reason of the lovely scene which suddenly bursts in sight when the spot is approached from the opposite direction. (See p. 23). The prospect embraces the pastoral Hope Dale in front, and th wooded valley of the Derwent stretching southwards. Among the details are Win and Lose Hills, on the right of Hope Dale, a beautiful reach of the Derwent, the entrance to Bretton Clough, and the beautiful Leam Woods rising from the river. Those who ascend to this point and wish to vary the return might well turn down to the south through the Longshaw Estate (National Trust) to Grindleford Bridge on the rail and bus routes. Longshaw Lodge is occupied by the Holiday Fellowship: the vicinity commands really magnificent views of some of the finest Derbyshire moorland and valley scenery.

Beside the road just beyond the Surprise is an uncouth mass of weather-stained rock, on which has been bestowed, with more reason than is often the case, the title of the Toad's Mouth Rock. About a mile north of the rock and visible from the Lower Burbage Bridge is Carl Wark, a very wonderful prehistoric fort. In the walls are stones of an estimated weight of sixty tons.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in November 2013.

This is a Genealogy Website
URL of this page: https://texts.wishful-thinking.org.uk/BuxtonGuide/NorthPeak.html
Logo by courtesy of the Open Clip Art Library