The Plague-Stricken Derbyshire Village

or What To See In and Around Eyam

By Rev J.M.J. Fletcher (1916)

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013


The Geologist and the Botanist will find much to repay their exertions, in this beautiful and interesting district, and the searcher after the picturesque will be amply rewarded.

Owing to the varied rock formation, the village of Eyam dividing the mountain limestone on the South from the gritstone on the North, the neighbourhood is particularly rich in botanical specimens, as well as being of especial interest to the student of the rocks.

Middleton Dale, Grindleford, the vicinity of the road between Grindleford Bridge and Hathersage, and Cressbrook Dale, will be found to be places where an abundant variety of wild flowers may be discovered.

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Grindleford is the nearest Railway Station to Eyam. Trains run at fairly frequent intervals during the day to Sheffield in one direction, and to Hathersage, Hope (for Castleton), Edale, Millers Dale (for Tideswell), Buxton, Manchester and Liverpool, in the other. And conveyances run frequently during the day between Eyam and Grindleford Station. (Fare 9d. each person; return fare, 1/3). Amongst walks recommended to the tourist, (who may often, if he is so inclined, save the fatigue of some portion of the journey by using the train, or a public conveyance, &c.) are:-

1.- To Chatsworth. (About 5½ miles from Eyam). Proceed past the Church eastwards; turn to the right down Eyam Dale, and then, at the bottom, to the left along Middleton Dale, (or the footpath may be taken between Eyam and Stoney Middleton). Keep straight on, past Stoney Middleton and Curbar Church, to Baslow. Then bear to the right over the bridge, and enter Chatsworth park by the hotel at Edensor.

2.- To Bakewell, (7½ miles from Eyam), and Haddon Hall (2 miles further). Proceed as above through Stoney Middleton to Calver; but then, (instead of going on past Curbar Church) bear to the right. The road leads past Hassop station to Bakewell.

3.- To Tideswell (5 miles from Eyam). A characteristic, somewhat bleak, road is given for the outward journey; a much more picturesque one on the return; but the gradients are taken into consideration. Proceed past the Church westwards. [Half a mile before reaching Foolow, a small farmhouse will be noticed on the left hand side of the road. Here, especially if there has been some amount of rainfall previously, the visitor may find it worthwhile to make a short divergence. Immediately opposite the farm is a little lane on the left hand side of which is a Derbyshire stile. Passing through this and descending by

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means of a rough path, the tourist will find himself before a picturesque cascade locally known as “The Waterfall”. The water loses itself in the ground and, reappearing again in Eyam Dale, finds its way through a portion of Middleton Dale, until it falls into the river Derwent near Calver.] Pass through Foolow and keep the main road, bearing slightly to the left, until Tideswell is reached. Tideswell was at one time one of the principal market towns in Derbyshire. Its charter dates back to 1250, though its market is now practically extinct. But its magnificent Church, known far and wide as “The Cathedral of the Peak”, with its interesting monuments, brasses, and windows, &c., is well worth a visit. The return journey should be taken through Litton, (which gives its name to Lord Lytton), through Wardlow Mires, down the beautiful Middleton Dale, and up Eyam Dale, back to Eyam.

Or, the train may be taken, from Grindleford, via Chinley, to Millers Dale. From the station public conveyances run at frequent intervals to Tideswell, (fare 6d). From Millers Dale the lovely valleys of Cheedale on the one side and of Millers Dale on the other may be seen at the same time;- both being close to Millers Dale Station. The entrance to Cheedale is through a gate, on the right hand side of the road as the descent is made from the station, shortly after passing under the railway bridges.

4.- Buxton, again, or Chapel-en-le-Frith, may be easily reached by train from Grindleford station;- as too may Bakewell (for Haddon Hall), see above.

5.- Hope Valley and Castleton. Hope is the third station from Grindleford, in the Chinley direction. Castleton with its castle, its caverns, and its hills, &c., &c., is full of interest. It is about 2 miles from Hope station, and conveyances frequently run from the one place to the other.

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6.- To Cressbrook and Monsal Dales. Good walkers will find this an interesting, though in some places rather a rough walk. Leave Eyam by the road which runs towards the West, and on reaching Foolow turn to the left. On reaching the main road, turn to the right and immediately after having passed Wardlow Mires in the Tideswell direction, take the track on the left hand side, along the bottom of the dale. The path leads past Cressbrook Mills to Monsal Dale. The most beautiful part of the dale is that which lies on the other side of the railway. A walk of some 7½ miles from Eyam will bring the pedestrian through the whole length of the dales to the high road between Buxton and Bakewell. If desired the train can be taken from Bakewell, or Monsal Dale station, to Millers Dale, and thence through Chinley to Grindleford. Or if preferred an extension of the walk may be made by turning to the right on reaching the high road and proceeding up Taddington Dale, and so on to Millers Dale station. When in the earlier part of Monsal Dale, if time permits, a diversion should be made by ascending the hill which leads to Headstone Edge. The view of the Dale from various points of the ascent, and more especially from a point about 200 yards from the top, will well repay for the time and trouble expended in making the ascent.

7.- To Hathersage. The distance by the direct route, which is suggested for the return journey is about 5½ miles. The distance of Hathersage from Eyam by the route given for the outward journey is about 9 miles; but lovers of beautiful scenery who are good walkers will be amply repaid for the additional distance. The road through Grindleford Bridge should be taken. (Padley, an interesting old private chapel, formerly attached to the Hall, but now a cow house, is worth a visit. It will be found a little distance to the left of the road at Grindleford station,

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not far from the railway). Continue the coach road, over the railway bridge, for about 1½ miles, to Fox House Inn. Bear to the left, and in another half-mile Burbage Bridge is crossed. A few yards from this, to the right, should be noticed a toad shaped block of gritstone, which from its resemblance is designated the “Toad's Mouth”. (A group of rocks to the right of the road, ¼ mile distant, Carl Wark by name, is said to be an ancient British stronghold). A mile further on, at a sudden turn in the road, between two rocks, a most exquisite view bursts upon the eye. It is called “The Surprise”. Hathersage is about two miles further still. The picturesque Church is well worth seeing, And the Churchyard contains the reputed grave of Little John, Robin Hood's gigantic follower. The return journey to Eyam should be made along the road which passes under the railway bridge, and through the beautifully wooded scenery by the side of the river Derwent to Grindleford Bridge and thence to Eyam.

8.- An alternative road from Eyam to Hathersage (4 miles) may be taken by crossing Eyam Moor, and thus passing near to the Druid Circle. Turn to the right at the end of the footpath passing through the churchyard, and proceed along the road, (leaving Mompesson's Well, see page 45, and Ladywash Mine on the left, and New Engine Mine on the right), until a good mile from Eyam Sir William Road is crossed on the open Moor. The track which bears to the right leads to Hathersage. But if the road track through the gate, which leads straight forward, is taken instead, after a walls from this point of about ten minutes' duration the Druidical Circle will be seen a little way off to the right. The Circle is about 100 feet in diameter, and consists of a slight annular bank with 16 stones standing in its inner edge. There was formerly a large stone in the centre. A little farther on is the site of the “Cup and Ring Stone”, the only one known in Derbyshire.

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The track in the Hathersage direction may be gained from here, or the visitor may prefer to retrace his steps to Sir William Road, and, turning to the right, walk to the ancient hamlet of Bretton from whence he may drop down to the road from Foolow to Eyam.

9.- A pretty walk will be found that which leads from Bamford station through Bamford to Lady Bower and Ashopton.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in March 2013.

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