Hartington, Derbyshire Sunday 1st July 2018

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader : Rob Rose   Distance : 10.00 miles

We come out of Hartington on Highfield Road, turn off and walk through Chapel Farm and Heathcote on to the Pennine Way. After a couple of miles on the bridle way we come off and walk through Darley Farm past the quarry and Vincent House towards Pilsbury and then head back to Hartington.

Moderate Leader : Dave Hatchard   Distance : 8.00 miles

We walk along the path to Wolfescote Dale which is well used and initially crosses open pasture before entering woodland into Beresford Dale, and we follow the River Dove southwards. At the second bridge we turn into Beresford Lane. After a short distance we take a footpath and a bridle path towards Narrowdale. We skirt the flank of Narrowdale Hill before turning east and heading towards Gypsy Bank and then steeply down back into Dovedale. We turn northwards along Wolfescote Dale, and eventually retrace our route back into Hartington.

Leisurely Leader : no leader   Distance :
Easy Leaders : Adelaide Houghton &, Hazel Anderton   Distance 5.00 miles

This is an undulating walk. From Hartington we go up past Hartington Hall Youth Hostel along walled lanes and tracks affording good views of the surrounding countryside to join the Tissington Trail for about a mile. We then go down good field paths to the village of Biggin. We continue though the village on a lane and then along a stony track as we head back to Hartington. There are several different little stiles and we need to be slim!

Notes On The Area

Like many Peak District villages Hartington was once a market town, with limestone houses, inns and shops grouped perfectly round the spacious market place with a duck pond to one side. It is a lovely village about 12 miles to the south of Buxton and very close to the Staffordshire border. Hartington lies in a grand setting, about half a mile from the river where the Dove valley opens out to the north of Beresford Dale. It received the market charter in 1203 and became an important visitor centre for the large rural population, and the past wealth and importance are shown by the impressive buildings around the village square. The wealth of the area came from cheese making and mining ironstone, limestone and lead. These days the wealth comes from tourism. Hartington is in an area of high limestone country known as the White Peak, as opposed to the Dark Peak of the moorland further north. Even Hartington village, in the gentle setting of the Dove valley, lies at over 700 ft above sea level. Charles Cotton, the 17th century poet and fisherman, was born at Beresford Hall near Hartington. He introduced Isaac Walton to the Peak and became joint author of “The Compleat Angler”. Charles Cotton’s fishing lodge, built in 1674, can be glimpsed through the trees across the River Dove. The area around the village is excellent walking country, and also has lots of biking trails. From the source on Axe Edge to Hartington the River Dove is little more than a stream, but once through the pretty woodlands of Beresford Dale it gets more confident and cuts a deep limestone canyon with cliffs and tors almost equal to those of the more celebrated Dovedale. This canyon is Wolfscote Dale. Weirs were constructed to create calm pools that attract trout and grayling to linger. 

The Tissington Trail extends for 13 miles from Ashbourne to ParsleyHay where it meets the High Peak Trail. Formerly the Ashbourne-Buxton railway line, the old track is now a popular path for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The railway was built by the engineer Francis Stevenson on behalf of the London and North Western Railway Company. It was a single track with passing loops at stations. Opened on 4th June 1899, the line mainly carried freight such as milk, and limestone from the local quarries to the kilns near Buxton. Today the trail offers walkers and cyclists the chance to explore the natural habitat of many different birds and wild flowers. It seems that there are many bicycles for hire to explore the trails. Stilton cheese is made at the factory on the edge of the village. This is the only remaining of seven original factories in the area and was opened in the 1870’s. Genuine Stilton can only be made in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and this factory qualifies by a quarter of a mile! The impressive Hartington Hall was built by the Bateman family in 1611. It is a typical Derbyshire yeoman’s house with three gables and mullioned windows. It has been a youth hostel since 1934. Also to the east of the village is a signal box of the Ashbourne-Buxton Railway, which closed in 1967 and is now an information centre on the Tissington Trail. Three miles to the north is Pilsbury Castle, now just a mound, probably on the site of an Iron-Age fort. The parish church of St Giles was built in the thirteenth century with a Saxon stone in one wall. Like all villages there is an active social life with details available in the internet for those who might wish to visit.