Sometime ago I obtained a booklet from the information centre at Castleton in Derbyshire. It gives details of several history walks around the village and the information was very helpful as a study guide as we followed one of the discovery trails. (Castleton Discovery Trails by Brian Woodall).
The author says...'There are many interesting features around every corner of Castleton district and because of the natural attractions - the castle, the show caves, the Blue John stone etc. It is a culture rich area of geology, mineralogy, social history, folklore and geography. It was in the past, a very active community and many of the fifty or so footpaths were made rights of way by drovers, farmers, pack-horse trains, lead miners and quarrymen, as they went about their work.'
We started our walk from the information centre following the mill stream and crossing the mill bridge into the lane at Trickett Gate. The old Scandinavian name for road is 'gate' so it's likely that each of the entrances into the village that was surrounded by a defence ditch was also defended by a gate. The inhabitants would bring their animals into the village at night for safety and fold them in the little yards between the cottages. Even today we didn't have to go far along Trickett Lane to find farm animals penned up close to village houses, farm buildings and a farm shop.
Peakholes Water flows under Trickett Bridge and meanders through the main part of the village.
Leaning over the left hand side of the bridge you can see an adjoining brook which flows along Hollowford Lane. Further along the brook a covered ditch called a 'slough' brings yellow ochre into the channel of water. The ditch was started in 1816 and it was dug for more than a mile under the fields to Odin Mine at the bottom of Mam Tor (Mother Hill). After 1,700 years of lead mining in Derbyshire, the workings were so deep they had reached the saturation level in the water-table and the mine had to be drained if the miners wanted to get to deeper veins. Tunnels were constructed to drain out the water from the heart of the mountains.
We walked further up the lane towards Win Hill passing another old house which was once the Chandling Shop before turning back towards the village.
The chandlers made candles from tallow (animal fat). They boiled the tallow in a cauldron before dipping the wicks that were hanging from an iron frame in the fat in order to build up the layers. The miners called these candles 'tallow dips'.
Crossing Trickett Bridge again we passed old buildings such as Pepper Hall, the mill by Mill Lane and the former cotton mill Cotton Shop before returning to the main street. The villagers had a mixed economy - mining, farming, rope-making (for the mines), lime-burning. Others were employed in the textile work. Later on some villagers would walk all the way up Hollowford Lane and over the hills to the Cotton mill in Edale.
We only followed half of the trail and we've yet to explore the market place and other paths that take the walker towards the caverns nearest the village. Thanks to the guide book information these walks around the village helped me appreciate even more the history of this village community.