20 Jun 2014

Lunch in Litton, well dressing in Cressbrook

After our time in Tideswell we had lunch in the nearby village of Litton before going on to Cressbrook.
Litton is another Peak District limestone village tucked away in the Wye Valley countryside.  The leafy village green extends down the main street and there are old stone houses and cottages. Lead mining went on here as well as the making of textiles at Litton Mill, one of the local C18th mills, sadly notorious for the harsh working conditions which included child labourers. It was, therefore, good to see the old village school with a carving over one of the windows 'National School and Village Library - Litton 1869'.  It was around about this time that more small schools were being built so that children could receive a basic education.  National Schools were funded by the church and parish system and apparently Litton School was used at first as a day school, an evening library and a Sunday School.

Leaving Litton we went on to Cressbrook through Cressbrook Dale which forms part of the  Derbyshire Dales Nature Reserve and well known for its limestone geology and wildlife. A  prominent feature is Peter's Rock which probably got it's name from the rounded shape similar to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.  A less pleasant name given to it was Gibbet Rock as it was here that public hangings took place, the last being in 1815.

Several of these steep-sided dales have footpaths and bridleways and many unusual wild flowers can be spotted especially in Cressbrook Dale - early purple orchids, cowslips, lords and ladies, violets, cranesbill and many others. In the Winter a stream flows through this dale and watercress was once cultivated in its clear waters.

Views looking down towards Upper Dale and Monsal Dale from Cressbrook village 

The roof tops of the school and other houses viewed from a top lane.

The houses, school, farmstead and other community buildings in Cressbrook are built along a few single track lanes on the side of a hill.  One lane with a steep descent leads down into Miller's Dale and Monsal Dale where the River Wye flows.  Here another textile mill was built by Richard Arkwright who had more enlightened ideas about better working conditions for his employees.

A picture using natural materials done by the primary school children

This was the children's contribution to the well dressing and village festivities this year.  The pictures made of natural materials are pressed into clay and there were one or two other examples dotted around the village. Cressbrook is one of the many Peak District villages to have Gala Days and well dressing ceremonies in the Summer months. (Read about the tradition of well dressing here).

We came across the Tudor-style mansion of Cressbrook Hall, now an hotel. Not far away there are further trails to walk including walking or cycling along the disused railway tracks and through the tunnels of the Monsal Trail. Everyone can enjoy the scenery from the hills above.

Monsal Viaduct
It was our 49th wedding anniversary this week. It was a low-key celebration as we've been busy with the family, but we've had some lovely garden-related gifts and there's the garden, of course, to enjoy. Most days we just like to relax at home, although we did go out for a drive to one of our favourite places in Derbyshire yesterday evening and had a wander around Castleton which we haven't been to since last Autumn.


  1. I didn't realise the one fish two fish was a well dressing at first, I had to take a closer look. I've fallen in love with those cottages with the bunting strung in front of them, so pretty. What a lovely area.

  2. Thanks for all the lovely photos of a part of England we've never visited. Happy anniversary, we'll be having our 49th this year too.

  3. What a lovely village! Although it does remind me of some of the creepy villages in Midsomer Murders -- I swear the Red Lion pub was used as a set in one episode... :-) What is a well dressing, by the way? Thanks for the interesting tour! -Beth

    1. Litton is certainly one of those picture book villages that might have been used as a location for an episode of Midsomer Murders, Beth. (Actually Midsomer Murders was mostly filmed in many of the villages in Oxfordshire and my home county of Berkshire). Click on the link for more information about well dressing or click on the link in Labels to see more examples from 2013.

  4. glad you had a peaceful week and enjoyed your anniversary. you know i love old stone buildings, no matter if it is a cottage or a church or school. but today the dales are my favorite... so much beauty as far as the eyes can see....the kids did a really good job on the one fish collage sign.

  5. Such lovely countryside and I love Cressbrook Hall. What a treat it would be to stay there.
    Happy Anniversary Linda!

  6. 49 years???/good grief, what an achievement! You must have been five when you got married!!!! Many congratulation. A lovely, interesting post, as always with some simply stunning scenery.xxx

  7. Happy Anniversary to you and Mr Gardener!! I hope that you have lots more happy years together. Thank you for taking us along on another interesting journey with you Linda. It was so nice to see the pretty cottages especially. xx

  8. Lovely photos, Linda. We've driven through Millers Dale many times en route from our home in mid-Wales to visit my BH's siblings and their families in Rotherham, but haven't visited the area around as yet. We really must take our caravan up that way and explore sometime. I've been to Castleton and round that way occasionally, but also want to explore north & south of the Woodhead Pass road, and of the Sheffield to Ladybower road. When one's on a long-ish trip there isn't much time for exploring!
    I've been meaning to ask you how you enjoyed Alnmouth last year - as a member of TSSF I've wanted to go there for ages, but when we were staying a bit further south of there we couldn't find it!
    Prayers and blessings.

  9. Happy Anniversary... 49 years, huh??? That's awesome... Next year your kids need to make sure that you all have a HUGE celebration!!!!! I loved seeing Litton and Cressbrook... The countryside in those areas is truly awesome.... I'd love to stay at that hotel for a night or two.... Beautiful.


  10. This is wonderful as usual. I love the sign and what it is commemorating, both in the author and the oceans organization.
    I would love to stay at that hotel. Beautiful scenery and buildings. :>)
    Happy Anniversary! We will be celebrating 16 in July. I don't think we'll be alive to celebrate our 50th (we'd be 104), but that's okay.

  11. Happy anniversary! Litton and Cressbrook are both beautiful villages. Thank you for taking us along with you. I hope you're having a wonderful weekend.

  12. Congratulations on your anniversary - we reached 35 years this year! Such a beautiful area full of history and natural history interest. I like the look of Cressbrook Hall and I always love that view of the Monsal Viaduct. Looks like you had a wonderful day:)

  13. Congratulations! I just noticed this blog and love the English scenery you photographed.
    I will be your new follower.

  14. I feel as though I step into a fairytale world when I visit here. What an enjoyable place to be. How wonderful to have a 49th anniversary. Congratulations and blessings.

  15. Happy 49th anniversary!
    The history and sights surrounding you are just so wonderful to see and hear about.
    Sometimes they can be sad with things that happened in the past, but somehow the
    earth has survived and made all things beautiful.

  16. Hi Linda,

    Such a lovely post and what a special time for you and your husband, Congratulations on your 49th wedding Anniversary.
    Wishing you all the very best for wonderful and happy years ahead.
    the countryside is so very beautiful and thanks for showing us your lovely photos.

  17. You live in a most beautiful part of the country, Linda, and this post shows that to perfection. Gorgeous landscape, historic buildings and fascinating traditions - you have it all. :-)