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.
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.