IN proceeding to make the Tour of the Peak, we will direct our course
along the side of the Derwent, from Matlock bridge. The road, as we
have already observed, leads to that magnificent chateau and truly
noble residence, Chatsworth, and to Bakewell *.
[footnote on page 30]
*At Bakewell is an excellent inn, the great resort of anglers, who
assemble there in June, to pursue their favourite amusement.
HAVlNG advanced two short miles, we arrive at the beautiful village
of Ashford. The road extends along the bottom of a valley, through
which meanders a fine stream of water. On descending into Ashford,
one of the principal objects that engage the attention is the residence
of W. Ashby, Esq.
THE village has an excellent inn, and the fine trout of the Wye
attract many visitors to it, especially the votaries of the rod
and line, who honour the memory of old Isaak, as they familiarly
call him. The Duke of Devonshire has a retired seat here, called
the Rookery, situated among lofty trees, and screened from the
IN a romantic situation adjoining are the marble mills belonging
to his Grace; and in the possession of Mr. Brown of Derby. Here
the huge block is sawn by machinery impelled by the waters of the
stream, and wrought into chimney-pieces, or cut into slabs for
an infinite variety of purposes.
THE black marble, so much esteemed, is found here; and the curious
will be much interested in traversing the vast excavations from
whence it has been procured.
A MARBLE of equally good quality, belonging to the Duke of Rutland,
is worked at Bakewell, the stratum from which it is excavated being
on the summit of the lofty mountain above the town. In the vicinity
are also various quarries of the entrochi or grey marble.
AT Ashford the road divides; and the traveller may direct his
course to Chesterfield and Castleton, or to Middleton, Eyam, Foolow,
Hope, or through Taddington to Buxton.
Is six miles from Castleton, and one from Foolow. Its vicinity
was formerly a great mining district.
IN the church-yard stands a beautiful ancient cross.-
The tragic scene that occurred here during the plague is still
commemorated by tradition, and has frequently been
detailed by historians. The benevolent and humane conduct of the
worthy clergyman entitles him to be re vered as a true Samaritan.
A cave in the neighbourhood is shewn, in which Mr. Mompesson assembled
his congregation: here it may be said that the scourge of pestilence
was stayed. Eyam and Middleton are contiguous villages; or, at
least, the distance between them is within a mile, At the time
the mines were worked, they were very populous. Near Foolow is
an excellent marble quarry.
IN the mines in this neighbourhood were found the finest calcareous
crystallisations, which now adorn the principal collections in
Europe. At Eyam resides Mr. Bird, who has cultivated mineralogy,
and possesses a well stored cabinet, scientifically arranged. The
neighbouring scenery is of a varied character, and affords ample
scope to the artist.
TAKING the road up the mountain range from Ashford, and ascending
about three miles through fertile fields, you arrive suddenly at
an isolated public house, seated on an eminence. Immediately below
is the enchanting ravine called Monsal Dale.
DIFFICULT as this unique spot is to approach, you find it still
more difficult to abandon. At the first view I was for a time deprived
of utterance, my eyes were fascinated, my whole soul, as it were,
spell-bound and enchained to the spot. Even the language of poetry,
however impassioned, is too weak to describe the emotions which
the scene inspired.
DEPARTING from hence, and traversing a wild mountain, we arrived
at the village of Wardlow Miers, and took the high road leading
to Sheffield, turned to the left through the village of Foolow,
and advanced, by a road leading over bleak mountain scenery, to
Castleton, where we remained some days. Thence we migrated to Tideswell,
and Middleton; at each of which places, especially at
Were many features of the grand and picturesque. In this ravine,
the rocks appear to have been, in an early age, united, and to
have been separated by a violent disrupture, the projecting fragments
on one side seeming to correspond with the hollows on the other,
and to form teeth, as it were, in the jaws of this Ravine. It is
about six miles from Castleton.
THE neighbourhood was formerly celebrated for mines, which are
now no longer worked. To describe its natural scenery would be
impossible-the pencil of a Salvator, a Claude, or a Wilson, might
possibly combine the bleak and the beautiful, the sublime and the
blooming, the rugged wild and the rich woodland; but words alone
cannot convey a distinct idea of the pictures which Nature here
unfolds to the eye, and which have been so well commemorated in
the engravings from Chantry's views.
RETURNING to Castleton, we pass through tile village of Hope,
and pause to view the architecture of its
antique church. About three miles farther south is another
village, called Hathersage, situated at the foot of a lofty grit-stone
mountain, over which is the road to Sheffield, distant sixteen
THIS village is perhaps better known that any other within a considerable
distance from Matlock, being situated at the mouth of that vast
cavern called PEAK HOLE denominated in ancient times Arx Diaboli.
CASTLETON is delightfully situated in a highly cultivated valley,
surrounded by mountains; from whence, approach it, in whatever
direction you will, the eye, on resting upon it, feels something
of that delight which revives the exhausted traveller on approaching
a green and shady Oasis in the desert. This village, during
the season, is daily frequented by visitors from Buxton, the objects
of attraction being-
The Grand Cavern; or, Peak's Hole.
The famed Mam Tor; or, Shivering Mountain.
The Speedwell Mine. The Fluor Spar Mine.
The Odin Mine.
The Castle and the Cave at the back of the Castle.
A Salt-water spring.
And a Cavern at Bradwell, called Bagshaw's Cavern.
AT the inn, which is kept by Mrs. Wragg, visitors will find good
beds, a good larder, excellent wines, a careful ostler, and post
DURING a stay of five days here, I visited all the places above
enumerated, and had great reason to remember the civilities of
Mr. Needham, of the Spar Shop opposite the inn, who furnished me
with guides, and directed me to the most interesting objects.
PEAK CAVERN, AND SCENERY ABOUT CASTLETON.
THE Peak Cavern is situated in a most singular ravine in a limestone
mountain, by which one end of it is closed. The cavern, on its
first aspect, appears as a natural arch at least forty yards wide,
and near it is the
stupendous rock on which the castle stands. These rocks are about
a hundred yards perpendicular, from the lowest part to their summits,
and strike the mind of a stranger with awe. A fine spring flows
from their base, and in heavy rains a torrent rushes out of the
cavern not unlike those which occur in the Alps, sweeping away
everything opposed to its course. A manufactory of twine is carried
on in the first compartment of the cavern; the air being generally
of uniform temperature, is found to be peculiarly advantageous
for the spinning of thread.
A regular guide receives you at the inn, and conducts you through
the cavern. Soon after leaving daylight, you enter a small boat,
and are ferried across a shallow water, scarcely twenty yards in
breadth, the guide wading beside the boat, and pushing it along.
On landing, you arrive at a fine opening, called the Grand Saloon,
from whence you proceed through fine cavern scenery, and, after
traversing six or seven hundred yards, arrive at the extremity.
Various parts bear peculiar names, which the guide explains. Mr.
Needham sells a descriptive little work on Castleton, which will
Gratifying to the purchaser.
IS situated three short miles from Castleton. It is very well worth
visiting, and I had reason to rejoice in having been recommended
to se it by Mr. Needham, who obligingly accompanied me. The cavern
being difficult of access, it is requisite to put on a miner's
dress. t is full of stalactites of various dimensions, many of
which are distorted; it will also in other respects amply gratify
the curiosity of the visitor. It is well described in Rhodes's
OR THE SHIVERING MOUNTAIN.
THE most conspicuous objects in the scenery around Castleton are
Mam Tor, and the ancient Castle or castellated building on the
summit of the hill, on the base of which the village is situated.
MAM TOR is the highest mountain of the range. One
part appears to have slipped and separated from the other, leaving
a perpendicular face. Its texture being grit alternating with shale,
it becomes friable and loose. These particles fall daily, in greater
or smaller quantities, according to the state of the atmosphere,
producing the effect which gives name to the mountain. At its base
is situated the
THIS is what miners usually term a rake or perpendicular vein,
of great extent. It was first discovered in the shale, and was
worked by the Saxons: there is also great reason to believe, that
it was known in the time when the Romans held dominion in this
country. The Odin mine is easy of access, and well deserves attention:
it has produced a great quantity of lead ore, and many of the finest
NEAR this place is the celebrated Fluor Spar mine, which has produced
the most beautiful gems in the mineral kingdom.
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