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A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
 
Chee Dale and Chee Tor


The river Wye wends its way from Buxton to Rowsley "through some of the grandest of the limestone scenery. In Chee Dale, Miller's Dale, Monsal Dale and Ashford Dale it is at its best .."[1] In the 1860s Chee Dale was less affected by the construction of the extension to the Midland Railway, connecting Rowsley with Buxton, than other Dales further down the valley. Once the line west from Miller's Dale was open passengers were only given the briefest of glimpses of the scenery. As Thomas Linthwaite Tudor put it in 1927 "Chee Dale gleams like a momentary vision if we are quick at the tunnels"[1].

Chee Tor is around 300 feet high and is said to be one of the most remarkable rocks in Derbyshire, likened by many of the nineteenth and twentieth century guide book writers to Matlock's High Tor. Here are three images of the Tor and the Dale, dating from the beginning of the twentieth century until around 1940.



In 1827 Reverend Richard Ward described how visitors left carriages or horses at the Chee Tor Coffee House in Wormhill and proceeded into the limestone ravine of the Dale on foot. The Coffee House was kept by a Mr. George Hill at the time; he would take people through his grounds to view the rocks. They had to pass the home of Sir William Chambers Bagshawe, a magistrate, before descending down a steep hill at the bottom of which were two streams that flowed into the river[2].

A few years earlier Ebenezer Rhodes had walked through the dale. "Looking down the river, which widens as it winds round the Tor, an islet adorned with light trees and underwood occupies the middle of the river. On the left the view is diversified with masses of rock, piled upon each other until they close in the prospect. Their jutting crags are partly covered with overhanging branches, and the hazel, the aspen, the wild rose, and the mountain ash, adorn their summits. Turning round, and looking up the dale, a different picture, but yet equally beautiful and interesting, is displayed. The wildest part of the dell opens immediately before you, and the river, with its innumerable miniature cascades, is seen to greater advantage than in the contrary direction. Chee Tor is still the grand object, and though it gradually loses its feature of vastness, it assumes a greater portion of picturesque beauty. The regularity of its receding outline is broken with light and graceful foliage, which, hanging like wreaths upon its brow, plays along the rock in tasteful sportiveness, until it mingles with the ascending branches of the ash and the elm that decorate its base. On the right, a chain of rocks sweeps round the Tor in a regularly curved line, at the distance of one to two hundred paces, forming a magnificent natural crescent"[3].



J. B. Firth later noted that Chee Tor was "the home of chattering jackdaws who find secure refuge in the crevices of its rounded sides"[4]. Thomas Tudor thought that "the limestone bluffs are magnificently bold and precipitous, and the path beside the Wye is sometimes so narrowed by the rush of water that it becomes impassable. By following this sinuous water-cleft we come out into the Buxton road where it drops from Taddington. Close by is the railway line to Buxton, and the break away to the Manchester line"[1].

Then came Arthur Mee who considered Chee Dale to be luxuriant and its Tor magnificent. "With the Wye winding round its foot in a grand horseshoe curve, it is one of the finest scenes on a river of great beauty"[5]. It is still true today.


Chee Tor or Chee Dale are mentioned on the following:
The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868. Derbyshire. Natural Curiosities.
Derbyshire Parishes 1811 - Wormhill (one of the earliest description of Chee Dale).
Kelly's Directory, 1891 - Tideswell
Kelly's Directory, 1891 - Wormhill


1. "Chee Dale, Chee Tor". Davidson Bros'. "Marlborough Series". Haddon Hall & Chatsworth. Printed in England. Posted 2 Aug 1905 in Bolton upon Dearne. © Susan Tomlinson collection.
2. "Chee Dale". Published by Photochrom Co. Ltd. Copyright, Graphic Studios, Tunbridge Wells, Kent © Emily Gaughan collection.
3. "Chee Tor, Miller's Dale". No publisher. Posted Manchester 3 Oct 1906. © Susan Tomlinson collection.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] Tudor, Thomas Linthwaite (1926), "The High Peak to Sherwood, The hills and dales of old Mercia", published London by Robert Scott. With drawings by Fred Adcock and others.
[2] Ward, Reverend Richard (1827) "A Guide to the Peak of Derbyshire, containing a concise account of Buxton, Matlock and Castleton ,and other remarkable places ... in the ... County of Derby", Derby
[3] Rhodes, Ebenezer (1824) "Peak Scenery" published London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster Row.
[4] Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways and Byways in Derbyshire", MacMillan & Co., London
[5] Mee, Arthur (ed.) (1937) "Derbyshire: The Peak Country", The King's England Series, Hodder and Stoughton Limited, London.



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Old Derbyshire Maps: The Railways of Derbyshire, 1903
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