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 .." 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".
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
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.
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".
J. B. Firth later noted that Chee Tor was "the home of chattering
jackdaws who find secure refuge in the crevices of its rounded
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".
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".
It is still true today.
Chee Tor or Chee Dale are mentioned on the following:
Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868. Derbyshire. Natural
Parishes 1811 - Wormhill (one of the earliest description
of Chee Dale).
1891 - Tideswell
Directory, 1891 - Wormhill
 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
 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
 Rhodes, Ebenezer (1824) "Peak
Scenery" published London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme,
Brown, and Green, Paternoster Row.
 Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways
and Byways in Derbyshire", MacMillan & Co., London
 Mee, Arthur (ed.) (1937) "Derbyshire:
The Peak Country", The King's England Series, Hodder
and Stoughton Limited, London.