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Birchover, Robin Hood's Stride
Robin Hood's Stride

Ebenezer Rhodes visited here on his third excursion into the Peak District around 1820 to 1822. He had just been to see a Druidical Circle, with three upright stones (originally seven) still standing, on "Hartle" [Harthill] Moor.

"An unfrequented path of another quarter of a mile led us to the base of Mock Beggar Hall, a curious assemblage of sand-stone rocks thrown confusedly together, yet so arranged as to form at a distance a strong resemblance to a regular building, with a huge chimney at each extremity ; hence the name which this mass of rocks has obtained : the stony towers at each end are called Robin Hood's Stride"[1].

Some forty six years later James Croston climbed these rocks. "Almost within a stone's throw of Cratcliff Tor [which he had just climbed] is a curious heap of rocks, tumbled confusedly together by the hand of nature in one mighty pile. The proper name for these rocks is Graned Tor, but from some unknown circumstance they have received the designation of Robin Hood's Stride. Seen from the vale this pile has a very singular aspect : at each extremity are huge stones standing upright, eighteen feet high, and about sixty-six feet asunder in a direct line; these stones in the distance resembles towers or chimneys, from which circumstance it is sometimes called Mock-Beggar's Hall. The base of the rocks is strewn with detached masses that appear at some time or other to have fallen from above. In one of them is a hollow cavity of oval form, four feet in length, and two feet ten inches wide, which Major Rooke represents as having been a rock-basin. Small trees and ivy grow from the fissures overhead, and dwarf oaks and hazel bushes on the ledge, while the space between the dislocated fragments is covered with short thick herbage, on which a few sheep are fed and fattened."[2]

"Contiguous to Robin Hood's Stride is Durwood Tor ..."[2] Three rocky outcrops in one day proved a little too much for Croston. He relied instead on Rooke's description of what could be found on the top!

Robin Hood's Stride is to the west of Birchover and the north of Elton and is probably best seen by non-ramblers from the narrow Cliff Lane, a minor road connecting Elton and Alport. The twin pillars are said "to measure the stride of the heroic outlaw of Sherwood Forest"[3]. In reality, even Little John would not have had such a lengthy leg span.

Birchover is mentioned in the following on-site transcripts:

Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811, Parishes B, which has more about the village.
The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868. See p.4 Natural Curiosities.
Kelly's 1891 Directory.
A transcript of the Will of Thomas Eyre of Rowtor, 1717 is elsewhere on this site.

"Robin Hood's Stride, Birchover". No publisher but No.2306. Unused.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Rhodes, Ebenezer (1824) "Peak Scenery" pub. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster Row.

[2] Croston, James (1868) (2nd Ed) "On Foot Through the Peak; or a Summer Saunter Through the Hills and Dales of Derbyshire", Manchester: John Heywood, 141 & 143, Deansgate. London, Simpkin, Marshall & Co.
See the transcript of the Matlock and Matlock Bath section elsewhere on the site. He mentions Major Hayman Rooke (d.1806), a soldier and antiquarian, who contributed to "The Gentleman's Magazine Library".

[3] Firth J. B. (1908) "Highways and Byways in Derbyshire" MacMillan & Co., London.

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