Things to Do

Within Walking Distance…

1 Winster

The pretty Peak District village of Winster is well worth exploring. This idyllic place was once a bustling centre for lead mining, and in the 18th Century it was one of the most prosperous towns in Derbyshire. Its past riches are still evident today from its wonderful collection of interesting and grand houses; Winster has no fewer than 70 listed buildings. Don’t miss the Market House, which was the first property in the Peak District to be acquired by the National Trust in 1906. Unusually for the area, it is constructed of red brick, and stands in a dominating position at the top of the main street. It now houses an information room with interesting exhibits about the village’s history (admission free).

2 Birchover  

Beautiful Birchover is a peaceful village surrounded by wonderful open countryside. Its quiet streets are lined with cottages built from a distinctive pink sandstone that was quarried from Stanton Moor, located above the village. Whilst here don’t miss a visit to Rowtor Rocks, on the edge of the village, a mysterious cave complex consisting of numerous interlinked tunnels and caverns, some man-made. Many of the rocks have been carved with symbols and pictures, including serpents, circles and cups, and a series of steps, thrones and altars have been fashioned out of the stone. These carvings date from the 17th Century and are the handiwork of the village parson, Reverend Thomas Eyre (d. 1717), who reputedly practised witchcraft and Druid ceremonies here.  

3 Stanton Moor

Stanton Moor is a large area of heather moorland above the village of Birchover. It is one of Britain’s most important archaeological sites; its significance evident from the fact that almost the entirety of the moor has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the highest form of protection given to such sites under English law. There are more than 70 ancient burial mounds upon the moor and four Bronze Age stone circles, constructed by the people who lived and worked here around 4,000 years ago. There is also still evidence of 17th and 18th Century packhorse routes, hollowed-out tracks in the heather made by the hooves of horses transporting goods from Cheshire and Sheffield.   

4 Nine Ladies Stone Circle

Probably one of the most significant sites on Stanton Moor is the Nine Ladies Stone Circle. This monument actually comprises ten standing stones, nine in a ring configuration and the tenth some 40m away from the circle. It gets its name from a legend that nine ladies were turned to stone as a punishment for dancing on the Sabbath, with the tenth stone, or King Stone, being the fiddler. There is evidence that the Nine Ladies Stone Circle was used in ancient times for ceremonies and rituals concerning life and death. It is still a location for reflection and worship, and is visited by many people on each solstice. 

5 Robin Hood’s Stride

Robin Hood’s Stride is a spectacular collection of gritstone rocks perched on a ridge above the village of Elton. There are wonderful scrambling opportunities for children here, plus adults who are young at heart, and the heights offer stunning views across the landscape. The area around Robin Hood’s Stride is littered with traces of barrows, plus Bronze and Iron Age enclosures, and the remains of an impressive stone circle lie about 200 metres to the north west of the rocks. Whilst here, don’t miss a visit to Cratcliff Tor and the site of a hermit’s cave, partially hidden amongst a group of ancient yew trees. It was inhabited around the 12th Century and contains a fine crucifix carved in the cave wall, still in remarkable condition.

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