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Walk Derbyshire – Three Shires in a Flash

Children will love this walk, for where else can they visit three counties within a matter of seconds?  The highlight of the walk is the bridge known as Three Shire Heads, where Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire all meet at a point in the middle of an ancient pack horse bridge over the River Dane.  To […]

Celebrity Interview – Sir Tony Robinson

Actor, comedian, writer, television presenter and political activist: that’s how many people know Sir Tony Robinson, famous for playing Baldrick in the BBC TV series Blackadder and hosting the archaeological investigation programme Time Team for 20 years.  Millions more now know him for a completely different reason: travelling more than 100 miles from his west […]

The Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Willington House

I think I am right in saying that Willington House must rank as Derbyshire’s most recent lost house. At any rate, if there have been subsequent casualties, I would be pleased to hear from anyone who can tell me about them. Willington House – never the sort of architectural set piece to send the pulses […]

A Visit to Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire

In this feature, Brian Spencer takes a nostalgic visit to one of the strangest geological features in Britain.  Currently out of bounds during lockdown, it is somewhere Brian plans to revisit once freedom of movement is available. Brimham Rocks, sometimes called Brimham Crags are a group of strangely eroded millstone grit rocky towers high above […]

Walk Derbyshire – Elton & Gratton Dale

This walk explores one of the lesser known parts of the White Peak.  Properties in Elton where the walk starts, would be easily recognised by any returning inhabitant, even after the passage of long forgotten centuries. At one time there were two villages, Gratton as well as Elton, but following an outbreak of the Black […]

The Village of Elton – A Journey Through Time

Even though prehistoric travellers following the Portway from the Trent to Mam Tor would have passed through the area, modern Elton can be overlooked.  Being off all the through roads crossing the limestone uplands of the Peak, it is easy to ignore, but as a Michelin Guide might say, ‘it is well worth the diversion’.  […]

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Stretton-in-Shirland

It is entirely through the thorough researches undertaken by Gladwyn Turbutt that we have a good, comprehensive history of this lost house and its occupants. Derbyshire historian Stephen Glover wrote in around 1832 that the house overlooked ‘one of the finest valleys in the county’ and if you were to go to our excellent Museum […]

Alison Uttley’s Cromford – then & now

In the 1930s, countryside author Alison Uttley wrote a series of short essays based on her childhood experiences in and around Cromford.  These were later produced in book-form by Scarthin Books.  Currently out of print, it is possible to find a much-cherished second hand copy; armed with one of them, Brian Spencer looks for what […]

Celebrity Interview – Rachel Swann

It’s a situation only a select number of people have experienced: waiting for the Prime Minister to ring. The circumstances in which Rachel Swann was preparing to address Boris Johnson were certainly unusual: she was responsible for the largest peace-time evacuation of civilians in the UK in the hope of averting an unparallelled disaster. At the […]

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Appleby Hall

It is astonishing how many country houses and estates were lost to Derbyshire in the boundary adjustments of 1888 and 1936; in this column we have visited several, including Measham and Willesley Hall, Norton House, Hazlebarrow with others. As they had been part of Derbyshire for about 900 years prior to their unwilling transfer, I […]