Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Goyt Valley and Errwood Hall

Saturday morning saw the sun shining, and the promise of a gorgeous day, so we set off towards the Goyt Valley, in Derbyshire, where there are two reservoirs, and walks over hill and dale, as they say! The road to the Goyt from our side of the hills is tortuous, very windy roads, though wonderful views. It is stone wall country up here, with few trees and no hedges. Farms have the sense to huddle in the shelter of a hillside, and keep low rooftops. Unfortunately, it was too hazy to take a photo of the distant moors. But they did look lovely!

From where we parked we walked up into woods; from the entrance there is a view of the reservoir, and a few sailing boats.

The woods were beautifully cool. The path we were on was the old carriage way to the Hall, but there were steps and other paths for the adventurous.

Streams chattered below us, and tributaries added their voice. The dog took a long paddle!

We were aiming for Errwood Hall, now in ruins, but once a great house.

The two old photos show the hall in all its glory in about the 1920's.
Errwood Hall was built in the 1830’s by Samuel Grimshawe, a wealthy Manchester businessman, and was occupied by the Grimshawe family for the next hundred years. The hall was the centre of a thriving estate of over 2,000 acres (8.1 km2), consisting of several farms, a school, a private coal mine and the hamlet of Goyt's Bridge. The family planted many specimen trees including an abundance of azaleas and rhododendrons.
Samuel’s grandchildren were the last members of the family to live in the hall, which was then used as a youth hostel for a few years until it was demolished in connection with the construction of the Fernilee reservoir in 1934. (from Wikipedia)

Before the reservoir was built, there was a thriving village, coal mines, and further down the valley, a gunpowder factory! That probably dated from the 16th century and reputedly provided the ammunition for Sir Francis Drake to fight the Spanish Armada. The factory was active during the first World War, but was closed soon after.

The hall is now in ruins, but the arches of what was probably the drawing room remain.

Plus traces of the grand entrance.

Even the holes remain in the stone pillar where the locks were.

The paved terraces are still there. Its not hard to imagine tea parties being held outside on a fine day!

The wall bordering what was the carriageway still stands. There were a couple of late foxgloves at the foot.

Once back at the car park, we drove along the road up the valley. The reservoir was very low, though not low enough for some of the ruins of the drowned village to appear.

There were also active quarries during the valleys life before the reservoirs came. Now they look beautiful with heather and rowan trees growing out of the crevices in the rocks.

Little streams can be cooling to the feet!

The heather is lovely at this time of the year, coveirng the moors around here.

The packhorse bridge, previously in the village, was relocated, and is now a favourite spot for picnics. Children and dogs enjoy splashing around there.

There are much longer walks from around here, and the Peak District Park provides maps of circular tours. Through the rhododendrons of Errwood Hall and up to Cat's Tor, along the ridge to Pym's Chair and down again is a favourite one, though, alas, beyond me! There are wonderful views from up there, and you feel on top of the world! I might add that you can drive to Pym's Chair car park and feel on top of the world without too much exertion!

But it was a lovely, lovely morning. We had hoped to finish off with lunch at our favourite tea rooms but they were packed solid with cyclists, walkers and hungry people. So we went home!

The photographs of the old hall are copyright 'gerald hancock errwood hall'


Sue said...

How very interesting. I have still not been to Errwood Hall, but we did go to Yorkshire Sculpture Park yesterday which was jolly :-)

Gilly said...

Sue, read about it online first - there's quite a history.

Diane said...

How sad that these places have fallen into disrepair and so recently too. Ive earmarked this for a visit as I reckon its not too far from this side of the Pennines. xxxx PS I reckon your daughter and I were within feet of each other yesterday - I find that very spooky!!

Cloudhands said...

Oh Gilly,
I really enjoyed your trip today. Here in America the rush to the new and modern has made short work of many old homes and buildings. Those that has been protected and still stand after only a mere two or three hundred are gifts we give our grandchildren. I'm sure the reservoir was needed for the water it could supply and who would want to pay to maintain a huge manor house, but still how sad to see history crumble and slowly erode away.

Hollace said...

What beautiful pictures of your jaunt. You are fortunate to be able to drive and walk to these places that are interesting to the mind and beautifully restorative to our spirits!

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I enjoyed reading about your trip and seeing your lovely pictures. I hope one day to travel to the UK so I can see some of these interesting places in person.

kenju said...

Lovely photos, Gilly. It is a real shame that that old home is in ruins.

Connie said...

You have so much history and so many fascinating places! Enjoyed your visual trip and story. Thanks.

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

i've been there!

( ages ago now)

it's LOVELY!

KathyA said...

Oh how lovely! What a grand home Errwood Hall must have been. Cannot imagine what it must have taken to keep a home that size running.

Awareness said...

ah, the stories found in the wind echoes..... past legends... :)

I love your walk and photos Gilly. It's the kind of place I love to explore. thanks for posting this. Beautiful!!

I have a whole slew of photos I took while exploring Bath and I havent posted any of them yet, nor written about it. Can't wait to show you.

Betty said...

Thank you so much for posting this.

I was a huge fan of Alan Garner's work when I was a child. Still am now. Both The Weirdstone of Brisingamen & The Moon of Gomrath are set in this area. The latter mentions Errwood Hall. I never realised it was a real place!

Enjoyed the photos too. Thank you!

g said...

Fascinating photos of the ruins of the hall!!

Michael said...

Thank you so much for posting this. My Great-Great Grandfather worked at Errwood Hall and my Great Grandmother was born there and grew up there. What a treat to see this and imagine them being at the hall.