Loving Local Landscapes

copywriting course by the CMPI added the strapline, “Loving Local Landscapes” to this blog in early 2016. It was in response to an assignment for work, that I was undertaking as a part of a copywriting course by the CMP.

It’s been a busy year in general and my personal direction has altered a few times, wrestling with where the line should be with my public and private persona and just what I want to share online.  I have long been a lover of nature and history, and yet my tweets are often political, as is the material that I post on Facebook.  I feel the two worlds are not always compatible and should not bleed into each other, keeping both strands pure for those with similar interests. Nature lovers may not want politics and Politico’s may not care for updates on hill and dale.

Subsequently, all posts of all types have suffered from my hiatus, whilst I ponder exactly how to separate the content appropriately to ensure the right audience gets the right material.

The Direction for 2017

This Weblog shall remain mostly apolitical, focusing on the landscape and history of the Derbyshire Peak District and my interpretation and interaction with those elements.  To underline that commitment, Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to at the end of 2016.


Crich Stand Trig: One of the easiest in the area.

A Trip To Crich Stand

The Crich Memorial (known locally as Crich Stand) is one of those places that has been on my list to visit for a very long time, and yet it’s one of those places I never seemed to get to, until now.

Despite having visited the tramway museum a few years ago, having had relatives in the area, and visiting friends in the village itself, I’d never gotten up to Crich stand itself, much to my annoyance.

As I’m sure any walker/runner will know, all too often we pass a place in our cars and vow to investigate, and yet allow life to jostle us past every gaping opportunity.  Well, no more.

After the excesses of the Christmas holiday,  Mum and I headed up to Crich with the aim of wandering up to the Stand. It was a cold crisp day,  we made the stroll very steady.


I believed that The Memorial tower was dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment). I was unaware though that the regiment had been merged with the Worcestershire Regiment. Today that merged regiment is part of the Mercian Regiment, all part of Army restructuring.



For more information about the history of the tower, see the Crich Memorial Website.


We wandered around looking at the inscriptions on the War memorials to the dead that have fallen since WW2, took a few pics and walked up to the trig, peering down into the Tramway Museum below.

There was a  chap flying his Drone up there, getting some ariel footage and just generally enjoying the views. We exchanged pleasantries, and Instagram handles, though I couldn’t find his account, perhaps, he’ll find my Instagram or read this?

Sadly, the tower itself was closed, but we do hope to visit again and perhaps get to take in the view on that occasion.

My Tideswell Fell Race 2016


Photo: Tideswell Fell Race Website.

The evening of June 24th saw the 2016 Tideswell Fell Race. The venue is Tideswell Dale. This year, 85 runners took part, which is a good turnout.  I think there were a few more than last year.

It looked as though rain may stop play before the fell race even began.  Dark clouds were overhead and they unleashed a deluge of large hailstones.  Luckily the heavens cleared and blue skies soon chased off the dark clouds.


I arrived early at Tideswell Dale with just enough time to record a quick snap chat about how I was feeling before the race. It’s a nice race with a bloody tough climb quite early on.


When I arrived I went to sign in and collect my race number, which wasn’t great, it was number 13.  Not a good omen in my opinion and so it was proved. I’d told my friends Jo and Nick and they came along for the race too.


Will Brindley & Glen Croper…enjoying the rainbow.

I and my fellow clubmate Will Brindley headed up into the quarry to do some pre-race warmup.  Not that it did me any good at all.

The Race Begins

The race began at a cracking pace, a little bit too fast for me. I did my best to keep up with the middle of the pack, but by the bottom of Tideswell Dale I was already flagging. My legs felt very heavy. By the time I had climbed up onto the Monsal Trail I was just about done for, the race wasn’t even a 1/3 in.

From the Monsal Trail it was up the steep steps at the side of the old packhorse bridge that crosses the old railway line,  and up the steep, steep climb to the top.  I have done this climb many times before,  it all depends on how you approach it. This time, it was so hard, I was so tired, the flies were out in force, the cowpats were everywhere, tough going is not the word.

Just before the top, I received some welcome refreshment two Tideswell people were standing there handing out water. I took 2 cups,  One to drink and one to dunk over my head and wash the sweat from my face.

Hitting the top of the hill, I found my legs again and began to run. I could see Colette Holden in front of me,  about 100m ahead.  Collette had passed me on the hill climb and it was my determination to keep her in sight.

My standard approach to other runners of a similar ability level is to keep them close, about 50 m ahead and then plan a cavalry charge at the end. I saw Colette pass the barn on the crest of the hill, I’d cut her lead and was probably, 20 seconds behind her.

As soon as I hit the downhill,  I started to increase my speed.  At one point, she couldn’t have been more than 30 meters in front of me,  but again fatigue set in and my resolve evaporated.  I just couldn’t maintain the pace,  having to stop for too many breathers.

The descent plunges down a green hillside and then into a small wood.  The path is muddy and rocky. It ends with a long set of steep steps, which are lethal when wet. Even a “descent psycho” like myself gets nervy on them. They seem to go on forever and are just so steep. My knees were screaming by the time I crossed the river bridge to hit the tarmac at the bottom.

The Tar Stretch

At the bottom gates of Ravens Tor Youth Hostel, Colette was out of sight again.  I increased my speed, and after about three minutes she was back in sight and only 50 meters ahead.  I thought that if I could maintain the pace I might overtake her towards the end.

The ascent backup Tideswell Dale is a deceptively long drag, especially when you’ve just done the best part of a fell race. I tried to maintain my speed,  increasing my steps,   I closed on Colette, “this is it, I said to myself as I rounded the corner.  Cramp was setting into the legs and suddenly something in my brain said “stop”.

I stopped for about 30 seconds, just to get some air and knowing all the time, that I’d just blown my last chance. I pressed as hard as I could on the final stretch going through the gate just before the quarry.  As I rounded the first corner I could already hear the cheers as the crowd cheered Colette up the home straight.

Nothing left to do now but finish strongly. I rounded the final corner and the crowd started to cheer me on.  I gave it my all, I am rather well known for my sprint finishes. It’s just a shame that I can’t find that speed earlier in races.  I don’t get my legs till far too late.


Sprint Finish Photo: Jo Shimwell

A  fantastic race by Colette has to be congratulated, especially that she’s been struggling with injury all year.


Colette at the finish. Photo: Andy Watkins


Tideswell Fell race is a fantastic race,  really enjoyable.  My time is down on last years, but I can cope.  This was only my second race this year and my training has been patchy due to PF.

One thing this result tells me is that I really, really need to work on my fitness and stamina. This is been a consistent problem in races,  giving up too easily when I need to keep going.

I am sure I need some kind of mental training.  My weight is getting there,  am capable of bursts of speed, so I don’t know what the issue is.

Any comments on this from experienced runners would be welcome.

If You Like This, You Might Like My Other Fell Running Articles
Fell Running

Related Links:

Tideswell Fell Race
My Tideswell Fell Race 2015
Tideswell Running Club
The reworked version of this article at TRC

My Tideswell Fell Race 2015

Tideswell Fell Race is a 4.4 mile race starting from Tideswell Dale, just outside the White peak village, known as “Tidza”. The 2015 race was held on the 26th of June.

This year I wasn’t injured, and having never done Tideswell Fell Race before, I was keen to take part. The race is organised by local people, not by Tideswell Running Club. However, the running club wanted to show our support for a local race, and we turned out in force.

Gerard Rogers has it covered with computerised results.After the initial registration, there’s a short walk up to the old quarry a little further down dale. We knew that the pace would be pretty quick as local and national fell racing stars such as Luke Beresford (Ripley AC), Olivia Walwyn (Macclesfield Harriers) and Judith Jepson (Dark Peak) were all in attendance.

Tideswell Fell Race

Tideswell Fell Race starts in the old Quarry


Plenty of Dark Peak runners at the start.

The race went off at a cracking pace, down the to the bottom of Tideswell Dale towards Litton Mill.

Tideswell Fell Race

Obviously, I’m winning the race in this shot.

Once in the village, take a quick right over the narrow river bridge and then a steep rocky ascent brings you up onto the Monsal Trail. Dash straight across the trail and up the steps beside the railway footbridge. The route then climbs up two steep fields before flattening out onto Bulltor Lane. Turn right towards the barn and go through the stile. One brief plateau of a field with a stunning view, then all of a sudden you’re flying back downhill. Run this bit as hard as you can, to make up time, there’s a tight wooded bit with lots of roots and potential trips, so disengage the brain on the grass

If it’s been raining, this section can be pretty slippery, The steps are particularly slimy. Before you know it you’re over a small river bridge crossing the Wye, turn right back on the tarmac again. This stretch of tarmac seems to go on forever, but save a little if you can, soon enough you’ll come to the bottom Tideswell Dale. Swing back up the dale with a hairpin left, and begin the long steady incline back up to the finish line. You can usually see other runners in front of you here, and this is the time to pick them off, If you’ve got anything left in the tank.

I came in near the back of the field,  as per usual, but having never reccied the route I was pleased to have just taken part.

All in all cracking little race and if you’re reasonably fit, it actually feels like you’re competing, all the way round. Looking forward to doing better in the 2016 race.

If You Like This, You Might Like My Other Fell Running Articles
Fell Running

Thanks to Tideswell Fell Race for the use of their photos
See race photos here

Tideswell Church – The Cathedral of the Peak

Tideswell church, St John the Baptist. Tideswell is a very large ‘Church of England’ Parish Church. It is one of the most important churches in Derbyshire.

I lived in Tideswell until the age of 20. During that time, like most other Tideswellians whether young or old, I consider that I have a special relationship with Tideswell Church. I spent many hours bored rigid in there as a schoolboy, listening to religious services at Easter, Wakes, Harvest and Christmas.  I had fun practising for School plays and concerts, I was scared by the creepy tombs, and marvelled at the stone cat and the monkey. I’ve been drunk in the Churchyard, in my teens, hanging out with friends in the churchyard till the early hours.  I saw the Duke of Edinburgh there in the 80s, when he looked at our Cub Scout’s Welldressing. I have shared in sombre moments, attending funerals some of good friends and fellow Tideswellians.  So it feels right, that I should pay some small tribute to a building that I love.

Tideswell Church

Tideswell Church – Cathedral of the Peak

About Tideswell Church

Tideswell church is famous locally, that is to say, within the Peak District, and perhaps Derbyshire, maybe also amongst those, who like me, appreciate churches and other ancient buildings. There is no doubt that it will have a memorable effect on anyone who has visited it.

Tideswell Church -Cathedral of the Peak

This Photo Shows the size of Tideswell church in comparison with local houses.

The reason that the church is so well known, is because of it’s size and striking architecture. Dubbed the “Cathedral of the Peak” (it is not a cathedral). It is one certainly amongst the most famous churches in Derbyshire, and is a Grade 1 listed building.

Tideswell Church has Norman Influences

The church, replaced a small Norman church, was constructed between approximately 1320 and 1400. The building work was delayed by the Black Death, which also hit nearby Eyam (Plague village). I always like to remind people that the plague wasn’t just in Eyam, but it seems that only Eyam is famous for it.

St John the Baptist church - Nave

The Nave

There are two main styles to the building: the nave ( main body of the church), aisles Corridors) and transepts (wings) are in late Gothic style,(French style Architecture, characteristics include the pointed arch, the ribbed vault and the flying buttress.) and both the chancel (space around the altar) and tower are in perpendicular style.(Focusing on straight lines)

Tideswell Church Clock

Tideswell Church

Tideswell Church Tower

The perpendicular style became popular the Black Death which killed about half of England’s population in 18 months between June 1348 and December 1349 returning in 1361–62 to kill another fifth. This had a dramatic effect on the arts and culture, which it seems became very practical. The nation was affected by the labour shortages caused by the plague so architects designed less elaborately to compensate.

The church underwent was major restoration in 1873 by J D Sedding, which was truly a restoration rather than a reconstruction. In ‘Churches and Chapels in The County of Derby‘, Rawlins described St John’s as being:

without exception, the most perfect and beautiful specimen of pointed architecture to be found in the County, – or perhaps in any other parish church of its size in the entire Kingdom

Tideswell Church Tower

Tideswell Church Tower

Catholicism in Tideswell

We often forget, that although today, most of our Parish Churches are ‘Church of England’. Many began life as Catholic Churches, Tideswell is no different. Bishop Pursglove, and Nicholas Garlic are Tideswells’ most celebrated and most notorious Catholic Clergy. Unlike local churches such as Hartington and Eyam, There are no signs of the fresco’s that would have covered the inside of the building in Catholic times.

Lichfield vs Lenton – The fight for Tideswell Church.

In 1250–51, the church became embroiled in a dispute between Lichfield Cathedral and Lenton Priory.

Tideswell was one of a several of parishes that had been given to Lenton Priory by the Peverel family during the 11th century. Later, their lands in the Peak District were seized by the crown and granted by King Henry II to his son William The Younger.

After taking the throne, Henry’s son,  King John, granted the lands to the Bishop of Lichfield and in turn, they passed to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield Cathedral.

This transfer began around 300 years of disagreement between the Priory and Cathedral about who was the rightful owner of the Tideswell Church. The legal battle continued throughout this period, including suits in the Vatican Court on several occasions.

Tideswell Church became directly involved in the dispute when in 1250–51, The monks of Lenton Priory armed themselves and attempted to steal wool and lambs from Tideswell,

The Dean of Lichfield Cathedral knew that Lenton would try such a manoeuvre, and ordered the wool and sheep to be kept within the nave of Tideswell church. Strangely, the monks of Lenton did not honour the church’s sanctuary rights, breaking into the building. A violent battle followed, and 18 lambs were killed within the church: either trampled under the horses’ hooves or butchered by the attackers. The Lenton, monks managed to carry off 14 of the lambs. (House of Cluniac Monks, Page, W 1910)

Despite a commission being assembled by Pope Innocent IV, which fined the monks of Lenton Priory severely for their actions. The disputes continued until King Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries and Catholic power was smashed throughout the land.

Notable Features in Tideswell Church

There are of course several notable features in, on and around the church. Some of the most notable items are the tombs in the Church. There are brasses to Sir John Foljamb, d. 1383 and to Bishop Robert Purseglove as well as several stone table tombs.  These tombs used to fascinate and scare me as a kid, the thought of what might lie beneath them petrified me.

The Tomb of Sampson Meveril

In the middle of the chancel, there is an Altar tomb. Within lies Sir Sampson Meverill (1388–1462), allegedly one of the victors of Agincourt. Apparently, Sir Sampson was ‘a bit of a rum lad’. Not averse, in his day, to abducting Jurors, sent to try him.  As a boy, this tomb always scared me because, beneath the marble slab, a stone cadaver lies. The stone corpse looks emaciated and creepy. Sampson’s head is held by an Angel, but the ravages of time make the Angel look more like some kind of evil Succubus. The top of the tomb is heavily inscribed and has an alabaster frieze and brass panels. The tomb was restored in 1876.

Stone Cadaver with Angel

The Tomb of Sir Sampson Meveril in Tideswell Church

In the South Transept, there is the Lytton Chapel has one of the old bells on the floor, whilst nearby, is the tomb of Robert (d. 1483) and his wife Isabel (d. 1458) Lytton.

Mysterious Ladies from the 14th Century

The transcept also holds the effigies of two unknown ladies, these figures are thought to date back to the early 1300’s.

Stone Effigies in the Lytton Chapel.

Stone Effigies – Tideswell Church

Sir Thurstan DeBower

Perhaps the church’s most notable feature is the ‘Bower Chapel’. This contains an impressive tomb, said to be that of Sir Thurstan De Bower and his wife Margret. the recumbent alabaster figures are extremely worn but remain impressive. Personally, I think it’s a tragedy that people have etched graffiti into the stone tomb, but most of it is very old by the look of it.

There is some debate raised by previous books about Tideswell, as to the true identity of these figures set in Alabaster. Local Historian, Rosemarie Lockie’s website has transcriptions that state contrary evidence. (See Related Links).

De Bower Tomb

Sir Thurstram De Bower and his Wife Margaret?

Carved Inscription regarding Sir Thurstram

Carved Inscription regarding Sir Thurstram – but is it accurate?

Thurstram Debower - Knight of Tideswell, and Benefactor of the church

Thurstram Debower – Knight of Tideswell?, Benefactor of the Church

Thurstram Debower

Is this the Debower tomb or an effigy to some other local Knight?

Wood Carvings

Tideswell Church is well known for the carvings of Advent Hunstone. Hunstone was A Tideswellman, who’s carvings adorn the great building, and many other local churches.
Not all the carvings in Tideswell church are Hunstone’s though.
Some in the chancel choir stalls are attributed to a Mr Tooley of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Wood Carvings

Wood Carvings at Tideswell

There are many other notable Features in Tideswell Church, probably too many to mention. Also, I think you should visit the church to get the real feel for it. Even locals, because when you walk past something every day, it can be, that you don’t really see it. You’ll be surprised at what you will spot for the first time.

Here are a few of my favourite features.

Old Stained Glass, Derbyshire

The Stained Glass at Tideswell is fantastic.


This figurine of Mary is hidden away behind the small Organ.





The Monkey, Often hard to spot…can you find him?


Possible Tunnel & Secret Crypt

There are those in the village who believe that Tideswell Church is connected to a series of other local buildings by a series of narrow tunnels. Some villages dismiss the idea out of hand whilst others swear to have been in them or recount tales of seeing family members in the Tunnels.

Today, those who know keep the secret. Those who want to know, like me have struggled to find out more than what is already known or supposed. You can read my posts about the tunnels under Tideswell Church here or just Google Tunnels under Tideswell. If the tunnels are there, what do they lead to? Some say they were escape routes for priests during the Reformation, others say that they were used to transport prisoners, and goods. Then there are those, who believe that the reason that Tideswell church is so large is that it hides a secret crypt of an important person. Whatever the truth is, I hope we all find out one day. I’m sure it would be a positive thing for the village, in terms of tourism, if the stories turn out to be true.

Share if you like, please

I do hope that you enjoyed my post about Tideswell Church. If you did, please leave a comment or at least like or Share on Facebook/Twitter/ Google Plus, Pinterest or whatever Social Network you favour.

Related Links – Tideswell Church.

Thurstan Debower
Wishful thibking – DeBower

Debower or Who?
Tideswell Church South Transept

Sampson Meveril, Marauding Monks and ‘The Kings Larder’
Tideswell History

Tideswell Tombs

Bishop Pursglove
Bishop Pursglove

Tidza March

Local business man and former bandsman, Vernon Watson talks about the evolution of the Tideswell Processional.  

Tideswell Tales

No celebration in Tideswell would be right without the Tideswell Band playing the Tidza March, so here is Vernon Watson talking about how the Tidza march might have got to sound the way it does today.

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A Walk Down Ravensdale

It was one of those lazy Saturdays. My partner was tied up with family matters and my daughter and I were at a loose end. The choice facing us was between festering inside on our respective electronic devices, or getting out into the fresh air for a spot of exploration. We chose the latter and made a quick packed lunch, and hopped into the car. As we drive the sun was streaming through the window and the clouds parted above offering us hope of a good afternoon’s walking.

Gibbet Rock / Peters Stone

When heading put on walks, I often decide en-route as to the destination. Sos as we headed through Bakewell I thought a trip toward Gibbet Rock, known by some as Peters Stone. There are several ways to get Peters Stone the way that I chose, wasn’t the best considering that I had my daughter with me. It had been some time since I had been there, and I somewhat under estimated the distance and the rough terrain. These things do happen.

Cressbrook Mill Millpond

We parked the car at Cressbrook Mill, and walked toward the old Mill pond on the right hand side of the road. The imposing mill on our left, almost shone in the cold and bright, January sunlight. We went toward the old Mill Pond and as we approached the gate we could hear the violent sound of rushing water, roaring as it entered the Mill Race. As I reached the gate and began to push it open, Martha was hanging back, somewhat cowed by the sound of the rushing water. I Went through the gate and was immediately confronted by a Kingfisher that almost flew right into me. Clearly the poor bird was as startled as I was, because it took off at speed. Luckily for Martha it had decided to fly around the perimeter of the Mill Pond instead of choosing a straight route to safety, so she did get to see it as it retreated, a blue/orange blur of bright feathers refleted on the shimmering pond. I will never forget that moment, I had never seen a kingfisher before and to see one so close, was a privilege that few people are ever afforded.

After waiting a few minutes, watching the Mill pond drain into the race, we headed up the steep hill towards the entrance to Ravensale.

Cressbrook Mill to Ravensdale

Cressbrook Mill to Ravensdale


It had been raining for days,  this was the only fine day for a week or more. So, when we got down to the the Cottages at Ravensdale the path was little better than a sludge fest.
Despite our better judgement, we soldiered on.

Muddy Ravensdale

The Mud in Ravensdale was bad.

Quite soon it became evident that the dale itself must have its own micro climate, and a very damp one at that. All the drystone walls were completely blanketed in a thick jacket of emerald green moss. Not only the walls but the tree were thick with it too.

Drystone walls covered in thick moss

Mossy Walls



Muddy Ravensdale

As we pushed on through the thick mud, we came to a point where the stream flowing through the valley had spilled through the wall. I cannot really see the point of these walls as the land enclosed must be quite poor pasture. However, I do know that the valley isn’t always as wet as it was this year, so perhaps what I saw offered a distorted view of reality.

Ravensdale Flooded

Water had burst through the wall.

The path meandered on and the woods were thick on both sides. eventually the path split into two and there was a steep climb and a lower path lose to the stream bed, Initially we climbed the hillside but were unsure as to the final destination of this path so clambered down to the lower path, where we saw some interesting trees.

Flooded Trees

Strange Ships Marooned upstream


Flooded Valley

I’m not sure how these trees are still standing, but what was clearly once just a field has now become the bed of the stream, and these trees are left stranded. Eventually over time, I guess their roots will wash out and the trees will tumble. Till then, they continue to be a notable feature on this unusual walk.

At this point I knew we weren’t far from breaking out of the woods, which I can tell you, I was glad of, the woods were damp and cool and nothing much seemed to stir in them except the stream. Eventually we turned a corner an came out into the open. We could see a party of hikers resting on the bank ahead and made our way toward them, it was time for quick bite to eat.

Flooded Valley

Break out of the Ravensdale wood and find a flooded valley

The Valley here was more flooded than I’d ever seen it before, though I hadn’t been here for some time. Perhaps there is some landscape engineering going on, but when I was a boy the valley was only wet in Winter and bone dry in Summer. The Wardlow Mires end of the valley, I have noted, now seems to be wet most of the year.

Peakland Kestrel

Whilst we finished our lunch, I spotted a Kestrel, hovering near the cliff edge. I often see Birds of prey using the Edges as cover in this way whilst they wait for a careless Rabbit or Vole to break cover.

Hovering Kestrel

Kestrel Hovers just behind the edge

We watched it hover for a while, then headed up the valley toward Gibbet Rock. Martha was getting tired, and so was I, the light was beginning to fade a little so I took the decision to head back, instead of going through the spooky woods again we took the path to the left which comes out in Litton, and then walked on the road to Cressbrook.


The Litton Path

The Litton Path

As we climbed the steep path, I began to realise just how badly I had underestimated the difficulty of this walk for a 9 year old, who wasn’t raised as an outdoors kid. It was challenging enough for me, so she was doing really well. there was nothing else for it though, I had to get us back to the car before dark.

Looking toward Ravensdale.

Looking back toward the dale, the edge is where we saw the Kestrel.

Litton & Cressbrook bound

We walked on until we hit the tar road. Unexpectedly, Martha’s mood seemed to lift then, and we were more lighthearted for the remainder of the trip. Sometimes, I think kids just need to know the end is in sight.

Our mood was crowned by the fact that we saw this truly beautiful sunset that seemed as though it would set the fields on fire with molten gold, smelted in the furnace of the heavens.

Sunset Photo

Litton – A Golden Sunset.

minutes later we were looking down on Cressbrook Mill, the starting point of our journey. Next time I will recalibrate the walk, heading from Wardlow Mires to Gibbet Rock, lunch on the rock and then back for ice cream at Monsal Head. I think I owe her that much.

Country File visits Tideswell

A few weeks ago I was gutted to learn that I had missed Tideswell being on Countryfile. Luckily Pete Hawkins, Editor of the local Village Voice had managed to post a clip on YouTube.

To be fair very little of the footage actually featured Tideswell, which was disappointing. However, any exposure on the national media is good and it can only help the shops and businesses. So well done to the PR team who managed to catch Country File’s eye.

Tideswell Carnival 2013 – Big Satd’y

June 29 saw the highpoint of the new era of Tideswell Wakes. The morning saw black clouds on the overhead and fears were abound that the day may have been a wash out. Instead by midday the clouds were breaking and the first wakes floats were taking to the streets. People were already anticipating the excitement and getting out on to the streets and socialising and enjoying themselves. At 3 o’clock the procession began,  there must have been several hundred people on the streets of Tideswell.

This year’s Wakes committee have done the village proud by creating a Wakes week to rival the days of old. The Wakes committee managed to put on a full and varied set of events throughout the week, and for Big Saturday they brought Wakes Queens and Marching bands from outside the village To take part in the the carnival.

Tideswell Carnival - Wakes Queens

Wakes Queens-Tideswell

Scottish Pipe Band

City of Sheffield pipe band in Tideswell Carnival 2013

Wakes Boosts Business

The impact of Tideswell Carnival and Wakes week in general is so good for the village, and also for the Peak District. People from all over the region and beyond came to see the spectacle. The huge increase in tourism  pumps much-needed money into the local economy. Businesses like Peak District Dairy who were selling ices and teas as well as the various food stalls that were busy all day.

Crowds in Tideswell's Pot Market

Wakes revellers fill Tideswell Pot Market on ‘Big Satd’y’

Many of the local pubs put on some form of musical entertainment to hold the interest of the visitors and  provide a relaxing interlude for those who didn’t follow the carnival procession as it made it’s way around the village. I have not seen a carnival like this for many a long year. It took me right back to my childhood. That was the sentiment echoed by many of the local villagers who I chatted to on my way home. Everyone agreed that the new Wakes Committee had succeeded in breathing new life into what was almost a beautiful, but dying tradition.

Tideswell Carnival Super Heroes

Tideswell Carnival Super Heroes

Publicity is Key for Tideswell Wakes

Organisers of any event will know that good publicity is key. Unless people know about and event, how can they attend. Attracting customers cannot be left to chance and hope. Special effort must be made to attract people and to keep them happy, once they arrive. This years wakes committee made a splendid effort in publicising the weeks events. The publicity work done by the Chair Liz Hill, really was on the money. As well as reaching out to the local newspapers, The Wakes team made sure that local people were kept in the loop by making posts on The Village Voice Web Portal as early as January.

Tideswell Wakes Publicity

Tideswell Wakes Publicity

Perhaps the weather played a part in bringing the crowds, but the technology of social media played its part too. The Wakes information website, the Facebook Page and use of Twitter all helped keep the event current and in people’s minds. Friends of Tideswell did their bit too by helping to share and like on Facebook and to Retweet any announcements made regarding the festivities.  In the past, it was too easy to forget that a little village in the Peak District was having a carnival, today events appear each day on your social media timelines. It’s harder to forget.

What can other villages learn from Tideswell Wakes?

Up and down the Peak District the Wakes festivals have in recent years, seemed to be dwindling in popularity. So if anyone thought that streets festooned with fluttering bunting were an anachronism, this year Tideswell poured cold water on that theory. Sometimes you have to hit a low to fight back, and earlier in the year Tideswell was without a Wakes committee and may not have had a Wakes at all.

However, sometimes bringing in new faces with fresh enthusiasm is the key.  In Today’s modern world of Internet promotion, it no longer serves to print a few flyers, ring the local paper and hope for the best.  It no longer serves to say “this is how we’ve always done it” you have to make changes and always strive to improve. Other villages who put on wakes weeks will need to remember that there’s always plenty of competing venues vying for the tourist trade.

So don’t rest on your laurels. Get Decorating, Teamwork is essential, and get the kids involved. The village was decorated in a way that hasn’t been seen for 20 years or more. Each year streets compete for the title of best decorated street, best decorated house and the Tideswell residences showed passion and something that they seemed to almost have forgotten about. It was great to see, and absolutely critical for the survival of Wakes week is that the kids are once again getting involved.

young people enjoying carnival

Carnival float

There was also our Wakes Queen and Rosebud Princess with their retinue. In today’s modern world it’s difficult to get teenage girls to put their names forward to be Wakes Royalty, but this year something inspired the youth. Amongst the Carnival, Local DJ’s Wayne and Wright with their portable disco were calling out to local residents and long lost friends. The Roberts Family who always make a big effort didn’t disappoint this year, they all dressed as superheroes.  We saw a Circus, the Tour De France, Jimi Hendrix, Bees and Beekeppers and many others. Getting involved is key.

Wakes is More just than just Carnival

Although Big Satd’y is the the day Tideswellians eagerly anticipate, we should remember all those people who give their time generously to be Wakes stewards and those who help with the general production of the Wakes. Let’s not forget all the people who sell tickets and put on events for charity, all the volunteers who serve teas and decorate the local churches.  There is a tendency to think of Tidza Wakes as being all about the carnival but Wakes is an ancient tradition that stems from decorating the local wells to give thanks for the water.

Tideswell Well Dressing & Torchlight Procession

This years Well Dressings were truly remarkable. The main Well Dressing was in Fountain Square, but there were three other wells to be seen. Brilliant efforts by Tideswell school, The community Association and Tideswell Pre School.

Tidza Well Dressings

Well Dressings

As Tideswell’s afternoon procession could be deemed a fantastic success, many people began to drift , home or to the pub for a bite to eat before the grand finale of the day which was at 9:45,  the torchlight procession.

Reminiscent of the Viking festival of Up-Hellier Tideswellians and visitors join together in a twighlight parade led once again by Tideswell band. For some is probably the most memorable part of Tideswell Wakes. The procession walks the from Wheston Bank, through the narrow streets to the Horse and Jockey pub, then back up the town, finishing at the George Hotel. Dancers are flanked by Torch bearers on both sides and as the band plays the Tideswell processional. People weave in and out to a heady, and informal Morris dance. A sight to be remembered.

This short parade is something that visitors to Tidza should strive not to miss and by 10:30 it’s all over and people begin to dissipate, to the local pubs and their beds. Revellers go home with happy and full hearts and even fuller bellies. Until next year when they’ll do it all again at  Tideswell Wakes 2014

Tideswell Wakes 2013

Tideswell Wakes is underway yet again.  The weeklong festival includes Well dressings, and Carnival, Wakes Royalty, Funfair, Decorated streets and houses is not to be missed if you have the opportunity to Visit Tideswell in the week between the 22nd of June and the 30th.

Tideswell Welldressings

Over the years Tideswell has produced fantastic well Dressings. The Main Well, situated in Fountain Square is always a joy to behold. This years is no different, in fact it’s one of the best Wells I have seen in a long time.

The Main Well  - Welldressing in Tideswell

Tideswell Welldressings

Of course there are also three other smaller wells too. Done by the Scouts, Guides and Tideswell School. Wander around the village, they are not hard to find.

See Tideswell’s Decorated Houses and Streets

Part of the revelry of Wakes week is decorating your house and Garden.  In years gone by this was hugely popular with almost every house sporting some form of decoration.  This year has seen a revival of decorated houses with more houses sporting some form of decoration.  Houses often pick a theme or are part of a street team who all collaborate.
Bunting hangs across the streets, which is something I really do love.
Tideswell Church - Bunting

So far, the decorations seem back in vogue, and certainly a lot more houses are displaying the bunting.  Scarecrows are the new big thing, and a stroll around the village will help you find some fab, and some freaky. Over the years there have been some fantastic efforts. Notable streets to make sure you visit are, Fountain Street, Market Square and Lower Terrace Rd.  You can always rely on these streets do do something eye-catching, and interactive.

Lower Terrace Rd - Decorations

House Decoration is popular during Tideswell Wakes Week

Big Saturday (Big Satd’y)

The Highlight of the week is most definitely Big Sat’dy. Big Saturday is always on the last Saturday in June.  There is a Carnival procession that parades the full length of the village. Lots of people make or hire costumes and dress up as their favourite characters or make satirical comment on current affairs. It’s always great fun trying to guess those in disguise and the whole event is an amateur photographers dream.

Tideswell Carnival Satire

Tidza folk send up the Big Society

The Wakes Committee

This year the village has a brand new Wakes Committee.  The old guard decided to step aside,having worked hard for many years. This created the opportunity for Wakes committee elections.  This years’ Committee, are mostly known for dressing up in the parades, but now they have stepped up to the plate and taken on the responsibility of running the whole show.  The job of organising Tideswell Wakes is no small feat, and those who have been involved in organising a week long series of events know what a very hard and sometimes thankless task it can be.  However, it looks as though this years bunch have made a great starts so far.  Most of the Wakes Committee are under 40, and they have brought some new ideas into play and they have also revived a few old ones.

Digital Tideswell Wakes Updates

This year Tideswell has really gone digital, the wakes Committee have set up a Website and a Facebook page, for people to comment, and share their experiences. People can get updates via Twitter, which is a massively useful tool for spreading the word to people from outside the village who might be looking to visit the Peak District, but may have not heard about Tideswell Wakes. I’d urge everyone who cares about or who has visited Tideswell and Experienced Wakes to get on Twitter and tweet, tell your friends and family about Wakes week and Big Satd’y.

Follow Tideswell Wakes via Social Media

All publicity will help the Village.

Get thee sens there!

Get to Tideswell for Wakes, you really wont regret it, there are plenty of local shops and some decent pubs too.

Chesterfield to Tideswell

Sheffield to Tideswell

Manchester to Tideswell

Lot’s of lovely walks, and of course the amazing Church. You can get a cheap brew at the Methodist Chapel whlst looking at the artwork. What more to you want? Get thee Sens There!

See you all on Big Satd’y!

Arbour Low Stone Circle

Arbour Low Stone Circle

Arbour Low Stone Circle

Arbour Low Stone Circle Walk

In early October 2012, I was driving around the Derbyshire Peak District, looking for Interesting places to visit. I was about a Mile or Two North of Newhaven, I came across a sign to Arbour Low. Arbour Low is a large Stone Circle, described by the English Heritage Website as “the most Important prehistoric site of the East Midlands”. I had always wanted to go and find it but had previously not made much effort to find it.

I vowed to return. Two weeks later, my friend and I headed up there. The stone circle is located just behind a modern farm. You can park your car and wander up past the farm house, which i believe is a guest house.  It only takes a few minutes to arrive at the stone circle, and I have to say it’s “bloody impressive”.

Derbyshire’s Stone Henge

The stones are all lying flat now but they are huge, and make the “Nine Ladies” stone circle on Stanton Moor seem miniature. This is a proper henge.  I took a few photos, which can be seen on my flickr account.

If you are staying in Tideswell and fancy seeing an Ancient Stone Circle and Burial mound, I have included this map to help you get there.

Tideswell Tunnels Part 4

Tunnels to Tideswell Church

This summer saw me kindle an interest in Tunnels under Tideswell.

If you have read any of my previous posts you will know how my investigations went. If you haven’t read the articles before here are they.

I decided that I needed to go and see the Vicar. After all, I needed an “official line” on the matter. I called the vicar and arranged a meeting. He was kind enough to meet me at his house, and we had a 30-minute chat. I was somewhat disappointed with the outcome

Discussing Tunnels under the church with Tideswell Vicar

Around 26 June 2012, I went back to Tideswell looking for the hidden tunnels which are rumoured to be underneath the village. I was told to go and see the vicar.   I contacted the vicar by telephone and arrange the meeting at his house.   He arranged to see me early in the early evening I was quite hopeful that he would be able to shed some
light on the many questions I had to ask him regarding tunnels under the church.

We sat down and I began to ask the vicar about the rumoured tunnel from the back of the church to Church St.  Sadly the vicar said that he did not have any information about tunnels.  Like everyone else,  he had heard rumours but did not put any stock in
them, as he had never found any evidence of the tunnel or documents
pertaining to tunnels. Next, I asked him about the small room that sits over the north door that sits over the south door of Tideswell Church.  As you enter Tideswell Church through the South door, (main entrance)  on the right there is a small door on the left.

Tideswell Church South door. (note windows to the small office)

Tideswell Church South door. (note windows to the small office)

It leads to a narrow staircase up to a small office.  I went into this office as a school pupil at Bishop Pursglove School. The room was full of documents and books that, however, was about some 30 years ago.

I don’t know how much things have changed but the vicar told me that the little secret office, that seemed so mysterious in the fog of my memory, had been recently cleared out and there was nothing in there. It was now used as a storeroom he assured me.

“What about the records, though, if they have been moved, where are they now?”  I pressed.

Any ecclesiastical records were now held at the public records office in Matlock, he rebuffed my renewed pressure off easily.   Naturally this was a disappointing conclusion to our meeting, however, he did tell me that if I wanted to go into the cellar behind the church that I should ask the caretaker to let me in.  He passed me the caretakers number, telling me that he would be on his rounds that evening, and with that, we parted. I dialled the caretakers’ number.

Looking for Tunnels Under Tideswell Church

Mr Robbinson agreed to meet me and we went around the back of the
church,  just in front of the Institute by the old grammar school. there is an opening leading to the boiler house cellar.  Mr Robinson produced a large bunch of keys and we went down into the cellar.

Tideswell Church Boiler House Cellar

Tideswell Church Boiler House Cellar

My interest in the cellar was kindled by other residents who told me that have been into the cellar and told me that they had seen a bricked up archway that was surely the tunnel entrance.  As you go down the steps on the right there is a disused coal bunker. On the left, there was evidence of a brick arch this may, at one time have gone under the lady chapel but it’s difficult to tell as it’s been plastered over.

This wall, has an alcove which point into the lady chapel

This wall, has an alcove which point into the lady chapel

The end of the Cellar

The end of the Cellar

The cellar itself contained the new boiler and evidence of an old boiler of which the pipework has not been fully removed.   The cellar itself was long probably about 12
foot in length and seven feet high.   The cellar had an arched ceiling, but I could see no firm evidence that was visible that there was an entrance to any tunnel.

Earlier that day,  I had been looking inside the church itself.  If you walk into the church, then turn down towards the pulpit and then take a left into the Lady Chapel you will see some very old pews.  Behind the first seat on these old pews, one of the backboards is missing. If you look carefully, You can see an opening which could be the top of an old door or archway.  If you put your arm down into the cavity you can feel the top of the opening or an arch. See my photo. It’s impossible to tell how big this cavity is.

Tideswell Church - Secret Tunnel?

Tideswell Church – Secret Tunnel? See the cavity?

I had hoped that by going into the cellar would allow me to get to this cavity and thus
see the entrance to a tunnel.  However, it seems that the boiler and
the boiler cellar are just to the right of the Lady Chapel.  In fact whilst I was in the cellar I noticed a grate that looks up into the lady chapel, but not in the right position to line up with the archway behind the pews.

from the cellar looking into the Lady chapel

from the cellar looking into the Lady chapel. You can see the pipes of the organ.

All in all the trip approved pretty fruitless.  In fact, a thorough, if an enlightening disappointment.

Possible Priest Hole Beneath The Star Inn, Tideswell

The next night evening, the proprietors of ‘The Star Inn the allow me into their cellar beneath the pub.  I had heard a rumour that one of the small cellars was at one
time a priest hole.

Landlord, Jerry showed me into the cellar and we looked all around.  There is very little evidence of the room being used for anything other than storage.

The star inn, small cellar

The star inn, small cellar

In truth though I’m not sure what I expected to find, in the cellar of a working pub. Once again dear friends.  The trail has gone cold.

To leave you with a drop of optimism in your hearts, I have heard from Miranda Pennock.  Miranda used to live at Devonshire House. (See Part 3) where I have already unsuccessfully looked for a tunnel.  She assures me there was a room which was a priest hole and that there was a tunnel and her father helped to block it up. I am hoping that we can meet and she might be able to show me exactly where the tunnel was.

blog comment

blog comment-light at the end of the tunnel?

I have it on good authority from two very trustworthy gentlemen, who have asked me not to mention their names.  That there was a tunnel of some sort unearthed when they dug the footings for what was the ex-Servicemen’s Club. One of these gents has been in the tunnel and even found a coin dating from 17xx.

So, there’s still some faint hope that we might discover something yet.  I know Sheffield University came out to do some surveys, I may well get in touch with them, and see if they fancy looking again. Watch this space.  Please leave me a comment below, tell me where to look and who I should speak to next.

Tunnels Under Tideswell Part 1 |  Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Tideswell Pubs

I have been writing the Tideswellman blog since 2004, yet, For some reason I have thus far failed to write a post about Tideswell Pubs. Odd really, given that I spent an inordinate amount of time in them when I was a young man.

My Dad had always told me about the many pubs that there used to be in Tideswell when he was a boy. Since those days in the 1930’s/40’s a lot of pubs had closed. Names like,Three Tuns Inn, The Peacock, The White Hart; The Old Hart Hotel; The King’s Head; The Marquis of Granby; two Miners Arms; The Dog Inn; The Gate Inn; First Drop Inn or The Bellevue; Cliff Inn;The Angel Inn; The Bull’s Head and the Black Horse are just some of the pubs that have gone.

When I was a boy growing up, there were five pubs in Tideswell and four just outside. The Horse and Jockey, The Star Inn, The First Drop Inn, The George Hotel (Inn), and The Ex Servicemans Club. The Anchor Inn is just outside the Village, The Anglers Rest is in nearby Millers Dale. Within Walking Distance is The Red Lion at Litton, and The Three Staggs at nearby Wardlow Mires.

It’s very easy to overlook the role that the village pub plays in our lives, they are so central to the life of a village it is easy o see how they can be taken for granted. Neither of my parents drank in pubs in my formative years, but the pub was still somewhere I found myself regularly, even before the days of partaking in a few jars.

I was aged around eight years old when I went into my first Tideswell Pub. The pub was most probably the George Hotel. This was the result of a childish fad which involved following the crowd I’m afraid. I enrolled in the Dance class that used to be held in the back room. I wasn’t any good at dancing (Another stereotype smashed, right here). I spent most of my time hiding under the tables with Marcus Roberts and Dave Ponsonby. Oddly enough though I still remember all the moves to the cha-cha-cha.

The Horse and Jockey

The next pub, I frequented was the Horse and Jockey. My mum had a job as a cleaner there. She was working for the landlady Mrs Dunn. I can see Mrs Dunn now, in my minds’ eye though I rarely ever saw her to speak to. I used to tagg along with mum when she used to her job. I used to do a bit of bottling up, I can’t say I really remember much about it, in truth I think I was a bit young to be doing that job. Mrs Dunn used to hold many a raffle to which Gerald (Geddy) Hodgson would often provide the prize. He could usually be found enjoying a drink and a cigar, with his large German Sheppard “Shane” lying at his feet.

Mrs Dunns Ghost stories stick in my mind to this day. I remember mum telling me about how Mrs Dunn had been working in another pub before running the Horse and Jockey. This pub was apparently haunted. She told how she had seen a nun walking down the corridor, and then turn into a room that wasn’t there. There was also a more chilling story about a young boy who could be heard crying in one of the bedrooms. Yet, whenever you entered the room, there was no one to be found. Despite these stories taking place in another pub, I never liked to be in the Jockey on my own after hearing those stories.

It would be years before I’d go in the Horse and Jockey again. The next time was a celebration. I was about 15 and Tideswell United under 16’s had just won either the Cup or the League. We were all there celebrating drinking champagne out of the trophy,thanks to a few proud dads. We were all doing the conga round the pub, all smashed and high on life. Happy days, I never did get my medals though.

The George Hotel (now Inn)

Dale Norris

Dale Norris

In my early teens I was desperate for money, the prospect of a job at the George Hotel was too good an opportunity to pass up. The landlord was Dale Norris, I knew his daughter, who was in the year below me at school. Dale had built a decent reputation for serving good pub grub. He had several local people working for him. I was one of them and most probably the worst.

The George, had a bloody great Pool table, and it was the centre of the village in early evenings.
The pool table was moved by a recent landlord, much to the chagrin of many locals.

People would go to the George, play pool and then later head over to the club.  I never really got to know Dale Norris at the that time, he was a successful businessman, and I was just some oik of a kid. However in recent years we have struck up a bit of an Facebook friendship. We share a love for Tideswell and for the documenting of local history. I asked Dale to summarise his time as landlord of the George Hotel. Here’s what he told me.

“I arrived at The George Tideswell, 17 October, 1980. It was a terrible rainy day, that seemed to go on for a week, as we moved in everything got soaked. I had never served a pint of beer in my life, I had been in business, with Fruit Shops and Wholesale of the same. I Can remember it was a complete change in anything I had ever done or known. It was a terrible struggle for me, in those early days, and it took a long time for me to come to terms with it all. If I had been asked, if I thought I would do that job, for the next 21 years, I would have thought the person asking, was crazy. But I grew into it, all the terrible lows, and the heady highs, and was lucky enough to survive, healthwise, to be there on the final evenings, to shake the hands of countless Tidza folk, young and old. Tideswell, and its people, will always have a massive place in my heart, but then, I think you all know that. ”

Dale has been building up a great collection, of photos over the years, and recently he has shared them on Facebook. He created, a group called “Friends of the George“. He has also created video slideshows on YouTube of the same photos. A great resource for Tideswell, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The Star Inn

‘The star Inn’ is on High Street, it was always a pub of some mystery. It was where the builders went to drink, it was where deals were done. During my teenage years, it was run by Alec and Mary Fairey. Alec was a builder and Mary was a landlady not to be trifled with. We (Myself, Emma Furness, Philippa Hunstone, Antonia Hunstone, Robert Lingard et al), used to go in there as teenagers, taking advantage of some rule that teens could go in pubs and not drink alcohol. One or two of us would chance the fake id’s (Me and Mark Duffy) but who were we kidding in a village where everyone knew each other? In the 1980’s pubs had to close at 11.30. It was however, rumoured that if you were in before 11pm you could have your breakfast in the Star. Of course that was just a malicious rumour.

The First Drop Inn

A bit further up the road was ‘The First Drop in’. It had previously been known as ‘The Last Drop Inn’. My experiences in ‘The First Drop’ were truly character forming. During the tenure of the Tickners ‘The First Drop’ was one of the Places to go. Thursday night was ‘Drop disco night’. Holy hell, those nights were jumping.

There wasn’t a Thursday night when we weren’t blind drunk. Tideswell people get to meet people from all over the Peak District and beyond. Buxton people would come, Hope Valley People would turn up, Matlock folk, Ashbourne and Hartington People, Even Chesterfield and Sheffield folk. And after the Pub closed for the night, Tideswell’s only chippy at the time, did a roaring trade. There were quite a few love afairs and punchups started on those Thursdays.

Ex Servicemans Club

Next, I’d like to take a bit of time to talk about Tideswell Club. Tideswell Ex-Servicemans Club was a special place. Most Tideswellians have spent a few happy hours in there, literally. I first went in there as a boy. My Friend Nicky Orr’s dad, Lionel used to run it. We would often go in to play snooker. Once I’d turned 16 I became a member, it was a private members club that accepted members at sixteen. A loophole allowed all members to enjoy a beer, so it was especially popular with every sixteen year old in the district. I used to ride my motorbike up to the club and park up. Go in for a game of pool. I used to play “Substitute”, by The Who” on the jukebox.

Some people didn’t like us playing the old Rock and Roll tunes, Lee Skidmore and I would play the same track over and over, just to wind people up. We always sat in the same seat, by the Juke box and close to the pool Table. There was an old Chap named Bill Lawrence who used to come in for a glass of port. We were all in awe of him as he seemed so old but, he always used to turn up for his drink. We’d practically fight to take him the drinks.

Christmas, Wakes and every other notable occasion was always marked in the club. The disco’s there were a source of community cohesion that you just don’t find nowadays. The cut price beer and large open spaces made it a real winner with the clientele.

Tideswell Club

Tideswell Club

After many years the club closed for a while, it reopened for a few years as ‘The Cross Daggers Inn’, which was the name of a pub that had stood on its site before the Ex-Servicemans was built. Sadly the Cross Daggers didn’t last. Earlier in 2012 the place was demolished. I’m so sad that Tideswell club has now been demolished. But the old has to make way for the new, it’s the way of the world, always has been.

The Anchor Inn

I’m most likely to do a terrible disservice. Because The Anchor is out of the village I rarely venture up there. Sadly the only time I find myself in that pub, is for a wake. Being close to Tideswell Cemetery it’s the ideal stop off point for winter funerals. However, many Tideswellians have stories to weave about this pub. Perhaps they will share them in the comments section.

Please leave a comment below (not on facebook), tell me all about your memories of Tideswell’s pubs, and the happy times you had within them.

Take a moment to listen, to the sounds all around you

After moving from the city to the countryside, I have become aware of much more than just the beautiful scenery.

I have recently begun to notice the sounds that are all around us and to take more notice of these sounds. In truth my fascination started whilst on holiday in France this May.

Whilst sitting around the pool one night, checking my emails in the Wi-fi zone, we heard a strange sound. It was the sound of frogs calling out to each other. The sound was strange and eerie. As the croaks echoed across the water of the swimming pool, I got the idea to record the sound on my phone.

Sound of Frogs Croaking in Gassin, France

When I played the sound back a couple of weeks later, it occurred to me that the sound was so evocative of the moment that it might be rather good fun to do a few more recordings. However the recordings really do have to be impromptu, as opposed to staged or set up.

My next was recorded on a Thursday night in Tideswell. I nipped into the Horse and Jockey for a quick pint. There was a folk group performing in there. They meet there every Thursday night. I simply put the phone down and recorded a snippet. Folk music really isn’t my thing at all, but I have to admit that the quality of the music was fantastic. What’s more, it conjures up an image of days gone by. Have a listen.

Over the coming weeks I’ll serve up a few more sounds, perhaps if people comment, I’ll make it a regular feature.
Maybe you have recorded something you’d like to share with me? Please leave me a comment.

Tideswell Tunnels – Part 3

Recent Tidza Tunnel Developments.

Tideswell Tunnels took a new turn this week. I met a young man convinced of their existence, which spurred me on , as I had been somewhat downhearted about my lack of conclusive evidence. I have got several new lines of enquiry. Thing is, once I get started on something I never let it go.

However, I actually need the people of Tideswell to support me, and actively assist me in my research. It should be noted that I’m now encountering reluctancy to talk about the tunnels. However, it is my belief that they are there, so why the secrecy? Some people know more than they are letting on. Help me peeps. Let’s find these tunnels.

Is There A Secret Tunnell to Blake House?

I called at Blake House, I had previously pushed my letter of introduction through the door, the family who now owns the house were more than happy to have a chat.  The owner, Phil Dobbin, said that he was fascinated by the concept but hadn’t had a chance to investigate further.  Outside the house, at ground level, there is a small lintel. the stone directly underneath it was loose and we managed to pull it away, revealing a small cavity but noting that could be seen in detail.  Mr Dobbin, said he wanted to pull up the flags in the garden to investigate further, at some point.

Blake House Tideswell

Blake House Tideswell – Tunnell entrance or Coal Hole?

A Tunnel from Devonshire House to the Star?

Paul Harrison at Devonshire House dropped me a line to say that he had an archway in the bottom corner of his cellar that was worth investigating.  Oddly enough we had sat in the Star inn just a couple of weeks before chatting about Tideswell history. Odd then that his house should be a prime suspect for one with a tunnel.  I called around and both he and his wife Carrie were helpful and enthusiastic.

They let me down in the cellar and Paul showed me a small archway in the bottom right-hand corner.  It was quite unusual because there seemed to be no logical reason for an arch there.  It certainly wasn’t a coal chute because the coal chute was to the left. (unless the visible coal chute was added later).

Devonshire House is very old and I’m told that it was one of the King’s Larders, and the original George Pub at one time. The cellar has a vaulted ceiling and still has some old meat hooks hanging from it.   As you can see from the image I took on my phone, there is a clear arch.  The rubble in front of the arch apparently does down more than 6 ft. Paul said he tried to unearth it but got fed up.

My initial feelings are that this might have been some kind of soak-away or sough which drained water or “other liquid” down into the brook which would run a few yards in front of the house.  However, I have heard from three living people that there is definitely a tunnel at Devonshire House.  I just haven’t found it yet, I will though.


Devonshire House Tunnel?

A Tunnel From Eccles Hall To Blake House?

I drew a bit of a disappointing blank at Eccles Hall. After about ten minutes fighting with the latch on the gate, I managed to get in and finally catch the attention of the homeowner.  I explained who I was and that I was searching for the hidden tunnels in Tideswell.  The lady who owns the house told me that she “wanted there to be a tunnel but there just isn’t”.

She also informed me that Eccles Hall and Blake House were built at different times so the myth that Samuel Eccles was visiting his lover in Blake House via tunnel was bunkem.   However, this is at odds with the testimony of one living women in the Village who told me that she has been into a tunnel located in the cellar at Eccles Hall.  Someone is clearly mistaken.

Tunnels behind The Shambles

I called to See Claire Fisher, who lives at The Shambles, you may recall part two of Tideswell Tunnels showed the details Philip Swarbrick had given me regarding a tunnel there.  Claire was enthusiastic, but sadly an inspection of her cellar area (now converted) into living quarters revealed nothing.  Philip’s description matched perfectly though. So I have stood at the exact spot where the Tunnel is meant to be, but it’s been bricked up and plastered over, so if there’s a way into it, it would have to be out in the yard.

Tideswell’s Tindalls Tunnels

Finally, although not directly related to Tunnels, I approached Tindalls and Chris Ashton, was good enough to let me look at the images he and his wife took of the cellar before it was closed off, and the shop refurbished.

I did ask to go down in the cellar but that wasn’t possible at the time due to the manhole cover sticking and Mr Ashton not wanting to break his floor tiles by prying it up.  Fair enough.  He told me that he’s seen no evidence of a tunnel but was kind enough to explain all the changes to the building and let me copy this brilliant photo of a small cellar room, which, I  guess was used for salting meat at one time or another.

Tindalls Cellar Tideswell

Tindalls Cellar Tideswell

I do hope that you are enjoying reading my posts about the quest for tunnels. There is, I assure you a lot more information to come. I’m working on it, and will post it all here as and when I get a chance.   Let me leave you with a question:

Tunnels Under Tideswell Part 1 |  Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Do you believe there are Tunnels in Tideswell? if so, where and what makes you believe.

Please leave a comment below, if you know anything or just have an opinion.

Tideswell Tunnels Part 2

Tunnels under Swarbricks Shop Tideswell

So,It has been a couple of weeks now since I first posted the question on Youtube about Tunnels under the Peak District village of Tideswell.  After an initial swell of interest, I think it’s fair to say that interest levels have now cooled off considerably.

However, I did manage to have a very useful conversation with Tideswell Parish  Councillor Philip Swarbrick.   His Grandfather used to own “Swarbricks Shop”.  Today the shop is a private residence.

Swarbricks Shop

Swarbricks Shop – Tideswell Site of a subterranean Tunnel

The previous owner attests to having been in the tunnel

Phil told me that the 100% knows that there are Tunnels under Tideswell, because “He has been in one of them”.

Phil proceeded to tell me about his days as a youngster spent in his grandfathers’ shop. He said that underneath the grids at the front of the shop is part of the cellar where his grandfather used to keep Coal and logs.  He told me that in that cellar there used to be a large Zinc Plate on the wall.  The very presence of that Zinc Plate nagged at Philip’s subconscious, he wanted to know why it was there.  He kept telling me that as a curious young boy, he just couldn’t understand why there was a zinc plate on the wall, he wanted to know what it was covering up.

So one-day Curiosity got the better of him and he plucked up courage and pulled the Zinc sheet off the wall.   Behind the metal sheet was a hole in the wall, which, when he climbed through it opened onto a “5 ft tall barrel-shaped tunnel”, he ventured in.

Philip told me that the Tunnel went straight back, towards the Cliff then took a turn to the left. Given the position of Swarbrick’s show left would have led up past the back of the “Bulls Head”.  He said he got a short way into the Tunnel with a torch but then came to a part where it had caved in.

This is where common sense got the better of curiosity and he turned back.   A short time later Philip’s father who was running the shop above decided he needed more room, he was aware that there was a cavity at the back of the shop because the lower floor went further back.  Phil’s father knocked through the wall, that was behind the shop counter.

Behind that wall they found a cavity room with a large hole in the floor.  The hole, went down into the Tunnel that Phil had discovered. Phil tells me that the hole provided the perfect place to dump the rubble from the shop alteration, and so the tunnel was filled in at that point.

I do not know who owns the house at the moment, but I would like to know and would like to get in touch with them, to see if any traces of evidence remain.

The story doesn’t stop there though.  A Neighbour “John Allen” who lived just two doors down from Swarbricks’ added his anecdote on the “Tideswell People group on facebook”

Didn’t they discover a tunnel a number of years back, beneath what was The Medeira House Restaurant, when doing renovations. But elected to just cover it up w/out investigation? I remember hearing something like that, because I was surprised and disappointed that there’d not been any investigation of where it led to.

I also remember, as a kid, that a tunnel of some kind was found beneath the floor of the old out buildings behind Hudson’s butchers shop (Markeygate House) which is, of course, right next to Hilly Swarbrick’s old shop. I remember watching Keith Hudson and some of his friends climb down through a hole in the floor using a caving ladder“.

So, the plot thickens. That now makes two people who have told me they have been inside a subterranean tunnel in Tideswell. I also know of a couple of claimants who have since passed on.   I prepared a letter and delivered it to some of the properties that I suspect may have a Tunnel, the response has been underwhelming, to say the least.  No one has gotten in content with me.  I still have two very Important ones to deliver though.

Diagram depicting approximate tunnel position

Here is a reproduction of a diagram Phil Swarbrick made for me of the old layout of the shop.  Please note, the 3d model isn’t to scale as I’m not an expert with the software, but I made it based on a loose sketch made by Philip Swarbrick. It is designed to give you the basic gist of the layout.  It’s a split level diagram, you can see the false wall with the hole in the floor leading to the tunnel and you can see the metal plate on the wall with the tunnel going backwards toward the cliff.

Split level Diagram showing the location of a Tunnel under Swarbrick's Shop

Split level Diagram showing the location of a Tunnel under Swarbrick’s Shop

If anyone has any more information about Tunnels in Tideswell, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  This is something that the whole village needs to know about.  It’s our hidden heritage.

Tunnels Under Tideswell Part 1 |  Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Retro Video features Tideswell

A tour of Tideswell, Derbyshire Retro Film

Showing its limestone hills, its church and buildings, and the locals who work in the quarry.

NOTE: This film has a French soundtrack.

Release year 1944 Director A. Reginald Dobson Production company G.B. Instructional CinematographerJack Parker Running time (minutes)09 mins 46 secs SupervisorG.J. Cons
Original Description
‘This film describes an upland settlement, Tideswell in the Derbyshire hills. Tideswell is built of local limestone, and many of its inhabitants work in neighbouring stone quarries. A hillside stream supplies power for the mills. Farms are mixed, but there is less arable land than pasture; sheep and cattle thrive on the upland pasture.’
(Films of Britain – British Council Film Department Catalogue – 1946)

The quarry featured in the film is now the Miller’s Dale Quarry nature reserve.
Working titles for the film included ‘Upland Settlement’ or ‘Upland Village’, in keeping with other films in the ‘Human Geography’ series, such as Lowland Village and Coastal Village.

Derbyshire Village (1944) from British Council Film on Vimeo.

Tideswell Village Voice – June 2012 (Wakes Edition)

Tideswell - Village Voice

Tideswell – Village Voice

Thanks to Pete Hakwins for sending me the June 2012 Village Voice.  It’s the Tideswell Village Voice Magazine and comes out monthly or Bi monthly.  Pete’s given me permission to post it here for you just as another way of getting the news out there.

Download the Tideswell Village Voice June 2012 edition:  PDF Format:

Tunnels under Tideswell

Any Tideswellian knows that there are Tunnels under the village. However, it seems that in living memory the number of people who have actually been down into these tunnels is few and far between.

For whatever reason, it is a topic that has fallen from the collective memory of the village.

Why might there Be Tunnels under the village?

I remember reading as a boy that there was a tunnel from Blake House to Eccles Hall. It was in the little blue book that every Tideswell family seemed to have “A History of Tideswell by  W. Walker; 1951.

In addition to this there was always talk of a tunnel that led from Tindalls Shop to the Church opposite. Tindalls used to serve as a Gaol, long before it was utilised as a bakery.

Then I heard that there was….

  • A Tunnel from the Church to Church Avenue, number 1 or number 2.
  • A Tunnel from Swarbricks shop to Tindalls
  • A Tunnel / Priest hole in the Star which might go to the Vicarage or Blake House
  • A Tunnel from the Church to Wheston
  • A Tunnel from the Church to Monksdale.
Tideswell Tunnels

Tideswell Tunnels

Tunnels under Tidza Video

With all these supposed Tunnels, it’s a wonder Tidza doesn’t collapse into a subterranean labyrinth.  So  I raised the question via You Tube and the Facebook Group “Tideswell People”.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/21177142561/

Tunnels under Tideswell

So again, I say to you, good people of Tideswell.  Where are these Tunnels, and if you have access to one, can I come and photograph it…or its blocked up entrance?  I want to get into these tunnels if possible.  Tideswell deserves to know its history.

Tunnels Under Tideswell Part 1 |  Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Tideswell – Village Voice – May 2012

Tideswell - Village Voice

Tideswell - Village Voice

Thanks to Pete Hakwins for sending me the VillageVoice.  It’s the Tideswell Parish Magazine and comes out monthly or Bi monthly.  Pete’s given me permission to post it here for you just as another way of getting the news out there.

Download the Tideswell Village Voice:  PDF Format: