Great Hucklow guide
Great Hucklow village guide by Roly Smith. This former lead mining village tucked under Hucklow Edge was once famous for its outstanding amateur dramatic group known as the Hucklow Players.
A THEATRICAL PAST
The group was the inspiration of Dr Laurence du Garde Peach, a well-known author, playwright and dramatist, who lived at nearby Housely and whose father was the local minister.
The Players, all of whom were local people, performed in the Unitarian Holiday Home in the village from 1927 until 1938, when they moved to a converted lead mining cupola barn which became the new playhouse. Plays were often performed in the Derbyshire dialect, which may have made them sometimes difficult to understand to audiences who came from as far away as Stratford-upon-Avon and Harrogate. To help local people, plays were often put on to coincide with the full moon, because most of the audience had to walk home to the neighbouring villages in the dark after the performance. The playhouse is now used as a Scout centre for visiting groups.
Great Hucklow’s primary school was built in 1873 on a lead mine hillock – another reminder of the days when the village was a thriving centre of the lead mining industry.
On Hucklow Edge above the village is The Barrel Inn, in the parish of Bretton, which is one of the highest and oldest pubs in Derbyshire, standing at 1,246ft (380m) and dating from 1637. It enjoys spectacular views across the White Peak limestone plateau.
WHERE IS IT?
Six miles (10km) north of Bakewell, off the B6049 Tideswell-Bradwell road.
Silence Mine and the neighbouring Old Grove Mine to the north of the village on the southern slopes of Hucklow Edge were worked for lead ore from the early 18th century. Records show that Silence Mine (and no one seems to know how it got its name) opened around 1714 and was worked to a depth of 526 feet (160m) to reach the limestone in which the precious Hucklow Edge lead vein ran.
Now the 10-acre site of the former mine is at the centre of a groundbreaking new partnership between the parish councils of Great Hucklow and neighbouring Foolow, the Peak District National Park and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Silence Heritage Trust ensures the area flourishes both for wildlife, its cultural and historical associations and for the benefit of local people and visitors.
THINGS TO DO
At the converted Camphill Farm, high on Hucklow Edge above the village, the Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club (01298 871270) has its lofty headquarters, and the sight of the graceful gliders riding the thermals like modern pterodactyls often fills the skies above the village. The club was one of the earliest in the country, founded in 1935, and occupies one of the most spectacular launching sites at over 1360ft (415m) above the sea.
Introductory flights and trial lessons are available for beginners, and the clubhouse provides excellent facilities such as a bar, dining room lounge and clubroom.
There are many fine walks around Hucklow, including the footpaths which take you up onto the Edge, with its spectacular views across the rolling White Peak landscape. And you can always stop at The Barrel for refreshment!
FOOD AND DRINK
A traditional pub featuring a range of cask ales, fine malt whiskies and freshly-cooked food based on locally-sourced, seasonal produce is The Barrel Inn on Hucklow Edge, Bretton (01433 630856), claimed to be the highest and one of the oldest pubs in Derbyshire.
Sadly now closed, Ye Olde Bulls Head in Little Hucklow claimed to be the fifth oldest pub in England, and dated back to the 12th century.
Tourist Information Centres
Bakewell TIC, The Old Market Hall, Bridge Street, Bakewell, DE45 1DS; Tel: 01629 816558; www.peakdistrict.gov.uk, open daily.
Buxton Tourist Information Centre, The Crescent, Buxton SK17 6BQ; 01298 25106; www.highpeak.gov.uk; open daily.
Editor, Let's Stay Peak District & Let's Stay UK
© 2010 - Let's Stay Peak District
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015