GREAT LONGSTONE INSIDER GUIDE
...unspoilt village with 2 great pubs
WATCH VIDEO: The attractive and unspoilt village of Great Longstone sits peacefully at the heart of the White Peak in Derbyshire, yet is just minutes from the popular attractions of Bakewell, Monsal and Chatsworth. Mike Cummins tells its story...
HIDDEN VILLAGE IN THE LEA OF A LIMESTONE RIDGE
The unspoilt and ancient village of Great Longstone, referred to in the Domesday book as 'Langesdune', sits at the heart of the Peak District close to Monsal Dale and just 2 miles from Bakewell, the 'capital of the National Park'.
(Check out even more photographs of Great Longstone and download or purchase prints).
Protected from northerly winds by the great mass of Longstone Edge, a 3 mile long limestone ridge on which quarrying or mining has long been both intrinsic and, more recently controversial, the attractive village is happily tucked away, un-noticed, and suffers little from the Sunday afternoon, day-tripping hordes so prevalent in many of the Peak District's 'honey-pot' villages.
The peel of the church bells, the clip-clopping of horses, the splutter of an old tractor and the squawk of a jackdaw are the typical sounds of this particular village, not the noise and clatter of the throngs! However, not everything around this normally peaceful village has always been rural idyll.
A few miles from the village, on Longstone Edge, Backdale quarry is regarded by many as an unacceptable scar on the National Park as well as being evidence of the worst kind of planning exploitation and, in 2009, following a long legal battle, quarrying for fluorspar (originally discarded as waste by lead miners) was formally stopped when the House of Lords refused to grant an appeal to land owner Bleaklow Industries; 2016 update - quarrying prohibited
However, the village has long been connected to the mining of lead on Longstone Edge and its former wealth and importance is attested to by the many fine houses still standing in and around the village, not least of which is Longstone Hall, former home of the Wright family and, paradoxically, re-built in red brick in 1747 when all other buildings in the village were built of stone.
WHERE IS IT?
Great Longstone is not the easiest village to find in the Peak District!
The route in from the West (Stockport) is best followed on the A6 before picking up the A623 after Chapel en le Frith and heading towards Tideswell and Baslow. Leave this road by taking the B6465 at Wardlow Mires and turn left at Monsal Head (famous beauty spot) to reach the village via the linear hamlet of Little Longstone.
From the East (Chesterfield) the easiest route is via Baslow on the A619 picking up the A6020 before reaching Bakewell and turning right (and under the Monsal Trail) towards the village, well before reaching the pretty village of Ashford in the Water.
Great Longstone is a village where the business of, variously, agriculture, lead mining, weaving, shoe making, the railways, chicken plucking, the cotton industry and most recently tourism and the internet (home-working) have all helped keep the local population in earnest occupation.
The 'cross' on the 'village green' (small triangle of grass at the top of the village) dates back to the time of Flemish weavers who set up a stocking industry in the area.
The Crispin Inn (one of 2 village pubs) was probably named as a result of this, St Crispin being the patron saint of cobblers! A reason why the other pub, The White Lion, is so called has not yet been identified.
PLACES TO GO
St Giles' Church
Dating back to the 13th century, St Giles serves not only Great Longstone but numerous neighbouring hamlets and villages.
Ancient stone monolith, standing proudly on the tiny village green, described as a 'cross' - often used for marking the centre of a village and the meeting point for the weekly market.
Great Longstone Station
Now a private residence - but once a station on the Midland Railway's Manchester to London line which served for 100 years until its closure in 1962.
For a further 5 years, however, the station played host to a single passenger, Sister Boardman, on her daily journey to and from Buxton hospital.
Monsal Trail - tunnels now re-opened - open to cyclists, horse riders, walkers and wheelchair users - watch Monsal Trail video
Formerly part of the London to Manchester railway the Monsal Trail is now a Mecca for cyclists and walkers alike. The trail stretches from the old Bakewell station almost as far as Buxton and can be accessed at several points alonmg the way. Bikes can be hired at Hassop Station www.hassopstation.co.uk and Blackwell Mill www.peakblackwellcyclehire.com and refreshments are available at both too.
At its closest point, the Monsal Trail is the width of a small field away from Great Longstone and is a very pleasant route for families.
Church Lane Farm
Farm visits are available by arrangement on 01629 640 673.
At the centre of the village, Church Lane farm is a dairy and beef farm rearing prize-winning pedigree Charolais cattle and selling delicious full-cream milk (cornflakes never tasted this good!), free-range eggs and more at a tiny outlet advertised by the well-known 'milk for sale' sign.
Special features of the surrounding farmland include wildflowers and hay meadows, drystone walls, old lead rakes and a lovely limestone dale with fossils.
The many restored and protected dewponds have the highest recorded population numbers of great crested newts in the area.
Watch the locals take on village rivals at cricket in Summertime on this picturesque sports ground with views to Longstone Edge. The White Lion pub is two minutes from the pitch. New for 2017 is some outdoor fitness equipment, ideal for a morning's workout. Recommended.
With fresh bread, vegetables and meats, groceries, cakes, pies, sausage rolls and more, Sally B's has so much to offer locals and visitors alike.
Great Longstone Chase
Just under 5 miles, this is a course that ascends a total of 950 feet onto Longstone Edge and takes place annually on the 1st Friday of September.
The racing starts from the recreation ground in the middle of the village (up and behind the White Lion pub). The main event starts at 6.45pm, registration opens at 5.30pm on the day of the race. All welcome.
Great Longstone Charity Walk Day
A choice of 3 walks of between 2 and 10 miles in aid of a local charity or deserving cause - the walk day usually takes place in October (Sunday October 5th in 2014). In 2008, more than £2,500 was raised for the St Giles' church roof fund. In 2009, £2000 was raised in aid of Thornhill House, the retirement home in the village. In 2010 another £2000 was raised for the refurbishment/replacement of children's play equipment on the recreation ground. 2013 and 2014 Longstone Junior School was the beneficiary with around £2000 raised.
Organised on behalf of local causes in collaboration with The Crispin Inn - for more details and/or sponsorship forms please call landlord Paul on 01629 640 237
Thornbridge Hall Garden Party
Usually held on the first weekend in July - this is an annual event held at privately owned Thornbridge Hall to raise funds for a variety of charities - music, fun and frivolities guaranteed!
Weather? Anybody's guess!
THINGS TO DO
With footpaths all around the village in all directions there's a walk to suit everyone in Great Longstone (see 'related links' for details of a few excellent hikes) and, if you're here on holiday, you can leave the car parked for the duration as most facilities are available right here in the village!
The village is also on the route of the famous White Peak Challenge Walk by John Merrill - a 25 mile day-walk circuit with more than 3,500 feet of ascent - keen walkers please note. You are allowed to take longer than one day, if required!
Longstone Moor is best traversed in August when the heather is in full bloom!
A 2 mile easy walk over several field paths to the hamlet of Rowland and back is recommended for families.
Brown hares are evident in the fields below Longstone Edge and buzzards are often seen soaring above Stancil Dale. Barn owls, lapwings, kestrels, sparrowhawks and an occasional curlew (below Longstone Moor near Wardlow) are also to be seen in the vicinity.
Rabbits need no further publicity but Badgers have often been caught in the headlights on Longstone lane ('shady lane') which runs past Thornbridge Hall.
Catch the local bus
A regular bus service operates from the centre of the village into the much larger villages of Bakewell and Castleton, famed for its show caves and caverns.
FOOD AND DRINK
Popular with locals, The Crispin Great Longstone enjoys an established reputation and serves good pub food 7 days a week and holds a quiz night at around 9.30 on a Friday night. Try the locally reared wild boar sausages and beef from Critchlow's of Bakewell. Dogs and children welcome. Tenants Paul and Joanne Rowlinson. Tel: 01629 640 237
The White Lion, Great Longstone tenants Greg and Libby. Quality food 7 days a week, all day at weekends. Local produce a speciality, locally sourced meats and produce skilfully prepared and presented by chef Greg. Monthly changing menu Tel: 01629 640 252
Both pubs serve a selection of Robinson's (Stockport brewers) traditional beers.
Other pubs within easy reach of the village include the Eyre Arms at Hassop (car required) and the excellent Packhorse at Little Longstone - a 15 minute stroll across fields (serves locally brewed Thornbridge beers and Black Sheep).
Popular with tourists due to the fantastic location overlooking the railway viaduct and famous Dale are the residential Monsal Head hotel, Stables bar (same ownership) and the expanding enterprise of Hobbs Cafe (drawing courses now available) - all within 20 minutes walk of the village. A public car park is available at the side of the hotel.
For those with more grandiose expectations and tastes, nearby Hassop Hall and the Riverside Country House hotel at Ashford in the Water are traditional country house hotels with formal restaurants - both establishments are within 2 miles of the village.
Curry cottage, restaurant and takeaway, in Stoney Middleton delivers free (within 5 miles) to Great Longstone: 01433 630300
Toll Bar fish and chips, also at Stoney Middleton - famous fish and chips. Open Wednesday - Saturday, lunch and evening.
There are several more choices in Bakewell, including The Pointing Dog - formerly Felicinis - (pizza, pasta) on 01629 813813
With the 2 village pubs about 100 metres apart you can enjoy several pub crawls in one evening! Both pubs have dart boards but no pool.
And if you don't mind a decent 4 mile (circular) hike with your pub crawl - you could also include the Packhorse at Little Longstone, the Stable bar at Monsal Head, the Bull's Head at Ashford Arms at Ashford in the Water before a gentle stagger back to the village (allow 4 hours with a pint in each pub!)
If that's not your cup of tea - why not stroll along the flat 3.5 miles of the Monsal Trail to popular Bakewell and get the aforementioned bus back to the village?
Bakewell and its shops, river, ducks and puddings!
Chatsworth House and Estate - voted Britain's favourite stately home
Monsal Dale, Monsal Trail and Monsal Head - popular viewpoint and beauty spot with cycling and walking trail along the former railway track.
Ashford in the Water - pretty village with famous sheepwash bridge over the river Wye
Haddon Hall - best preserved medieval house in England.
There is a good choice of holiday cottages and b&b available in Great Longstone although neither of the pubs offers accommodation. Check out our Great Longstone holiday accommodation page (and Bakewell area pages) for the best places to stay.
- Tourist Information Centre: Old Market Hall, Bridge Street, Bakewell Tel: 01629 816 558
- There are no public toilets in the village.
- Taxis: Neils Taxis - Taxis & Private Hire in Great Longstone: 07816 201746
- Railway: Nearest station at Grindleford (10 minutes)
Copyright Let's Stay Peak District
Last Updated: 14 May 2017