The bridge over the Derwent at Grindleford © Mike Cummins 2009
War memorial and the Sir William hotel © Mike Cummins 2009
Good walking everywhere! © Mike Cummins 2009
The Derwent as viewed from the bridge © Mike Cummins 2009
Pretty, ivy-clad Toll Bar cottage in Grindleford © Mike Cummins 2009
Famous cafe at Grindleford © Mike Cummins 2009
Derwent gallery at Grindleford © Mike Cummins 2009
The impressive Maynard at Grindleford © Mike Cummins 2009
Walkway to Grindleford station platform © Mike Cummins 2009

Grindleford, the linear village above the Derwent.

...home to the Padley Pilgrimage

Grindleford is a linear village strung out above the River Derwent between Eyam Moor and Froggatt Edge. The Main Road runs down to a fine three-arched bridge spanning the river and carrying the road to Longshaw and Sheffield.


The village has a lively social life, reflected in the construction of the Bishop Pavilion adjacent to the Bridgefields sports ground and cricket field near the bridge. It was named after local businessman Eric Bishop, a major benefactor to the village, and is in almost constant use by the community.

On the western side of the bridge is Toll Bar Cottage, with a projecting window providing a good view in both directions to allow the toll keeper to keep watch. The Jubilee Gardens by the bridge were constructed in 1977 to mark the Queen’s jubilee, and they are is a pleasant place to sit and relax. 

There is some debate over exactly who the Sir William Hill, after whom the 1,407ft/429m, mast-topped Sir William Hill, which dominates the village to the west, was. Some people think it got its name from Sir William Peveril, builder of Castleton’s keep, but there are at least four Sir William Cavendishes from the well-known land-owning Chatsworth clan who could claim the distinction. Then there was also Sir William Saville, Marquis of Halifax, who was Lord of the Manor of nearby Eyam in the 17th century. You pays your money and you takes your choice!

Close to the village is the beautiful Padley Gorge (National Trust), famous for its beautiful sessile oakwoods which welcome an important colony of black-and-white pied flycatchers every summer, plus the evocative pilgrimage site of Padley Chapel (see below).


Grindleford is six miles (10 km) north of Bakewell on the B6001 to Hathersage.


The name of this charming little Derwent-side village is probably associated with the grindstones which were made in local quarries for many years from the abrasive gritstone of the nearby “edges.” It probably means the ford near to where the grindstones were made.

In the nearby hamlet of Upper Padley is the simple little, barn-like structure of Padley Chapel, which was formerly the gatehouse of Padley Hall, the medieval manor house of the Eyre and Fitzherbert families. 

It was the scene in 1588 of one of the worst of the Roman Catholic persecutions during Elizabeth I’s reign. Two Catholic priests, Nicholas Garlick and Robert Ludlam, were being hidden here by Sir Thomas Fitzherbert, but they were discovered, arrested and taken to Derby to be hanged, drawn and quartered for their beliefs.

An annual “Padley Pilgrimage” is held every July to mark this horrific deed, and the event is centred on the chapel, which was bought by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nottingham in 1933.

Nearby is the mouth of the Totley Railway Tunnel. Over three miles in length, it was the longest railway tunnel in the UK when it was opened linking Sheffield and Stockport on the other side of the Pennines in 1893, and passes under the moors between the Derwent valley and Sheffield. It is still in use for the Sheffield-Stockport “Ramblers Route.”

Mining and quarrying

Unfinished millstones, some dating from the 16th century, can still be found on and beneath the gritstone edges of Froggatt and Curbar, lying where they were quarried from the easily-accessible rock faces or boulders. They were taken out by access tracks to the ports of Bawtry and Stainsforth on the Humber for export to the south of England, but became unpopular when white bread became fashionable, as the gritty Peak millstones turned the bread grey.


The Parish Church

The light and spacious Parish Church of St Helen’s church is relatively modern, and was consecrated in 1910.

Longshaw Lodge was built as a shooting lodge for the Duke of Rutland in 1830 and was acquired by the forerunner of the Sheffield branch of the Council for the Protection of Rural England in 1927. It was passed to the National Trust in 1931, and was one of the Trust’s first landscape acquisitions in the Peak. Today it is run as a country park where the newest facility in the grounds is the Moorland Discovery Centre for educational groups. There is also a café and shop in the Lodge itself (see below).


Longshaw is the home what is claimed to be the oldest continuous sheepdog trials in the country, which take place in front of the lodge every August Bank Holiday.They have been run from 1898, interrupted only by the two World Wars. Two-day trials were introduced in 1947, to give more members of the public chance to come and see them, and in 1951 they were extended to the three days that they are today. The Longshaw Sheep Dog Trials continue to be held every year, providing enjoyment for many and raising money for charities.

The Annual Grindleford Show takes place in August and is centred on the Bridgefield sports ground by the river. The annual Padley Pilgrimage is held at Padley Chapel every July, and is organised by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Derby


One of the best art and photographic galleries in the Peak is The Derwent Gallery (01433 630458) in Grindleford. The gallery’s reputation is based on the high proportion of original work by local artists and photographers. All the pictures are framed on site.


There are many pleasant riverside walks through the woods from Grindleford, or through the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate, from Longshaw Lodge.

The airy promenades along the gritstone edge above Froggatt provide wonderful views across the Derwent Valley, and north towards Eyam Moor, Win Hill and Kinder Scout. You can also admire the gymnastics of the rock climbers as they defy gravity on the sheer faces of the gritstone edges below your feet.


Among the many climbs pioneered by gritstone climbers such as Joe Brown and Don Whillans on Froggatt Edge are the classic Three Pebble Slab, first climbed in 1948, and Valkyrie, on the detached pinnacle known as Froggatt Pinnacle, which was named after the famous Manchester climbing club when it was first ascended in 1949. Read more about climbing in the Peak District


The Maynard in Main Road, Grindleford (01433 630321) has a wide range of meals, complemented by a good selection of wines, served in both the bar and restaurant, which has views over the garden and Derwent Valley beyond.

Locally produced food and drink is found at Country Choice in Main Road, Grindleford (01433 639333). Locally-baked cakes and bread, locally-grown vegetables, meat and dairy products are all available. Or you can enjoy a coffee at the breakfast bar inside or at tables and chairs outside.

Situated near Grindleford Station and the mouth of the Totley Tunnel, the Grindleford Station Café at Upper Padley (01433 631920) has a reputation among walkers and climbers which extends far beyond the village. The numerous signs around the place leave visitors in no doubt of the house rules, and the large plates of deep-fried food are legendary.

A bit more high class is the Longshaw Estate Tea Room at Longshaw Lodge (01433 637904), a typical National Trust tea room and shop overlooking the Longshaw Estate. There is seating outside where visitors can relax in fine weather with a cup of tea, cake or ice cream. Opening times vary according to the season, so check before you visit.

The Sir William Hotel by the war memorial (a copy of the Celtic Eyam cross) at the foot of Sir William Hill (01433 630303) features real ales and bottle conditioned beers and wines. The lounge and bar offer a choice of traditional bar meals, cakes and sandwiches, and walkers, hikers, cyclists and dogs are welcome in the Walkers’ Retreat and Snug.

The Fox House Inn at Longshaw (01433 630374) was once a popular stop for livestock drivers and stagecoaches, but now caters mainly for walkers and visitors and serves a selection of real ales and bar meals. Also at Longshaw, the Grouse Inn (01433 630423) recently won an award for its real ales, including guest beers, and serves everything from homemade sandwiches to full meals at lunchtime and in the evening.


Grindleford has a few places to stay – see the full list of Grindleford accommodation




Tourist Information Centres

Bakewell TIC, The Old Market Hall, Bridge Street, Bakewell, DE45 1DS; Tel: 01629 816558;, open daily.

© Let's Stay Peak District 

Last Updated: 5 Oct 2015