Hartington scene  - M.Cummins 2009
Hartington YHA
Village scene

Hartington village

...most definitely not cheesy

The pretty Derbyshire village of Hartington lies to the west of the Peak District National Park, close to the Staffordshire border, and is perhaps known primarily as one of just a trio of homes to Stilton cheese.

The creamery in the village, often known as simply ‘the cheese factory’, was established in the 1870s by the Duke of Devonshire and was one of only three sources of Stilton. It also produced a range of its own unique cheeses.

However, the factory was sadly closed in 2009, marking the end of the village’s 230 year official association with the famous fromage. Mercifully the cheese shop affiliated with the factory has since re-opened under new ownership, and here you can pick up the ‘King of English cheeses’ – Hartington Stilton.

Walking opportunities are aplenty in Hartington, with several fine local walks starting and ending in the village. The steady five-miler to Pilsbury Castle and back traverses the Upper Dove Valley as you stroll towards the 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress. It’s almost like walking back in time.

Hartington Hall, now a very popular youth hostel, is an impressive Tudor manor house built in 1611 by Robert Bateman. Today, in its guise as one of the most popular youth hostels in Derbyshire, it boasts a bar and restaurant which specialises in serving locally-sourced produce. The bar serves tasty local ales brewed at both Leatherbritches Brewery in Fenny Bentley, and Whim Ales in Hartington itself. It’s difficult to imagine a more grand and palatial youth hostel anywhere in the country.

Whim Ales, sister brewery of Broughton Ales from the Scottish Borders, has been brewing real ale in the Peak District for the last dozen or so years. Its popular range of quality cask beers - Hartington Bitter, Hartington IPA, Arbor Light and other seasonal brews – is served in numerous hostelries across the Peak District, including Hartington’s Charles Cotton Hotel.

The hotel is under new management (as of August 2010) and has recently undergone a major transformation. A total of 16 en-suite rooms provide quality dog-friendly accommodation, to go alongside its new restaurant and cosy bar complete with the aforementioned local ales and a roaring open fire.

Stanner Cottage is an attractive, stone built cottage situated just off the main market square. With just three (en-suite) rooms, this small, traditional bed & breakfast offers cosy holiday accommodation in an ideal spot in the village.

Another B&B in the village is the four star rated The Hayloft. A beautifully furnished quartet of high quality rooms, each en-suite, provide visitors with a stay of utmost comfort and a real taste of local life – exemplified by the delicious locally-sourced breakfasts.

Wonderfully rural and yet only nine miles from the sizeable town of Buxton, Hartington offers a genuine slice of bona-fide Peak District life. And despite its’ links to Stilton, there’s nothing cheesy about Hartington. Find out for yourself and stay.

Sean Cummins

November 2010


Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015