Hayfield Visitor Guide
...Gateway to Kinder
Let's Stay Peak District's introduction to the village of Hayfield, in Derbyshire's High Peak.
Hayfield stands on the crossroads of a number of formerly important moorland routes. It was once a stopping place for coaches between Glossop and Buxton, and is also on one of the main packhorse routes between Cheshire and Yorkshire.
Best known today by walkers as the popular western starting point for the ascent of the Peak’s highest point of Kinder Scout (2088ft/636m), the neat little gritstone township at the junction of the Rivers Sett and Kinder has played an historic part in rambling folklore.
It was from the Bowden Bridge Quarry (now a car park) west of the village on Sunday, April 24, 1932 that the famous Kinder Scout Mass Trespass set out to exercise the ramblers’ right to roam on the then-forbidden moorland. Five ramblers were later arrested and imprisoned for their part in the demonstration. A small commemorative plaque was erected to mark the 50th anniversary in the quarry – which ironically now serves as a car park for walkers.
Their brave action eventually led to the creation of the first National Park here in the Peak in 1951, and eventually to the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act of 2000.
Flooding has always been a problem in Hayfield, and the present Town Bridge built in 1837 is the third on the site, replacing two which had been swept away in the past.
The Royal Hotel in the village centre has twice been a parsonage, and John Wesley stayed there in 1755. The small square off Market Street is known as Dungeon Brow because the village lock-up was situated in a corner. Three-gabled Fox Hall was built in 1525, and Park Hall, one mile north of the village, is a handsome seven-bay, two-storeyed house with an Ionic colonnaded entrance, built in 1811.
The village is now split into two by the A624 Buxton-Glossop road, and the western side is now largely made up of suburban houses for people working in nearby Manchester.
One of Hayfield’s most famous sons was the actor Arthur Lowe, Captain Mainwaring in TV’s Dad’s Army. He was a member of the village cricket team, and regularly brought members of the cast to play the village team on the delightfully-situated village cricket ground on the Kinder Road.
WHERE IS IT?
Five miles/8km south of Glossop on the A624 Buxton road
Hayfield was formerly a centre of industry, with wool, cotton, paper-making and textile printing mills utilising the fast-flowing waters of the Sett and Kinder. All these industries are long gone today.
PLACES TO GO
The Parish Church
The fine Georgian parish church of St Matthew gives a hint of the former prosperity of this little Pennine town. Rebuilt in 1818 in the style popular at the time, the chancel was added in 1894. Inside, the gallery on three sides is supported by thin cast iron columns and there are box pews.
The churchyard was the scene of two ‘resurrections’ within three years of each other during the 18th century. In 1745, several witnesses attested to seeing hundreds of bodies rise out of their graves and ascend into heaven. Three years later, there was a disastrous flood which ripped through the churchyard and disinterred many bodies which were swept away downstream.
Hayfield was the venue for two annual cattle and sheep fairs in the past, but all that remains now is the Hayfield Sheepdog Trials and Country Fair, held every September at Spray House Farm. Hayfield also holds a popular Jazz Festival.
THINGS TO DO
Perhaps the most popular walk from Hayfield is to follow in the footsteps of the 1932 trespassers and take the six-mile route around the Kinder Reservoir and up William Clough to the Kinder plateau at Ashop Head. It is not far from here on the western escarpment to the 100-foot/30m high waterfall known as Kinder Downfall. This is the highest and greatest waterfall in the Peak and, under certain conditions, it exhibits the strange phenomena of blowing back on itself – when the water is thrown back by a strong westerly wind. Return via Cluther Rocks and Coldwell Clough.
The Sett Valley Trail provides an easy gradient and traffic-free cycling route along the old railway track to New Mills. It is part of the 225-mile Midshires Way, a long distance route linking the Manchester conurbation with the Goyt Valley and Stockport between the Ridgeway National Trail in Buckinghamshire and the TransPennine Trail at Stockport.
There is some good climbing for the purists in the Kinder Downfall area, including classics such as the Zig-zag climb and Gomorrah, but the long walk in to the climbing is too much for many modern rock-jocks.
FOOD AND DRINK
The Royal Hotel in Market Street in the centre of Hayfield (01663 742721) is a traditional oak panelled pub with and open fires in winter. It serves real ales, including locally-brewed ones, plus bar snacks and meals.
On the Kinder Road, near the quarry where the famous Mass Trespass began, is The Sportsman Hotel (01663 741565), a family-run pub with a friendly atmosphere which serves a range of ales, food and accommodation.
- Buxton, spa town and shopping centre
- Chapel-en-le-Frith, bustling little market town
- Chestnut Wildlife Centre, near Chapel-en-le-Frith
- Bakewell, ancient market town
- Chatsworth, the “Palace of the Peak”
- Eyam – the Plague village
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
Public toilets and car park
In village centre
© Let's Stay Peak District
Last Updated: 22 Jun 2015