Hope visitor guide and tourist information
...capital of the Hope Valley
Hope - the capital of the Hope Valley hosts a fine and renowned country show and has much to offer the visitor. Roly Smith brings us up to date with his latest piece on the villages of the Peak District...
‘CAPITAL’ OF THE HOPE VALLEY
The former importance of the village of Hope can be judged by the fact that it gave its name to the entire Hope Valley, which stretches about six miles from Castleton (now a much larger and more important village) to Hathersage.
The Old Hall Hotel in the village centre was originally the Old Hall of the local landowning Balguy family, while the Woodruffe Arms commemorates those local families also remembered in the church (see below) who served the Royal Forest of the Peak (see below). Aston Hall is an Elizabethan manor house in the neighbouring hamlet overlooking the village on the slopes of Win Hill. Dated 1578, it has an unusual three-light pedimented window incorporating a worn, carved figure.
Farming is still the most important industry in Hope, as it has been for centuries. There is a preserved pinfold, where stray animals were penned, on the Pin Dale road behind the church, and the annual Hope Sheepdog Trials and Agricultural Show in August (see below) is still an important date in the local calendar.
Hope still also plays an important part in the cultural life of the valley in the shape of the large, modern Hope Valley College comprehensive school, built in 1958 on the Castleton Road at the western end of the village.
WHERE IS IT?
Hope is just over a mile (2km) east of Castleton on the A625.
The remains of the earthworks of the Roman fort of Navio (English Heritage) are at nearby Brough, a mile away from Hope to the east. This was a small, rectangular playing card-shaped fort built in the first century AD, probably to control the Romans’ lead mining interests in the area. When excavated, the fort revealed a stone cist which may have been used to hold valuables.
In the churchyard of the parish church of St Peter, is a fine, although headless, Saxon preaching cross, with interlacing knotwork which is thought to date from the 9th century. Another sign of its former importance is that at the time of the Domesday Book, Hope boasted both a priest and a church, a rare distinction for Derbyshire. There were also 30 villagers, four small-holders and a mill (now a house) on the River Noe, which flows through the village from Edale to the north.
Hope was an important centre of the Royal Forest of the Peak, a 40-square-mile hunting preserve of medieval kings and princes, which was administered from Peveril Castle at nearby Castleton. Two foliated 13th-century cross slabs in the church are thought to carry the symbols of Royal Forest officials, or ‘woodruffes.’
The Royal Forest was not a forest in the modern, wooded, sense, but an area set aside purely for hunting and governed by a harsh set of laws which forbade ordinary people from most kinds of activities within its boundaries.
Hope was really opened up to the outside world with the coming of the railway in 1894. The Hope Valley line, as it is now known, still carries passengers between Sheffield and Manchester but it was its link to the Hope Valley Cement works via a branch line which was one of the major reasons for the siting of the works there in the 1930s. Hope Station is a half mile outside the village, just off the A625 Hathersage road.
Mining and quarrying
There was an important lead mine in Pindale, at the northern extremity of Dirtlow Rake, which was still being worked for lead in the early 19th century, and there are various remains of lead workings elsewhere.
The massive Hope Valley Cement Works at Smalldale, between Hope and Castleton, has been a major employer in the valley for nearly 80 years. Local people still know it as ‘Earle’s’, but it is now in the hands of the giant French company, Lafarge, the country’s largest cement maker. It employs over 200 people, mainly from the valley, and makes up to 1.3 million tonnes of cement a year, much of which is transported out by rail. Apart from the rail link to the Hope Valley line, the works is ideally situated at Hope because of locally-available supplies of both limestone and shale.
PLACES TO GO
The Parish Church of St Peter exhibits some fine 15th-century craftsmanship in the shape of the wonderfully ugly gargoyles and petite stone heads circling the base of each pinnacle.
Three wells are dressed at Hope, usually with a Biblical theme, linked with the local Wakes Week celebrations on the last Saturday in June. Hope well dressings were revived in 1949, but had probably been going on intermittently long before that.
The Hope Sheepdog Trials and Agricultural Show is a good, old-fashioned local farming show, held annually at Marsh Farm in Castleton Road on August Bank Holiday Monday. The show aims to promote and support development of the rearing and breeding of high class horses, cattle, sheep and other livestock, as well as other matters of an agricultural and horticultural nature. The Hope Show has always been a family show strongly based on farming customs, and the sheep dog trials aim to improve the breeding, training and care of sheepdogs and exhibit the skill of man and dog.
THINGS TO DO
The five mile (9km) walk to the summit of Win Hill (462m/1,518ft) takes between three to four hours, and is quite a stiff climb to a fine summit. The reward, however, is one of the finest panoramic, 360 degree views in the Peak, stretching from Kinder Scout and Bleaklow to the rolling limestone plateau to the south.
FOOD AND DRINK
The Hope Chest (01433 620072) serves traditionally-baked bread, cakes and sandwiches, or you can choose from up to 50 varieties of cheese, cold meats and other speciality foods from the deli counter.
Superb views and healthy lunches, afternoon teas and dinner are on offer at the Losehill House Hotel restaurant in Edale Road (01433 621219). The private dining room has an Arts and Crafts fireplace and bay window.
The 16th century Cheshire Cheese Inn in Edale Road (01433 620381) serves real ales (including local brews) and pub meals, and has a beer garden at the rear. Cask ales, locally-produced food can be enjoyed at the Poachers Arms in Castleton Road, (01433 620380), while traditional ales and home cooked food also feature at The Old Hall Inn in the Market Place and originally the Hall of the Balguy family (01433 620160).
Castleton’s shops, castle and caverns
The glorious Edale valley and Moorland Centre, Edale
Sheffield, with its shops, galleries and museums
Buxton, spa town and shopping centre
Bakewell, ancient market town
Tourist Information Centre: Castleton Visitor Centre, Buxton Road, Castleton, Hope Valley S33 8WN, 01629 816558; www.peakdistrict.gov.uk. Also includes the museum of the Castleton Historical Society.
Public toilets and car park: In Castleton Road, in the village centre.
Doctors: Evelyn Medical Centre, Marsh Avenue, Hope, Hope Valley S33 6RJ
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