Litton near Tideswell
Pretty as a picture
Litton, a small village 1,000ft (300m) up on the limestone plateau, is in many ways a typical White Peak village - Roly Smith takes us along...
Clustered around its long village green with an ancient obelisk-like cross standing on a stepped pyramid at one end, the range of mainly 17th and 18th century stone-built cottages is as pretty as a picture, and as a result, a frequent subject for photographers.
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The Red Lion public house is a popular hostelry at the centre of the village, where the wooden stocks still stand on the green. Much of Litton’s prosperity was built on the traditional dual industries of lead mining and farming, of which only farming now remains as an important employer.
WHERE IS IT?
Four miles (6 km) north west of Bakewell, just off the A623 Chesterfield to Chapel-en-le-Frith road.
Down in the dale is Litton Mill, an early cotton mill built in 1782 and now converted to holiday and residential accommodation. This was the scene, if the propagandist Memoirs of Robert Blincoe in 1828 are to be believed, of some of the worst examples of child exploitation in the 19th century, perpetrated by the owner, Ellis Needham. Whatever the truth, the Memoirs of what was alleged to have happened at Litton Mill were a potent catalyst towards long-overdue factory reforms.
Also within the parish is the isolated natural tower of Peter’s Stone, at the head of Cressbrook Dale. It was here in 1815 that a 21-year-old Tideswell man, Anthony Lingard, was gibbeted in an iron cage after his conviction and hanging for the murder of a tollhouse keeper at Wardlow Mires. It was to be the last gibbeting in Derbyshire.
Less notorious and one of Litton’s most famous sons was William Bagshawe, the so-called “Apostle of the Peak,” who was an outstanding nonconformist preacher in this land of nonconformism during the 18th century. Bagshawe is now buried at Chapel-en-le-Frith.
Mining and quarrying
There are many remains of lead mine workings within the parish of Litton, and small quarries provided the village with its building stone.
PLACES TO GO
The Parish Church
The parish church of Christ Church is a relatively new build, having been erected in 1929.
Litton hosts popular well-dressings in early June each year, a custom which was revivied in 1969 to celebrate the village school’s centenary. The children of the school now also dress a smaller well under adult supervision. Unusually, the main panel of the Litton well dressing is designed upright, whereas the usual method is to lay it out flat.
THINGS TO DO
A pleasant five-mile walk from Litton Mill goes along the River Wye to Monk’s Dale and Miller’s Dale, then north on the Limestone Way across the fields to Tideswell then back down Tideswell Dale to your starting point at Litton Mill.
FOOD AND DRINK
Good food and well-kept cask ales are served in an historic, cosy, traditional setting at the popular Red Lion on the village green at Litton (01298 871458).
The Anglers Rest at nearby Millers Dale (01298 871323), is a comfortable, family-run pub which has welcoming coal fires and a good range of cask ales and draught lagers, plus a pool table and dart board. Much of the home-prepared food is locally-sourced, and there is a ‘Pie Night’ each Thursday.
Litton has a few places to stay – see the full list of Litton accommodation.
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
Tideswell Surgery, Parke Road, Tideswell (01298 871292)
Editor, Let's Stay Peak District & Let's Stay UK
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Last Updated: 5 Oct 2015