YOULGREAVE INSIDER'S GUIDE
Visitor guide to 'Youlgrave' (as the locals prefer to spell it). Roly Smith reveals all about this attractive and popular Peak District village...
WELCOME TO ‘POMMY’ - this bustling, ridgetop village between Bradford and Lathkill Dale is leading the area with its Sustainable Youlgrave campaign, which aims to make the best use of natural resources.
The main village street has been called ‘Derbyshire’s longest car park’, and parked cars can sometimes cause a problem for motorists. The Fountain, the circular water storage tank built in 1829 for the village’s own private water supply, is in the centre of the village.
Close to the Fountain is Thimble Hall (private) – according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s smallest detached house. There are plans to open it as a thimble museum and craft centre, which will also sell ice cream.
Opposite the Fountain in the Square is Youlgreave Youth Hostel, formerly the village Co-operative Society store, which was built in 1887. It retains the names of the departments on its dormitory doors, so that male visitors can claim with impunity that they slept in ‘Ladies Underwear’!
Further down the village street is the Old Hall, a mullioned-windowed and gabled building which dates from 1650. Behind it and unseen from the street is Old Hall Farm which is even older, dating from 1630.
In common with many other larger Peak District villages, Youlgrave has its own local nickname, in this case, ‘Pommy.’ It is alleged to relate to the sound made by a local pig leaning over a wall and hearing the ‘tiddley pom, pom, pom’ of the village silver band, but there are many other equally unlikely theories.
WHERE IS IT?
Youlgrave is three miles (5km) south of Bakewell, on the minor road to Newhaven and the A515, off the B5056.
There has been much disagreement about the spelling of Youlgrave, and there have been no less than 60 different versions of the name. The controversy continues even today, because although the locals always spell it ‘Youlgrave’ (which is how it is pronounced), on Ordnance Survey maps and in various other branches of officialdom the extra ‘e’ is inserted to make it ‘Youlgreave’.
The name is thought to mean ‘the grove of Geola’ or ‘yellow grove’ – a ‘groove’ being the old term for a lead mine, an important industry in these parts for at least 200 years (see below).
You can get a glimpse of the mystery which surrounds the earliest settlers of the area at prehistoric stone circle of Arbor Low, a couple of miles west of the village, just off the A515. Arbor Low has been described as the ‘Stonehenge of the North’, and it dates from the same Neolithic period as its more famous Wiltshire counterpart, although its circle of about 50 limestone monoliths now lie prostrate in the emerald turf. But whereas Stonehenge is now fenced off and over-interpreted, Arbor Low, standing high (at 1,230ft/375m) on the limestone plateau, manages to retain its enigmatic secrets.
Perhaps the most famous incident in the long history of the Youlgrave area was the shooting of Christopher Fulwood, an officer in the Royalist army of King Charles I, in Bradford Dale in 1643. Fulwood was the son of Sir George Fulwood, the ruinous remains of whose castle still exist below Middleton by Youlgrave.
Pursued by Parliamentarian Sir John Gell of Hopton, Fulwood escaped to the wooded confines of Bradford Dale, where he hid in a fissure of the limestone crag which still bears his name. But he was soon discovered and, although unarmed, was shot down by Gell’s men. He died later at Calton, on his way to imprisonment at Lichfield.
Middleton’s other most famous son was the pioneering Victorian archaeologist and antiquarian, Thomas Bateman (1821-1861) who lived at Lomberdale House. His extensive collection of artefacts, recovered from a prodigious programme of barrow-digging in the Peak and Staffordshire, is now housed at Weston Park Museum in Sheffield. Bateman is buried in a railed tomb topped by a stone replica of a Bronze Age urn behind the old village chapel at Middleton.
Mining and quarrying
There are still considerable remains of lead mining around the village, marked by humps and bumps in the fields, and Youlgrave once hosted its own Barmoot Court, from where the ancient lead mining laws were administered.
PLACES TO GO
The Parish Church
Youlgrave’s parish church of All Saints is one of the Peak's finest churches and was originally built between 1130-1150.
The splendid chancel is graced by some fine monuments, the best of which is the centrally-placed tomb and charming quarter-sized armoured alabaster effigy of Thomas Cockayne, who was killed in a teenage brawl in 1488. His head rests on a cockerel, an amusing pun on the family name. In the north wall is the early 14th-century unidentified cross-legged effigy of a bearded knight holding his heart in his hands. Other monuments include a beautiful oblong panel to Robert Gylbert who died in 1492, his wife and their 17 children.
On the north wall opposite the entrance is a delightful cameo of what is thought to be a little stone pilgrim, carrying his staff and bag. The east window and the south window in the chancel are both among leading Victorian Arts and Crafts exponent Edward Burne-Jones’s stained glass masterpieces, and there are others by Kempe in the north aisle and south nave.
Youlgreave’s celebrated well-dressings date from the setting-up of The Fountain in 1829, and are among the most accomplished and widely-admired in the Peak. The village dresses five wells, all of which are centred on The Fountain, from the Saturday nearest to St John the Baptist Day (June 24), and the Youlgrave dressings are renowned for the originality of their designs.
THINGS TO DO
A three-mile (5 km) easy riverside and field walk links the Bradford and the Lathkill, going down the Bradford to the pretty village of Alport, then up the Lathkill to Conksbury Bridge and Over Haddon, returning via Meadow Place Grange and Moor Lane. Allow about two hours.
Just a couple of miles to the west of Youlgrave, the Tissington and High Peak Trails converge at Parsley Hay, where there the National Park runs cycle hire facilities. You can enjoy many miles of traffic-free cycling on these former railway lines through some of the finest White Peak countryside.
FOOD AND DRINK
The Farmyard Inn on Main Street(01629 636221), a former farm which boasts many original features and only became an inn in 1829 is popular with locals and visitors alike. Regular folk music evenings are also held here in a most convivial atmosphere. Another homely Youlgrave pub is The Bull’s Head in Fountain Square (01629 636307), a family-run establishment which dates back to the 17th century. The pretty and popular George Hotel is located opposite the Parish church (large car park at the rear of the pub).
A great cup of tea can be enjoyed at the Edge Close Farm Tea Rooms, at nearby Flagg (01298 85144), which is a fully-licensed family-run team room serving homemade and freshly-cooked food made from local produce.
Youlgrave has several places to stay – see the full list of Youlgrave accommodation.
Bakewell TIC, The Old Market Hall, Bridge Street, Bakewell, DE45 1DS; Tel: 01629 816558; www.peakdistrict.gov.uk, open daily.
Youlgrave Medical Centre, Alport Lane, Youlgrave, Derbyshire, DE45 1WN (01629 636207)
© Let's Stay Peak District
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015