A Taste of the
Alport, Peak District B&B, self-catering and hotel accommodation, Derbyshire town close to Dovedale, the Tissington Trail, Alton Towers, Carsington Reservoir and easy access to the rest of the Peak District …
Alport - a lead mining village close to the river Lathkill in the White Peak area of the National Park ... highlights - old, interesting buildings and a rushing river.
Alport is a small community close to the confluence of the rivers Lathkill and Bradford at the crossing point of the ancient route of the Portway. For a period of nigh on 300 years, this area was an important lead mining centre.
The Alport Mining Company used no less than 6 water pressure engines (as invented by the 18th century engineer Richard Trevithick, the great Cornish rival to Boulton and Watt) to prevent flooding in its mines. Today this clean and peaceful village is very different to how it was in the 19th century. The Cupola lead smelting works that was operating at that time produced large volumes of unfiltered toxic gases and other pollution. Cupolas superseded the original bole hill type of smelters in the 16th and 17th centuries. They had well developed flue systems leading to their chimneys. In the flues, lead condensed from the waste gases and could be collected by hand, maximising the output from the smelter. The Alport Cupola is reputed to have been one of the best developed flue systems in the Peak District.
The lead mining and smelting industry made Alport an unhealthy place to live. The locals were weakened by the toxic fumes from the smelting activities and suffered from many illnesses and early death. The Alport ore field was one of the most intensely worked and even at the time of closure at the very end of the 19th century was still among the largest and most significant in the Peak District.
The casual visitor to Alport will see little other than a few buildings either side of the road to and from Youlgrave. Plus the bridge and telephone box of course! But there is more to this Haddon Estate village than might initially meet the eye. For walkers approaching on the path on the right bank of the river Lathkill, there is a tantalising glimpse of what lies at the heart of the village - but no more. An unremarkable street winds its way towards the river Bradford but does not reveal the secrets of the village. For those astute enough to follow this road will discover one of several "hidden gems in the crown of a regal landscape" according to the travel writer James Croston, a century after the Alport Mining Company installed their Trevithick engines. Indeed it is, the centre of Alport is a secluded and picturesque place, with a narrow bridge crossing the river Bradford next to the village green. The road opposite rises steeply up to reveal atypical White Peak landscape and takes the visitor on to Robin Hoods Stride.
This is one of several places named Alport in the Peak District these being Alport itself, Alport Heights near Wirksworth and Ambergate Alport Moor and Alport Castles in the High Peak area of the Dark Peak. They are connected. Or at least they were. They were all on the Portway, an ancient trading track which may predate the Roman occupation. The track was in use as a trading route through the Peak District right up until the early 19th century and takes its name from Anglo-Saxon times. Port was the word for a market town and weg was the word for a track hence it became known as the Portway.
Water was needed to power early medieval industries in the Peak District, and records show that there was a corn mill at Alport as early as 1159. In more recent times, the flow of the river Bradford has been harnessed once more at the site of the old corn mill with a micro hydroelectric scheme, part of the Sustainable Youlgrave project aiming to make the Parish of Youlgrave carbon neutral. The corn mill was used as one of the locations used when recording the film version of D H Lawrence's 'The Virgin and The Gypsy'.
Much of Alport was constructed early in the 18th century. The pub closed in 1924 and was demolished to make room for road widening just before the second world war. Monks Hall is the oldest building in the village and dates back to Tudor times.
Alport Tourist Information
Getting to Alport
Local bus company Hulleys operates a bus service from Bakewell which passes through Alport - timetable. Be warned when meeting Hulleys buses in narrow places - their drivers take no prisoners!!
Suggestions for coming by car: from the south east - M1, Derby and the A6 turning left at the B5056 between Rowsley and Bakewell. From the North East - M1, A38, A6 (direction Bakewell) turning left at the B5056 between Rowsley and Bakewell. From the North West - M6, M62, M60 to Stockport, A6 to through Bakewell and turn right at the B5056 between Bakewell and Rowsley. From the south west - M5, M6 then cut across to Bakewell from Leek. Take the A6 south from Bakewell and turn right at the B5056 between Bakewell and Rowsley. Please note that these are just suggestions and are not the shortest or the fastest, we just think they are the least fiddly. If you have a satnav system, it is probably best to follow that. I think the postcode is DE45 1LG for the centre of Alport but I am not sure.
Alport Tourist Information Centre
... doesn't exist! The closest is at Bakewell:
Old Market Hall
Open: March to October - 9.30am until 5.30pm daily
November to February - 10.00am until 5.00pm daily
Tel : 01629 816558
Fax: 01629 814782
Please call the tourist information centre directly for their current opening times.
Other Tourist Information Centres around the southern fringes of the Peak District (please verify opening times independently, we think they are right but would hate you to turn up and find the places closed!):
Tel: 01332 255802
Fax: 01332 256137
Open seven days a week:
Monday to Friday 9.30am - 5.30pm
Saturday 9.30am - 5pm
Sunday and Bank Holidays 10.30am - 2.30pm
Tourist Information Centre
Tel: 01246 345777/8
Fax: 01246 345770
Mon 2 Apr 2007 - Sat 27 Oct 2007 Mon - Sat 09:00 to 17:30
Mon 29 Oct 2007 - Sat 15 Mar 2008 Mon - Sat 09:00 to 17:00
Sells a range of tickets - from theatre seats to coaches and trains.
Matlock Tourist Information Centre
Tel: 01629 583388
Fax: 01629 584131
13 Market Place
Tel: Ashbourne (01335) 343666
Fax: (01335) 300638
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