A Taste of the
Beeley, Peak District, Derbyshire village, B&B, self catering holiday cottage accommodation, hotels, tourist attractions, walking, climbing, mountain biking history, towns, villages, geology, mining, local information, Derbyshire businesses and much more …
is one of the oldest settlements in Derbyshire, just outside the boundary
of the Peak District National Park, having been a site of human occupation
for 2000 years.
The first written history comes from Saxon times but it is
known that the Iron Age Celts had settled here at the crossroads of two ancient
trading routes, used by the Saxons as ‘portwegs’ or portways
to use the modernised version of the word. The Romans were possibly the earliest
lead miners in the region, when they departed, the abbey at Repton owned
the mining rights. One of the symbols of Wirksworth is the Saxon carving
of a miner, carrying a pick and kibble (ore basket). This was found at Bonsall
and incorporated into the church during the late 19th century. Miners were
referred to as 'T'owd man', so this carving is known by
the same name (see the mining section for a picture).
When the emphasis of the industry changed to quarrying, the railways arrived. There is the remnants of one line on the north side of the town - the High Peak Trail plus a narrow gauge line, the Steeple Grange Light Railway. In addition, the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway which joined Wirksworth to the main line at Duffield is undergoing renovation and is open from time to time for train rides on the section that has been restored so far.
There are a good number
of beautiful old buildings in Wirksworth, many dating from
- the town was a very prosperous place indeed.
The church was founded in 653 and is wonderfully situated, in a close which
conveys the air of a cathedral. It feels cathedral-like when you are inside
too. The ancient ceremony of ‘Clypping the Church’ - which is thought
to pre-date the Christian era - takes place annually on the Sunday following
the Festival of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8th, when the congregation
encircle the church and link hands, thus symbolically and literally ‘embracing’ the
church. To find out more about the history of this ancient Derbyshire town,
visit the Wirksworth
Staying in the Wirksworth area - Great walking, cycling, climbing on limestone at Wildcat, Willersley and Harboro Rocks. Easy access to the Peak District. The nearby village of Hopton is a good place to stay if you want to explore the countryside around Wirksworth, it is great for Carsington Reservoir as well as Dovedale, Ashbourne and the western moorlands of the Peak District. With places like the charmingly converted historic Dovedale Cottage, the more modern Kingfisher, overlooking Carsington water itself, and the detached grade II listed South Sitch Cottage, just south of Wirksworth, you can treat yourself to a relaxing time. If you prefer to stay in a hotel, the impressive New Bath Hotel is about 5 minutes away at Matlock Bath, close to the children’s theme park of Gulliver’s Kingdom. For Bed and Breakfast, try the homely Wild Cherry B&B.