A Taste of the
Youlgrave, 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 …
was a prosperous market town (with a 14th century charter) and the centre
for local lead mining. It is now a good centre for Peak District tourists,
with good walking, cycling and is well placed for access to the rest of the
region. During the midsummer well dressing season, Youlgrave boasts 5 dressed wells.
Youlgrave (or Youlgreave according to the Ordnance Survey) is situated high above the river Bradford, close to its confluence with the Lathkill. It owes its growth to the mining industry, look around the nearby fields and you will find plenty of reminders of this bygone industry (image). Local miners were known as ‘Groovers’ or ‘Grovers’ (the opencast rakes left grooves in the fields) which may be the origin of the name.
Left: The tiny Thimble Hall in the centre of Youlgrave.
The village itself comprises many traditional style buildings. The Youth Hostel is in the old Co-op building which was built on the site of the original school. All Saints Parish Church dates back to Saxon times and has a unique font with a carved figure of a salamander supporting the stoup. During the 19th century, there were considerable shenanigins involving the font which went back and forth between the church at Elton and All Saints. Elton ended up with a replica. The church tower dates from the 15th century and the church yard narrows the main road, creating a bottleneck for traffic - don’t worry if you get stuck there, there is a handy pub (The George Hotel)! Talking of pubs, further along the road is the Bull’s Head which is a 17th century coaching inn. A former landlord’s daughter hit the big time when she became Lady Jane McDougal - of McDougal’s Flour fame.
Close to the Bull’s Head is ‘The Fountain’ (seen below during well dressing) and therin lies a tale. It was built in 1829 to solve the water supply problem of the village. Prior to this, the source of water was the river Bradford so it had to be carried uphill to most of the homes. It was also often contaminated and the children of Youlgrave were victims. To get a feel for the task of water carrying, take the path to the centre of the village from Bradford Dale! Then imagine doing it carrying a couple of buckets of water ... several times a day!! The Fountain filled overnight, fed by about 3/4 of a mile of iron piping. Locals, generally the women, gathered round the fountain at about 6 a.m. to collect their water when the waterkeeper unlocked the tap. Thus The Fountain became the focal point of the village. In 1869 the fountain was upgraded to distribute the water via standpipes scattered around the village.
But Youlgrave is not a place to be left standing still, the
locals brought it firmly into the 21st century by setting up the Sustainable
Youlgrave organisation with the intention of taking the village beyond 'carbon
neutral'. There are several projects which have already been completed such
as a small hydroelectric system, composting and beekeeping as well as several
feasibility studies into the possibility of generating electricity from biomass
and wind power. They have introduced a successful village market.
Staying in the Youlgrave area - Great walking, cycling, climbing on limestone at Wildcat, Willersley, the esoteric and tough Rheinstor and bouldering or micro routes at Harboro Rocks, Also close by are the gritstone crags at Cratcliffe or Black Rocks. Easy access to the rest of the Peak District grit and Limestone crags, a little over 30 mins to get to Stanage. Lathkill Dale is an easy walk from the village and a stroll along the river Bradford is a nice way to spend an evening. Bakewell is a few minutes drive away, as are Haddon Hall, Chatsworth and Caudwells Mill, a Craft centre at Rowsley. Also at Rowsley is the Peak Village shopping centre with factory outlets and other retail shops. Youlgrave has 3 pubs where you can relax with a drink and some food.