Doveridge - DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE
Doveridge is a large village, but it is easy to miss as it hides out of sight behind the new A50. The old road used to go right through the village with the inevitable noise and congestion, particularly for anyone attempting to turn right out of one of the village streets towards Derby. The village is now much quieter, but there are still some noise problems due to the outdated and noisy road surfacing material used on the A50.
There is much of interest to be seen in Doveridge for those prepared to take the time to explore. The residents from the shop to the pub and those you meet in the street are friendly. Judging by the large number of notice boards in the village, it has a very active community. Apart from the usual events you would expect like whist drives, cheese and wine parties and bingo sessions, you also can get involved in footpath walks with the preservation society, fun events at the bowls club and even a beer festival at the village club!
On the sporting side there are thriving football, cricket and bowls clubs and new £50,000 tennis courts. The spick and span village hall provides for those who require indoor facilities. There is also an active theatre company in the village which puts on performances in June and December.
Doveridge is an ancient village and must have been of some importance when the Domesday Book was compiled, as it had at the time a church, a mill and forty householders. The old mill has been demolished, but a church remains on the original site, which at one time was within the grounds of Doveridge Hall. The Cavendish family built the hall, in 1769, but after falling into disrepair, it was finally demolished just before the Second World War.
St Cuthbert’s Church is one of Derbyshire’s treasures and it has a huge old yew tree in the well tended churchyard. The tree is estimated to be 1,400 years old, and is second only in Derbyshire in age, to the yew tree at St Helen’s Church, Darley Dale. But St Cuthbert’s has a much better spread of branches, which provide a splendid approach to the church. According to local legend, Robin Hood was betrothed to Maid Marian under its branches.
At the end of Church Lane is the Cavendish Memorial Well, which before the arrival of mains water was used by the villagers, but is now capped. The canopy over the well was constructed in honour of Captain Frederick Cavendish. The local WI contributed the seat in 1951, in commemoration of the Festival of Britain and the garden 20 years later as part of ‘Conservation Year’.
High Street is an excellent example of a traditional South Derbyshire village street, with its sturdy brick built houses and cottages, which blend together harmoniously. The old village school closed in 1979, because it was no longer big enough to meet the growing demand for places. All the pupils moved to a newly constructed school near the Manor House. On opposite sides of Pump Lane, stand the combined shop and post office, and a private house, dated 1787. The private house was the village’s very first school, which was later turned into a bakery and then a post office, before reverting to its present status.
The Methodist Chapel, built in 1805, is situated to the rear of Chapel Green. For many years the chapel was heated by coke stoves, but in more recent times the stoves have been replaced by electric heating. It is one of the oldest chapels in the Dove Valley Circuit.
At the corner of Bell Lane, the impressive Manor House is a Grade II listed building. On the corner of Pickleys Lane and Lower Street is a delightful old thatched cottage. Along Lower Street are several interesting properties including The Gables, which was used as one of the Dame Schools in the village in the early days of education.
Lower Street Farm is the oldest property in Doveridge dating back to at least 1600. Although it cannot be proved, it is thought the farm may have been the manor house referred to in Domesday Book. It has an entrance to an underground tunnel linking it with its neighbour, Old Hall Farm. According to local folklore it is thought that monks used that and other tunnels to avoid possible arrest when the Catholic Church was under threat.
A Victorian suspension bridge straddles the River Dove, only a short distance from the church. From where it is an easy walk to the new road bridge, on the other side of which is the old Dove Bridge. At one time the bridge formed part of the turrnpike road from Derby to Newcatle-under-Lyme.
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PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Sudbury Hall (Tel. 01283 585305) is a National Trust property famed for its superb plasterwork ceilings and Grinling Gibbons carvings. Please telephone for opening details or visit website.
Tutbury Castle (Tel. 01283 812129) dominates the surrounding landscape, with excellent views over Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Mary, Queen of Scots, was a prisoner in the castle. Please telephone for opening details or visit website.
Uttoxeter Heritage Centre (Tel. 01889 567176) is housed in a row of 17th century timber framed cottages, with rooms on two floors and a courtyard garden to view. There are two exhibition rooms where changing displays reflect different periods of the town’s past. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am – 4pm. Closed Bank Holidays. Free Admission.
Cavendish Arms (Tel. 01889 563820) is an old coaching inn that used to stand on the main road before the new A50 was built. Food is served lunchtimes and evenings. There is a separate dining room.
The Leaf and Bean (Tel. 01889 568377) is situated next door to the Heritage Centre in Carter Street Uttoxeter, and provides a wide selection of coffee, tea and cakes. Open Monday to Wednesday and Friday and Saturday from 9am – 5pm.
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Flat fields and long views are all part of this satisfying walk, starting from the West Derbyshire village of Doveridge. The village sits just inside the Derbyshire-Staffordshire border.
Farming still plays an important role in the area. The land is relatively productive, much more so than in large tracts of north-western Derbyshire.
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