Earl Sterndale is a pleasant, unspoilt, working village, lying at 1,100 ft above sea level, surrounded by some of the most picturesque countryside in the Peak National Park. Unlike almost anywhere else in the park, apart from Thorpe Cloud, it has what many first time visitors to the area expect to find “peaks”. The Peak District took its name from the Pecsacetans, “the hill dwellers” who once lived in the area and not its mainly flat-topped hills, which tends to confuse the newcomer.
The two dominant hills on the western side of the village, Parkhouse and Chrome, are conical in shape. They originate from former reef knolls, or coral reefs formed under the waters of a lagoon millions of years ago. High Wheeldon to the south east of Earl Sterndale is conical, but not so markedly so as the other two hills.
High Wheeldon was given to the nation, as a memorial to the men of Derbyshire and Staffordshire who gave their lives in two World Wars, and is now in the hands of the National Trust. Fox Hole Cave, on the hill was excavated in the 1970s revealing a range of Stone Age implements and the remains of animals hunted by the men of that period.
The village is surrounded by a number of farms, which include “grange” in their titles, a reminder that during the Middle Ages much of the land was owned by Basingwerk Abbey. Farming is still an important industry in the area as is quarrying; the quarries hidden away behind the eastern ridge scar large areas of the landscape.
St Michael’s Church has had a somewhat unusual life. In Norman days it was a chapelry of Hartington, but during the 18th century fell into disrepair. It was rebuilt in 1828, but disaster struck again in 1941, when it became the only church in Derbyshire to be struck by a German bomb. This tragic event in the history of the church was recorded by local humorist Tom Wise, in the following words.
The Sterndale Blitz
They bombed our church them Germans did
In nineteen forty one
And left it there without a lid
Exposed to wind and sun
And when at last the war was o’er
And Hitler was the loser
We knelt, praying as of yore
Thanked God they missed the boozer
Ten years later the church was rebuilt and its Saxon font restored by an expert craftsman from London.
The sign at the village pub, The Quiet Woman, carries the immortal adage “Soft Words Turneth Away Wrath” which is below the picture of a headless woman. The story goes that a former pub landlord’s wife, known as “Chattering Charteris” nagged so much that she even started ranting in her sleep. At last her husband could stand it no more and cut off her head. The approving villagers even had a “whip round” to pay for the headstone.
Over 400 years old, the pub is a magnificent unspoilt rural inn. It retains its original beams, there is an open fireplace and you are likely to see notices on the wall advertising eggs, hay and silage and the like. One notice of different type warns “The fire is for the comfort of all patrons, not just the few who think the rest need protecting from the heat”. The pub has won several awards and been mentioned every year, but one since 1976, in the Good Beer Guide. Headless Ale, brewed in Leek, Staffordshire is now available at the pub to help meet the needs of thirsty customers!
There is a thriving school in the village, which holds some classes in the church, a large village green and a Methodist Chapel. A GR post box is inset in the wall of a house, but sadly there is no post office. Along the attractive row of cottages leading out of Earl Sterndale to the east, is Woodbine Cottage. It was once the home of Billy Budd, who fought in the Afghan War in 1880. He marched from Kabul to Kandahar, wearing no boots his feet wrapped in cloths. A remarkable effort considering they are 350 miles apart.
www.derbyshire-peakdistrict.co.uk is an independent, not for profit website.
No recommendation of any establishment is implied by inclusion on this website.
PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Manifold Valley Visitor Centre (Tel. 01298 84679) housed in the old Hulme End Station, where information displays outline the history of the railway, the industries and local community. Open most weekends and during school holidays. For further information, when the above number is not available, contact Leek Tourist Information Office (Tel. 01538 483741) who will be able to supply details.
Buxton Museum and Art Gallery (Tel. 01298 24658) award winning ‘Wonders of the Peak’ gallery. Programme of temporary exhibitions and displays. Well stocked shop. Open all year Tuesday to Saturday and Bank Holidays. On Sundays, the museum is open from Easter to the end of September.
Poole’s Cavern (Tel. 01298 26978) is located at Buxton, where guided tours are provided of the limestone cavern, famous for its stalactites and stalagmites. Ancient remains show the Romans worshipped here. There is a large car park, toilets, shop and drinks facilities available. Please telephone for opening details or visit website. In 2007, a new attraction - Go Ape - opened in Grin Low Woods situated at the other end of the cavern car park.
The Quiet Woman (Tel. 01298 83211) is an unpretentious pub, which attracts beer lovers from near and far who want to soak up its traditional atmosphere. The pub has won several awards and been mentioned every year but one since 1976, in the Good Beer Guide. Snacks are normally available at lunchtime and in the evening.
Longnor Craft Centre (Tel. 01298 83587) the home of Fox Country Furniture. Apart from furniture, exhibits of the work of local craftspeople and artists are also displayed. The café is open seven days a week from mid-February selling home baked produce. It is only open weekends from late December.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
1. To return to the main site click the link below.
2. To return to the contents page of the main website click the link below.
A special new sub-section has been added to this website, based on the Discover Derby Supplement, published by the Derby Evening Telegraph during March 2005. The most recent additions are:
Click below for details.
EARL STERNDALE WALK
Earl Sterndale, five miles south of Buxton, is ringed by beautiful hills such as Parkhouse, Chrome and High Wheeldon and superb walking country. Despite this it is a relatively unknown area, even for many of those who regularly walk in the Peak District.
This short walk through stunningly beautiful countryside visits Dowel Dale looked down upon by Chrome Hill on the west side of the dale, and Parkhouse Hill on the east. Chrome is recorded as the highest Hill in the county and the urge to make a detour and climb it may prove irresistible on this walk. The view from the top on a clear day is magnificent.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.