The tiny village of Mapleton, one and three quarters of a mile from Ashbourne, stands on the Derbyshire side of the River Dove that divides it from neighbouring Staffordshire. It is a village of attractive red brick cottages, somewhat unusual in the Peak District where stone normally dominates. The village borders the Peak District and acts as a gateway to the Dove Valley. The houses stretch out in a line along the road through the village mostly looking over the river in the direction of Okeover Hall, a private residence not open to the public.
As with so many towns and villages in Derbyshire, there is a problem with either the pronunciation, or the spelling - with Mapleton (or should it be Mappleton?) there is problem with both. Locals invariably pronounce the name according to the latter spelling, but the church notice board, many local guidebooks and the Ordnance Survey prefer the former. Whatever the spelling, this little village is a place not to be missed with its lovely walks and air of peace and tranquillity.
The Tissington Trail on the east of the village follows the tracks of the former London and North Western Railway’s branch line from Ashbourne to Buxton. Ashbourne never got the mainline it wanted and had to be content with a branch line – this may have been no bad thing as the additional development that would have ensued might have detracted from its present day charm.
When the line closed after a short life of only 70 years, the railway track was removed and a path was laid in its place for the use of walkers, pedal cyclists and horse riders. A car park was sited at the Mapleton end of the Trail, where bicycles can be hired. Light refreshments, maps and information can be obtained during peak periods.
Along the narrow winding road from Ashbourne to the centre of Mapleton, up a tree-lined drive, is Callow Hall. The grounds covering 44 acres with splendid views from the Hotel’s elevated position of the valleys of the Bentley Brook and the River Dove. Once the property of the Rev H Buckston, it is a handsome Elizabethan style stone mansion. The Manor House to the south of the village is a substantially built house looking out across the water meadows to the river.
The Okeover Arms closed its doors in 2002 and was put on the market, but re-opened again in time for Christmas 2003. This is not the only time it has been closed. It lost its licence temporarily when the family of Ealdred Okeover thought he was spending too much time in the pub and used their influence to have it shut down.
In an area where traditionally built stone churches are normally found, St Mary’s Church comes as something of a surprise. It is a small church, stone built, but with a most unusual pillared porch and a dome, it has been christened ‘Little St Paul’s’ by some visitors. Some critics have been more scathing in their comment, which seems unfair just because it lacks traditionalism.
Close to the bridge is a handsome five-bay Georgian House, built in the mid 1700s by Rowland Okeover and known as ‘The Okeover Clergy House’. The house was originally divided up as three almshouses, later reduced to two, for the widows of clergymen.
A low single arched bridge crosses the Dove, and on the Staffordshire side of the river is the former Okeover Corn Mill, some distance behind that stands the hall. Okeover Hall dates from the 18th century, a pleasing mainly Georgian building of red brick round three sides of a courtyard, with a more recent extension. It has a church only a few yards away, built as a private chapel.
There is a public road across Okeover Park, once the province of deer, but it is sheep that now hold sway. Motorists confronted in towns and cities with road calming measures undertaken to reduce speed often have to drive over man made humps in the road, or sleeping policemen as they are sometimes called. Another form of road calming is in operation in Okeover Park, particularly when the sun is out and the tarmac is warm. This takes the form of sleeping sheep lying on the hot road, who only move with great reluctance to let passing motorists through, but only then after being slowed almost to a standstill and having had to sound the car horn.
It is a tradition for those people who do mind the cold to jump from Okeover Bridge into the River Dove to raise money for charity, in the annual New Year Boat Race and Bridge Jump. In 2003, fourteen teams of two rowed down the river before leaving their boats and jumping from the bridge into the freezing waters below and then swimming 60 yards upstream. The contestants then ran to the Okeover Arms, the winner receiving the ‘Brass Monkey’ award!
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 SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE AREA
Alton Towers (Tel 08705 204060) the leading Theme Park in the United Kingdom where you can experience a host of ‘white knuckle rides’, or content yourself with more peaceful pursuits, visiting the shows on site and the gentler rides. For full opening details please ring or visit website.
Ilam Village with its alpine style cottages and close proximity to Dovedale makes it a very popular attraction. The National Trust grounds and country park of Ilam Hall are open to the public.
Ashbourne is one of Derbyshire’s finest towns, with a wealth of Georgian architecture. The triangular cobbled Market Place holds markets twice per week on Thursday and Saturday.
Okeover Arms (Tel 01335 350305) At one time, this attractive Grade One listed building dating from about 1700 was a Temperance Hotel. Following a period of closure, the pub re-opened prior to Christmas 2003. Food available lunchtime and evenings except on Mondays. Beer Garden. Accommodation.
The Gingerbread Shop Tea Rooms (Tel 01335 346753) It is said that in Napoleonic times, when French prisoners were held at Ashbourne, the recipe for gingerbread was given to an Ashbourne baker and has been used ever since. A unique example of a late 15th century timber built building which has been in continuous use as a bakery since 1805. Open Monday to Saturday 8.30-5pm.
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.
ON THIS SITE
Every month an illustrated Newsletter is published giving details of:
What's New, What's Coming and What's On.
The walk follows the Tissington Trail to the ancient village of Thorpe and returns along the beautiful Dove Valley to the brick built village of Mapleton.
The tiny limestone village of Thorpe, visited on the walk, is less than a mile from the famous Dovedale Stepping Stones, but still manages to maintain an air of peace and quiet even in the middle of the summer.
The church has a Norman tower, but probably dates back further, in this ancient village, that was once a Danish settlement.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.