Millers Dale is a tiny hamlet, set in the heart of the Peak District, sharing its name with the dale in which it lies. The scenery in this part of the Wye Valley is magnificent, with the impressive Ravenstor Cliff only a short distance down the road, on the route to the once infamous Litton Mill. The richness of flora and fauna along the dale sides has resulted in the area being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has several nature reserves in the area.
It was once a major junction on the Midland Railway Line, and Millers Dale was one of the largest stations on the line. The original station, opened in 1863, had three platforms, two on the main line for trains between London and Manchester and a bay for the branch line to Buxton. A further two platforms were added when the second viaduct was opened in 1905. It was one of the few stations in England to have a post office on the platform.
The railway closed in 1968, and the line remained unused for twelve years before being taken over by the Peak National Park. The track has been converted into a walking route, known as the Monsal Trail. It stretches from Wye Dale, near Buxton, to Coombs Road, near Bakewell. Most of the tunnels have been closed, but alternative routes have been provided. The station car park is convenient for those walkers who come by car to explore the magnificent scenery of the Wye Valley. The station itself now houses a Peak Park Rangers Centre and information boards at the station and along the trail have been provided to inform visitors.
Walkers can content themselves with a gentle amble down the Monsal Trail from Millers Dale, check out some of the neighbouring villages or take a walk on the high limestone plateau. For the more energetic the fearsome overhanging cliff at Ravenstor is a place where local climbers test out their skills as well as in nearby Chee Dale.
Corn mills once operated in profusion along the banks of the Wye, powered by the water from the river. There has probably been a mill at Millers Dale for over 900 years. Domesday Book indicates that a mill existed in this part of the valley at that time.
Millerís Dale Meal Mill closed in the 1920s and remained derelict until it was demolished some fifty years later, to allow for the sinking of a borehole to supply water to the Chapel-en-le-Frith area. Stone from the original walls was used to house the bore-hole and its machinery. The 150 year old water wheel was restored and placed adjacent to the pumping station. Stone walls enclose the whole site, and an information board has been supplied plus a comfortable seating area.
The Corn Mill at the western end of the hamlet, just beyond the viaduct, housed a firm called Craft Supplies until recently when they relocated to Bradwell. They had become known internationally amongst woodturning enthusiasts and provided courses and demonstrations.
At the eastern end of the dale is Litton Mill, originally founded in 1782. It was here that Robert Blincoe arrived as a child from a London poorhouse. He later wrote a harrowing tale of the cruelty and inhuman treatment meted out to the mill workers, many of whom never saw their families again.
There are still a number of former railway cottages standing by the river as well as the impressive ivy clad Anglers Rest Public House. It has been in the licensing trade since 1753 and apart from providing a pleasant dining room and bar, also caters for those with muddy boots with a Hikers Bar.
Ravenstor House was given to the National Trust and serves as a YHA hostel. The parish church of St Anne was built in 1880, in Victorian Gothic style by Canon Samuel Andrew of Tideswell.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE AREA
Buxton Pavilion Gardens is a Grade II listed park covering 23 acres of landscaped gardens in the centre of Buxton. The park is suitable for all ages, whether itís a gentle relaxing stroll you want, or family entertainment.
Monsal Head from where you get one of the best views in Derbyshire, of the Wye slowly winding its way down the dale between meadows and the steeply wooded side of the valley. Monsal Dale viaduct is recognised as a triumph of Victorian engineering. Refreshments are available.
Bakewell is a picturesque old market town set in the heart of the Peak District. Visitors flock there in the summer, to shop and explore its many nooks and crannies, to admire its fine buildings, or just relax and feed the ducks by the lovely, clear, sparkling waters of the River Wye. There is more space in the winter, but on a sunny day it is limited.
The Anglers Rest (Tel. 01298 871323) has been a public house since 1753. The ivy covered walls enhance the external appearance of this attractively situated pub, overlooking the River Wye. There is a comfortable lounge with coal fires in winter, dining room and hikersí bar. Open Monday to Friday lunchtimes and evenings, all day at weekends. Meals served lunchtimes and evenings. Accommodation.
Monsal View Cafe - now known as Hobbs Cafe (Tel. 01629 640346) is a friendly walkers' cafe with stone floors, large mugs of tea or coffee and a good selection of food. A section of the cafe sells craft goods. For full opening details please ring or visit website.
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.
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MILLERS DALE WALK
This short walk takes you through a particularly scenic part of the Wye Valley, with steep sided hills on either side. The small villages of Litton Mill and Millers Dale are just about able to find enough room to squeeze into along the valley floor.
It was difficult territory to construct a railway line with tunnels, viaducts and cuttings, but more than half this walk follows the former trackbed of the old Midland Railway. It opened in 1867 linking Manchester with London and closed just over one hundred years later. Derbyshire County Council have converted most of this section of the line, apart from the tunnels which have been closed, into trails for walkers and cyclists to enjoy.
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