Friday, 13 August 2010
If you continue on past the layby and drop down to the left just before Cross o' the Hands, a couple more miles will bring you to Hulland Ward, which is the centre for a number of tiny villages, including the Biggins (Nether and Mill) and Millington Green.
Around the start of the last millennium, this land was mostly the Royal Duffield Forest, where such famous names as John o' Gaunt, Edwards I and III and Henry IV came to hunt. The village itself, named Hoillant in the Domesday Book, began on the lower land to the south of the main ridge and a chapel was built here in 1485 by John Bradbourne. He also had a manor house, which is thought to have been destroyed in the Civil War.
The main road through Hulland Ward follows the line of the old packhorse route from Manchester to London, travelled by Bonnie Prince Charlie on his way to Swarkestone Bridge in 1745.
Today, the village is a thriving community with a shop, a garage, a primary school, a health centre and two pubs, one of which is The Nag's Head. A friendly local where the landlady seems to know most people by name, The Nag's Head has a two meals for £10 offer at lunchtimes Tuesday - Friday. The food is very good, the surroundings pleasant and the people fascinating, with a healthy dose of the local accent thrown in for good measure. The back room also has a pool table where my lads can take on their elders (with mixed results!).
The only disappointment yesterday was that the Lamb Hotpot was off the menu. My uncle was very disappointed!