Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Goyt Valley

Last weekend, Sacristan and I met up for a walk in the Goyt Valley, which is in the Derbyshire Peak District, a short distance north of Buxton. After a week of welcome sunshine, Sunday was rather grey. In many ways, the drop in temperature was better for walking, but it has made my photos rather dull.

Strictly speaking, we were in the Upper Goyt Valley, a steep sided river valley containing woodland, two reservoirs and what remains of the Errwood Hall estate. Climb up out of the valley and you quickly find yourself on the moorland which is so typical of this part of the world. 

Before tackling the long, steady pull up to the summit of Shining Tor, we wandered around the woodland and followed the paths through the estate, towards the remnants of Errwood Hall. I found this little dip, with its sturdy wooden footbridge, quite appealing.

Eventually, we turned a corner and found ourselves here.

Built for a wealthy Manchester businessman named Samuel Grimshawe, Errwood Hall dates back to 1840 and originally included a 2,000 acre Estate within the confines of which could be found a number of farms, greenhouses, a school, a chapel, a pub and a coal mine. The Hall remained occupied by the Grimshaw family until 1930, when the last remaining member (Samuel's grandchild, Mrs Mary Gosselin) died. For a short while after this, the Hall became a Youth Hostel, but then in 1934, it was demolished and the stones used to build the water treatment works below the newly constructed Fernilee Reservoir.

At the height of its occupation, Errwood Hall employed a staff of twenty servants and land workers, plus a school teacher for their private school which was attended by around thirty local children.

All that remains of the Hall are the foundations and a few low walls, plus the window arches, all of which are now in the care of the Peak Park Authority, but the Hall was the inspiration for the climax of the children's fantasy book 'The Moon of Gomrath' Alan Garner (1963), sequel to 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' (1960), and so lives on, if somewhat darkly, in the imagination of all who have dared read that tale.


  1. I love the Goyt Valley and have had many lovely walks here. It's been a few years since I last passed the Errwood Ruins.

    I love the first two photos... the little bridge is appealing!

  2. What a wonderful outing this was. It contains all the elements I love. Ruins (this one especially intriguing!), plenty of trees, rocks, stone, a cute bridge and moss :) I imagine it must be even more beautiful once the trees are all in leaf and the wild flowers have pushed their way through the topsoil.

  3. What a wonderful walk you had. I love the ruins and thanks for the history behind them and also the literary conection - fascinating:)

  4. Beautiful scenery for your walk.

    Happy Mother's Day, H!

  5. A very interesting and thoughtful post. Sacristan? please introduce us!

  6. "... and for to pass thy time this book shall be pleasant to read in...
    ... but to give faith, and believe that all here in is true - ye be at your liberty."

    This has long been a favourite quotation of mine. I first knew it from the opening to Alan Garner's "Moon of Gomrath"; first read when I was barely a teenager and still un-nerves me. Then, whilst undertaking a recent course of study I discovered it is from "Morte d'Arthur" by Mallory.

    and Michael and Hanne

    Well, that would be me :)

  7. Ho Hum! Yet another disembodied voice from outer space. Or is it inner space?
    Nice to ?meet? you Sacristan. Great Quote anyway.

  8. Further Note To S:_And which Cathedral Sacristy are you in charge of? Or maybe you are Shipley Village Sexton?

  9. I love exploring ruins and I love Alan Garner's books. I'll definitely have to visit Errwood Hall :-)

  10. Looks like a beautiful place even without sunshine !