Get to know the area of the Peak Advertiser with our alphabetical listing of towns and villages. At the end of the listing you will see our guide to local places of interest. Photos courtesy of Stephen Parker, Rod Dunn, Sally Mosley and Julie Bunting.
WARDLOW An old farming and lead mining village surrounded by exceptional scenery, with cross country paths leading in all directions, through dry and river dales or over lofty limestone hills. Wardlow’s main street joins the A623 at Wardlow Mires, with its gruesome tale of the murder of Hannah Oliver, the Wardlow Mires toll keeper. Her murderer’s body hung in a gibbet here for many years, his bones rattling inside the iron cage in the wind - a very public example if something of a tourist attraction. WENSLEY A quiet village straddling the winding, hilly road to Winster and with stunning views down into Wensley Dale. The cottages owe their existence to lead mining. Retired now though, and with its last shop closed too, Wensley does have an unspoiled pub which has been in the same farming family for half a century. Hard to believe that the little village square has known scenes of bull-baiting or that Wensley lay on the Buxton-Nottingham turnpike, and has a toll cottage to prove it.
WINSTER In the early 1700s Winster became the Klondike of the lead industry, quickly doubling then trebling its population. It was already a very old village with a market hall almost in the middle of the main street. This quaint building is in the care of the National Trust and open during summer weekends with free admission. Two pubs are the last survivors of more than 20 which slaked the thirst of hardworking lead miners. Tell-tale mounds in the surrounding fields are testament to their labour and to the importance of Winster in the Peak’s oldest industry. Exploring the village is a delight, climbing its winding and narrow ‘gennels’ between higgledy-piggledy cottages, no two of which are alike, with a few quite grand architectural gems en route. Winster is famous for its Morris Men and for the Shrove Tuesday pancake races which take over the village street. WIRKSWORTH There is nowhere quite like Wirksworth, with its ‘gennels’, weekly market, old mills put to new uses, and an almost tangible civic pride. Until the late 1970s this old quarrying and lead mining town, bursting with character and with over 60 buildings of historic importance, was in serious need of cleaning up after centuries of dust and hard work. Miracles were performed under the Wirksworth Project, bringing a European conservation award in 1983 and praise from the Prince of Wales, who described the rebirth of Wirksworth as ‘brilliantly imaginative’. Not to be missed are the Heritage Centre and the parish church, with its wealth of treasures from early stone carvings to quaint epitaphs.