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The Derbyshire sundial trail



A TOUR OF CHURCH SUNDIALS IN THE DERBYSHIRE PEAK DISTRICT.

The journey covers 63 miles through the Derbyshire countryside. Following is a description of the route with links to places of interest, and links to the "Derbyshire Sundials" web site for a description of the sundials visited. Mileage from Bakewell is shown in brackets at various places along the route.

We start our tour in the heart of the Derbyshire Peak district at All Saints Church in the town of Bakewell. On the wall of the porch can be seen a round sundial, some of the markings are still visible.

Take the A6 road out of the town heading south, signposted Matlock and Rowsley. Shortly you will pass Haddon Hall to your left (car park on the right). The medieval Hall is very well preserved, having escaped Victorian modernisation!

Passing through the village of Rowsley with its working water-powered flour mill, turn left (4) off the A6 onto the B6012 to Chatsworth. After passing the village of Beeley you will enter the grounds of Chatsworth park via a narrow hump back bridge spanning the river Derwent. After going over the cattle grid, keep an eye open for deer and sheep wandering over the winding road, oblivious to your approach.

To your right the magnificent Chatsworth House will come into view. Before leaving the park, you will pass the walled village of Edensor on your left. In the churchyard of St Peters, burial place of Kathleen, Lady Hartington, the sister of the late President Kennedy, may be seen a tall horizontal sundial. It would be easer to read from horsback than on foot! Passing again over the cattle grid, you leave the park, following the road to the village of Baslow.

Go left (9) at the traffic island onto the A623, the church of St Annes is to your left, you may be able to park near the church gates. At the south side of the church can be seen a horizontal sundial, and further down the churchyard to the east under silver birch trees is an interesting cross dial mounted on a round pedestal gravestone.

Continue your tour up the A623 road through the village of Calver and Stoney Middleton. Turn right (12) on the B6521 road towards the village of Eyam. After the short ascent of Eyam Dale, turn left where signposted to the museum, left again and the church is on the right. On the wall of the church as seen from the road is a magnificent sundial. It dates from 1775 and not only gives the local time, but also time in various places round the world. The months of the year are also shown. Eyam museum has displays telling the tale of the great plague of 1665-6 and the heroism of the villagers.

Retrace the road back to the A623 and turn right, signposted Stockport and Manchester. The road is initially overhung with trees, but soon climbs to open countryside with views of distant hills. The road winds, with the occasional sharp bends, for a few miles between limestone walls passing through the villages of Peak Forest and Sparrow Pit. It then descends to a traffic island at its junction with the A6 road. Turn right and then soon left on to the B5470 to Chapel-en-le-Frith. Go straight on at the painted mini island by Safeway Garage and follow the sign to a car park on the left (26). There is a map at the car park showing the church to be a short walk away near the market place. A well maintained sundial can be seen over the porch door. Also a horizontal dial mounted on a plinth, although the gnomon is missing.

Leave the car park in the direction you entered the town, and follow the signs to A6 Buxton. The road passes through the village of Dove Holes and then descends through the golf course into the town of Buxton. Exit via the A515 signposted to Ashbourne. This will take you out on the A6 road under a series of railway bridges, until a right turn (36) to link onto the A515 for Ashbourne. After following the A515 for a few miles, turn right off this old Roman road (47) onto the B5054 to Hartington. The winding road descends under the arches of a bridge that carried the old Cromford and High Peak railway, now used by walkers and cyclists. The road continues down the limestone outcropped Hartington Dale into the village of Hartington. Park in the vicinity of the village pond.

Walk uphill from the pond to the church via Church Street. The sundial is over the porch door. It is in good condition, and has the motto "SO MARCHES THE GOD OF DAY" across the top of the dial face. A good panoramic view of the village can be had from here. On returning note a shop selling the village's main produce, Stilton cheese.

Return back up to the A515 road and turn left as if returning to Buxton, but after about 4 miles (56) turn right onto the B5055 road signposted Monyash. After passing through Monyash, keep a look out for a right turn to Over Haddon. The valley of Lathkill Dale will open up to the right as you approach Over Haddon.

On entering Over Haddon, turn right at the "T" junction, signposted Lathkill Dale and past the craft centre. Follow the road round to the right to the car park. Walk to the right out of the car park, and the church is on the left a little way down the hill. On the south side of the church of St Annes may be seen a modern wall dial erected as a monument to Janet Wadsworth. It is clearly engraved in gray slate.

We are now near the end of our tour, on leaving the village, signs will be seen to direct you back to your starting place of Bakewell. There are other interesting sundials in Derbyshire, such as the east declining dial at Kedleston, but the above tour is perhaps enough for one day!

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