Hartington - a lovely village in the heart of the Peak District

Hartington is a delightful village in the centre of the 'White Peak' - the limestone region which forms the southern park of the Peak District National Park.

Only a short walk from the River Dove, Hartington lies at the northern end of the gorges which mark the famous section of that river's course.

Hartington is a village of approximately 400 people, lying at the centre of a relatively flat section of the White Peak and in a rich agricultural area. The villages of Biggin and Sheen each lie about 2 miles distant, and the area includes the nearby hamlets of Heathcote, Hulme End and Ecton.

wolfscote hill view

View to Hartington and the Upper Dove valley from Wolfscote Hill

Hartington market place

Hartington Market Place

The village is centred around the former market square, flanked by the mere, which has been here since ancient times. Regular markets have now ceased, but the original charter for a market was granted by King John in 1203 and for centuries they gave Hartington a leading role in this area.

Flanking the market place are several pubs and hotels, plus a number of tea shops and cafes, and a few other shops. With its ancient mere, the market place is a lovely place to stroll around on a warm summer's day and is usually busy with tourists in summer.

At the far side of the square lies the 'Old Cheese Shop', selling locally made cheese from the cheese factory which lies a short distance behind it. Cheesemaking has a long tradition in the area.
Hartington has abundant accommodation for the tourist, with several Bed and Breakfast establishments as well as the pubs, and numerous holiday cottages sited around the village. Up the hill, slightly out of the village centre, there lies the Youth Hostel, housed in the fine Jacobean mansion which was once Hartington Hall.

For many visitors the main attraction of Hartington is its situation, located as it is in the centre of an area with some of the best walking and cycling in England, with opportunities also for hang-gliding and rock-climbing. This is a superb location for outdoor enthusiasts.
walkers in Beresford Dale

Walkers in Beresford Dale

fishing temple

Charles Cotton's Fishing Temple just outside Beresford Hall

However the area is perhaps most famous for its fishing. It was just outside Hartington that Charles Cotton lived at Beresford Hall, and it was here that Izaak Walton wrote the famous 'The Compleat Angler'. The Dove is still a famous fishing river and a magnet for anglers from all over the world.

Biggin is a substantial nearby village which was founded in the 13th century. It has a notable 17th century Hall, now a hotel, and a pub with a campsite. The village is primarily an agricultural community. Nearby Biggin Dale is a nature reserve, and Biggin is an excellent centre for walking or cycling.
Sheen is another agricultural village, on the Staffordshire side of the River Dove. Laid out linearly as a series of farms along a road, it looks quite different to the villages on the Derbyshire side of the river as the buildings are constructed of gritstone, not limestone. It has a pub and a small factory making lingerie.

The other local settlements are no more than hamlets. Heathcote is a small group of farms mid-way between Hartington and Biggin.

Hulme End is strategically situated at a crossing of the River Manifold and was once a railway terminus for a light railway which connected with the main line at Waterhouses. There is a pub and camp site there. The former railway terminus buildings have been tastefully preserved and contain an excellent display about the former railway (open at weekends and school holidays). There is also a car park for visitors to the Manifold Trail.

Ecton is further down the Manifold Valley and consists of just a few houses, but in the 18th century it was the site of the most productive copper mines in Europe, now long since closed.
biggin hall

Biggin Hall

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