Here is a little bit of social industrial history.
I found this brick sat in the remains of the flooded Peak District village of Derwent, it was sat in the mud on what would have been the main street. The brick was made at Skyers Spring brickworks in Hoyland, Barnsley around 1880 and found its way to the village for some use or other. It is an engineering brick, not used for adornment, so probably formed some infrastructure of the village.
It probably travelled over via Penistone, either across Strines along the Mortimer Road and then hang a right at Moscar Cross, up the bridleway to Whinstone Lee Tor and then down via Grindle Barn to the village. Or alternatively via Cut Gate from Langsett over the top and into the Upper Derwent Valley. The brickworks were run by James Smith and had connections to the Earls Fitzwilliam, who still have extensive shooting moors along the Strines Road. There was extensive trade between the two areas which accounts for the routes across the tops. It’s nice to see artifacts around that were from local sources.
Many public houses on the old roads across the Peak District National Park have now long gone. Their remains can still be found if you know where and what to look for and have a bit of patience. The pubs were often associated with coach travel, packhorse routes, and as such were built near the roads and tracks, with large areas around for holding livestock. Stabling was provided for the horses and food and accommodation for the travellers.
The reason why the pubs gained their names is something of a debate and more often than not folklore. The Isle of Skye pub, which sat on the Isle of Skye road, the road getting its name from the pub and not vice versa, had nothing to do with travel to the Scottish Island and more to do with locals tales. It was said that workmen repairing the pub were sick and tired of the rain, nothing much changes you see in that area, and one of them remarked that he would be glad when they left as there is “a t’oil in’t sky” and from that it became the Isle of Skye. This may or may not be true.
One pub that made it on to the map was the Plough and Harrow on the Woodhead Road near Langsett. Originally the pub was sited in Langsett, or rather the sign was, the building it was attached to is now the Wagon and Horses. A local squire enclosed the land around Gallows Moss in 1812 and where the Woodhead road summits near to the new road across Gallows Moor he decided to build a new pub to catch the passing coach and packhorse trade.
This upset the owners of the Inn at Salterbrook, not more than a mile down the road towards Woodhead. At the opening of the new pub a fiddler from Woodhead village was employed to entertain the guests. The owners of Salterbrook ridiculed the new pub by telling everyone it was frequented by fiddlers and the name stuck.
The Plough and Harrow was prosperous for a while, then the arrival of the rail line across the Woodhead drew traffic away from the road and the building along with the Salterbrook fell in to decline. Today all that can be seen is some low stone walls and bits of rubble. The road across Gallows Moor replaced the old road that ran past Lady Cross and is now known as the A628 Woodhead Road which crosses Gallows Moss.
Getting lost in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District is a very common thing. Most people manage to get back on the right track, or find other walkers to help them out, or maybe a road to walk back to civilisation even if it’s in the wrong direction. Some people have to be found and rescued by Mountain Rescue, generally at night after the person has wandered around for hours trying to extricate themselves from the predicament.
The Dark Peak does give the walker a helping hand. Signs that say, “walker beware”, not in those words but if you study your OS map the clues just jump out at you.
Above is the signpost to the Wilderness from Chew Valley, take care not to go over Lads Leap as you reach the Longdendale Valley. You would want to avoid The Swamp on Alport Moor as you made your way over to Lost Lad above the Upper Derwent Valley. Mind you if you agreed to meet someone there make sure its the right Lost Lad as there is another just off Cut Gate near Langsett. And definitely stay away from the Black Hole on Black Hole Moor, it does exist, I promise you. Hades Peat Pits are possibly the entrance to another world, one of everlasting pain.
Of course if it says, Shooting Cabins, then stay well clear, goodness knows what goes on there. Which reminds me, any area that is called Target, begs the question, target who?And talking of mad things, do not enrage the woman at Madwoman’s Stones on Kinder, there is an ancient altar site nearby, goodness knows what became of people, when the encountered the enraged lady.
There are quite a few bits of survey ephemera along Cut Gate in the Dark Peak. Benchmarks are much in evidence if you know where to look.
Just above the words “Lost Lad” on the 1852 Ordnance Survey map of Cut Gate, high above Langsett, there are two benchmarks denoted, the B.M followed by the elevation above Mean Sea Level in feet. Mean Sea Level in them days was taken from the measurements obtained at the Liverpool Datum, whereas today it is Newlyn. The first Benchmark happens just before the ford which is the turn off point for the spot height on Lost Lad itself. It is simple arrow beneath a line, but unusually is on a flat surface and not a vertical one, making it a little difficult to be accurate in the measurement. It is also accompanied by the initials RW, Rimmington Wilson the then landowner, chiselled at a later date and certainly with not as much skill.
Heading down the Cut Gate path towards Langsett a further benchmark can be found on the gate post of the boundary wall at Hingcliff Common.
Grouse had been introduced onto the moors for several decades when the benchmark was carved so it would have looked pretty much the same as today with one exception. The Cut Gate track went through the gate posts where as today the line of the path goes someway to the south-east.
A surveying team would consist of a surveyor and his assistant. The surveyor took the reading and the assistant held the staff and lugged the equipment around. It was the surveyor who chiselled in the benchmark. I often try to imagine the team out in all weathers mapping the area. Around these two benchmarks are many more plus triangulation points on Hingcliff Hill and Pike Lowe to the east. The maps they produced are remarkably accurate and can still be followed today on the ground. The really interesting thing about old maps are the items marked that are no longer on modern-day maps.