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Biggin-By-Hartington

Biggin-by-Hartington is a sleepy little village just off the main A515 Buxton to Ashbourne road. This is a former turnpike road of 1738 from Derby to Manchester, leading over the high limestone plateau of the White Peak area of Derbyshire. Travel a couple of miles down narrow country lanes from Biggin-by-Hartington and you will arrive at Hartington proper.

A former railway line ran close to Biggin-by-Hartington and this has now been turned into the Tissington Trail, providing a safe route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The Tissington Trail is 13 miles long and was originally laid as the Buxton to Ashbourne Railway in 1899. During World War II, Manchester to London Express trains transported milk from the Peak District to Finsbury Park in London along this section of track. The railway line closed in 1967 and was purchased by the Peak Park for a nominal amount before being opened as the Tissington Trail in 1971.

The church of St Thomas in Biggin-by-Hartington dates from 1844 when the hamlet was formed into an ecclesiastical parish separate from its mother church at nearby Hartington. It was built in an Early Gothic style on a site given by the Duke of Devonshire and it consists of a chancel, nave of five bays, south porch and an embattled tower at the west end containing one bell and a clock with two dials which was presented in 1899 by Mrs Wraith of Darwen to the memory of her father the late William Dain of Biggin-by-Hartington and his elder brother Henry.

A little farther down the village and just past the Waterloo public house is Biggin Hall which dates from the 17th century and reputedly has the datestone 1642 on a stone somewhere within. It is an extremely quaint looking building with mullioned windows and an ancient oak front door. Biggin Hall is currently occupied as a luxurious country house hotel.

Biggin-by-Hartington lies at the heart of many old and important paths. An ancient packhorse route from Hartington to Wirksworth passed through the village before following Cardlemere Lane, Cobblersnook Lane, Minninglow Lane and then Gallowlow Lane. Before 1770 it is thought that copper ore from Ecton was carted along this track to the smelt works at Denby. Biggin-by-Hartington also lay on an old saltway and drovers road along which centuries ago cattle and sheep were walked to the annual fair at nearby Newhaven.

From Dale End at the bottom of the village there is a grassy track leading down to Biggin Dale which gently leads down to meet the river Dove at Wolfscote Dale, emerging opposite Peaseland Rocks.

Liffs Low or The Liffs as it is also known is an ancient ‘Beaker’ burial ground or tumuli close to Biggin-by-Hartington which when excavated was found to contain two flint axes, two flint spearheads, two flint knives, two arrow-heads, an antler hammer and a beaker.