Butterton is situated in the Peak District National Park on the edge of the Staffordshire Moorlands, commanding an elevated position overlooking the Manifold Valley.
Across the deep gorge from Butterton lies Ecton hill which rises to a height of 1212 feet above sea level. On its side is the unusual copper-topped house known as The Hillocks which was built in 1933 by Arthur Radcliffe the Tory MP for Leek as a countryside folly. The copper spire was reputedly taken from a demolished chapel. When first constructed the property had two storeys with a flat roof but this leaked water badly and so another storey was added.
Ecton Hill is scarred with the remains of copper and lead mining, although its wounds have now healed over and hide the maze of tunnels and shafts which riddle its interior. It was first worked commercially in the mid 17th century but archaeological finds show that minerals were in fact mined here many centuries earlier. There are numerous packhorse routes around Butterton which were used to transport copper and lead ore from Ecton to various smelting works.
Pothooks Lane leading from Butterton was previously called the Duke’s New Road because it was improved by the Duke of Devonshire who owned the mineral rights at the Ecton copper mines at the time and this was the route used to transport ore to Whiston after 1770.
There is a quaint ford in Butterton where the Hoo Brook runs across a cobbled village street, reminiscent of a scene from long ago.
Wetton Road leads steeply down from Butterton to Wetton Mill where there is a wonderful tea rooms at the side of the River Manifold and alongside the Manifold Way. This was the former route of the Manifold Light Railway which closed in the 1930’s and now provides a wonderful track for walkers and cyclists in the bottom of the valley leading from Hulme End along an 8-mile route to Waterhouses.
St Bartholomew’s Church in Butterton was built in 1871 to a design by architect Ewan Christian. It stands on the site of an earlier house of worship of which only a small amount of fabric and the original font have survived. The sharp spire was added in 1879 and serves as a striking landmark for miles around, vying in competition with the spire of neighbouring Grindon Church.
Within Butterton Church is a memorial plaque to Joseph Wood, Rowland Cantrell, William Hambleton and Joseph Shenton together with the following inscription: “The three first of whom gave their lives in an unsuccessful but heroic attempt to rescue from death the last named, a youth who had descended an un-used shaft on August 30th 1842. This tablet was placed here by an eye-witness of this noble Christian deed.”
Butterton’s pub is unusually called the Black Lion and displays a strange emblem in the shape of a large clothes peg projecting from its exterior facade.