Situated at over 1,500 feet above sea level, Flash claims to be the highest village in England. Here weather-worn cottages by the side of the A53 Leek to Buxton road appear to have an idyllic setting on sunny days when the skies are clear offering far reaching views of the surrounding moors and crags, and the sound of skylarks fill the air, but at this exposed high altitude more often than not the wind blows fiercely and a mist can set in that lasts for days on end in winter months.
Many of the old farmhouses around Flash were built in the longhouse style whereby the living accommodation was at one end and livestock quarters were at the other, but all contained below one long roof. It was never easy to eke out a living on the rough pasture and moorland around Flash. As a result many farms became deserted, their derelict remains still evident, whilst the few survivors have often been restored, extended and upgraded.
Located four miles south-west of Buxton on the side of Oliver Hill, Flash lies close to Axe Edge which is an area of gritstone moorland, as well as the source of no less than five rivers, being the Dane, Goyt, Wye, Dove and Manifold. The Dane and Goyt head towards the Irish Sea, whilst the Wye, Dove and Manifold have a long journey before they reach the North Sea.
The River Dove emerges as a spring just below Dove Head Farm on the outskirts of Flash, whilst behind the Travellers Rest at Flash is the source of the River Manifold. There is less than half a mile between the two rivers as they head off south from Flash on parallel courses leading south.
Flash Church was founded in 1744, although the present building was built in 1901. It holds an annual Flower Festival and traditional Well Dressing week in mid June. In a window of the church are the coat-of-arms of the Harpur-Crewe family who at one time held vast tracts of land hereabouts. There is also said to be a small carved mouse hidden beneath one of the carved apples around the pulpit. Sadly the local war memorial lists no less than eleven members of the Mellor family, whilst a gravestone to Ellen Day in the churchyard has an interesting epitaph which reads ‘Plain was her form, yet rich her mind’.
The civil parish of Quarnford contains the village of Flash, although Quarnford itself is little more than a scattering of farms and cottages.
Standing close to the border of Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire, the name Flash was derived from the trading in counterfeit money at nearby Three Shires Head in the last century when lawbreakers or coiners evaded capture by crossing into neighbouring counties. At that time it was only possible for police to act within their own county limits. The word Flash has since become associated with being dishonest or not of genuine quality i.e. Flash men (thieves and shady characters), Flash money (counterfeit currency) or Flashy (not as good as it looks).
Many old paths and tracks crossed the moors around Flash. Packhorses and jaggermen with their strings of packhorse ponies heavily laden with salt and provisions made their way through Flash before the advent of main roads and vehicular transport. Anything and everything had to be transported over these hills.
There are wonderful walks around Flash, especially towards Gradbach, Lud’s Church and The Roaches. However, the moors contain peat bogs, deep cloughs and oodles of mud and are best avoided in bad weather conditions.
|Peak District Village Guides|