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Hollinsclough


Hollinsclough lies in the upper Dove valley about 4 miles south of Buxton, and just over the county boundary into Staffordshire.

Hollinsclough is sited in an area of geological interest, being on the fringe of the White Peak limestone and the Staffordshire Moorland gritstone, but surrounded by strange shaped hills which are reef knolls formed millions of years ago when this area was beneath the sea. Hitter Hill, Parkhouse and Chrome Hill have now been granted ‘access land’ rights with the freedom to roam over their summits. Chrome Hill (also known as The Sleeping Giant) and Parkhouse are particularly difficult challenges though with narrow ridge top paths that provide far reaching views but dangerous drops.

Chrome Hill is also reputedly haunted. In the book “Highways and Byways of Derbyshire” by Nelly Erichsen (printed 1908) it states that up among the rugged boulders of Chrome is the Devil’s House and Parlour where once the Prince of Darkness tried to hang himself but bungled it and came to life again, and it is said that he now haunts the hill from midnight to daybreak.

In the centre of Hollinsclough is the Methodist Chapel of 1801. This was built by John Lomas (1747-1823) in the garden of his home at a cost of £355. His initials can be seen on the datestone above the door. John was a jaggerman and made his fortune by transporting and hawking goods made in Manchester and Macclesfield around the countryside. So successful was he that he later set on several employees to help him – the original haulage contractors firm! Earlier on in life he lived at nearby Flash and was a staunch churchgoer. However, one winter’s night in 1783 when persuaded by his wife to hear the venerable Mr Costerdine preaching at a nearby chapel, he was soundly converted to Methodism, so much so that he built this chapel as a monument to his faith and is buried in a vault beneath it. John Lomas was so dedicated to his profession as a jagger that he twice visited William Pitt, the then Prime Minister, in London, to discuss the conditions of packmen.

In the 18th century there was a thriving silk weaving cottage industry in Hollinsclough, the raw materials and finished goods being transported on the aforementioned packhorses.

Hollinsclough has a modern junior school sited just behind the 19th century former school building which was established as the Frank Wheldon School, but now serves as an outward bound centre. The old Hollinsclough school building is topped with an impressive dove cote which also served as a bell tower. The ringing bell would have resounded around the valley to isolated farms and cottage, summoning the local children to their school.

Washgate Bridge which crosses the Dove about a mile or so north of Hollinsclough at an area known as Tenderhill is a junction of stony tracks and ancient paths. Hundreds of years ago jaggerman and their strings of packhourses, sometimes as many as 70 in a team, wound their way down the hillside, laden with salt from the saltpans of Cheshire, then on to River Dove or Bakewell . Here also the local sheep would have been dipped in the river which is how the bridge got its name. The beautiful curve of stones is 21 feet and still retains its original parapets some 4’ 6” wide. The lowness of the sides was to enable the ponies to pass without catching their panniers.