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The White Peak Village of Monyash
Monyash (pronounced Munyash) sits at the head of Lathkill Dale in the centre of the White Peak District in the Peak District National Park. It is five miles from Bakewell and eight miles from Buxton. The village can trace its history back to at least Neolithic times when its inhabitants used the nearby stone circle, Arbor Low for celebrations and trading. It is now a small farming community with a focus on its visitors, offering them a good range of food at the Smithy Café and the Bull’s Head with B&B and holiday cottage accommodation available all year round.
Monyash is a popular starting point for walkers exploring the network of paths and green lanes in the area, and also Lathkill Dale, one of the most beautiful and tranquil dales in the Peak District. The High Peak and Tissington Trails, havens for cyclists, horse riders and walkers, pass close to Monyash and can be accessed at Parsley Hay where bikes can also be hired. The High Peak Trail (the track bed of the Cromford and High Peak Railway) goes all the way, downhill, to Cromford. The Tissington Trail (the track bed of the London and North Western Railway) makes its way to Ashbourne, again mainly downhill.
Monyash itself has many interesting features. St Leonard’s Church dates back to soon after 1100 and contains many intriguing features including Norman corbels and a sediila, medieval square-headed windows and a 15th century font. The Bull’s Head is one of the oldest surviving dwellings in the village. A 1619 date stone is visible above the blocked up doorway. It also has a large piece of local marble (polished limestone), full of fossils, in its entrance. Five meres (ponds) provided the village with water for hundreds of years. Fere (pronounced ‘fear’) Mere is the only one remaining. The village celebrates the importance of water once a year with its three wells dressings erected for the May Bank Holiday. A flower festival is held in the Church every other year as is an open gardens event.
The thriving village school with around 60 pupils dates back to 1752. Opposite the school, on the village green, is a market cross erected in 1340 when weekly markets were held in the village. At one time the village was the centre of the local lead mining industry when the Barmote Court met in the Bull’s Head to resolve disputes between miners. The last lead mine to be operated in the area, Magpie Mine, can still be seen, and visited, towards Sheldon. Small humps in many fields are the spoil heaps from smaller lead workings.
Today, Monyash is well known for its walks, particularly down Lathkill Dale, with many excellent facilities in the village for walkers and tourists.
Written by Robert Johnston, for more information see www.monyash.info/