Pike Hall is a small hamlet, normally glanced at in passing, as you follow the rollercoaster A5012 road. This rather insignificant little cluster of buildings has roots deep into ancient times as it lies at the junction of many old paths and tracks.
The High Peak Trail runs close by Pike Hall, and is very popular with cyclists , walkers and horse riders, who travel across two amazing buttressed embankments, built with thousands of tons of stone some 150 years ago. About ¼-mile from Pike Hall is Gotham Curve which was the tightest curve on the whole national railway system, having a radius of 2 ½ chains.
Minninglow Hill is a fascinating landmark which dominates the skyline close to Pike Hall. Topped with a sparse cluster of beech trees, and surrounded by a hedge, this ancient burial ground has the remains of five chambers which once contained numerous skeletons of Neolithic man. The site is thought to be older than most of the bronze age tumuli known as ‘lows’ which sit atop many North Derbyshire hills. It is an interesting thought that when the Romans laid their road nearby from Derventio (Derby) to Aquae Arnemetiae (Buxton), this graveyard had probably already been in existence for 2,000 years!
An old track leads over the hill from Biggin to Pike Hall which dates from medieval times when it was used for the transportation of salt from the Cheshire plains to Matlock and beyond which would have been carried in the panniers of packhorses or mules.
Pike Hall Farm was rebuilt about 200 years ago. Prior to this it had been Pikeham Inne, an old coaching establishment.
The main road through Pike Hall, passing Hollybush Farm was originally the Nottingham to Newhaven turnpike road created in 1759. There was a tollgate at Pike Hall and as you would imagine, there are some early buildings in the area. There is also an old milestone a short distance up the road towards Newhaven which reads ‘London 157 miles and Nottingham 33 miles’.
The straight track leading off the main road is known as Hedge Lane and formed part of the Roman road which was later a section of the Kings Highway from Derby to Manchester laid in 1663. It would have continued down Long Dale to pass close to Middleton-by-Youlgreave.
The settlement of Pike Hall is noted on documents dating from at least 1313 and has always been a junction of many old ways.
In June, Pike Hall comes alive to the shouts and cheers of onlookers as fields close by are used for the Annual Harness Racing event which is extremely popular. The trotting horses have to chase around the track without breaking into a canter which can be very exciting to watch.