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Whatstandwell does not have an ancient history, unlike some of the Peak District Villages that have been around for centuries and were recorded in The Domesday Book. It is thought that Whatstandwell dates from the end of the 14th century when the important and impressive bridge over the River Derwent was constructed and reputedly named after Walter Stonewell who lived nearby. Wat is a common abbreviation of Walter and Watstonewell’s bridge was then corrupted to Whatstandwell.
However, events in later years have put Whatstandwell well and truly on the map including the construction of the Cromford Canal in the 1790’s, the arrival of the Midland Railway and station to Whatstandwell, but more recently, the worldwide fame of record-breaking yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur who was born and brought up here. It is hard to imagine that coming from such a land-locked location in the heart of England, Ellen would become such an adept yachtswoman and lover of the sea!

Whatstandwell lies in the parish of Crich and consists of a small station and cluster of houses; the all important bridge over the river and the Derwent Hotel (formerly a turnpike coaching inn known as The Bull’s Head, where the Champion horse-drawn coach would rest before tackling the steep hills out of the valley to either Crich or Wirksworth).
Thickly wooded slopes surround Whatstandwell which is situated on the banks of the River Derwent. There are numerous footpaths leading to Crich, Alderwasley and Holloway, but one of the best walks in the area is along the towpath of the Cromford Canal, parts of which are now designated as SSSI sites and a Nature Reserve. Even with the railway and main A6 fighting for competition in the bottom of the valley, the 5 ½-mile stretch of canal from Cromford, through Whatstandwell and on to Ambergate is sheer paradise.

The Derwent Valley Heritage Way, which is a long distance recognised route from Derwent Reservoir in the north of the county to Derby, passes through Whatstandwell. Upstream of Whatstandwell are the heritage sites of the Arkwright Mills at Masson and Cromford, whilst downstream will take you to Belper, home of Strutt’s North Mill and Museum.
Crich Tramway Village is a short drive up the hill from Whatstandwell and is a particularly interesting visitor attraction to the Peak District where you can walk around an amazing collection of trams and transport memorabilia as well as take a tram ride on a section of woodland track.

With roads heading north, south, east and west, Whatstandwell provides easy access in all directions to explore the southern end of the Peak District or to travel north up the main A6 into the White Peak and Dark Peak areas of the Peak District National Park.

Whatstandwell Video
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Whatstandwell – An Unforgettable Place Where Road, Canal, Railway & River All Run Through
A tiny Derbyshire village with an unusual name has been instantly brought to life with evocative imagery in a brand new video by Peak District Online. Yet another evocative Peak District video to add to their already impressive portfolio.
This latest video, released on October 10th, in a long line of popular films made by the winning team, is already proving a hit with You Tube viewers. Made by the Peak District’s leading web portal Peak District Online, the sounds and scenery of this beautiful little place are brought to life with stunning clarity, proving once again that this is proving to be a very exciting way for business owners to promote their wares.
Much better than a virtual tour, this video starts with images set to gloriously soothing music, the sights and sounds of the Peak District village brought to life with the sounds of birdsong in your ears! With gorgeous scenes from the start, this 3 minute video takes us on a journey down the Cromford Canal, a busy starting point with watery enjoyment for anyone in a recreational mood.
We tear ourselves away from the fun and frolics and follow the canal as it meanders through the willows, expecting to see Ratty and Mole any minute, we can feel the sunshine on our faces and smell the heat of the glorious Summer's day.  We see the stunning views from the windows of scrumptious accommodation, in glorious colour, the music gently accompanying the viewer on a journey you won't want to come home from.
The atmospheric video highlights the wonderful flora and fauna of the surrounding area – the glorious River Derwent winding through the lush green vegetation of overhanging ancient trees, Summer laden foliage dip into clear waters. A wonderful walking route - under or over packhorse bridges, accompanying the rushes and reeds at the water's edge.
A chocolate box village with stunning scenery and breathtaking views of the Dales from every angle, the valley this village nestles in is truly a gem to behold. With its own woodland, tea shops, bed and breakfasts, ye olde pub overlooks the scene, a welcome place to rest and watch the world go by.
Follow in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale, the lady with the lamp took many a walk this way, with or without her lamp - who knows? The now disused section of the canal invites us to walk beside the calm water with dogs and children welcome. And after a hard day's walking, enjoy a tea on a lawn you'll never forget.
Superb video and a gorgeous little village - you'll want to see for yourself. Put your feet up and dream of the Summer - a Summer spent in Whatstandwell

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