After parking at Ashopton Viaduct, I headed up into the hills between the Derwent and Woodlands valleys. There was a wintry chill in the air but the day was bright enough. Nonetheless I was glad I had donned my fleece jacket. First up to Crook Hill Farm and then along to Bridge-End Pasture before skirting Hagg Side plantation.
At Fairholmes there is a visitor centre run by The Peak National Park. Because I had a few coins in my pocket I decided to take a break. After all, I had already been walking for over two hours. There was just enough money to buy a large mug of tea and a slab of date and walnut cake. Delicious.
The last part of the walk took me along the eastern shore of Ladybower Reservoir. This artificial lake was formed in 1945 as water from the moors backed up behind the newly constructed Ladybower Dam.
This deliberate flooding meant that the villages of Derwent and Ashopton would be lost forever - hidden beneath the water... Except that very occasionally the level of water in Ladybower Reservoir sinks so low that visitors are able walk amongst the remains of what once was. And because the summer of 2018 was so very dry - the reservoir is presently greatly depleted.
Derwent Village had a school, a church, a vicarage, some humble dwelling houses and a grand Jacobean house called Derwent Hall. There were three little stone bridges and a small village green. It must have been an idyllic settlement, nestled in a green valley through which the infant River Derwent snaked or thundered its way towards the city of Derby and ultimately the sea.
I walked there on Thursday afternoon and came across the stone gates that once led into the churchyard and I spotted a carved stone related to the remodelling of the village church in 1867. Across the old village stream that descended to the old River Derwent I could see the remains of Derwent Hall - now little more than a sorry pile of rubble.
|Derwent Hall before the valley was flooded|
A fascinating place, there and not there at the same time.ReplyDelete
"There and not there"...I like that notion. It's quite poetic.Delete
In our state of Tasmania is the Derwent River. I guess a traveller/explorer way back when came from Derwent Village.ReplyDelete
The name "Derwent" appears in several places on English maps - not just this lost village. I believe it means "wooded valley" or "valley of oak trees".Delete
How interesting, almost like a small Atlantis. It would be fun to see what might wash ashore when the water is low.ReplyDelete
A lot was cleared away before the valley was flooded - including more than two hundred graves from the churchyard.Delete
I am so astounded that you went for a walk. Didn't see that coming. hahaReplyDelete
Do you find it eerie to be near that lake when it is higher, knowing that the village is still under it?
I wouldn't say that I find it eerie - just a little sad. Close your eyes and you can easily imagine the lives that were lived there and hear the children's voices in the school playground.Delete
Sad when areas are flooded and villages and farms are goneReplyDelete
Indeed it is Red.Delete
What pretty fall color in the trees!ReplyDelete
We have underwater villages in SC, too.
Your comment made me read an article about Lake Murray.Delete
There is something rather sad and haunting about lost villages and communities.ReplyDelete
They are silent where once there was laughter.Delete
The Hall is gone and few will remember or miss it. Those two poignant pillars at the entrance to the graveyard are quite another matter.ReplyDelete
You are right. Very few of the residents of Derwent remain and as the years pass the hall and the village will leave living memory entirely.Delete
That is a shame, the loss of those villages and that history. You can't help but wonder whether there wasn't a better alternative. Did they move any of the structures to higher ground?ReplyDelete
The old packhorse bridge that spanned the River Derwent at Derwent village was moved much higher up the valley beyond the three dams. Over two hundred and fifty graves were transferred to the village of Bamford three miles further down the valley. I know no more than that.Delete