Chapel en le Frith – Buxton Line
The unusual name of this rural English market town derives from the French meaning “Chapel in the Forest”. This reflects the building of a lodge or chapel by the keepers of the Royal Forest of the High Peak in 1225 who were of Norman descent.
Chapel, as it is known locally, developed around its 13th Century Church of St Thomas Becket and the later 18th Century Church Brow with a traditional cobble-stone marketplace featuring an ancient market cross and stocks used for the punishment of petty criminals.
A free self-guided walking trail around the town is available from local outlets.
Today the town offers a range of independent shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and a supermarket along its main street and there are some great places to stay too if you wish to make Chapel your base for a weekend stay or longer.
The town’s leisure facilities include a Memorial Park with picturesque grounds and space for children to play; a leisure centre with a wide range of indoor and outdoor sports and gym facilities; and there is a fine 18-hole golf course on the outskirts of the town.
Chapel has for a long-time regarded itself as the Capital of the Peak District and it certainly is a good location for some outstanding walks through stunning scenery. The summit of Eccles Pike is just 1.5 miles from the town centre and provides a wonderful 360-degree panorama of all the major hills and valleys at the western edge of the Peak District.
Public events in Chapel en le Frith
A traditional May Day Festival is held in the historic market place each year followed in June by one of the principal town carnivals amongst many held in the area.
July sees a large well dressing ceremony and public exhibition which is just one of the special customs and characteristics of the Peak District and if music played and enjoyed in the open air takes your fancy, how about Proms in the Park in August?
Passenger facilities at Chapel en le Frith Station
The station lies on the Manchester Piccadilly – Buxton Line and there is plenty of attractive scenery to view through the train windows on this section of the line as it climbs steeply for several miles from Whaley Bridge through Chapel en le Frith up to the summit beyond Dove Holes Station.
All trains on the line are operated by Northern Trains and there are two trains per hour for most of the day on Monday – Saturday with an hourly service on Sundays.
Chapel en le Frith is fortunate because it’s station on the Buxton Line still has its original station building, unlike some other locations. The building adds a lot of character to the station and makes it a pleasant spot to wait for a train in summer.
Fantastic views over the roofs of the town towards Mt. Famine and Mam Tor near Edale can be gained from the wooden bench provided for exactly this purpose in the car park by the Friends of Chapel en le Frith Station.
Sadly, the station is no longer staffed and the building is therefore not available for use by passengers. Modest waiting shelters on both platforms serve to keep passengers protected from bad weather.
Access from the station car park onto the Buxton-bound platform is level and straightforward for wheelchair users and people with heavy luggage.
Access to the Manchester-bound platform on the far side of the station is more problematic for wheelchairs and wheeled luggage. This is because the platform can only be reached using the level crossing going over the railway tracks which isn’t so easy for things with small wheels. Please read the safety notices next to the crossing gates before going across.
Passengers are required to buy a train ticket before boarding the train and a ticket machine is provided next to the station building, near to the gate onto the Buxton platform. Remember to buy your ticket here before going over the crossing to the Manchester platform as it is a fair walk back!
It is also important to know that the station is about 1 mile from the town centre in a rather remote rural spot which can only be reached by car/taxi or on foot. The nearest bus stops are half a mile away on Manchester Road and are served up to every 30 minutes by the High Peak Buses 199 “Skyline” service running between Buxton, Chapel en le Frith, Whaley Bridge, Stockport and Manchester Airport.
Friends of Chapel en le Frith Station
The Friends group at Chapel are long established and have always been proud to take good care of their town’s station. You will find the flowerbeds and lawned areas around the site are always attractive and in good order, and the group have plans to work with Northern Trains to landscape some of the outlying parts of the grounds around the car park perimeter.
Over time the Friends have organised and paid for items such as the wooden station name running-in boards at the platform ends; the restoration of an original gradient marker post on the Buxton platform; and the mounting of a blue memorial plaque on the station building to commemorate the lives of two railwaymen tragically killed in a steam train accident in the 1960’s.
Inside the waiting shelters you will find illustrated panels describing the history of the station and the impact of the railway on the development of the town, so do take a look whilst you are waiting for your train.
Several public footpaths pass by the station to a variety of scenic destinations, so do look out for maps and information in the station noticeboards to show you what is on offer.