Hathersage – Hope Valley Line
This attractive, busy village at the eastern end of the Hope Valley and Peak District National Park is full of interest for visitors.
First of all Hathersage is noted for its beautiful natural setting overshadowed by hill-tops and craggy rock edges which have attracted adventurous outdoor folk for many, many years. Then there is the long history of the village – it is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1066 – and finally it has links to two well-known literary characters – the legend of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and the novel “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte.
Lying as it does within the boundary of the Peak District National Park, and with the railway station located close to the village centre, Hathersage makes a great base for using the local bus and train services to explore this beautiful part of the country.
Hathersage tourist attractions
To the north of the village lies Stanage Edge, one of a number of spectacular rocky cliff edges found on the hilltops along the Hope Valley and elsewhere in the Peak District National Park. Stanage Edge is well known in the world of rock climbing for the wide range of easy and difficult climbing challenges it offers along its considerable length.
If you would rather keep your feet firmly on the ground, then there are plenty of walks in the wide open spaces up on the moors and do have your camera ready to photograph Stanage Edge when the sun is shining and the rocks glint back at you in the bright light.
Here’s a link to a great walk from Hathersage railway station out to Stanage Edge and back which rewards you with fantastic views along the Hope Valley from the top of the cliffs: www.letsgopeakdistrict.co.uk/hathersage-and-stanage-edge-walk >
Another spot near Hathersage with equally fantastic views along the Hope Valley is “Surprise View” situated a couple of miles to the south-east of the village high up on the A6187 main road towards Sheffield. Besides the Hope Valley stretching out before you, over to the east you will see across the moorland scenery the impressive country house at Longshaw. This belongs to the National Trust and has a cafe and an informative visitor centre which tells the history of this country estate and the national importance of the special plants and animals which survive here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/longshaw-burbage-and-the-eastern-moors >
For a rather gentler walk through fields and woodland, try the lovely riverside path from Leadmill through to Padley and Grindleford. From Hathersage village centre walk along Station Road as if heading for the railway station but don’t go to it. Instead, carry on downhill under the large stone railway bridge for half a mile and you will find the public footpath to Padley and Grindleford on the left just before the historic stone bridge over the River Derwent. Note: there is a lovely country pub, The Plough, close by just over the bridge – a perfect setting for a drink and some refreshments.
Between the river bridge and the railway station you will also find a rather unique Hathersage attraction. An unusual circular shaped building set back among trees is the home of the David Mellor factory, museum and gift shop devoted to producing the finest quality cutlery your dining table could wish to see.
Literary connections to Hathersage
In 1845 the novelist Charlotte Bronte visited a friend in Hathersage while she was writing “Jane Eyre”. Some of the locations in the book bear a close resemblance to places in the village. Her “Thornfield Hall” is commonly believed to be North Lees Hall which is located north of the village. The hall is now owned by the Peak District National Park Authority and here is a link to an informative leaflet about it: click here >
There is also an excellent leaflet “The Jane Eyre Hathersage Trail” produced by Peak Experience which describes a 6-mile circular mile walk in and around Hathersage enabling you to discover the area as Charlotte Bronte herself probably saw it: Click here >
We have all heard of the legend of Robin Hood & His Merry Men but did you know that in the grounds of St. Michael’s & All Angels Parish Church in Hathersage there is an unusually long grave with a headstone claiming that this is the burial place of Robin’s very tall friend, Little John? As to whether it’s true or not, you will have to visit and make up your own mind.
Events in Hathersage
The ancient custom of dressing the village wells with large pictures made from flower petals takes place in the month of July, as does the traditional village carnival.
In August a horticultural show is held in Hathersage and September sees the popular “Stanage Struggle” fell race from the village school to the top of High Neb and back again.
Also look out for public performances given by the Hathersage Players, the choral society and the silver band to entertain you.
Facilities in Hathersage
Hathersage railway station is just a short 5-minute walk to/from the village centre along the appropriately named Station Road and on your way you will see signs directing you to an unusual feature which the village has, the heated outdoor swimming pool on Oddfellows Road. There are only a few left in this country now and be assured if you take a dip that you will be swimming in water heated to a pleasant 28 degrees C and in relaxed, very pleasant surroundings. www.hathersageswimmingpool.co.uk >
Continuing along Station Road towards the centre of Hathersage brings you to the Little John Hotel (note the connection to Robin Hood) which offers a range of lovely food and drink www.littlejohnhotel.co.uk and is also the host venue for the popular live music folk train event run once every month from Manchester to Hathersage. See information on the “Folk Train” here >
At the junction of Station Road with Main Road lies the picturesque George Hotel with its award winning restaurant www.george-hotel.net . Most of the shops and facilities in Hathersage can be found on the main road as it climbs gently up the hill.
The village offers a pleasing variety of craft shops, convenience stores, outdoor clothing and equipment retailers, a butcher, a post office, a bank and a selection of pubs, cafes and restaurants. Public toilets including facilities for the disabled can be found in the ‘Heart of Hathersage’ community building opposite the petrol station.
Sports facilities in the village include tennis courts and a bowling green on Oddfellows Road next to the outdoor swimming pool. Alternatively, if you fancy a full work-out, try the gym facilities and saunas of the Hope Valley Health Club on Heather Lane next to Hathersage railway station.
In addition to the Little John and George Hotels, accommodation for a stay in Hathersage can also be found at a number of bed & breakfast guest-houses, holiday cottages to rent, the Youth Hostel Association lodge on Castleton Road and campsites on the outskirts of the village.
Facilities for passengers at Hathersage Station
The station is located on Back Lane, off Station Road and is about a 5-minute walk south of the village centre. The trains calling at the station are operated by Northern Trains on their Manchester Piccadilly – Sheffield service. There is one train an hour in each direction throughout the day but fewer trains later in the evening, so do check the timetable carefully before you travel. These trains stop at every station along the line.
At the station the nearest platform to the entrance is for eastbound trains towards Sheffield and the westbound platform for trains towards Manchester is reached by walking through the subway under the railway tracks.
You are expected to have a valid ticket before you board the train so please note that the only ticket machine at Hathersage Station is the one at the entrance where all the noticeboards are.
Wheelchair users and passengers with heavy luggage will be pleased to know that access on to both platforms is step-free. Just go up the sloping footpaths, through the wooden gates and you will find that the waiting shelters are handily placed nearby with additional seats also available outside along the platforms.
Whilst you are waiting for your train, do take a moment to admire the artwork and flower displays which brighten up the station environment. These are provided and cared for by the volunteer members of the Friends of Hathersage Station. The group have also installed information boards about the village and the station on the section of stone wall at the bottom of the footpath up to the Sheffield platform.
Bus service information
The nearest bus stops are at the end of Back Lane at the junction with Station Road. One side of the road does not have a bus stop pole but if you put your arm out the bus drivers will stop for you all the same.
The number 174, 275 & 276 buses calling at these stops are on routes to Grindleford, Calver and then either Bakewell or Chesterfield. In the opposite direction they go to Bamford, Ladybower Reservoir and Sheffield. However, note that there are only 3 or 4 buses a day in total in each direction on Mondays – Saturdays.
The most important and much more frequent bus service in Hathersage is the hourly 271/272 service running on the main road through the centre of the village. This connects all the villages along the Hope Valley from Hathersage west towards Castleton and diverts to Bradwell also.
Travelling east from Hathersage the 271/272 buses are destined for Sheffield but first they traverse the roads across the beautiful moorlands at Longshaw and Fox House before reaching the outskirts of the city.
Bus stops where you can board the 271/272 buses are located on both sides of the road near the petrol station and also on Castleton Road near the Youth Hostel.
Friends of Hathersage Station
Passengers using Hathersage Station in the Spring will immediately notice the colourful impact which the volunteer members of the Friends of Hathersage Station have had on the station environment. The edge of the car park is lined with a beautiful display of daffodils and there is also an area of mixed flowers and shrubs providing colour all year round.
The group hope to get permission to tidy up the embankment areas next to the footpaths which lead up to the platforms. They would like to encourage the wildflowers to spread further and improve the area for the benefit of birds and insects.
On the platforms there is more evidence of the work of the green-fingered volunteers with attractive planters outside the shelters and flower displays along the fencing.
From time to time artwork by the local schoolchildren is put on display inside the shelters and one day the group hope to create a small sensory garden on a piece of land next to one of the shelters.
Finally, the volunteers are very aware of the special history of their village and have installed some attractive information boards on the stone wall by the station entrance, so do have a good read when you are there.