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An Easy One.

Saturday morning. Christmas Eve. Sunshine. Feeling better. No excuse then!

I hadn't been out on the bike for a few days. A cold-like virus and an appointment for a scan at hospital had kept me out of the saddle, but I felt up to starting turning the pedals again.

Wrapped up like Nanook of the North – thermal longs, three top layers, buff, hi-viz winter lobster claw mittens – I was off. After a few minutes of warm-up it soon became apparent that all wasn't totally well. The metrics displayed on my bike computer were a little confusing. Whilst my power meter was telling me that I was riding at about ten percent below race effort my heart rate monitor was suggesting that I was still in bed. My legs were disagreeing with both, complaining that they wouldn't be able to sustain this effort for anywhere near race duration. Lingering effects of the virus? A side effect of new medication? A general can't be arsedness? Whatever the reason, I eased off and decided to pootle along at a low training effort instead. This ride would be an easy one.

This post is also an easy one, as I'm not doing any directory diving or census crawling myself. I'm relying on the work of the village's local history group, led by its stalwart Lynn Burdet. Every so often the group would have a piece included in the village's monthly newsletter and Lynn has recently collated a number of these and had them published in a book from which I am unashamedly pinching information.

I turn out of the village and descend what was, until the construction of the turnpike road in the first part of the nineteenth century – the inns of which featured in this earlier post – the original road to Bakewell.

The old road to Bakewell.

Now known as Dudwood Lane, near the bottom of the descent is a cottage which once, many, many years ago, served as an alehouse.

William and Mary Hathaway moved from the neighbouring village of Birchover in 1737 and built a house on Dudwood Lane. Their initials are carved above the door. William died in 1751 and after that Mary earned her living as the keeper of an alehouse. The house would've been well positioned on the main road to and from Bakewell which would have been busy with carts transporting the output of the village's lead mines. The nearby Portway Mine would, no doubt, also have been a source of thirsty customers.

Mary Hathaway's Alehouse. Elton.
Mary Hathaway's Alehouse.

Having stopped serving years, if not actually centuries, ago there's little point in hanging around. It's up to Miners Standard and on to the Via Gellia where I pass the Holly Bush, which has now been closed for the last few months. Hopefully it will be resurrected soon and won't appear in a future post.

The currently closed Holly Bush at Grangemill.

Continuing to take things easy I climbed the old turnpike road, up past the strangely silent quarry to Longcliffe where, just short of the former Jug and Glass, I turn right onto what was the old way from Derby to Bakewell. Passing Slipper Low, and before I get to Tithe Farm, there was a sign that perhaps somebody else should've been taking things a little easier.


A mile and a half further on there's evidence of this road's former significance, a guidepost. Known as the Wigginstone, it is dated 1709 and on each of its faces there's inscribed a place name in the spelling of the time: ASHBURN, BAKEWALL, PIKEHALL, WINSTER.

The Wigginstone and hi-viz lobster claws.

I continue straight over at the cross roads towards BAKEWALL, past the eighteenth century, Grade II listed, Barker Barn, and up to the seat and viewpoint at Blakelow. I stop for a moment to take in the vista and ruminate on how fortunate I am to live in such a place before I freewheel down Moor Lane to home with its shower, food and device for watching Leicester Tigers beat Gloucester. All in all, a very enjoyable Christmas Eve.

A semi-slated Barker Barn.

And here is the aforementioned book. The cover photo was taken before Barker Barn lost half of its roof.

If you've read this far, then thank you. Possibly, like me, you may have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. Clicking here will take you to a searchable/sortable index which you can use to see if I've already featured any lost locals from your locality. You can also subscribe to ensure that you don't miss any future posts. Simply click here to return to the home page (opens in a new tab), follow the 'Subscribe' link and complete the form to receive an email notification of any future post. Or you could simply follow the link at the top of this page.

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