The spa town of Buxton and Peveril Castle

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August 8th 2018
Published: August 10th 2018
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This morning we set the SatNav for the spa town of Buxton. After heading out of Stalybridge in the same direction as the last two mornings we turned south towards the A57 instead of making our way east on the A628. Siri took us on an interesting B road route over a hill and into Glossop where we picked up the A624.

The journey was going really smoothly until we reached the point where we needed to navigate between the A624 and the A6 (South). Siri wanted us to turn left and then almost immediately take the third exit on the roundabout. Oops, the left turn instruction sort of got stuck in our heads and we went left and then left onto the A6 which was the first exit, not the third!

This had us rocketing back towards Manchester at 60mph. Siri calmly directed us to the next roundabout to go around the roundabout and proceed to our route south to Buxton. Now the really weird thing here is that Siri had been instructed to shuffle the music on Bernie’s iPhone. Unbelievably we were listening to ‘Tom Tom Turnaround’ by Sweet as we drove to the next roundabout and turned around to take the A6 (South). Was this just an amazing coincidence or does Siri have a sense of humour???

There were no more navigational hiccups and we soon arrived in the spa town of Buxton. We found our way to the Tourist Information Centre where we were able to park in a long-stay car park and pick up a map of the town. The path between the car park and the TIC took us past the Octagon which was shrouded in scaffolding. Bernie asked the TIC staff member who gave us our FREE Official Town Guide about the domed building and the curved building. Ah, The Crescent, said the staff member, it’s currently being refurbished. What? Is the whole town of Buxton being renovated?!

Undaunted, we headed out to admire the Pavilion Gardens Complex which houses the TIC and includes the conservatory. Next we admired the Buxton Opera House on our way to St Ann’s Well. From here we made our way to the railway station where one of two spectacular Fan Windows remains. We ventured onto the platform looking for a better angle to photograph the window and we were rather bemused to find a defibrillator on the platform ... housed in an old red telephone box. I guess if no one uses the public phone any more it makes sense to repurpose the box in this way. The other surprise was the small Japanese garden installed at the end of the platform by the Friends of Buxton Station.

From the station we walked back past the Old Hall Hotel to the Devonshire Dome at the University of Derby’s Buxton Campus. This was the main thing that we had come to Buxton to see so it was a relief to find it open today and not currently in a state of restoration. The dome was built in 1779 by the 5th Duke of Derbyshire and, at 46 metres, it is the largest unsupported dome in Europe.

We made our way down to the Cavendish Arcade which is housed in a building that was originally a thermal bath. The Minton tiling on the walls and the glass, barrel-vaulted ceiling certainly made it look rather bathroomy!

The Crescent is definitely a worksite at the moment with scaffolding all over the place. Apparently after many years of debate The Crescent is being restored to its former glory. Once again it will provide luxury accommodation for visitors to Buxton but, at the moment, it’s a bit of a mess. Next we climbed the slope that rises in front of The Crescent to the Town Hall and then back down again to stroll through the Pavilion Gardens and back to one of the cafes in the Pavilion Gardens Complex.

After sandwiches we returned to the car and set the SatNav for Castleton, the home of, you guessed it, another English Heritage site: Peveril Castle. We drove back up the A6 and then onto the A623 at Chapel-en-le-Frith. At Sparrowpit Siri directed us towards Castleton via Winnats Pass on a very narrow, very steep road. We found somewhere to park the car just as the black clouds rolled in and it started to spit. Not to worry, we had some rain jackets in the car so we put them on and headed back towards the path leading up to the castle.

At the ticket desk Bernie presented our OVP and we saved another £5.90 each. Only £1.20 to go and we’ll be in the black! As we climbed the hill the rain eased off and we were able to explore the castle ruins without getting soaked. Peveril Castle is one of England’s earliest Norman keeps and was constructed some time between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and its first recorded mention in the Domesday Survey of 1086. From the hilltop the views over the mediaeval village of Castleton and the Hope Valley are spectacular.

As we wandered back through the town the black clouds were blowing over again so we stepped up our pace and made it to the car just as is started to rain again. Oh well, we can’t complain about the break in the weather as we’ve had almost a week of uninterrupted sunshine which is rare in England!

We thought Siri might take us home via the A57 but, no, she took us back through Winnats Pass and onto the A624 to retrace our route to Stalybridge. Our turn to cook tonight so I whipped up a tray of Nigella’s Spanish chicken and Bernie prepared his specialty, baked pineapple with rum.

I had an abysmal night at cards paying a whopping £1.85 into the pot during our game of Jo. Kath gleefully emptied the pot into her money jar at the end of the game. We played Crash next which was a closely contested affair with Bernie, Kath and me all on six points before Kath won again and made it first to seven points and collected her payout from each of us. That’s both games tonight going to Kath.

Steps: 12,467 (9.93kms)

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13th August 2018

Love the photos as usual. There are so many heritage properties within easy travelling distance of Stalybridge. My favourite so far is Brodsworth Hall - very impressive. Best wishes for the rest of your trip

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