Longnor village in the Peak District, is pretty and compact, and has an old world ambiance about it. Longnor sits high on the Staffordshire Moorlands with the river Dove to the east and the river Manifold to the west. Many of the the buildings were built of local stone mined at Daisy Knoll.
Longnor was once a market centre for the region and has a little cobbled market square and a victorian market hall which dates back to 1873, but its ambition to be a thriving market town was hindered by the demise of the turnpikes and its lack of a railway link. Longnor hall is now a craft centre and coffee shop but it retains an inscription above the entrance, giving the tariffs of long forgotten market tolls.
Longnor market hall
Cheshire Cheese pub
The church of St Bartholomew was rebuilt in the 18th century and stands on foundations at least 800 years old. It has an embattled western tower with pinnacles and contains a Norman font, though on the whole it is a rather grim looking building. Its churchyard contains the grave of a William Billings who following his birth in a cornfield, saw the capture of Gibralter, suffered wounds at the battle of Ramillies and later saw action against the Stuarts in both 1715 and 1745 and finally expired at a grand old age of 112 years.
The village was once part of the Crewe and Harpur estate and one of the 4 pubs in the village bares that name. The other 3 are the Grapes, the Horseshoe Inn and the Cheshire Cheese. The Horsehoe Inn is the oldest, dating back to the 17th Century. More recently its facade was used as the exterior of the 'Black Swan' in ITV'S Peak Practice. Cheese was once made at Glutton Bridge near the village, and records show it was actually stored close to the site of today's Cheshire Cheese pub as far back as 1464.
A shop called Heirs and Graces, a dolls hospital, is housed in a former Wesleyan chapel built in 1852, listed, and containing much of its original furniture, including its `flying` pulpit, choir stalls and pews.
There is a small local industry in clock making, an art gallery, tea rooms and the village makes a good centre for exploring the upper reaches of the Manifold and Dove valleys.
Edge Top is the old pack horse route between Flash and Longnor. It has been tarmac covered and provides a nice walk with marvellous views into the valleys below. The village is surrounded by some quite dramatic scenery making the area a magnet for walkers and cyclists.
Longnor is home to the annual 'Longnor Sports' or 'Wakes races. This is a tradition going back to 1904 and always held on the first Thursday after the first Sunday in September. The event attracts thousands of visitors to Longnor and is held on Waterhouse Farm. It starts around noon with a gymkhana, followed by a series of harness races. This followed by a 'Golden Mile' fun run for all comers, then motorbike races and a final cross country hill race to round off the day.
Other places of interest in the area
Crowdecote is an attractive hamlet on the Derbyshire bank of the upper Dove. It has a pub called the Pack Horse Inn, which does B/B and has great views, including that of Chrome Hill and Packhorse Hill, which are as close to mountains as one gets in the Peak District.
Hollinsclough was once had a cottage silk weaving industry, supplying the 18th century silk mills in Macclesfield but now makes an excellent centre for walks in this region. It is a small enchanting settlement of cottages and farmhouse set close to each other at a crossroads. The name comes from the clough that descends from Hollinsclough Moor, just south west of the village.
It has a thriving community association which tries to keep its folk memories and traditions alive. It has 2 chapels, one built by a John Lomas in his back garden. He was a packhorse man, and a packhorse way came down from Axe Edge past the chapel. It also has a thriving Junior school.
Earl Sterndale a small, quiet, hamlet has a 19th century church built on the site of a much earlier chapel.St Michaels was accidently bombed during the war and had to be rebuilt. It contains a font, believed to date back to Saxon times.
The pub, called the Quiet Woman, has a sign which depicts a headless woman. The inscription reads `Soft words turneth away wrath`. She supposedly represents a nagging wife known as `chattering Charteris`, and her husband is reputed to have lost control and cut off her head. See Earl Sterndale
Glutton Bridge is a picturesque cluster of farms and cottages, sitting astride the road to Buxton, and marks the Staffordshire/ Derbyshire boundary.
Directions for Longnor
Longnor is just over the border in Staffordshire. It can be reached by taking the A515 from Ashbourne and taking a signposted left turn, about 13 miles later.The minor road from the A515 passes through the quaint village of Crowdercote with some marvellous views of the valley below.Beware of the hair-pin bends.