Stepping into the pages of Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Robin Hood: The Jane Eyre Hathersage Trail

It’s hard to believe that our younger son has been living at his cottage on the edge of Sheffield with the Peak District and Ladybower Reservoir on his doorstep for three years already. His neighbour owns a holiday rental cottage in the same terrace and I finally managed a few nights stay there last weekend. The location has the best of both worlds – near to the vibrant and cultured city of Sheffield and yet just a short drive from the beautiful Derbyshire Dales/Peak District National Park. The outlook from the cottage is pastoral and peaceful. And there is perhaps too much choice when it comes to excursions to fill three full days.

nlh

North Lees Hall

Taking it in turns to choose a walk on Friday and Saturday, my sister’s choice was The Jane Eyre Hathersage and Trail.  I’d printed off this walk some years ago but in the intervening years had accompanied a friend who lives in Bamford on a circular walk that visited North Lees Hall directly from her home. The Jane Eyre Hathersage Trail duplicated only the few hundred metres passing the Hall. Sadly, it’s no longer let by the now defunct Vivat Trust. But hopefully its fortunes will soon be revived.

nlh open weekend

Open Day later this month

Step into the pages of Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice and Robin Hood

This circular film and literature walk takes you to the places visited by Charlotte Bronte that appear in
Jane Eyre. You can also recreate the famous scene from Pride & Prejudice ‘on location’ above Stanage Edge and visit the grave of Robin Hood’s sidekick Little John. Explore a Romano-British village, Norman fort, historic church and breathtaking moors on the way. Moderate difficulty. Easy underfoot with some steep ascents and descents. Valley fields, high moorland paths, woodland path.
Moderate difficulty; Allow 3+hr; 5.5 miles.

nlh view

We parked in Hathersage and walked up the main street through the village, past the [former] National Westminster bank and courtyard cafés. Immediately after the next building, we turned onto Baulk Lane and followed this footpath for nearly a mile. A large house with towering chimneys is Brookfield Manor, which features as Vale Hall in Jane Eyre. In the novel, Mr Oliver of Vale Hall made his money from a needle factory and, in fact, Hathersage was famous for producing needles at the time.

Brookfield Manor Vale Hall

Brookfield Manor, hidden behind the trees

Brookfield Manor

Brookfield Manor as near as we could get

Soon we reached North Lees Hall. Such a shame that it is looking rather forlorn and deserted. Later on the walk I noticed a poster (above) advertising an Open Day later this month so hopefully the Hall will a secure future again very soon.

nlh abandoned

After a look round the outside of the hall, and a peep through a window – furniture including books and bookcase still in situ – we continued along the route and climbed to a brief diversion for a view of the site of a Romano-British Village almost 2,000 years old.  Archaeologists have found pottery made in the Derbyshire potteries set up after the Romans arrived. They also found a corn grinding stone. Most probably the people who lived here were native local farmers. The ruined wall with the arched window across the field was once a Catholic chapel.

romano british village and chapel ruin

Romano-British site (the arch is very tiny but right in the very middle of the photo)

Returning to the trail we headed through woodland, crossed a road and began our ascent of Stanage Edge.  On Stanage Edge, Keira Knightley as Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet felt freedom and
air to breathe. The Edge also featured in the 2006 TV mini series of Jane Eyre starring Ruth Wilson as Jane and Toby Stephens as Mr Rochester.

SE start

The Climb Begins

nearly there

Taking a Breather

SE on top

On SE

descending SE

After about a mile a concessionary path took his diagonally down to the road below. There was more moorland to cross before we reached habitation in the form of Moorseats House which became Moor House in Jane Eyre, the home of St John Rivers.

moor house

Moorseats

We walked right through the grounds and a gate finally lead us out onto a muddy path and the parish church of St Michael and All Angels, Hathersage.  In the  churchyard here Little John, one of Robin Hood’s outlaw companions, is buried. We were told to “Look out for gargoyles and ‘Celtic’-style carved
heads adorning the church. The church you see today dates from 1460. Robert Eyre, then Lord of the Manor, restored the church and added the gargoyles. It was restored again in the mid 1800s.”

hathersage church

 LJ's grave

LJ grave 2

LJ of Hathersage

eyre memorial

The Eyre Memorial in Hathersage Church

a gargoyle

Hathersage Gargoyle

From the church our path lead back down onto Baulk Lane and we arrived back in Hathersage ready for lunch at Cintra’s Cafe on the main street.

back in hathersage

Arriving Back in Hathersage

7 comments on “Stepping into the pages of Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Robin Hood: The Jane Eyre Hathersage Trail

  1. ms6282 says:

    That looks like a good walk Barbara. We’ll have to try it sometime.
    I love the Peak District and it isn’t far away. Only trouble getting there involves a not so nice drive round the M60 and then the A6 via Stockport and Hazel Grove or a slow drive via Knutsford an Macclesfield. Which rather puts me off so we don’t go as often as perhaps we should – only twice the last couple of years.

    • I see you were also ‘conquering’ peaks in the Lakes which is obviously much more convenient for you – or at least a more pleasant drive. The Peaks is a whole new world for me to explore (as is Surrey). You’ll like the next walk too, I expect.

      • ms6282 says:

        Yes, straight up the M6 and we’re in Gasmere in an hour and a half.
        I have caught the train to the Peaks before, though. Takes a couple of hours to Hope or Edale via Manchester and good for exploring around there, climbing Win or Lose Hills or Mam Tor and and a great ridge walk.

  2. dianabirchall says:

    Oh my goodness, I really think this is one of your most tempting walks! SO many literary/historical associations in one walk, it’s just crammed with them, and then such lovely country, moors and hills, houses and ruins. Would love to have seen Moorseats, particularly, but I’m grateful for the excellent picture! So now my appetite is all whetted for OUR walk together, in just a short time now!

  3. Fran says:

    Certainly a walk full of interest, and those stunning views from The Edge. When at college in Manchester I was often up on the moors with an aunt and uncle who introduced me to this fascinating landscape.

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