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Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton

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Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton
Author: Marie Prime, Published: 29 Dec 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton Walking Guidestar1 Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton Walking Guidestar1 Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton Walking Guidestar1 Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton Walking Guidestar0 Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton Walking Guide
Derbyshire, White Peak
Walk Type: History trail
Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton Walking Guide boot Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton Walking Guide boot Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton Walking Guide
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A walk from the quiet village of Eyam, a village with an incredible story of tragedy, bravery and sacrifice. At the end of August 1665 bubonic plague arrived at the house of the village tailor, George Viccars, via a parcel of cloth from London. The damp cloth was hung out in front of the fire to dry, releasing the plague infested fleas and George Viccars became the first victim of the plague. The plague spread among the villagers and, on the advice of Rector William Mompesson, it was decided to hold the church services outdoors and that the villagers would stay within the confines of the village to minimize the spread of the disease. It was also agreed that families would bury their own dead. The plague ran from September 1665 to October 1666 and claimed at least 260 villagers. During the period of isolation, food and supplies where left for the villagers at Mompesson's Well and at the boundary stone, high up on the hills above the village. Goods were paid for by coins which were dipped in vinegar to disinfect them.

On this walk you will need to negotiate a couple of uneven rocky paths, one of which is quite a steep descent. You will also climb a steep grassy section at Stoney Middleton which can be slippery if wet. You will pass through several gates and a few squeeze stiles. Some sections are muddy after wet weather and some of the fields could be holding livestock. The Hall at Eyam is open to the public and is run by the National Trust (Charges apply). There is also a museum opposite the car park that tells the story of the plague (charges apply). Toilets can be found in the car park or at the Eyam Hall Site.

Eyam, is located 5 miles north of Bakewell in the Peak District National Park.

By Road:
From the A623 Chapel-en-le-Frith to Chesterfield road, turn off in Stoney Middleton on the B6521 to Eyam.

Car Parking: The village is well-supplied with car parking. Free and pay-and-display car parks are both located directly opposite the museum on Hawkhill Road. Approximate post code S32 5QP.

By Bus: the 66 Chesterfield-Buxton bus goes through Eyam, as does the X67 bus from Chesterfield. From Sheffield, take the 65 bus. From Bakewell, take the 173 bus, which connects with the Trans-Peak bus from Derby and Matlock.

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Walk Sections

Start to Eyam Hall
Start to Eyam Hall

Start point: 53.2873 lat, -1.6775 long
End point: 53.2847 lat, -1.677 long

From the car park, turn left and walk down Hawkhill Road passing the museum on the right and the public toilets on the left. On reaching the T-junction at the bottom, turn left along Church Street. Follow this road passing a small butchers shop and, a little further along, the post office on the left. (Please note that the pavement swaps from one side to the other but ultimately you will need to be on the left-hand pavement). As you walk along, take note of the cottages where the plague broke out and where the first deaths of the plague were located. Each cottage has a plaque explaining the family that lived there and the affect the plague had on them. Continue and you will pass Eyam Hall, which is open to the public and is run by the National Trust. Here you will find toilets and a cafe.

Eyam Hall to Church
Eyam Hall to Church

Start point: 53.2847 lat, -1.677 long
End point: 53.2841 lat, -1.6755 long

Across from the hall, on the right, you can see the village stocks and the former market hall. It is said that the stocks were used by the Barmote Court to discharge justice to lead miners and that the market hall was used by the farmers wives to sell their farm produce.

Further along you will pass the sheep roast on the left and, further still on the left, the church which has an unusual sun dial high on its front wall.

Church to Waymarker
Church to Waymarker

Start point: 53.2841 lat, -1.6755 long
End point: 53.2842 lat, -1.6707 long

After a total distance from the car park of just under 1/2 a mile you will reach a fork in the road. Take the left-hand road and continue towards the Village Square, where again you will find more information plaques. Keep on the left-hand footpath and, just after passing a tea room, you will see a waymarker sign for Riley’s Graves.

Waymarker to Riley Lane
Waymarker to Riley Lane

Start point: 53.2844 lat, -1.6693 long
End point: 53.2846 lat, -1.6671 long

Follow the road uphill in the direction indicated, crossing the road to reach the Wesleyan Chapel on the right. Continue uphill until you reach the last house on the right. Here, cross the road and bear left up Riley Lane.

Riley Lane to Riley's Graves
Riley Lane to Riley's Graves

Start point: 53.2842 lat, -1.6615 long
End point: 53.2837 lat, -1.6587 long

Follow this lane as it winds uphill and, as the lane splits at Riley's House Farm, take the right-hand fork.

A little further along the road you will arrive at Riley’s Graves on the left. (If you wish, you can cross the stile to explore the grave site). This is where Mrs Elizabeth Handcock buried her husband and six children. Over the course of eight days she dragged each of their corpses at night to this site where she dug graves and buried them. Elizabeth survived the plague and moved to Sheffield to live with her only surviving son.

On the right you will have a good view down the valley and on a clear day you can see the Hunting Tower on the Chatsworth Estate.

Riley's Graves to Right Turn
Riley's Graves to Right Turn

Start point: 53.2837 lat, -1.6587 long
End point: 53.2839 lat, -1.656 long

After passing the grave site, continue along the lane and, as the lane bends left, turn right at a signed track into the woods. (This track can be muddy after wet weather).

Right Turn to Waymarker for Stoney Middleton
Right Turn to Waymarker for Stoney Middleton

Start point: 53.2839 lat, -1.656 long
End point: 53.2763 lat, -1.6539 long

Follow the path through the woods and, at a right-hand bend, ignore a path off to the left. Continue along the track for a quarter of a mile, passing through two large wooden gates to reach the road. (NOTE: The track is uneven with loose rocks underfoot and can be muddy after wet weather so take care).

Waymarker for Stoney Middleton to Roman Baths
Waymarker for Stoney Middleton to Roman Baths

Start point: 53.2763 lat, -1.6539 long
End point: 53.28 lat, -1.6501 long

Cross the road diagonally left to a waymarker sign for Stoney Middleton. Turn right and follow the track steeply downhill, taking care as there are many loose stones underfoot. Pass a graveyard on the left and, on reaching the bottom, turn right keeping a wall close on the left.

Pass a white building on the right. This is known locally as the Roman Baths, although there is no evidence the Romans ever came to Stoney Middleton other than a few coins found in the area. The spring that feeds the baths has a constant temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit and was thought to treat sufferers of rheumatism and 'saltness of the blood'. The baths were originally open air but were later covered over providing separate baths for men and women.

Roman Baths to T-Junction
Roman Baths to T-Junction

Start point: 53.28 lat, -1.6501 long
End point: 53.2756 lat, -1.6551 long

Follow the road as it bends left passing the hexagonal shaped church on the left. The road then bends right to reach a T-junction.

T-Junction to Sign for Eyam
T-Junction to Sign for Eyam

Start point: 53.2756 lat, -1.6551 long
End point: 53.2761 lat, -1.6566 long

Turn right to follow the minor road, The Bank, uphill between rows of stone cottages. On reaching a fork in the road, take the right-hand fork signed Eyam.

Sign for Eyam to Gate on Left
Sign for Eyam to Gate on Left

Start point: 53.2761 lat, -1.6566 long
End point: 53.2768 lat, -1.6577 long

Continue uphill along Bottom Cliff and just past a sign 'Unsuitable for motor vehicles' turn left through a small wooden gate.

Gate on Left to Boundary Stone
Gate on Left to Boundary Stone

Start point: 53.2768 lat, -1.6577 long
End point: 53.279 lat, -1.6619 long

Walk steeply uphill following the obvious path over the field. As the path levels off, pass a small copse of trees then the boundary stone on the right. Residents of Eyam left money in small holes in the top of the stone during the plague, in exchange for goods. The stone has six holes and it is said that each was filled with vinegar to disinfect the money.

Boundary Stone to Squeeze Stile
Boundary Stone to Squeeze Stile

Start point: 53.2799 lat, -1.6644 long
End point: 53.2809 lat, -1.6669 long

Continue across the field heading for a gate in the wall ahead. Pass through the gate and a squeeze stile then follow a walled grassy track to a further squeeze stile.

Squeeze Stile to Lydgate Graves
Squeeze Stile to Lydgate Graves

Start point: 53.2809 lat, -1.6669 long
End point: 53.2834 lat, -1.6705 long

Cross the next field heading towards the farm buildings. Pass through two metal gates to join the lane. Continue forward along Lydgate passing a small enclosure on the left which contains two grave stones where members of the Darby family were interred after falling victim to the plague.

Lydgate Graves to End
Lydgate Graves to End

Start point: 53.2834 lat, -1.6705 long
End point: 53.2841 lat, -1.6709 long

Continue along Lydgate until you reach the main road. Turn left. Now simply retrace your outward route back along Church Street through the village and back to the car park and the end of the walk.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author mumnpets and may not be reproduced without permission.

1 comments for "Eyam, Rileys Graves and Stoney Middleton"

Lovely simple walk with outstanding views. An ideal "brush off the cobwebs" spring walk.

By Sexy&IKnowIt on 30 May 2016

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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