A couple of weeks ago I took another trip into the Derbyshire landscape, this time to the hidden gem that is King Sterndale. I also took a rather unusual form of transport…
Believe it or not, the Wonder of the Peak tram is actually a converted milk float! The guides drive visitors around Buxton (navigating some exciting, steep hills!) exploring the town’s history. The atmosphere inside the tram is pretty special, and passengers regularly find themselves sharing their own stories and memories.
The trip to King Sterndale was to test the feasibility of taking visitors to interesting locations outside of Buxton. Would we get up the hills? Would we ever get home!?
From my point of view, the trip was also an opportunity to meet like-minded people and to talk a little about Collections in the Landscape.
So how did we all get on? Piling onto the tram, we pulled away into the road and began our journey. Pot-holes and some steep downhill sections made the journey quite exciting at points but we were soon out in the countryside and covered the 4 or so miles to King Sterndale in around half-an-hour.
There’s only one road into King Sterndale, and it’s single track for most of its length. The landscaped suroundings, more akin to a country estate than the nearby bleak moors, are thanks to the Pickford family. The Pickfords made their fortune in the carrier trade, with origins back to the early 17th century (in fact Pickfords removals stick exists today). In the mid-18th century their covered wagons stopped at King Sterndale on the journey south to London. Some contained cobblestones from the family owned quarry situated between Buxton and Macclesfield.
Without wanting to sound clichéd, King Sterndale has an atmosphere of ‘time stood still’. Standing in the village, it’s very easy to imagine the view has changed little in the last 100 or so years.
Highlights of the trip included a visit to the fascinating Christ Church, built in 1847, and to the remains of the old medieval butter cross. The village is also a stone’s throw away from Deep Dale and Thirst’s Cave, from which the museum has a wealth of archaeological finds.
The trip was a facinating visit to somewhere I’d never been before and knew nothing about. I was also able to talk to lots of like minded people about Collections in the Landscape. I’ve since been informed that even the tram itself is now a ‘Collections Ambassador’.
Don’t just take my word for it, check out Discover Buxton’s Flickr feed.
Oh, and in case you’re still in suspense, we did make it home!