I am a medievalist in the process of completing a PhD (involving medieval medicine). I travel as much as possible at home (UK) and abroad. I'm always ready for new experiences!
Published June 7th 2012
Hathersage is a small Derbyshire village in the Peak District. The village sits near the River Derwent on the border of Sheffield and Derbyshire. 'Hather' is thought to refer to the abundant 'heather' fields covering the moor in the heights above the village. With clear roads it should take no more than 3 hours to reach the village from London, but to fully enjoy the countryside it is best to stay for a weekend excursion.
Last heather before the winter. Photo by Erin Connelly.
The moor is easily reached via a road from the village that cuts through the low-lying peaks and leads to a car park by the moor. The path near the car park leads up through the fields of heather along the edge of a rocky cliff. After climbing the stone steps, the path terminates in a wide open space broken up by boulders, old millstones and the occasional sheep.
Path along the cliff edge. Photo by Erin Connelly.
Visitors are free to eschew the well-trodden paths and trek through the moor at their own risk. This can be an exciting adventure, but the moor is significantly swampy and water-logged in places, which can drown the unsuspecting visitor up to their knees in a few seconds.
Jane Austen once said that 'there is no finer county in England than Derbyshire' (Pride and Prejudice). It's no surprise that more than one author has drawn inspiration from the atmospheric, stormy and solitary Hathersage moor. Charlotte Brontė was a visitor to Hathersage and it is widely accepted that she based 'Thornfield Hall' (Jane Eyre) on North Lees Hall, which is within walking distance from the moor. The Derbyshire tourism board has produced a walking guide that will take you to the manors of Jane Eyre, to the hiding places of Robin Hood and through all the beautiful natural sights in between.
North Lees Hall in the distance. Photo by Erin Connelly.
If your plan is solely to use your weekend-away to escape into the countryside, then it is best to stay in the village of Hathersage. If you wish for more attractions, nearby Sheffield offers a diversity of things to do, as well as a greater selection of accommodation options.The Peak District Online offers a comprehensive collection of local bed and breakfasts, hotels, hostels and inns.