Head up behind Wheeldon Trees to High Wheeldon and with a little exploration you’ll find the entrance to Fox Hole Cave…
Archaeological evidence suggest Fox Hole Cave was occupied throughout prehistory, being used as both a shelter and a burial site. Radiocarbon dating has confirmed that bones found in the cave are from between 3800 and 4500BCE - the oldest dated human bones to have been found in Derbyshire !
Bronze Age cairns have been found on Nearby Hitter Hill, Cronkstone Low and Hind Low, whilst Roman-British remains have been uncovered in the hill above Harley Farm and in Dowel Dale.
If you head in to Buxton on the A515, you’ll be following part of the old Roman Road into Aqua Arnemetia…
The lost Anglo-Saxon settlement of Salham (‘place by the willows), mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 probably lay between Glutton and Earl Sterndale.
Take a walk along the Dove Valley from Crowdecote to Hartington and you’ll find the remains of 11th century Pilsbury Castle, a typical motte and bailey castle, which would have controlled the Dove Valley, the local people, and traffic along and across the river.
Earl Sterndale was first mentioned in 1240 (as Stenredile, meaning stony valley)
Longnor was already an important market town in 1595 when John Harpur was granted a Tuesday market there. By 1604 there were at least nine licensed alehouse keepers in the town. Fairs had been held there as early as 1478 and in 1817 there were still eight fairs a year. A guidebook of 1803 tells us that Longnor was on one of three coach routes from London to Buxton.
The Chatsworth map of 1614 shows local fields lower under strip cultivation and the names of the tenants – including Wheeldon !
In the centre of of Crowdecote, the Packhorse Inn and the toll cottage are clues to the strategic significance of the village, at a natural crossroads by the county boundary, and at one of the main east-west crossings of the Dove. There was an early medieval route down Crowdecote Bank from Chesterfield via Monyash and Longnor into Cheshire, and by 1709 Crowdecote was known to be on a 'great road'. Once the 1765 turnpike from Hassop to Newcastle-under-Lyme was opened, Crowdecote was on a main route to the Potteries.
Enclosure of the land around the beginning of the 19th century led to more intensive farming, particularly sheep farming. About 100 years ago there was a reduction in the intensity of sheep grazing as dairy farming became more important with the coming of the railways taking fresh milk and dairy produce to the cities. In the last 25 years the dairy industry has declined and sheep farming has once again taken over.