The little village of Flash is in the Staffordshire Peak District, very close to the borders of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Cheshire. Standing at 1,518 feet above sea level, it has the honour of being recognised as the highest village in England (although not in Britain, contrary to the sign).
Flash lies on the southern slope of Axe Edge Moor, a few
miles south west of Buxton. It is
surrounded by wild open countryside, with fine views in all directions looking
over the Staffordshire moorland, the Derbyshire hills and the Cheshire plain. Flash Head, just east of the village, is the
source of the Rivers Dove and Manifold, which flow on into the beautiful Manifold
Valley and into Dovedale. In the other
direction the River Dane rises to the north west of Flash.
Flash is situated close to the popular beauty spot of Three
Shires Head, where Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire meet at a collection
of pools, waterfalls and stone bridges.
Flash is also within easy reach of The Roaches and Ramshaw Rocks, popular
walking and climbing territory.
The History of Flash
The past industry of the village was primarily coalmining, with
records dating back to 1401 and the mining of coal in Black Brook. The
population has always been small but it dwindled further with the demise of the
mining industry, and by the end of the 1800s less than 400 people lived in the
village, made up of colliers, agricultural labourers and silk workers.
Perhaps because of the village’s isolated location and
relative poverty, it had a reputation as being something of a lawless place in
olden days, frequented by rough characters.
Flash was known for illegal activities such as cock-fighting, prize
fighting and counterfeiting, and for many years counterfeit money was known as ‘Flash
money’. According to some sources the
counterfeit money manufactured in the village was exchanged at Three Shires
Head; when the police from one county closed in, the ring was simply moved on
to the next county.
The village today still has a small population and it is quite an isolated community – although now entirely law-abiding! The village school closed when its attendance level dropped to only 4 pupils.
It is a peaceful, scenic place to visit, with pretty houses on quiet lanes, surrounded by stunning scenery. Many of the old farmhouses were built in the longhouse style, with the living accommodation at one end and the space for livestock at the other.
There is a pub in the village, the New Inn, which lays claim to the title of the highest village pub in England, and just outside the village you’ll find Flash Bar Stores, the highest shop in England, and another pub, The Traveller’s Rest.