Situated in the spectacular Hope Valley and surrounded on all sides by wooded hillsides and magnificent gritstone edges, the pretty village of Hathersage is an absolute gem! With beautiful old stone buildings lining the streets, and a collection of vibrant shops, cafés, pubs and restaurants, it’s no wonder that Hathersage is one of the most popular villages in this part of the Peak District National Park.
Particularly popular with lovers of outdoor activities. It’s a great base for exploring Stanage Edge, a gritstone escarpment just north of the village that stretches for almost 4 miles and is famous as a location for climbing. The many moorland and fell trails that start from the edge of the village also offer wonderful routes for running, cycling and hiking.
A Rich History
The village has a rich and interesting history. Evidence points to human occupation below Stanage Edge since the Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age, and Bronze Age field systems and a burial cairn can still be seen in the area around Dennis Knoll.
Hathersage was already an established settlement at the time of its recording in the Domesday Book of 1086. Parts of the beautiful village church of St Michael and All Angels date from the late 1300s.
There is dispute about the origin of the name Hathersage. In the Domesday book of 1086 it is listed as ‘Hereseige’, believed to mean ‘a ridge settlement’. Many others believe the name to be a corruption of the words ‘Heathers Edge’, which makes perfect sense, as the village is surrounded by heather-clad moors in almost all directions.
Although it’s now surrounded by fresh, clean air, Hathersage was once a dusty, smoky place. In 1750 a man called Henry Cocker opened the first mill here, and by the early 19th Century there were no fewer than five mills in this little village. The mills were renowned for making pins, needles and wire, primarily for the textile industries.
Although water was initially used to power the mills, by the mid 19th Century they were using steam, so at that time Hathersage was often cloaked in smoke. The conditions for the workers in the mills were poor. The needles were sharpened on rotating gritstone wheels, and the accounts of the time refer to the air in the mills being thick with gritstone and steel dust. This led to inevitable health problems for the workers, many of them children, and the average life expectancy for a mill worker was only 30 years.
Hathersage : Famous Connections
Hathersage has a number of famous connections too. In the village churchyard visitors can see the reputed grave of Little John, one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, and supposedly once a resident of Hathersage.
There are a number of other connections with Robin Hood in the surrounding area, including Robin Hood’s Cave on Stanage Edge, Robin Hood’s Stoop on Offerton Moor, Robin Hood’s Cross on Abney Moor, and Hood Brook running out of the village, suggesting that there have long been local links to this popular folk hero.
Hathersage also has strong connections with Charlotte Bronte, who stayed at the vicarage in the village in 1845. Many of the locations in her most famous novel ‘Jane Eyre’ were based on locations in and around Hathersage. Hathersage itself is mentioned in the book as the village of Morton, and The George Hotel in Hathersage was also referred to directly as ‘The George Inn’ in the novel. Mr Rochester’s ‘Thornfield Hall’ is widely accepted to be North Lees Hall, on the outskirts of the village.
Today, Hathersage is a busy, thriving community. Tourists visit from far and wide, not only for the outdoor adventures and beautiful scenery but also for the many shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs. There’s also an acclaimed outdoor swimming pool in Hathersage which has been open since 1936, where you can swim and look up at the hills all around you!
Walks from the village
Why not try out our wonderful walks in and around this beautiful area?
This lovely walk takes you out of the village and up to the gritstone heights of Stanage Edge, with awe-inspiring views. You then descend via Carhead Rocks and back into the village, along very pretty country lanes.
A gentle walk, this route starts and ends in Hathersage, following the River Derwent to the pretty village of Grindleford, taking in beautiful countryside along the way. It is relatively flat and gentle with only a few small hills, and for the most part uses well-made paths and lanes.
This lovely walk is a little challenging in places but the views are definitely well worth the effort. The route starts and ends in the village, meanders along the River Derwent to Grindleford, onwards and upwards on to Froggatt Edge, through parts of the National Trust Longshaw Estate, over to Surprise View, and back down into Hathersage.
This walk starts takes in the dramatic gritstone heights of Stanage Edge and Higger Tor. It is not for the fainthearted, but offers some of the finest views in the Dark Peak and the stunning scenery and variety of terrain more than rewards the effort.
Great Places to Stay and Dine
For great places to stay in the beautiful village of Hathersage, take a look at…
Situated in the picturesque hamlet of Leadmill in Hathersage, Pond View Cottage is the perfect place to stay for a relaxing break in the Peak District National Park. Surrounded by breath-taking countryside, with walks from the door, and a delightful patio area overlooking a millpond, you won’t ever want to leave!
Offering relaxed and friendly accommodation in the heart of the village, Hathersage B&B has three double bedrooms, all with en-suite shower facilities and beautiful garden views. The rooms are comfortable and clean, with a fresh, modern decor, and the beds are wonderfully soft and warm after a day exploring in the fresh Peak District air.
YHA Hathersage can sleep up to 42 people in the main house (17 beds) and the annex (25 beds). Kitchen and cooking facilities are in the main house, as is the comfortable lounge, dining room and drying area. It’s the perfect hostel accommodation from which to explore the Hope Valley.
Formerly a historic bank, now a contemporary restaurant and chic cocktail bar, Bank House in Hathersage offers lively, creative cuisine and the finest tipples from around Europe. With stylish, cool interiors and a renowned menu, Bank House is definitely the destination place to dine in this superb location.
The legendary Colemans Deli is situated right in the heart of the village. This relaxed, friendly café and delicatessen is much loved by locals and visitors alike, supplying fabulous food and drinks to set you up for a day exploring in the hills … or restore you afterwards!