Derbyshire Life - - Vil­lage -

of­fi­cers. Sev­eral ar­rests were made for ‘ri­otous as­sem­bly’ and five ring­leaders were sen­tenced sub­se­quently to im­pris­on­ment for be­tween two and six months.

The tres­passers’ demon­stra­tion of civil dis­obe­di­ence and the pub­lic’s re­ac­tion to the sever­ity of the sen­tences was a piv­otal mo­ment which con­tributed greatly to the es­tab­lish­ment, in 1951, of large parts of the

Peak District, in­clud­ing Kinder Scout, as Eng­land’s first na­tional park. How­ever, the full rights of walk­ers to roam through the com­mon land and un­cul­ti­vated up­lands of Eng­land had to wait un­til the mil­len­nium year with the pass­ing of the Coun­try­side and Rights of Way (CROW) Act.

Al­though a branch line from New Mills, which en­abled ex­cur­sion trains to run from Manch­ester, closed in 1970 and a by­pass, which was opened in 1978, has spilt the vil­lage in two, the old­est part of Hay­field, clus­ter­ing on the east­ern flank of the by­pass, looks much the same now as it did in 1932. The set­tle­ment is still dom­i­nated by St Matthew’s Church, whose tower fea­tures a large clock said to have been mod­elled on Big Ben. Some of Hay­field’s cot­tages cling in pic­turesque fash­ion to the steep slopes of High­gate Road, whilst oth­ers are set on the banks of the river Sett or are ar­ranged in long ter­races that run like con­tour lines across the sur­round­ing hills.

The beauty of those hills is cap­tured in pho­to­graphs taken by Simon Bridges, the pro­pri­etor of the Ele­phant­stones Gallery,

where dis­plays of his evoca­tive im­ages are sup­ple­mented by ex­hi­bi­tions of paint­ings by Harry Ousey and a se­lec­tion of prints, cards, gifts and Scandi vin­tage. Al­though the gallery closed dur­ing lock­down, its good­ies re­mained avail­able online.

When cafés open again, vis­i­tors will be able to stop for re­fresh­ments at var­i­ous vil­lage tea rooms, just as in the 1930s. To­day’s ver­sions are Rosie Lee’s Tea and Cof­fee Room, on Kinder Road, which serves de­li­cious home-cooked food, and Mil­lie’s Tea Rooms, on the main street, a wel­com­ing place that brings to mind Joanne Har­ris’s novel

Choco­lat, be­cause a cup of cof­fee or tea at Mil­lie’s is ac­com­pa­nied by a mouth-wa­ter­ing com­pli­men­tary choco­late, made by the owner and choco­latier Steve Lee. The nearby vil­lage chippy is an­other favourite be­cause it cooks ev­ery­thing to or­der and is known for serv­ing large por­tions.

Hay­field has al­most as many inns as it had in the 1930s. Kinder Lodge, on the west­ern side of the re­lief road, has ac­com­mo­da­tion and serves award-win­ning full English break­fasts. The main street con­tains the Ge­orge Ho­tel, one of the Peak District’s old­est pub­lic houses, as well as the Pack

Horse, a gas­tro pub with a menu that re­acts to the sea­sons. The Royal Ho­tel, built orig­i­nally as a par­son­age, oc­cu­pies a po­si­tion ad­ja­cent to the cricket ground, where Arthur Lowe, who played Cap­tain Main­war­ing in Dad’s Army, was a keen mem­ber, and Colosseo, be­hind the church, is a stylish Ital­ian bar and restau­rant.

Al­though these restau­rants and pubs have had to re­main closed due to the pan­demic, Colin and Leesa of the Sports­man Inn have pro­vided take­away food for de­liv­ery and col­lec­tion. Their pub is lo­cated at the far end of Kinder Road, which is ap­proached from one of the cutest corners in the vil­lage, where a quirky back-to-back build­ing houses a butcher’s shop and a laun­dry.

The road makes its way towards

‘The old­est part of Hay­field... looks much the same now

as it did in 1932’

the Sports­man after pass­ing be­tween a fine ter­race of 18th cen­tury weavers’ cot­tages and the 17th cen­tury Fox Hall. The hall was the for­mer seat of the Water­stones, one of the big­gest landown­ers in the district.

If the tres­passers of 1932 had man­aged to evade the Duke of Devon­shire’s game­keep­ers after reach­ing the end of

Kinder Road, they would have reached a 2,000ft-high plateau be­fore mak­ing their way to the Down­fall, a wa­ter­fall that varies from a mere trickle in dry con­di­tions to a cas­cade that de­fies grav­ity by blow­ing back on it­self in wet and windy weather.

In the months when we were asked to limit our time out­side, it was easy for us to un­der­stand the frus­tra­tions of the ram­blers of the 1930s. Like them, we had to con­fine our view of the Down­fall to a dis­tant glimpse of a deep gash on the east­ern hori­zon.

Now, with the eas­ing of re­stric­tions, we can en­joy dra­matic close-up views of the Down­fall.

In the words of the tres­passers’ an­them, The Manch­ester Ram­bler, we can, once again, get our ‘plea­sure in the hard moor­land way’ – keep­ing a so­cial dis­tance, of course.

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