Bakewell is the largest town in the Peak District and is often referred to as as the ‘Capital of the Peak District’.
It is a market town of Saxon origin and still hosts a regular agricultural market on the purpose built market ground.
Also held on the market ground is a regular car boot sale on Sunday mornings during the summer months. The architecture of the market building resembles a marquee and looks unusual but is not intrusive in this town of traditional stone buildings.
The name of Bakewell is believed to originate from ‘Badeca’s well’.
Bakewell grew up around 3 fords over the river Wye, a short distance south of Ashford-in-the-Water. These fords were eventually superseded by bridges. Holme bridge to the north of the town was originally a pack horse bridge and it dates from the 17th century. The main bridge in the centre of the town dates back to the 13th century and may have been built wide enough for carts to cross. Both bridges have pedestrian refuges, built atop the ‘cutwaters’ (ship-shaped bases to the supporting arches designed specifically to allow easy passage of the river water, especially in times of winter floods). There are paths along either side of the river Wye from the main bridge and a favourite pastime of visitors is to feed the many ducks that congregate there.
The town is home to the renowned ‘Bakewell Pudding’ and the original pudding shop with its quaint shop front can be found near the tourist information centre. Needless to say, there are several other places that the pudding can be sampled.
The Church sits high up on the side of the valley and gives commanding views over the valley below and the rooftops of Bakewell below. In the vestibule there are loads of Saxon carvings found here.
The recently refurbished Monsal Trail can be accessed from the old station and gives access to the 9.5 miles of traffic free cycling. The trail is extremely popular since the tunnels were reopened in 2011. The northern end, beyond Monsal head and the Headstone viaduct, gives easy access to spectacular scenery. Bike hire is available at Hassop Station and also Blackwell Halt. Electric bikes and bikes for the disabled are available at Hassop Station.