Bamford, Peak District Village Derwent Valley
Bamford is the most northerly remaining village of the Upper Derwent Valley. Ashopton and Derwent were further north but have now disappeared under the waters of Ladybower reservoir.
Bamford is situated at the base of high moorland a short distance to the south of Derwent valley reservoirs. Most visitors to the Peak District will drive straight through in their eagerness to reach Ladybower, Derwent and Howden reservoirs and the associated moorlands.It is certainly not a tourist honeypot like Hathersage, a few miles away in the Hope Valley. Perhaps because it is not noted for its heritage, despite its mention in the Domesday Book, and was largely built in Victorian times. There is one notably older building, ‘the Farm’ a tudor farmstead. However, it is worth exploring Bamford for a while, perhaps take lunch in one of the local pubs or spend time admiring the views or enjoying the ambience of the Village centre seating.
Bamford edge towers above the buildings of the village and is one of the lesser visited quality climbing venues of the Peak District. This is because it is privately owned and prior to the Countryside Rights of Way Act permission had to be sought from the gamekeeper which was not always easy as he was often out on the moors. For the current access situation see http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=106202. Climbing access to Bamford Edge is from the road which runs from the Yorkshire Bridge Inn to the Dennis Knoll area of Stanage. The only access point on this road is at SK 216839 (near the top of Leeside Road / Bamford Clough) where you can follow a hollow way (sunken track) to reach the top of the first set of butresses. Access has always been sensitive and even with the CRoW Act, please respect the wishes of the owners.
When the reservoirs were constructed early in the 20th century, the villages of Derwent and Ashopton were submerged. The inhabitants were rehoused at Yorkshire Bridge whilst the dead were reburied at the Church in Bamford. The Church (of St. John the Baptist) is a William Butterfield design.
The name of Bamford possibly comes from the presence of an early wooden footbridge ‘beam ford’ but this is by no means definite. Like a number of the Peak District villages, Bamford was once a ‘mill town’. The old cotton mill has seen several industries come and go, finally closing in the 1970s and is now luxury flats. The mill started life in the 17th century as a corn mill but burnt down at the end of the 18th century. It was rebuilt as a cotton mill using local gritstone from Bamford Edge. The weir was built at the same time to provide the water power. In the mid 19th century, a beam engine replaced the water wheel.
Spring Bank Holiday sees the Bamford Sheepdog trials.
Close to Bamford, the A57 passes over the worryingly named Cutthroat bridge. The story goes that in the 16th century, local found a man lying by the bridge with face and neck wounds. Being friendly souls in Bamford, the traveller was taken to Bamford Hall but unfortunately he died a few days later.
Parking for a couple of vehicles is available at the bridge, but there is a larger and better parking area a few hundred yards closer to Sheffield. The Bridleway from Cutthroat Bridge leads up to Whinstone Lee Tor and onto the Derwent moors. Another bridleway can be followed from here, parallel to the road back to Ladybower reservoir, and is a much safer route than the road which has no pavement. It can be linked to Whinstone Lee Tor to make a pleasant circular route.
Talking of bridges, Bamford was on an old trading route which led into Yorkshire and it was the last crossing place on the Derwent in Derbyshire. The original wooden footbridge was replaced at the end of the 17th century by a stone built pack horse bridge – subsequently named Yorkshire Bridge. Yorkshire Bridge is now a small hamlet with a popular pub and is part of the parish of Bamford.