These testimonies were sent to us by people who are concerned about what is happening in Cressbrook Dale. If you would like to share your thoughts about the developments in the Dale and what the Dale means to you, please email us on email@example.com and make it clear that you are happy to be quoted. We are only using first names.
I am a member of a long standing rambling club based in Allestree, Derby. On 3 September we enjoyed a lovely walk partly in Cressbrook Dale. I was appalled to discover the plans to inappropriately develop this area and there is no way it should be allowed to go ahead. This a beautiful place which should be preserved for walking and for wildlife. Please, please, please do not let this group of people succeed in their plans - we have to stop it!
A glorious day, we were blessed, having had torrential rain and harsh winds for three days on our short break.Our plan was to go through Cressbrook Dale and see if there was a tea shop nearby.
This is the first time I have been to the Peak District, a friend insisted that I get away for a few days as I was in a bad way with bereavement. I grudgingly agreed to go.
Nearly all the dales up there are very impressive in different ways, but Cressbrook was something else, the deep wooded hillsides, the beckoning glimpses of the river glinting at the bottom of the valley in the sunshine, it's beauty cannot be put into words, we seemed to be walking for a good while and each step bought more beauty. Unbelievably I could feel my broken heart lifting, it felt so strange, I could breathe, feelings I have not had for five months, I could feel my emotional strength returning. No other place has done this for me.
It is times like this that I wish I could really write what I feel, because my feelings on this go so deep. How can a first visit here have the ability to change me so much, make me feel I can start a new life, give me the strength and thoughts that I can get through and begin to control my tortured mind again, no other place has offered me this, and think how many people it has already helped when they are suffering and will carry on doing for ever if, left alone.
This dale must be left to live and grow in the total peace that it has always had and continue to give pure joy to people, tourists and locals.
This dale must never be hurt, spoilt or harmed in any way, the Peak District would lose so much of its magic which has accrued over so many years.
PS We did find a fabulous little cafe and shop in Litton. I was served by a lovely lady whose distress on this whole disaster was so strong, I took one of your leaflets, hence this email.
I wish you all luck, love and strength to keep fighting this outrage.
My love to all the supporters, Janey
Leave its natural beauty as it is and please leave unspoilt. What I have read is a sad and disgusting thing to happen through the dale.
I visit many times from where I live as it is a beautiful place and one of my most favourite places in the county.I would hate to see unwanted changes which are totally not needed.
Just wanted to contact and say that my family moved here recently and this dale is our favourite. I am an ecologist and from a conservation stand point there are so many beautiful features and possibilities for biodiversity!
I hope it is saved!
My wife and I are newly retired U.S. residents and are visiting the Peak District for the next month. We are spending our early retirement years traveling and hiking as we go.
We walked from Ashford in the Water to Peters Stone through Cressbrook Dale this morning. Cressbrook and the Dale are very beautiful and unique. So quiet and isolated. You should be extremely proud of the area.
It was disappointing to come upon the caravan and teepee at the start and end of the Dale. We saw the Save Cressbrook Dale signs and visited your website and YouTube video once we returned to Ashford.
We wish you success is staving off future development that adversely impacts the natural environment of the Dale. It's a special place.
Matt and Taysia
I would like to add my voice to your campaign by sharing my feelings about Cressbrook Dale.
I have visited the Dale and wider area all my life; my first experience with my dad back in the 70's when we stayed at Ravenstor Yha. The whole area had a huge life changing effect. It is my go-to place whenever I return from travels, it's my special place for reflection, sorting out my head and contemplating life in general. It's where I take friends occasionally to show off this spectacular place; very special friends, as I don't want everybody going there spoiling the magic.
The sights and sounds of nature, natural meadows, mossy walls, dry banks, limestone paths and cliffs are unique and exquisite. Bees, moorhens, owls, butterflies, ravens, water voles, bats and so many birds.
Historical references to Oliver Twist and the tales from the two workhouses imagine poor souls wandering the paths searching for peace. Hopefully they find it in at dusk as the birds roost , or early morning as the mist rises.
This is a really special place - it's criminal and tragic what is happening.
I would like to help in whatever way I can, and I will not give up either.
Happy to get involved.
My partner and I enjoyed a lovely circular walk from Tideswell today (even if it did start out very wet and windy). We have visited the area on many an occasion and very much plan on returning in the future.
The unspoilt rolling landscape, dry stone walls, rock exposures, relics of bygone industry and gently flowing water set a serene backdrop to a great escape from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives in towns and cities. However the sight of a caravan and a teepee beyond Cressbrook elicited a feeling of unease towards the end of our walk. We were very sad to hear that the area is at threat from these so-called ‘investors’.
I’d hate the idea of this fantastic local and shared asset being spoilt for the folly of the few and commend your work in raising awareness of the issue.
I wish you all the best in your cause.
Reading the article is so v distressing .
I grew up in Cressbrook 1960- 90. Went to the one room school , enjoyed playing with the village children ( I used to live in Rock House at the bottom next to Home farm ).
I have since emigrated due to my husbands work but always come back to walk to Dale , and visit old neighbours .
Thé article is read with utter disbelief that one person could purchase this area and that Stanton could sell . It seems all v closed door secret dealings.
Please keep me informed , as Phoenix group and all the people associated seems on the face of it to be counter to helping the land . They will absolutely destroy the beauty, and the history by changing the nature of the surrounding area .
We walked in Cressbrook Dale and up to Wardlow Hay Cop following the route set out in the August edition of the Ramblers Magazine. It took us along the bottom of the Dale through woodland then back up to the Cop. A really great walk, fantastic views and wonderful habitats. Any threats to the area are of great concern, as is failure to comply with legal and regulatory processes. Areas like the Cressbrook need to be protected.
Alan and Ian
My brother, sister and I have been visiting and spending time in Cressbrook Dale literally all our lives, since our late parents discovered the valley in the 1960s. We were lucky enough to spend all our childhood school holidays and many, many happy muddy weekends there. Building dens in the woodland, eating raw wild garlic and trying to cook it with stream water, playing in the stream and collecting broken pottery and clay pipes, hunting for fossils in the rocks, regular walks to the Red Lion in Litton with our dad telling us stories and our mum feeding us snacks to keep us distracted as
we were rambling along, bringing our pet cat with us who would always vomit in the car but without fail, when we got to the top of the road where the signpost is, her ears would prick up when she realised where she was and she would miaow like crazy demanding to be let out. Getting snowed in and having to pull all our bags up the road on sledges. We continued to come as teenagers, young adults and now come with families of our own. Our children, the third generation of our families to love the valley, now enjoy walking in Cressbrook Dale and feel as attached to the area as we do.
The valley has always been a constant in our lives. It’s a place we have shared with friends over the years and a place where we can come on our own, to escape and immerse ourselves in its magical, unique and natural beauty and peace. It holds a very special place in our hearts and is really part of who we are. It makes us feel close to our parents, who were never happier than when they were there, and in many ways we think of it as home.
We love the changing seasons of Cressbrook Dale, the way the fresh green light dapples the woodland floor in Spring and the way the trees make a canopy in the Summer, enveloping the valley and changing the visibility, the chorus of birdsong, the grey, still light of Winter, and seeing the first waters bubble up from the dry stream bed, the cackle of the Jackdaws roosting around the cliff, the feel of the cool damp spongey moss and lichen on the crumbling dry stone walls, the squidge of muddy paths, the sight and smell of the wild garlic carpeting the ground. When I walk there, I often think of the Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout in the 30s and the determination of ordinary people to be able to walk in beautiful wild spaces and the role that played in establishing the National Parks for everyone. Cressbrook Dale is for everyone to enjoy, and should not be under threat of development, damage to the ecosystem or any alteration to the serenity and special atmosphere that has always been there.
I spent all my young life in Cressbrook, and believe that growing up next to the ancient woodland is part of what has made me a lifelong friend with nature. The dawn chorus that I would hear coming through my bedroom window on a summers morning remains one of the most glorious and memorable sounds of my life.
Mother nature needs spaces which are left alone for her to keep her balance, there are far too few of these places remaining throughout the world.
Thankyou for working to Save Cressbrook Dale, which is undoubtedly one of the most wonderful places on earth.
We live near Oxford but come to The Peak District once a year for a week’s walking. We tend to stay in the Litton and Cressbrook area and have been doing so for over 25 years now. We enjoy the area because the scenery is so varied and untouched making for very enjoyable walks.
We understand from the Save Cressbrook Dale representatives that we spoke to whilst on a walk and from now visiting their website that the current developers appear to either not understand or not care about the various rules and planning regulations that they must adhere to. We are in favour of sensible and considerate development where this is properly implemented but individuals or corporations who wish to ride roughshod over appropriate and existing regulations must be stopped and made to follow the processes that everyone else has to comply with.
These processes are in place for a reason – to ensure the continued protection of a beautiful part of the country for the enjoyment of locals and tourists alike. You have our full support and we strongly encourage the Peak District Authorities to continue their formal action to put a stop to the actions of the current developers.
John & Karen
Dear friends of Cressbrook
I was devastated to hear about the threat to Cressbrook Dale and the actions that have already been taken to disrupt the beauty and tranquillity of this spot. As a recent but regular visitor to Tideswell, the first place I choose to walk is Cressbrook Dale. It is always beautiful, ever changing in the seasons and has the most amazing fauna and wildlife. The views are simply astonishing.
I have written to Sarah Dines and the Peak District National Park.
Cressbrook Dale has been part of our family’s life since the 70’s. Its untouched natural beauty has meant it’s a place of tranquillity and healing for us all – a place of refuge from the busy world that surrounds us. Over the last four years, as dementia invaded my mother’s life and thus mine, Cressbrook Dale was my place of peace. It’s where I would come and walk off the path to find a favourite tree to sit beneath, to soak up the sights and sounds of the Dale. Sitting there, under the branches the beech and sycamore, I felt sheltered, nurtured, even as I cried. It’s awful that I feel that I have to put that in the past tense.
The fact that the Stanton Estate (the former owners) did minimal ‘management’ of the land also worked for us - negotiating a bit of mud (this is the Peak District after all) and passing the occasional cow with due respect was never an issue. I would also know that anyone I passed treasured the place as it is.
Now, the healing power of the Dale has been massively diluted by the presence of the new owners –I feel like something that once belonged to all the people has been stolen. The Phoenix Rose group have done this, and it petrifies me. They have come to find peace and they are creating conflict – it’s a project that simply cannot work. Since the group first introduced themselves to the village I, and members of my family, have had nightmares and sleepless nights. Our well-being is being materially damaged by the activities of the new owners. That said, the villagers’ roots stretch back to when the Mill was still open - their strong heart, awesome talents and commitment to see off this threat are simply wonderful and give me total hope that peace will be restored in the Dale.
Our love will win!
I am now 81 but since my childhood in Derbyshire I have always enjoyed the beauty and wildlife of the Peak District and especially the limestone dales. I have also always believed that public good should take precedence over private whim and greed and as a consequence spent my working years as a practitioner and teacher of town and country planning.
I am appalled to hear of the actions of a new landowner at Cressbrook Dale in contravention of all regulations. Such actions are both in contempt of the public planning system and destructive of a wonderful area which has been recognised for its aesthetic and ecological importance by designations as an SSSI and National Nature Reserve. I am pleased to hear that the Park Authority has taken some action to arrest these developments and urge continuing enforcement to stop the damage to such an important area of the National Park.
As a keen naturalist (and member of the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Sorby Naturalists and Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Entomological Society) I have made many visits to Cressbrook Dale (the latest on the 24th of this month) to study the scarce plants and insects of the area. Such a valuable environment should in my view be preserved in perpetuity and not be subject to private individuals to exercise personal licence to use and abuse it as they wish.
I urge you to make all effort in combination with the statutory and voluntary wildlife conservation bodies and the caring local communities to put a permanent stop to the destructive actions of the landowners and their supporters (many of whom are in all probability ignorant of the impacts of their actions)
I live in Manchester but spend 2-4 days a week walking and cycling in the Derbyshire Dales, which are simply stunning. Yet even this glorious area has its own outstanding jewels. Cressbrook Dale is one of them. Words simply cannot do it justice. You have to experience it.
So, to even contemplate any desecration of this truly remarkable place by new buildings of any kind in the vicinity is, in my opinion, vandalism and should be prevented, especially as such changes are irreversible.
I do not live in the Cressbrook area but feel happy that such quiet places of outstanding beauty still exist in a highly populated country. These places must be cherished and protected.
I was astounded to hear about the problems that are occurring in Cressbrook dale and I wholeheartedly agree with the campaign that has been set up . These people cannot get away with spoiling this beautiful area of flora and fauna with their misguided unapproved plans. They need to realise that their money does not talk and they cannot get their own way on this matter. They have made a mess already and most be put a stop to.
My husband and I live about 6 miles away and this is one of our favourite walks. It is so peaceful and beautiful in any season, with the fragrant carpet of wild garlic in the Springtime and wild flowers, birdsong in the air and a sense of calm. It is lovely to wander through the woodland area and see how much water is going to trickle down the shady part of the Dale.
We had a shock when we went last and saw the steps they had put in and the other area that they had started work on.
I wish you every success that Phoenix Rose can be halted now.
Originally from Merseyside, I have lived and worked in Sheffield for 20+ years, and spend a lot of time running and walking in all areas of the Peaks. Cressbrook Dale is a wonderful, quiet and unspoilt place, the valley itself, woodland and wildlife create a unique environment. I was walking there today and am saddened by the plans of the new landowners to make such inconsiderate and poorly thought through changes. What are they thinking?
I’m sure we all agree that eco-friendly lifestyles are important, absolutely, but to destroy and upset an existing, fragile environment in the name of environmentalism is ironic in the extreme.
Good luck with your campaign. Protecting and preserving the Dale is so important.
Cressbrook, Litton Frith and the Woodland
I have moved through this landscape since coming to live in the area in the 80s.I came to live in Cressbrook village more recently and discovered that the community is strong, that it is warmer here all year and that the landscape is stunningly beautiful, tranquil and full of wondrous life. I have come to love this place, this landscape, the people I live amongst, and I feel at home here.
Once on our way through the woods, my husband and I were transfixed watching a family of goldcrest feeding at the side of the path. On an early morning run along the woodland track, I startled a deer feeding below the track - it bounded away towards Ravensdale and I heard it splash through the stream in the stillness of the morning. Later that summer two of our daughters brought their families to picnic on the Frith meadow with us.The adults chatted, compared picnics, caught up on news whilst the cousins laughed and joked and ran about. The children mimicked the croak of the ravens and counted butterflies. It was a special time for us all, shared in that very special place.
Now I look with sadness on what is being done to this very special place. A car park has appeared where once there were nettles and meadow vetch providing habitat for rare moths and butterflies. A large tipi has been erected on ground where the turf was dug over to flatten the spot and a wide gravel path constructed to it, another flattened area in a different part of the meadow there is now a small poly tunnel, an eyesore in this beautiful landscape. A scruffy caravan has been parked just inside the gate from the woodland track with a home made Farm Security sign. I don't understand why 'Security' is now necessary on land that was formerly secure for wildlife before it changed ownership.
Many generations of our family have been taught about our local flora and wildlife in Cressbrook Dale, whilst enjoying local walks and we hope that this can continue but this will be damaged if the area is developed in anyway. Cressbrook Dale gave our family and I’m sure many others much needed solace over lockdown, due to it being a peaceful and reflective walking area, so to hear of the possible destructive plans for the natural area is disgraceful. It doesn’t seem logical that anybody would think an area of natural beauty needs to be changed to be made better, when it is already purposeful as an area of beauty; education and peace.
Childhood dreams shattered
1972 — 1994
As a very young child I was brought to live in Cressbrook, in a very small village it was hard to make friends there but in time we got to know all of the kids in the village some to this date are still some of my best friends!
Cressbrook Dale has always been to me a magical place where a young child can imagine that they have been sent back in time to the jurassic times with all the ferns and wild garlic, little caves where we made our dens. There isn’t a nook or crannie that I haven’t explored there and I still occasionally go and walk it and it still holds the same magic now as back then.
To hear of these people moving into such a place of beauty and destroying it makes me so angry.
Having grown up in Cressbrook during the 50s 60s and 70s I took my granddaughter there a few weeks ago and was amazed how much everything has changed and was saddened to see the state of the footpaths and areas I used to play in.
I support your campaign to save Cressbrook Dale
Paul former Cressbrook Resident
Dear “save Cressbrook Dale Group”, my husband and I are aware of your campaign against the appalling violation of Cressbrook Dale by that group of investors.
Thank you for what you are doing and we hope you are successful in your entirely peaceful and legal actions. You seem to be doing everything you can to date.
The Dale is close to our hearts for various reasons. I was born in the old farmhouse where my parents supplied milk by horse and cart. We valued the then prolific lilies of the valley through the woods and played all round the “Dom” pond with its fish. I and my brothers and sisters attended the school. We knew all parts of the Dale. We remember a heavy flood when the river swept away all my fathers hens in the field below the mill. We roamed widely. Dad had 11 brothers all of whom farmed in Derbyshire.
Since leaving Derbyshire, we return most years to visit friends and family and very regularly when supporting our elderly parents. We still return when possible and value highly the Derbyshire countryside especially Cressbrook, Monsal Dale, Litton and Millers Dale.
Best wishes for now and every good wish in combatting the awful actions of that misguided group,
Sheila and John
I was told about what was happening in Cressbrook by a friend and agree with you that the new owner/s are not right for the land there. I am an outsider from Nottingham but have been visiting regularly and mainly frequent the 3 Stags Heads further up the dale, (I also saw your campaign address there) and knowing many locals I understand and respect the knowledge they have and I'm not surprised this is causing problems to the people of the area. I hope this can be stopped as I love the unspoilt timeless nature of the area. I walked down the dale on Saturday and saw the Argus butterfly.
PS I love pagan hippy stuff in the right place but these people sound totally disrespectful.
In May 1969 I first saw Ravensdale. Magical. Professor Clapham, author of The Complete British Flora of the British Isles, led a small group of students and I was lucky to be there. I learned about the plant communities in Ravensdale. At the top, on the limestone, was grazed species-rich flora, below which as the slopes increased was scrub, and then the woodland with trees, shrubs and herbaceous layers, then with the stream and meadow in the valley bottom. The ecology was ancient and fragile and of national importance.
Stuck in London in 1971, one hot weekend, my wife and I booked into a B&B in Tideswell. In an estate agent’s window in Bakewell we saw a Ravensdale Cottage for sale. We knew that magical valley and we bought it. On a Friday night after work we would drive up from London, in our Beetle, light the fire in the range, and cook supper on the Baby Belling on the back window cill. By 1973 we had a baby so strapped her in the back of our Citroen Dyane, on a Friday night we couldn’t wait to be in Ravensdale. In winter we had chains which we put on the wheels, so we could get up the steep icy lane above the cottages.
Ravensdale is unique and very special– that is the limestone plateau, the woodland, the stream, the meadow, and the lovely cottages. Adjacent valleys and woods and fields in the White Peak are equally precious.
The Peak District National Park, and Natural England must make it their highest priority to protect it.
Martin August 2022
Thank you for highlighting this dreadful development. Over many years my family has enjoyed the peace and beauty of Cressbrook Dale, particularly in Spring when it is dressed in cowslips and orchids and carpeted in wild garlic. Such a May walk comforted us shortly after my brother died and evokes strong memories for us on each visit, never more so than in spring. It would be devastating if this Peak District jewel were to be spoiled and I welcome your efforts in reversing this abomination. I shall seek the support of our MP.
I have just read your story on Facebook and I am heartbroken and shocked at the thought of anyone changing Cressbrook Dale. I live in Bakewell and it means so much to be able to enjoy the Dale with my family. My daughter loves Cressbrook Dale, she absolutely loves nature and particularly enjoys looking at the pretty limestone which is scattered around. She took a piece in to school and did a show and tell about Cressbrook Dale. We especially love the way it changes through the seasons. When the water arrives it is so pretty. There is so much beauty and wildlife and it certainly is a sight to behold. It is somewhere peaceful to think and put problems into perspective and to take in and appreciate where we live and how lucky we are. It’s somewhere for children enjoy, respect and learn. It is even more valuable given the times we are living in. I know that any time I feel that I am struggling, a walk in Cressbrook Dale and my troubles diminish. We need to protect precious, tranquil places like this.
As long as I can remember, my mum has taken my sister and I down to Cressbrook Dale, whenever we’ve had the chance, to visit and enjoy the valley’s natural beauty. Being in that wonderful, untouched, diverse ecosystem is just incredible. To see the land around it being churned up to make room for a totally unnecessary eye-sore of a car park is just heartbreaking. It reminds me of the song by Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi, in which the lyrics go: “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot” and “they took all the trees”, which I really hope won’t be the case but even so, the song still has an uncanny resemblance to the whole situation. Anyway, I’ve had so many lovely experiences that I just felt I had to share my feelings and experiences and appreciate the work you’re doing with the website.
Max (age 13)
As an ex-resident of Cressbrook and as someone with fond memories of the beauty of the area, I was horrified to read about the invasion of the area by what sounds to be an unscrupulous group whose designs seem reckless.
I would like to support your campaign to protect Cressbrook Dale,
I had a wonderful visit to Cressbrook dale visiting friends. It is a wonderful place which nourishes the soul and needs protecting.
We absolutely love Cressbrook Dale. It is a place that we come out to enjoy the views, the flora, the fauna, the mud, the woodland and the water. It is a pocket of nature at its best among other great examples in the area of nature linking landscape and history and people.
We walk in and around the Dale on a regular basis. The area is all a piece of the whole, of the views, of the changing flora, of the changing waterways, of the people you meet while out, of the adjoining nature reserves.
We come to enjoy the landscape in and around Cressbrook Dale. We love the orchids. We love the hordes of butterflies you get among the nettles in the cow field. We love watching the search and rescue dogs training. We love sharing this landscape with our family and friends.
With kind regards,