BUXTON TOWN WALK by John N. Merrill 2 1/2 Miles – ALLOW 2 HOURS Map – 1:25,000 Outdoor Leisure series No. 24 – The White Peak – West Sheet. Car park and start – West side of Pavilion Gardens adjacent to St. John’s Road and Burlington Road. Early Closing Day: Wednesday. Market Day: Saturday.
ABOUT THE WALK – Buxton at over 1,000 feet above sea level is the highest town in England. The original town is above the Crescent known as Higher Buxton, where the Market and Cross still remain. Down the hill is the Georgian Buxton, with Crescent, Devonshire Hospital, unique spa swimming baths and Opera House. On this walk you’ll explore the extensive Pavilion and Gardens and pass many of the Georgian buildings before ascending to Higher Buxton and its remarkable St. Anne’s Church. You cross to the southern fringe beneath Grin Plantation to see Poole’s Cavern before weaving your way between houses and across fields to the car park.
WALKING INSTRUCTIONS – Walk to the end of the car park and join the tarmaced path through the Pavilion Gardens, passing the Swimming Pool and Pavilion on your right. Turn left at the end, and pass the Opera House and cross St. John’s Street to St. John’s Church. Turn right and cross Manchester Road and pass the Devonshire Royal Hospital on your left before walking up Station Road to the Railway Station. Turn right and descend the No Through Road down to the Quadrant. Opposite the Grove Hotel, cross over and walk along The Crescent, passing the Crescent building on your right, before the Information Office and Old Hall Hotel. Bear left and ascend Hall Bank to the Market Place. Bear right and continue along into High Street. In front of the Swan Inn, turn right into Bath Road. On your left is St. Anne’s Church. Continue along Bath Road to MacclesfieldRoad. Cross over to your right and ascend Temple Road footpath-signed for Poole’s Cavern. Follow the road round to your right to Green Lane. Opposite is Poole’s Cavern. Turn right and walk along Green Lane for 120 yards to Wood Hayes House on your right. Just past it on the right is the fenced path down to Milldale Avenue. Cross this to your right and descend Hargate Road. At the bottom, cross Dove Dale Crescent to your right and descend another fenced then walled path to theMacclesfield Road. Turn left then right almost immediately through the stone stile and follow the path through woodland to a kissing gate. Continue past the houses to Lismore Road. Walk along this road to Burlington Road where turn left, and a short distance later on your right is the Pavilion Gardens and Car Park.
HISTORICAL NOTES IN WALKING ORDER SWIMMING POOL – Opened in 1972, the main pool holds 140,000 gallons of Buxton Spa water. Buxton was a very fashionable Spa for many years, and the water is known for its therapeutic qualities. The spa water has never failed, and a constant 200,000 gallons a day issue forth at a constant temperature summer and winter of 82 F.
PAVILION GARDENS – contain 23 acres of gardens and were opened in 1871. The buildings are good examples of Victorian design and workmanship. The Octagonal Hall was erected in 1875. OPERA HOUSE – Built in 1903 at a cost of ?25,000. Has recently been extensively restored and contains several painted ceilings. Theatres and shows are held here throughout the year.
VICTORIAN LETTERBOX – Opposite the Opera House and made in 1867. The hexagonal box is known as the Penfield after the designer J.W. Penfield. There are only 101 left in the country, and this is the only one in Derbyshire. ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CHURCH – Of classical style, and built in 1811 by Sir Jeffrey Wyatville. Inside is an exceptional organ by William Hill in 1897, and the stained glass windows are of particular note.
DEVONSHIRE ROYAL HOSPITAL – Formerly the Great Stables for the Crescent, it was designed by John Carver. The dome, one of the largest in the world, covers a surface area of 50 yards in diameter. PALACE HOTEL – Built in 1868 by the 7th Duke of Devonshire and designed by Henry Currey; it is believed to have cost ?100,000.
THE CRESCENT – Built by the 5th Duke of Devonshire between 1780-86, and rivals Bath for splendid architecture. The designer was John Carr of York and the building, which has a curve of 200 feet and contains 380 windows, is reputed to have cost ?120,000.
ST. ANNE’S WELL – Running spa water, which can be tried and does not have the usual unsavoury spa water taste, and is one of the reasons why Buxton Spa Water is so popular. The annual well-dressing ceremony takes place here in July. OLD HALL HOTEL – One of the oldest buildings of Lower Buxton, and was known as Buxton Hall; it was owned by the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, George Talbot. He and his wife, Bess of Hardwick, were the “jailers” of Mary Queen of Scots. She came here several times to take the waters; the last time was in 1584. The present building dates from 1670, and has a five-bay front with a Tuscan doorway. MARKET CROSS – dates from the 15th Century, and the stocks would have been close by.
ST. ANNE’S CHURCH – Oldest church in Buxton, being built in the 16th Century. The date 1625 on the porch refers to the porch only. The interior has a remarkable tiebeamed roof, with painted ceiling above the altar and a magnificent array of stained glass windows. To the rear of the churchyard is the tomb to John Kane. He died quite tragically in Buxton and was a notable actor.
POOLE’S CAVERN – One of the Seven Wonders of the Peak (St. Anne’s Well is another). Extensive show cave, floodlit throughout. Adjoining the site is 100 acres of woodland, now a country park. Footpaths lead to Solomon’s Temple on Grin Low, half a mile away, providing extensive views overBuxton.
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