Since we've had various lockdowns because of the coronavirus, I've discovered many more places of interest in my own county. Not being able to travel far has had its benefits. Thankfully, we can go a little further now, so we recently paid a visit to the Errwood Estate in the Goyt Valley.
Goyt Valley is in the Peak District National Park near the Derbyshire/Cheshire border. It has some beautiful countryside and is a popular place for visitors. After my first visit, I can see why.
Errwood Hall was built in the 1830s by wealthy businessman, Samuel Grimshawe. The hall is on a large 2,000 acre estate. Also, situated on the estate was two farms, a school, a coal mine and a public house, to name but a few. After the last descendant of the Grimshawe family died, the hall was sold to Stockport Corporation Waterworks. It was later demolished to help with Fernilee Reservoir in 1934. Stones from the hall was used to build the water treatment works under the reservoir.
It seems such a shame that the hall was knocked down as I didn't think the hall was that near to the reservoir. I had heard that Stockport Corporation didn't want the drains from the hall contaminating the reservoir. It seems a little far fetched to me. Perhaps they couldn't or just didn't want to fund the maintenance of the hall.
After getting slightly lost, we finally parked up in the Errwood car park across from Errwood Reservoir. Even though we got delayed, we still managed to get there early. We had read reports that the car park got full pretty quickly, especially on a nice day.
After a quick look at the information board, we walked up the grassy slope and carried on through a gap in the stone wall. We passed some gorgeous rhododendron and azaleas bushes on the way. There was a sparkling, gurgling stream next to us as we stopped to hear the birds singing. We then strolled up the footpath until we came to a couple of stone pillars at the end of a driveway. We followed the driveway up to the top and found Errwood Hall.
Sadly, only the foundations and sections of the walls and steps are still there but still interesting to look around. I've always loved exploring derelict places, whatever they are. This visit didn't disappoint and worthy of a return visit.
After leaving the hall we passed a lot of rubble which we later found out to be the remains of the former Castedge farm.
The Grimshawe Graves
We followed the winding path from the hall to the small cemetery where the Grimshawe family are all buried. They were buried with some of their staff and the captain of their yacht, John Butler and his wife Hannah. The graves are surrounded by wooden fencing. It was a peaceful spot and quite poignant.
St Joseph's Shrine
We could have walked to St Joseph's Shrine from Errwood Hall but unfortunately, it started to rain. We weren't dressed for bad weather, so we cheated and got back into the car and drove the short distance up the road.
The shrine is dedicated to a Spanish lady called Dolores de Ybarguen who became a companion to Jessie, Samuel Grimshawe's wife after he died in 1883. Dolores set up the school at the Hall and taught needlework and various other subjects to the estate children. She died on a visit to Lourdes.
The Shrine is to the rear of the Hall. We managed to find a little pull in and quickly spotted the shrine over the wall. After a short walk down the footpath we came to a small round stone building with a cone like stone roof. On entering the oak door there was a small altar with a tiled picture of St Joseph holding baby Jesus. We also found an old photograph of someone and a small bunch of flowers. It looked as though they had been left there in memory of a loved one.
Driving away, I realised that Errwood Hall, the cemetery, the shrine and the beautiful surroundings are something special. It is well worth a visit and I fully recommend it. A really interesting place and some lovely views along the way.