The charming village of Bamford rests on the banks of the River Derwent in the Hope Valley and features the overhanging Bamford Peak as an atmospheric backdrop. Sandwiched in between Hope and Hathersage, Bamford doesn’t look like much upon arriving at its station; the main heart of the village, however, is located three quarters of a mile south. Once arrived, the village’s picturesque Victorian cottages, its 19th century St John the Baptist Parish Church, and the recently renovated Bamford Mill, each exudes the feeling of a small-town, industrious community of a bygone era.
Bamford is popular tourist destination mainly due to its locality to the Ladybower, Howden, and Derwent reservoirs; with many popular walking, hikes, and cycle routes featuring Bamford as a starting point. Ladybower is also home to a popular fishery.
With a height of 1381ft., Bamford Edge is also worth exploring, with immensely gratifying views over the Hope Valley and the nearby reservoirs.
The village itself may seem fairly limited in terms of tourist destinations, but there are a few places worth visiting. The Anglers’ Rest Pub is the epicentre of the village: acting as a post office, gift shop, café, and of course, a pub. The pub was the first ever community-owned pub in Britain and is the perfect place to enjoy a real ale by the fire.
The village plays host to several carnivals and recreational events throughout the summer months; most notably a well dressing festival in July, the village carnival during the same month, and a bi-annual arts festival.
Bamford was first mentioned in the Domesday Book as ‘Banford’, which derives from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘Bēamford’, meaning wooden footbridge. The population of the village doubled with the arrival of industry, most notably the Bamford Mill in 1782, which employed 130 people at its peak.
Originally considered to be a mere outlying part of Hathersage, Banford later became its own parish in 1860 following the growth in population, and the building of the parish church of St. John the Baptist.
Now referred to as being part of the Hope Valley, Bamford was originally considered part of of the Upper Derwent Valley, and is the last surviving village of a collection of three; the other two former Derwent Valley villages, Ashopton and Derwent, were demolished during the 1940s in order to make way for the Ladybower Reservoir. The graves of many of those formally buried in these sunken villages were reburied in Bamford graveyard.
The Anglers’ Rest – This community-run pub is a must-visit in order to immerse yourself in the tight-knit spirit of Bamford. The Anglers’ Rest is not only a quintessential English countryside pub, but also serves as the village post office, a café, and the general community-hub of Bamford. The perfect location for a respite after a hike, the Anglers’ Rest has a wide range of bitters and real ales and serves classic pub food from Wednesday to Sunday.
Bamford Mill – Once the defining feature of the village and employed 130 people during its zenith. Built in 1782, the mill was originally used as a corn mill, then a cotton mill, which it continued to be until its closure in the 1990s. It has since been turned into residential housing.
The Ladybower Reservoir – An impressive Y-shaped body-of-water with the River Derwent and the River Ashop acting as its main tributaries. The reservoir was built between the years 1935 and 1943, having been opened by King George VI in 1945, the reservoir was constructed in order to create a water supply for the East Midlands. During the construction, two villages, Derwent and Ashopton, were abandoned and later submerged by the Ladybower Reservoir. The remains of Derwent village were still visible through the water for many years after. The reservoir is great for walks and outdoor activities, with plenty of information available at the Fariholmes Visitor Centre.
Bamford Edge – This gritstone rock overhang delivers the most impressive views over Ladybower Reservoir, Win Hill, and much of the rest of the Hope Valley. Bamford Edge’s mix or rocky terrain makes it a popular destination for rock climbers. Bamford Edge can be particularly busy in the evenings, so visit during the day in order to ensure a quieter experience.
Walks and Hikes
Bamford Edge Circular – This short, circular walk will take you from the village centre to the summit of Bamford Edge and back down again in under two hours. Starting at New Road, Bamford, head down the road in the direction of Bamford Edge and climb the stile onto the footpath. Follow straight along this path as it begins the steep, but brief, ascendance up Bamford Edge.
After taking in the views, follow the route which runs parallel with the Edge back down. This path eventually curves round to the left, and once the descent is made, the path will lead you directly back towards New Road, Bamford.
Bamford Mill to Ladybower Reservoir Circular – This 4.6-mile meander leads through the Hope Valley, along a stretch of the Thornhill Trail, and across dam at the Ladybower Reservoir. This is an easy, flat walk through countryside and down lanes. Starting in Bamford village centre, head up Mill Lane towards the Bamford Mill.
From the mill, turn left at the commencement of the Touchstone Trail. The trail will lead you across the River Derwent and then diagonally through a field. After climbing over two stiles, turn left and up a hill. At the top of this incline you should see a sign the Thornhill Trail. Follow this trail until it twists to the left, you’ll reach a quiet road; cross this road and head down the slight bridleway. This bridleway will lead you alongside the Bamford Edge. At the end of this bridleway, take the uphill path on the left, which will slowly reveal to you the Ladybower Reservoir.
Take the footpath along the dam wall, turn right, and follow the bridleway towards the Yorkshire Bridge Inn. Cross the road at the Inn and walk up New Road. Take the footpath that emerges after the farm titled Thie Veg, and traverse across several fields and stiles. Once a metal gate is reached, turn left and you should be able to see a public footpath. Follow this until you reach the Anglers’ Rest.