Things to Do in Biddulph, Derbyshire
There are lots of things to do in Biddulph during your holiday to the Peak District National Park. It’s known as ‘The Garden Town of Staffordshire’ for its surrounding moors, its open verdant scenery, and the garlands that decorate many of its buildings. Biddulph is as picture perfect as it gets!
A former coal-mining town, Biddulph is a combination of seven small, former-mining communities. These are Bradley Green, Brown Lees, Biddulph, Gillow Heath, Knypersley, Biddulph Moor, and Biddulph Park.
There are many beautiful examples of greenery throughout the town, most notably at Biddulph Grange Garden. The Grange boasts flowers from all over the world, expertly arranged in the style of their country of origin.
Greenway Bank Country Park also contains a wide variety of flora, but as a park it is more orientated towards walking, sports, and activities. There are a number of other great walks that can be started from Biddulph, most notably to the ruined Mow Cop Castle three miles away.
In terms of shopping, there is a renowned artisan’s market that takes place every Friday, offering an eclectic mix of produce.
Due to the town’s bountiful nearby deposits of coal, clay, iron, grit, and sand, the area has been a popular settlement for over 5,000 years.
Anglo Saxon Orgins
Excavations have uncovered Anglo-Saxon remains dating to the year 650AD, alongside evidence of mining. The name Biddulph is in fact derived from the Anglo-Saxon words ‘by’ – meaning near – and ‘delph’ – meaning digging area. The Anglo-Saxons also built the original St. Lawrence Church around the year 900AD, which stands as the parish church of the town today.
Normans settled here in the 11th century. Excavations conducted in 1967 around the remains of an old motte-and-bailey castle, located in the north side of Biddulph, uncovered 11th century pottery amongst other Norman relics.
At the start of the 19th century, the Biddulph Valley consisted of roughly 200 houses, housing mostly farmers. The industrial revolution started not long after, several coalmines and ironworks opening in the middle of the century increased the population tenfold. At this point the the town’s high street in Bradley Green was founded. Biddulph Valley Railway was opened in 1858, allowing for raw materials to be imported and exported easily.
This monthly market takes place on the first Friday of every month, between the hours of 9am and 3pm. The market can be found on Biddulph high street, outside of the town hall. It offers an eclectic mix of locally sourced food and drink, arts and crafts, plants, and trinkets.
Greenway Bank Country Park
This popular destination for walkers and cyclists is thriving with wildlife. It consists of dense woodland, sandstone gorges, marshlands, and numerous pools and lakes.
The park was originally part of the Knypersley Hall estate and owned by Hugh Henshall. His brother-in-law, James Brindley, built the two onsite lakes, which feed into Caldon Canal and the Trent and Mersey canal.
On top of the many walking trails, this 114-acre park boasts a children’s adventure playpark, an art gallery, a café, a bistro, and a gift shop.
Biddulph Grange Garden
This beautiful Victorian garden is part of the reason why Biddulph is referred to as a ‘garden town’ and contains flowers from all over the world.
Biddulph Grange was founded by James Bateman. He spent more than twenty years of his life organising the retrieval of hundreds of different flowers from all corners of the world during the Victorian gardening age.
Upon entering, you are faced with rows upon rows of hedges, in between you’ll find painstakingly laid out flowered displays of each individual country. The layout creates the illusion you are travelling the world as you move through the vast display.
The garden is maintained and appears just as it would have during the Victorian-age, the only thing that has changed is the uptake in wildlife, as numerous rare species of birds and insects have since found a home amongst this exotic flora.
Mow Cop Castle
Visible throughout most of Biddulph, Mow Cop Castle is a grade-II listed ruin of a 18th century folly. Located 2.8 miles outside the town centre, Mow Cop sits atop a crag and was built in 1754. It was designed both as a folly and also a summerhouse for Randle Wilbraham I.
During an excavation, Iron Age querns were found, suggesting that this site was originally used as a camping site. The castle has often been the centre of land ownership disputes. These were mostly about the quarrying of the hill in which it sits on.
Local residents started rioting in 1923 when the ruin was nearly destroyed by a quarrying company. The issue was solved in 1937 when Mow Cop was bought by the National Trust. Unfortunately, visitors can’t enter the folly, but its still interesting to see the fort close-up from the outside.