MANIFOLD VISITOR CENTRE
The Manifold Valley Visitor Centre is situated at the northern end of the Manifold Track, a favourite for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. It is housed in the ticket office of the former Hulme End Station. An information service is available most weekends and during school holidays. There is a permanent exhibition of the history of the railway, the landscapes, archaeology and natural history of the Manifold Valley.
Following the closure of the Leek and Manifold Railway, the railway track was lifted and the route surfaced and turned into the Manifold Track. It runs for eight and half miles between Hulme End and Waterhouses, through the beautiful Manifold and Hamps Valley and is very popular with walkers and cyclists. There are many walks leading off the track, up through woods to the hills that tower above the gorges.
The Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway, narrow gauge line was opened in 1904, to serve the tiny farming communities dotted along the valley. It carried milk and cheese from the isolated diary at Ecton, as well as attracting tourists. Rather unkindly known as the 'A line starting nowhere and ending up at the same place' the railway struggled to survive. The owners hoped the old copper mines at Ecton would start up again, but they never did. Finally in 1934, the the railway ran out of steam and closed down. One section of the trackbed became a new road to Wetton Mill and the rest a 'traffic free' route for leisure purposes.
There are several caves close to the Manifold Track, the most impressive of which is Thor's Cave a former home to both stone age dwellers and wild animals. Wetton Mill was established in the valley by William Cavendish, second son of Bess of Hardwick. It was finally abandoned in 1857; one of the buildings has been converted into a very popular tea room.
In the past, mining used to be an important employment provider for local people. The building of the Crescent at Buxton is said to have been funded by the Duke of Devonshire out of the profits of his copper mine at nearby Ecton. Stone from a quarry north west of Wetton was used for making paving setts which paved the streets of Stoke-on-Trent.
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THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
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Hartington is a picturesque village with a spacious market place, village green, delightful duck pond and limestone houses, which sparkle in the bright sunlight, which make it one of the major tourist centres in the Peak District. It is situated within two miles of Hulme End.
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