A Little Bit of History
The small, pretty village of Pilsley, not to be confused with the Pilsley near Clay Cross, is built mainly of a type of local sandstone and many of its houses are owned by the Chatsworth Estate. There is a primary school which has recently been extended to take in the former Weslyan Chapel, a post office / shop and a pub, The Devonshire Arms – also owned by the Chatsworth Estate. Part of the village was built in the mid 1700’s and more houses were added in the late 1830’s at the same time as the school; the houses were mainly for estate workers who were to be re-housed while the nearby village of Edensor was being re-located out of sight of Chatsworth House. Even today, most of the villagers either work, or have worked on the estate. If you are wondering why there is no church, the three estate villages of Pilsley, Beeley and Edensor tended to share their amenities, and therefore, the local church is to be found in the latter.
At the western end of the village is a green and where High Street ends, close by, you will find yourself on a track which splits into three different paths leading to some lovely woodland walks. The main track was once a packhorse route, bringing lead from Monyash en-route to the coast.
Pilsley is also home to the Chatsworth Farm Shop – built in the estate’s former shire horse stud farm. Both this establishment and the 300 year old Devonshire Arms are advocates of local produce – indeed many of the dishes on the menu at The Devonshire have ingredients which have come from the shop. You can also purchase local ales at both places; Peak Ales are from the Chatsworth Estate and Thornbridge Ales are brewed just a mile or two away in Bakewell. If you choose to stay in Pilsley – whether overnight or for the day, you are only five minutes’ walk from the farm shop and barely a couple of miles from Chatsworth House itself, with its wonderful rolling parkland and more formal, yet varied gardens. Why not buy some fresh provisions from the shop and walk the short distance to the extensive grounds for a picnic in the park?
Whether you are just passing through, or intending to use Pilsley as a base for exploration, it is a lovely village in which to pause and take stock of the delights that this locality has to offer.