Eyam, often referred to as the ‘Plague Village’, is a fascinating destination nestled in the heart of the Derbyshire Peak District. This charming village is steeped in history and surrounded by stunning countryside, making it an excellent spot for a day out.
To get to Eyam, the most convenient option for most travellers is to drive. Located just off the A623, Eyam is easily accessible from Sheffield, Manchester, and other nearby cities. Alternatively, you can catch a bus from Sheffield or Bakewell, with services running regularly throughout the day. If you prefer a more scenic journey, consider hopping on a train to Grindleford, followed by a beautiful hike through the countryside to reach the village.
Once you arrive in Eyam, you’ll find a plethora of intriguing landmarks to explore. Start your day at the Eyam Museum, which offers an in-depth look at the village’s history, especially its brave self-imposed quarantine during the bubonic plague outbreak in 1665. The museum also showcases artefacts and exhibits relating to the local lead mining industry, which played a significant role in the village’s development.
As you stroll through the village, don’t miss the chance to visit the Plague Cottages. These quaint, historic homes are marked with plaques that provide fascinating insights into the lives of their former inhabitants, who tragically succumbed to the plague. Another must-see landmark is Eyam Parish Church, a beautiful example of Norman architecture dating back to the 12th century. While visiting the church, take a moment to appreciate the churchyard’s Celtic cross and the poignant graves of plague victims.
If you’re feeling peckish after your explorations, Eyam has several cosy cafes and pubs to choose from, such as The Miners Arms and The Village Green Café. Both establishments serve delicious, locally sourced food and offer a warm, friendly atmosphere, making them perfect for a spot of lunch or a well-earned cuppa.
Nature enthusiasts will be pleased to discover the variety of walks available in the area. One popular choice is the Eyam Moor Circular Walk, a 5-mile route that takes you across the beautiful moorland and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Along the way, you’ll encounter fascinating archaeological sites, including ancient stone circles and burial mounds.
For a shorter walk, consider the Eyam to Stoney Middleton route, a 2-mile stroll through picturesque landscapes and historical landmarks. This walk takes you past the Riley Graves, where seven members of the same family were buried during the plague outbreak. The route also offers stunning views of Stoney Middleton Dale, a lush limestone valley adorned with wildflowers in the spring and summer months.
Before you leave Eyam, make sure to stop by the village’s famous Boundary Stone. This stone played a crucial role during the quarantine period, as it marked the boundary between Eyam and the surrounding villages. Food and other supplies were left here for the quarantined villagers, who would then leave money soaked in vinegar as payment to minimise the risk of contagion. Today, the Boundary Stone serves as a poignant reminder of the village’s extraordinary resilience and sacrifice.
In conclusion, Eyam is an exceptional destination for a day out, offering a compelling mix of history, natural beauty and outdoor activities. The village’s rich past and stunning surroundings provide a unique, engaging experience that will leave you feeling both educated and refreshed. So, pack your walking boots, grab a camera, and get ready to explore the remarkable story of this Derbyshire treasure.