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The Baronets Diary May 2024

Readers of this column may not have seen the recent film Saltburn. It tells of a rather dysfunctional family in a large stately home in the Midlands. In fact, it was filmed in Northamptonshire at a house called Drayton, home to the Stopford-Sackville family. As a result of a particular scene in the final moments of the story the Estate has been flocked with film fans taking their own TikTok videos in front of the house through  access via a public footpath. Subsequently the Daily Mail resurrected an unprinted article from 2022 about filming at stately homes in which Tissington was featured. The implication of the piece was that we all made a fortune out of filming. Well that is true if you get Downton Abbey( at Highclere) or Brideshead Revisited( at Castle Howard) but we at Tissington have only hosted shows like Antiques Road trip and Salvage Hunters…both at no cost. However, the article provoked Times Radio to call up the office and ask me onto the lunchtime show talking about the subject!!! First Radio Derby, then Times Radio, what station beckons next for my broadcasting career….Radio 4 ?

This year the annual Peak District Derbyshire and Derby tourism Awards were held at The Museum of Making in Derby . Over 150 guests attended to see who had won Gold in the ten categories . The judges were deluged with a huge amount of entries in each section and it was a joy to witness the winners receive their awards from  the sponsors on a glittering evening. In the accommodation section our neighbours at the ford won with Waterside Barn, a conversion sleeping six. But the biggest cheers of the evening were for odd job and handyman Alan Hobson from the Bakewell Pudding shop and the Scotsman’s Pack who won the ‘Unsung Hero’ award for all his hard work behind the scenes at those various hostelries. Callow Hall from Mapleton won the Best Hotel for the second year running and the visitor attraction of the year was awarded to   the Children’s Country House at Sudbury in the stable of the National Trust. However, Alan was enjoying his night with nine ladies from the team from Bakewell. All worthy winners and great ambassadors for our tourism product in the Peak District.



In these challenging economic  times it is nice to report a good news story. With many pubs closing all over the country I can announce that The Ashford Arms is back. Nestled on the edge of Ashford in the Water opposite the cricket ground ( scene of many  S Anselm’s Strollers’ victories) the pub that had been closed for over four years  re-opened in March under the guise of entrepreneur Rob Hattersley. With both the Maynard at Grindleford and the George at Hathersage in his stable, Rob’s company Longbow Bars completed a total refurbishment of the site and it is now a friendly welcoming and attractive local hostelry. We were lucky enough to enjoy Sunday lunch on the ‘soft launch ‘weekend and both the food and service were excellent. 5 stars for this new venture but make sure you book in good time. Hats off to Rob and his energetic team.

The Cupola Visitor Centre and Kitchen in Stoney Middleton is a triumph. After nearly twenty years of planning conversations and heartache the realisation of a dream of one family has finally happened. In late January the attractive building  on the main arterial road between Baslow and Buxton was opened on the A623 at Stoney Middleton.  The brainchild of local resident Colin Hill ,the Cupola  is named after the former lead smelting mill which once stood on the site. With an excellent heritage centre  which traces the history of this limestone gorge that was formed 350 million years ago up to the present day, the associated café mirrors the cupola flames with a wood fired oven and grill offering traditional high-quality pizzas burgers and grills. Run by Colin’s niece Stephanie this is another huge asset to the tourism offer in the area and I suspect that the Cupola may well be featuring in next year’s tourism awards. Well worth a visit.

However, after two good news stories I have one sad message to relate. After five great years Andrew Holmes is closing his eponymous Butchers’ Shop in Tissington at the end of May. Andrew has been mulling over the future of the business for several months owing to the rise in costs such as heating and energy. All of us in the Village are indebted to Andrew ( and his team) for their sterling work throughout Covid as he opened five days a week and took in the fresh fruit and vegetable supplies from others and acted as our local distribution point. During his five years he has kept an effervescent cheery disposition often described as the ‘happiest butcher in Britain’. We wish him and wife Stephanie all the best for the future.