Hathersage is a little slice of paradise in the Peak District - if you can afford it
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On a visit this week, people praised the parish council, its community spirit and the short drive to Sheffield, just 25 minutes to Waitrose in the city centre.
It isn’t a ghost town ruined by holiday lets, it has pubs, grocery shops - a rarity in Peak villages - an open air swimming pool and a David Mellor cutlery factory and museum. Hathersage also has no shortage of incredible homes. One has a drive a mile long, one has a helicopter landing pad and another its own private woods. But near perfection always comes at a price and locals are increasingly priced out of the village they grew up in.
It’s also rubbish for teenagers who want to go out on the town. And hordes of tourists bring litter, parking problems and loose dogs which drive locals, especially farmers, mad.
Michael Wellington, facilities manager at the swimming pool, said daily numbers in winter had soared from 20 people a day three years ago, to up to 150 now. The difference was due to the post-pandemic 'wild swimming' boom - and heated water.
He added: “I’m very lucky to work here. It’s a very friendly, community-based village. The parish council works tirelessly, they deserve a lot of praise.”
A veteran local business owner said the village was still benefiting from when Sheffield people discovered the Peak during lockdowns. But to her it would always be the ‘doctors’ village’, most of whom work at hospitals in Sheffield.
Tom Rastall, restaurant manager at Bank House on Main Road, said it still had community spirit, unlike tourist hotspots including Castleton. But locals were priced out of the housing market and forced to move to Sheffield or Chesterfield.
He added: “There are occasional disputes but 99 per cent of the time everyone gets on.”
Tim Venn, director of estate agent Eadon, Lockwood & Riddle, where many homes are advertised without a price attached, said Hathersage was “always booming.”
But then Hathersage has long had it good. A blue plaque honours industrialist and philanthropist George Herbert Lawrence, 1888-1940, a ‘great benefactor funding numerous local buildings and projects’.