Sunset on the Rocks, Curbar

Recent Photograph of Sunset on the Rocks (Curbar)

A spectacular photograph taken of the sun setting on Curbar Edge in late 2005, looking north west towards Stoke, and Eyam Moor. This steeply-sloping ‘edge’ would have formed a natural boundary for our prehistoric ancestors, who had established settlements in the uplands beyond during the Bronze Age period - pollen analysis indicates the moorlands were cleared for settlement during 1700-1500BC, and excavations have revealed much activity - of pottery remains, and tools made of stone and flint. The area lower down towards the River Derwent would still have been forested, and would have been avoided for safety.

Archaeological evidence of early dwellings on and around Curbar Edge includes stone foundations of a 20-foot diameter hut, of agriculture - field clearance banks extending over Big Moor, to the east, and of cemeteries, and funerary urns. There is at least one stone circle on Stoke Flat, on the moorland uplands behind nearby Froggatt Edge. Close by too is the stone banked enclosure somewhat poetically named “Swine Sty”

Across the valley, Eyam Moor, seen in the distance on this photograph, has its own share of remains, and its stone circle known as ‘Wet Withens’. More photographs of the prehistoric remains, including those of Wet Withens and Stoke Flat, are available on the website www.megalithic.co.uk.

In more recent times, the nearby Enclosures of the 18th century can be seen on the photograph of Siddall's Fields, during which time the old trackway through “Curbar Gap” was turnpiked (1759).

There appears to be a partially worked millstone, or grindstone in the foreground of the photograph; there are many of these scattered around Peak District moorlands, abandoned where they were worked, when cheaper imports during the nineteenth century led to the collapse of the local industry.

Much later, and since the 1940s, Curbar Edge has become a ‘Mecca’ for rock climbers. The climbs are not for the faint-hearted, so I'm told - obviously not, with names such as ‘Death on a Stick’ and ‘Knockin' on Heaven's Door’!

The photograph quite rightly deserves the commendation it gained in a competition run by ‘Friends of the Peak District’, and I am most grateful to Julie for sharing it with us.

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)


Image contributed by Julie Bunting on 12th December 2005.
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