Moss Valley
moss valley explorer map

The Gate Inn at Troway is set right in the heart of the beautiful Moss Valley.

The information below is reproduced by courtesy of Derbyshire County Council ' The 3 Valleys Project - Moss - Drone - Rother - 2001'

Set in rolling countryside on the southern edge of Sheffield, the Moss Valley has a charm of its own. The Valley stretches some four miles from Jordanthorpe in the west to Eckington in the east. People have lived in small scattered settlements in this valley since Saxon times. The power of the River Moss and its tributaries have been used for small-scale industries over many centuries. Part of the Moss Valley has been designated a Special Landscape Area.

Step Back in Time

From around 1515 until the early 1900's the Moss Valley was a hive of industrial activity. Look closely for the remnants from the past in this now peaceful valley.

 

Ironmaking

The Moss Valley was an important centre for the grinding of scythes and sickles. George Sitwell, of nearby Renishaw Hall, started the Renishaw Ironworks at Foxstone Wood about 1640. There were once eight water wheels along the River Moss. They were used to power grinding stones for the production of flour, cutlery and tree saws, in addition to scythes and sickles.

The iron trade continued to prosper and by the end of the 17th century more iron nails were being made in Eckington than anywhere else in the world.

Exports expanded with the opening of the nearby Chesterfield Canal in 1777, creating a link to the River Trent and and beyond via West Stockwith. Saws were exchanged for sugar from the West Indies and America and locally made large cast iron pans were in demand from the West Indies for the boiling of sugar!

Coalmining

The conversion from charcoal to coal for smelting in the iron industry, led to intensified activity in the valley.By the early 19th century collieries had been sunk and there were significant improvements in transport links to both the Chesterfield Canal and the developing railways.

In Ince Piece Wood you can see the award wining restored "Seldom Seen" Engine House. This ancient monument is thought to date back to between 1855 and 1875 and once housed a massive winding wheel for Plumbley Colliery. The old Penny Engine Railway ran from here, by which trucks and also people (if they paid an old penny) could reach the main line station at Renishaw.

Woodlands

A string of ancient woodlands line the valley, which are home to many birds such as jays and great spotted woodpeckers. People once cut or 'coppicied' wood extensively here for large scale charcoal production. Prior to the use of coke, charcoal was the main fuel used in the iron smelting industry for firing local furnaces.

'Coppicing' or cutting trees back to their stumps to regrow, increasing the amount of light in the woodlands, enhancing their botanical richness. Traditional management maintains woodland flora, such as bluebells, which carpet the woods in spring. In May and June a strong smell of garlic is given off by the white carpet of ramsons, or 'stinking nannies' as they are known locally, which grow abundantly in shady places.

In autumn look out for the fungi on dead or decaying wood. A foul putrid odour will indicate the presence of the 'stinkhorn' fungus.

Riverlife

The River Moss, also referred to as Moss Brook, rises in the high ground south of Norton at a height of 630 feet (approximately 200 meters). The river flows eastwards through the valley and enters the river Rother north east of Eckington. It is rich in wildlife, including trout.

The damp banks of the River Moss are home to many moisture loving plants, such as marsh marigold and willow, and provide a home for the nationally rare water vole. Sadly, their numbers have declined in recent years. Listen carefully for their distinctive 'plop' as they drop into the water.

Meadows

There are remnants of old hay meadows in the valley. Some of these are now designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Wild flowers, such as meadow vetchling and yellow rattle, can be found here. They provide a good source of nectar for moths and butterflies. Over two hundred varieties of moths and butterflies have been recorded in the Moss Valley.

With declining industry, the Moss Valley is now a haven for wildlife. The peace and quiet of this beautiful area can be enjoyed using the paths shown on the OS Explorer tm 269 & 278 extract map which can be purchased for under £2.00 from the Three Valleys Project Office, Church Street, Eckington - on the B 6052 and The Three Valleys Project, Tapton Lock Visitor Centre, Lockoford Lane, Chesterfield S41 7JB. Tel. no. 01246 55 10 35. Email: tapton.lock@derbyshire.gov.uk

 

Click for some natural history of the Moss Valley

 

The Gate Inn, Troway, North East Derbyshire, S21 5RU.   t: 01246 413 280

  Email: kay@gateinntroway.co.uk