Above: The most recent damage was caused when someone removed the steps from just beyond the entrance to try and get access to the cellars. The fencing has been stored at far left.

Forestry England – which manages the Goyt Valley on behalf of the estate owners, United Utilities – are fencing off the ruins of Errwood Hall to repair the damage caused by vandals. At the time I visited, on 23rd June, the fencing hasn’t yet been put in place. But it’s been piled up nearby so I don’t think it will be long.

I’m trying to discover when it will be installed, and for how long, but haven’t yet received a response from FE. Andy from UU thinks it’s likely to be a few weeks. I’ll update this page when I get confirmation (see next post).

The most recent vandalism occurred a week or so back when someone removed two of the original steps that were embedded in the ground. Presumably to see if they could get access to the cellars*. But I know there’s nothing there to see. So it’s frustrating that someone else’s stupidity ruins things for the rest of us.

There have been a few raves over the years where people light fires on the stones. But things have got worse more recently with stones removed from the walls. So I guess it’s not surprising that FE have decided to make things safer, and also repair the damage.

Hopefully it won’t be long before the work is completed. If anyone wants to know more, check out the Goyt Valley Facebook page.

Errwood Hall cellars

*I’m still not sure where the access to the cellars was. But people who remember going down there say it wasn’t under the stairs. A page on Landscape Britain says…

There are also a few interesting secrets scattered around the main-building location – some now lost to memory. With local rumours of the wealth of the Grimshawe family still hidden in the cellars, an entrance was said to be down near the stream beside the ruin. There are probably tunnels below due to an old coal mine operating in the mid-1800s with its building remains on to the southern side of the small hill.

This may be the reason why people search for them, but I doubt very much whether the access came from anywhere near the stream. And it’s ridiculous to think there may be anything valuable still down there. But I guess that’s the thing with vandals – they’re a few bricks short of a full load!

Resurfacing the tracks

Forestry England are also resurfacing some of the old tracks around Errwood Hall. I don’t think this has anything to do with repairing the ruins and is more likely so that they can take some of the heavy machinery used to fell and remove trees. But again I’m waiting for FE to confirm.

It’s a pity as the old tracks are more in keeping with the unique history of the area, and it will take some years before they return to a more natural state. There is also a rumour that FE plan to tarmac the original road leading between Goyt’s Bridge and Fernilee, to the west of Fernilee Reservoir. Which I also think will be a great shame as this picturesque track is a favourite walk for many lovers of the valley*.

*Page update: Chris from FE says that it’s unlikely that the track to the west of Fernilee would be tarmacked: “In terms of any surfacing works not been mentioned to me, and if it’s on FE managed land, we very rarely use tarmac as its expensive, it doesn’t last and is a nightmare to repair.”

Topic tags (click for similar posts): Errwood Hall | Forestry England