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An idyllic village in the Peak District, famed for its well dressing festival


Tissington Hall
Well Dressing
St Mary's Church
Tissington Trail
If you asked somebody to draw a picture of an ideal English village, it would probably end up looking a lot like Tissington. There would be pretty stone cottages, set among a panorama of trees and grass. A church would rise up in the background, sat on top of a little hill. By looking closely you'd be able to spot the duck pond, the tearooms and the flowers.

The village duck pond

Stone Cottages

The Old Coach House

If you fancy a refreshment, try the Old Coach House Tea Room in the main street.
The main route in to Tissington is no less picturesque. The road leads through a set of old gates and along an avenue of trees, bringing you to the centre of the village's wonderful landscape. If you take the first left from here, you'll go past Tissington Hall. This Jacobean mansion belongs to the Fitzherbert family, who have been living in the area since 1465. The village actually grew up around them, as part of their estate. The family's first home was an unfriendly, moated manor house, but in the early 17th century this was replaced by the present hall. The building has been frequently updated and extended over the years, so it has plenty of interesting architectural details. These range from ornate chimneys to Gothic interiors. The house is open sporadically throughout the year, particularly in the spring and summer.

Tissington Hall
Opposite the hall is St. Mary's church. This was built in Norman times, and so has watched over Tissington's entire history. If you look closely at the entranceway's pillars, you can see the grooves where archers used to sharpen their arrows before target practice. Young men were encouraged to take up this useful skill, especially after the Black Death, which left England woefully short of experienced archers. Luckily, Tissington had no shortage of willing, able-bodied young men.

St Mary's Church
The horrific plague had ravaged the entire country, including many nearby villages, but somehow Tissington's population had emerged unscathed. The locals attributed this miracle to the purity of their water supply. In celebration, they decorated their wells with displays of colourful flowers a ceremony known as Well Dressing. This started in 1348 and the tradition continues right up to the present day. Tissington's isn't the only one in the country, but it's probably the most famous. It takes place on Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter. To make the decorations, flowers are carefully pressed into frames of clay. Their colours are arranged to form images, usually of biblical scenes.

Tissington's Well
Tissington once had its own train station. It was opened in 1899, but closed for good in 1963. The rails were removed a year later, leaving the old route to become an overgrown, neglected place. This was rectified a few years later, when the old track was converted into the Tissington Trail, a walking and cycling route. The chugging engines and clanking gears of the trains are long gone, and this has become an incredibly peaceful spot. There are great views of the countryside, and in summer the sides of the trail are lined with hundreds of wildflowers. Various signs along the way point towards nearby sights and settlements. You can take a detour, or carry on to the end. The trail runs for 20 kilometres, between Parsley Hay and Ashbourne. Nowadays, many of England's old rail lines have been converted into walking routes like this. Tissington Trail, though, was one of the very first.

The Tissington Trail at the site of the former Tissington station, now a picnic site.
Photo Trevor Harris
Visitor Information
Free car-parking can be found along the grassy bank in the main street.

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