We’re taking a Bank Holiday trip to the Peak District in Retro’s A to Z tour of Sheffield and surrounding areas.
The Fox House, at the edge of the Longshaw Estate, is a popular stopping-off point for walkers from Sheffield as well as visitors.
Bulmer’s History and Directory of Derbyshire from 1895 notes: “Longshaw, near the Yorkshire border, is a shooting box of the Earl of Rutland, and near here, on the Sheffield road, is Fox House Inn, a noted hostelry still, and yet more famous in the old coaching days.
“The surrounding scenery is extremely beautiful, and one view, called The Surprise, is surpassed by few in the county.”
Apparently,the Fox House was named after Mr Fox of Callow Farm in Highlow, not the animal.
The building dates back to 1773 and was once a popular stagecoach inn. The pub’s website says that it was originally part of the Longshaw Estate. One room was known as the Duke’s Room because the Duke of Rutland sometimes slept there.
Business must have been good in the early days as one of three local turnpike routes, running from Sheffield to Buxton, passed through Padley Woods from Fox House, crossing the river; then climbed the steep Sir William Hill at Grindleford.
Round the corner, Longshaw Lodge was built as a shooting lodge for the duke in 1830.
Just under a century later, in 1927, a public appeal by the forerunner of the Sheffield branch of the Council for the Protection of Rural England raised enough money to buy both the lodge and the estate with 1,087 acres of moor and woodland, which then passed into the care of the National Trust in 1931.
Eight years later Froggatt Wood was given to the National Trust and in the 1970s the Trust also acquired Haywood and White Edge Moor.
Today the lodge is at the centre of the country park, housing the café and shop.
Longshaw is the home of one of the oldest sheepdog trials in the country, which take place in front of the lodge every September.
The National Trust says that they are the longest-running trials, stopping only for the two world wars.
Sharp-eyed visitors will have noticed a plaque on the lodge that commemorates its use as a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers during the First World War.
According to the National Trust, Alice Clifford, the wife of Sir Charles Clifford, took the soldiers out on day trips in her car.