OS Grid ref:- SK130555
Alstonfield is set in glorious scenery about 7 miles (11 km) to the north of the Peak District market town of Ashbourne.
Pleasantly situated on a limestone plateau some 900 feet above sea level, between the rivers Manifold and Dove, it stands on an ancient site where several trackways once crossed, later to become packhorse routes. The highly attractive village has been the winner of the 'Best Kept village' award on several occasions. The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon 'Aelfstan’s Feld'.
Around the pretty green is a reading room, an art gallery, a craft shop and a village pump which still survives. The village pub, The George, is a former coaching inn (below right) and stands adjacent to the green, it contains portraits of locals and historic artefacts.
The Elizabethan manor house, just up the road from the village green, dates from 1587. Alstonefield also retains its ancient tithe barn, which was found behind the late sixteenth century rectory, which was formerly Alstonefield Hall. The exposed wattle and daub wall and the spiral stone staircase may, however, been part of an earlier building.
St Peter’s Church dates partly back to Norman times but has been heavily altered several times throughout the centuries, a church has occupied the site since at least 892. The church contains a number of interesting features which include early box pews that contain original brasswork and the unusual painted box pew of the Cotton family, owners of nearby Beresford Hall, embelished with the Cotton coat of arms on the back. Charles Cotton featured in 'The Compleat Angler', written by his friend Izaak Walton. The huge chest measures some 10 feet long and is about 700 years old. The two-decker pulpit dates to 1637. There is also the bowl of a Saxon font, which was unearthed in the churchyard. Fragments of a tenth century cross shaft with Saxon interlace stand in the churchyard while fragments of Anglo-Saxon or Viking crosses are built into the wall, near the porch.
Nearby places of interest
Dovedale, a dramatic limestone ravine, with its mpressive rock outcrops and tranquil woodlands is arguably the prettiest of the dales in the Peak District National Park and is owned by the National Trust.
The Manifold Valley, which runs almost parallel with Dovedale, has been described as the 'Switzerland of Staffordshire' and offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the Peak District National Park.
Biddulph Grange, one of Britain's most exciting and unusual gardens, was created by the horticulturalist James Bateman (1811–1897), for his large collection of plants from around the world.
Haddon Hall near Bakewell, is an architectural gem. Dating back to the eleventh century, the hall has been described as "the most complete and most interesting house of [its] period", it is the finest example of a medieval manor house currently in existence in England.