Buxton fights to keep title as highest market town in England

Buxton Market traders celebrate the town keeping its title as the highest in Britain
Buxton Market traders celebrate the town keeping its title as the highest in Britain

Buxton is known for many things, being a spa town, the water and of course being the highest market town in England and this title recently came under jeopardy.

The Daily Telegraph in a feature on Yorkshire named Hawes as England’s highest market town – until volunteer group Buxton Town Team pointed out it was a mere 775 feet above sea level.

Alston in Cumbria also has a claim at about 1,000 feet – but Buxton’s takes the Top Town title at just over 30 feet above that.

Tina Heathcote, of Buxton Town Team, a group of volunteers who promote the town’s community and commercial life, said: “Without going over the top about it, we’re determined that Buxton’s place at the peak of this league table is defended.”

Google Earth puts the Market cross outside the Town Hall in Buxton at 316m (1036 ft) above sea level, while The Market Hall in Alston stands at 298m (978 ft).

Tina said: “Even given the undulations of the terrain - Alston is on the side of a hill while our market is on top of one - that still gives us a clear 10m plus or so.”

The Telegraph printed a correction, but there is a serious side to the debate, say the Town Team.

Richard Silson, one of the Town Team directors said: “Buxton Town Team helped to set up the Community Interest Company which is now running Buxton’s Tuesday and Saturday markets, so being able to shop at England’s highest market is a unique experience for visitors.”

He urged more people to use the market when he gave a round-up of the organisation’s projects to members of its sister group Vision Buxton.

In summer 2014 High Peak borough Council launched a competitive tender process, seeking an independent operator for all the markets in the High Peak.

Buxton Town Team appplied to take on the market and prepared business plans, funding proposals, presentations and so on, and in August 2015 the Council accepted their bid and offered them a five-year contract.

Richard added: “I know several people who don’t use supermarkets now because they have discovered they can buy everything from the Market.”

Speaking on the town team website the company said: “We’re well on the way to re-establishing a thriving market in Buxton.”
So the town does not just have a bustling market but it is the top of the country officially now.