As someone who has lived in different parts of the country and has chosen to move back to Buxton to bring up my family, I felt compelled to respond to Mick Bonsall’s question in his letter - What has Buxton got to attract tourists?
My nine-year-old daughter is helping me compose this response.
1. Pavilion Gardens. We are really lucky to have a large park right in the centre of town. It has retained a lot of its wonderful Victorian landscaping but also has an exciting play park for children. If it rains, we have the conservatory to look round, swimming baths to visit and the café if you want refreshment.
2. Grinlow Woods. Another free and exciting place to take your kids and dog. Where else locally can you walk through quiet atmospheric woods with good paths before emerging into the open landscape for amazing views over the local area?
3. Serpentine Gardens. So close to a main road but full of wildlife if you fancy a nice quiet walk.
4. Gadley and Corbar Woods. Again, free to access places that have a wonderful atmosphere.
5. Cavendish Arcade. All local independent shops including a chocolate shop and cafe. If you don’t want to buy anything you can still look around at the old mineral baths and remnants of the colonnade.
6. The Victorian architecture which remains throughout the town. I find it easy to walk along these streets and imagine how people would have lived with their long dresses and top hats 150 years ago.
7. The Museum and Art gallery. Even as it’s being refurbished there is still plenty to see and exhibits you can hold and feel. If you want more art the Green Man Gallery is just behind the museum.
8. Lots of local independent shops. Where I’m from, these died out in the ‘80s. My childhood high street is now full of pound shops, cheap clothes shops and pawn brokers. Buxton has two independent music shops, a wool/sewing shop, a children’s boutique, bike shops, shoe shops, an amazing bookshop, a sweet shop, a traditional butchers and lots of clothes shops-all independent and all offering a level of service you just don’t get with the large chain stores.
9. We have great events throughout the year-The Spring Fair, the carnival, the festivals. We are only a small town compared with others close by like Chesterfield or Matlock but these events blow their offerings out of the water! When these events are on it is a pleasure to walk through Buxton and feel the buzz in the air.
10. The Opera House, Pavilion Arts Centre and the Paxton Suite. Lots of famous people choose to bring their shows to Buxton and we get top class entertainment without having to go to Manchester.
11. We are surrounded by dramatic countryside which is easy to access by foot, car or train-again, we are lucky to have a railway when others have lost these links to the large cities nearby.
12. Brilliant places to eat and drink. The independent cafes like the Tea Chest are great, and the restaurants offer such variety-Italian, English, Greek, Spanish, Chinese, Thai and all top quality!
I can understand Mr Bonsall’s feeling that the hotel might not be quite what we need but unfortunately I think that such a large landmark building as the Crescent needs to be occupied by a commercial venue.
It will make the money to look after it and make sure people can walk past and admire it when all the hoardings and builders are gone for many years into the future. Hopefully, it will provide the investment so my daughter can bring her children back to see Buxton in 20 or 30 years time and be as proud as I am of the town she was brought up in.
Rhiannon and Izzy Howe