A site with a real history.
From cotton spinning and iron forging to Florence Nightingale and a cave full of fossils …
You only have to look at Pleasley Vale’s striking stone mills to see this is a site with history. In the 17th century it was home to a water-powered forge, before it was bought in 1784 by five men, including Henry Hollins, to transform into cotton spinning mills.
Three mills were built between then and 1913. The first, Upper Mill, burnt down on Christmas Day 1840, while in 1844 the same happened at Lower Mill. Both were so critical to the local economy that they were quickly rebuilt, and during World War One were used to make munitions.
The Vale is also home to country houses, churches and Roman villas, in varying states of repair. Nearby Pleasley Colliery was first mined in 1872, with the ground broken by Florence Nightingale, whose family lived on the site.
One of the Vale’s most surprising secrets is the haul of fossils found in 1862. It included the bones of wolves, wild horses, reindeer, lynx and even woolly rhinos and revealed a distinctly wild chapter in the area’s history.