Steep hillsides and high cliffs in this area give it a shaded, enclosed feel. Old stone houses, some having relatively large plots of land, line the road. Cottages perched at various heights and angles climb the hillsides a short distance and densely wooded backdrops are part of this picturesque landscape. In Nether Green, paths and gennels connect the houses. there are newer (1970s) bungalow developments along Black Tor Road. Views from here contrast in character with other parts of the village, being dominated by dramatic views down the steeply wooded valley to the Via Gellia.
This hamlet of nineteen houses, including one farm, overlooks the steep wooded valley of the Via Gellia. It has two distinctive features: a well, formerly operated by a hand pump, is now used to pump water to a small reservoir which supplies each house. Secondly, Slaley Hall, formerly a large farmhouse, dating from the mid-1600s, which was rebuilt in 1900.
The valley bottom is broader here than in other parts of the village and this, together with the wide road junction and open space of the park area, gives a spacious feel to this part of the village. Smaller rendered cottages and some larger houses line the bottom of Yeoman Street and the 1930s housing along Study Drive overlooks the area. The well at the junction is an important feature here.
A characteristic of the Dale is the gaps between successive houses, with gable ends facing the road. This gives the impression of 'pinch points' where opposite gables coincide or a sense of open space between the buildings. The modern development at dale Close is uncharacteristically built around a closed cul-de-sac.
The position of both areas high above the Dale gives them an open, exposed aspect. Both have older stone and rendered cottages and houses that are characteristic of the village.
A feeling of enclosure is created by the closeness of the steep hillsides, with small stone and rendered cottages nestling into them, especially up Bankside. Roofs are a significant feature of the view from Bankside, where they reveal the complex yet harmonious pattern of village development.
The elevated position at this highest part of the village, together with broad views over surrounding hills, gives Uppertown a windswept and exposed feel. The majority of houses are small rendered or stone cottages, with a few modern infilled houses of brick or reconstituted stone. Bell Lane is narrow and houses have no front gardens, giving a secluded, enclosed feel to the road. New housing and plots towards the end of Bell Lane are larger in scale and have a different character. Stepping Lane has a particularly attractive outlook, ranging from wide views of the landscape from the top, with the gradual appearance of the church spire to roofs of the lower village as the path descends.
At the upper part of High Street, stone cottages are interspersed with larger houses and plots. Pounder Lane has small cottages near to High Street, with newer, larger houses opposite the working buildings of Manor Farm. All have fine views far beyond their size owing to their key positions. Lower down the hill, the houses become more tightly packed and many are gable-on to the road with small yards - again characteristic of the village.
Of more recent buildings, the most noteworthy are the ten Council houses. They are perhaps the last of the tradition of building simple, straightforward, practical houses for working people, like the cottages on Yeoman Street, built a century before.
The older housing leading to The Cross contains a number of historically significant, listed buildings. Here the view is closed in by the imposing Old Queens Head and Kings Head public house. The massing of cottages along the hillside in Greenhill and Church Street, topped by the church spire is a picturesque view.
This is the focus of the village and the strong sense of arrival is reinforced by the tight formal character of the buildings at this roughly triangular meeting point of routes. the steep surrounding fields and hillsides are seen above even the tallest buildings and this reinforces the strong and pleasing sense of enclosure. It also reinforces the impression of village architecture being enmeshed in the landscape. All buildings are made of stone and each is individually distinctive and of historical significance.
The hillside location has closely-packed, mostly smaller stone cottages near to The Cross. Beyond the Church there are larger houses and plots, together with the suburban 1990s developments in Glebe Close and the adjoining cul-de-sac, each having fine views over the village and towards Cromford and Middleton Moors. Ember Lane has a tight-knit feel, created by the narrow lane and row of small rendered cottages face-on to the road and having no gardens to the frontages.
At the upper end, houses are predominantly smaller stone or rendered cottages, closely packed in the deep ravine running between high cliffs and hillsides and having negligible plots at the frontages. The tight-knit nature is characteristic of this part of the village, where the pattern of housing has developed 'organically' over many centuries.
The intrinsic quality of many of the buildings, their juxtaposition and the subtle irregularities of the street combine to make streetscape views of a high quality. Towards the Fountain, the valley bottom opens out to permit a more diverse variety of housing, including brick construction and larger houses, some with plots adjacent to the road.
Despite having more traffic than most areas of the village, the area retains a close-knit enclosed feel and is a specially distinctive part of the village.
Images: L - Uppertown Lane, R - the village from Stepping Lane.