Everyone has heard of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London and many people also know of The Nelson Monument on Calton Hill, Edinburgh. But did you know that in the Peak District we have our own Nelson’s Monument? Not only that, nearby we also have the three historical British fighting ships of Victory, Defiance and Royal Soverin!
Take a walk onto Birchen Edge, one of the gritstone edges that the Dark Peak area is famous for. The views are stunning and you can also up there find Nelson’s Monument and The Three Ships. The monument was erected by a local business man called John Brightman in 1810 in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson following his victory and his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. This was some thirty years before the London Nelson’s Column was constructed. The ‘ships’ are three large gritstone boulders which have had the words Victory, Defiance and Royal Soverin engraved on them like the names on the prow of the ships.
The area between Gardoms Edge and Birchen Edge in the Peak District was once the site of a small Bronze age settlement and was farmed by the people who lived there. If you take a wander around the area, you can find several interesting Bronze Age and Neolithic features hidden among the trees, bracken, heather and grassy areas. One of the most interesting is this slab of gritstone featuring a ‘ring and cup’ carving. It is believed to be a Bronze age form of art. It would be fabulous to be able to look back in time to see the people who made this carving and maybe to understand a little of its significance.
Having found the rock and marveled at it, you should then bend down and tap or knock on it. You will soon realise that it is not quite what it seems! It sounds hollow inside. That is because in 1996 the original rock was buried in a secret location nearby to protect it from erosion and other damage and it was replaced by this polyester resin and fiberglass replica. Just to look at it you would never know.