Huthwaite is historically recognised for setting the county record from Nottinghamshire's highest point. Atop steep slopes called Strawberry Bank is the areas general reference, clearly mapped 1884 when measured at 668.8 feet amongst meadows off Harper Lane.
Measurements taken above average sea levels vary slightly thereafter, but under no illusion ever forming a mountain. Majority of Nottinghamshire only lies marginally above flatter farmlands east across Lincolnshire. Perched upon the opposite mid and far west border, here overlooks rolling Derbyshire countryside that leads into the Peak District. At tail tip end of the Pennines, layers of limestone form ridges and smaller hills raising some areas across county divisions. Despite few other natural spots registering anywhere above 200 metres, earlier claimants elsewhere for the record retained locally contentious beliefs.
The counties record height - Its the one common fact simply learned and proudly quoted here throughout the 20th century. Heard taught in the highest sited secondary school under motto "Aim High." Truth be told, some were certain that Herrods Hill marked the elusive spot. One point there is found recording 659.7ft on same 1884 mapping nearby, although nobody really knew any actual exact measurements. In light of newly disputed understandings, this now reviews the rise and apparently the ultimate fall into historic obscurity.
A former property at Kirkby-in-Ashfield first displayed sign dated 1904, privately siting a record 609ft. Since the 1980's its gained personal pride of place on a terraced house atop Shoulder of Mutton Hill. Confused by what appears being an official marker, motorists ought realise that Derby Road passes higher spot around Beacon Farm, coming way nearer the signs former place. Nevertheless, the road does follow a natural ridge and the steep fall south side accentuates height of a few properties overlooking a rather magnificent panoramic view.
Quashing any other similar rumours, our esteemed Suttonian and historian George G Bonser left notes reaching later publication. He described the parish town
... on a range of the highest hills in the County, that on Coxmoor being 623 feet above sea level while in its Hamlet of Huthwaite a hill rises to 651, the highest in the county.
One visiting historian in the early 1900s, had already noted how central Main Street developments, rather honestly, and possibly quite accurately described Huthwaite :
... there are few more depressingly sordid places in the county than this which stands close to the highest point (654 ft.) reached within our borders.
Our Mr Bonser may have guided latest found 1933 press mention, when Notts Free Press more cheerfully reminded Sutton-in-Ashfield readers of the healthy virtues coming from fact
... that no further away than Huthwaite is to be found the highest point in the county. Such, however, is the case, the point in question being 657 feet above sea level. But this is not all. A contemporary has reminded us that the next highest point is Wild Hill at Teversal, with a height of 631 feet, whilst the hills of Kirkby are only two feet lower.
Timing of that articles publication could not be considered mere coincidence. Reports also cover Huthwaite Urban Councillors building a housing estate atop their renamed Chesterfield Road. Although data source and accuracy is unclear, the publicised facts did not arouse any sceptical alternatives. This would provide original proof to form basis of all future beliefs lasting throughout the 20th century.
Influential changes will be considered. Firstly, no significant difference was made to the contoured landmark when initially widening Harper Lane, nor following the Strawberry Bank addressed houses. Inside the circling of homes around Woodland Avenue, an impressive height could be recorded, even though that frontal peak was not exact spot revealed on earlier mapping.
In all honesty, residents remained unaware of the exact position, accepting that somewhere generally on Strawberry Bank still lay Nottinghamshire's highest recorded point. Finally emphasising this fact in 2003, Ashfield District Council placed a stone set plaque at nearest clear vantage point. Wording did carefully pronounce this area now the highest natural point in Nottinghamshire standing (660 feet) 201 metres.
Then, our past mining community readily applauded the monumental efforts made to focus attention onto setting a new county record. Nottinghamshire County Council announced their highest point in 2005 with a magnificent statue "Testing for Gas". Knelt above a claimed 205 metres, he does command an all round scenic view into far distance. It also acknowledges listings connecting the areas once vast coal industry.
This makes Silverhill Wood at Teversal a really breathtaking tourist attraction. The pit tip does, if only marginally, beat the natural topography of our Huthwaite landmark. Enthusiasts searching out county highs and lows did arguably dismiss its recorded status due being a man made effort. Nevertheless, distant sightings off this vantage spot then confirmed 2004 revelations found on the BBC website. Previously unrecognised top spot, measuring 203m or 666ft off Derbyshire's Newton Wood Lane, has mysteriously raised the farmland hill in Whiteborough into a new record.
Local pride did challenge these differing and very conflicting measurements. A Zumo 660 satellite navigator perhaps not best instrument for this particular task. Basic results suggested how little difference separated three lofty areas rising over 200m. A group of amateur surveyors finally concluded the relative heights differed only a few feet. A Whiteborough hill naturally ranks above Silverhill. Vaguely defined sightings comparably demote the historical and long recognised Huthwaite landmark down to unlisted second highest natural point, given third ranking overall.
Enthusiasts have newly recognised the highest point in Nottinghamshire actually stands beneath hedgerows lining these fields in adjacent Whiteborough. A mere bump on those meadows not only beats historically recognised claim, long held nearby on the Huthwaite landmark of Strawberry Bank, it even surpasses man made efforts to assert the tip at Silverhill Wood into a monumental top spot. Making rather a mockery of local beliefs includes Ashfield District and County Council surveyors. So how come its been dismissed for so long?
Viewing these sloping meadows off Chesterfield Road shows the hedgerow that actually defined the county boundary line. The landmark is widely distinguishable by sighting the communications mast. Also advantaged by height off Newtonwood Lane, on the left stands the Severn Trent Water station marking grid ref SK 4567560503. Both structures stand just inside Derbyshire. Erecting the borderline security fence around the water treatment plant could possibly have affected both height and county inclusion. The contentious difference comes down to less than an arms length in either direction.
Its accepted that Silverhill deservedly paints a spectacular ceiling. Findings at Whiteborough are what throw shadow of doubt upon the accuracy firstly asserting Strawberry Bank as the historic summit. Looking back at the 1933 press article shows consideration was given adjacent Teversal when noting a lower Wild Hill. That roadway also visibly passes bleak Whiteborough protrusions. Without any known measurements for those adjacent and clearly visible farmlands, could surveyors dismiss the mapped contours by seeing near equal levels rising into Derbyshire. Reportage may reflect some ignorance, even from older Parish pride. It looks however, like local survey results only shared interest upon surfaced lands requiring development.
Huthwaite appears rightful heir when historically setting the officially held county record, although by slighter margin than supposed, Constructing a Chesterfield Road housing scheme really firstly attracted attention towards recognising this unique status. Unquestioned thereafter, another later housing scheme probably forfeited the rightful claim unknowingly around 1950. General reference initially given Strawberry Bank then narrows down towards addressing Clegg Hill Drive, residentially extending further into Pennine Close. By overlaying 1884 mapped mark, it reveals how modern developments leave rear gardens encroaching upon, then later covering that indistinguishable placement.
A footpath still leads between houses onto the recognisably shaped old meadow. It lies secluded from outside views, except by looking northward in sighting Hardwick Hall. This will not inspire nor ever sought to attract visitors where the fields south corner pointed at a children's play area. Yet, nearest that hidden setting was truest Huthwaite summit. There's little chance of still measuring anything close its former height, if overlooked or blocked from latest surveys. At least it quietly kept lofty pride of place over working coal pits, and a secondary education.
Written 18 Oct 09 Revised 11 Feb 13 © by Gary Elliott