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There is a lot to discover in Derbyshire and Solomon's Temple may be one of the smaller attractions but that does not mean that it should be forgotten. As the old adage goes, `Small is beautiful` and Solomon's Temple fits into that category very well. The ancient stone temple is known as a Victorian folly and that should mean that it was built for fun and ornamental purposes but that is not quite right because the folly replaced an existing building and it sits on a very significant piece of ground , so it has an important role to play. Solomon's Temple sits on top of a Neolithic burial ground that looks right out over the nearby town of Buxton. Buxton is a very popular place for tourists and The Buxton Opera House stages some wonderful plays, concerts and ballets. This is a very interesting little snippet of information that may surprise you, it seems that Solomon's Temple was the idea of one Solomon Mycock who was a local farmer and landowner and at the time when it was built the unemployment figures in the area were high, so the tower gave work to some of the jobless. Given that the Temple was erected in 1896 it is fascinating to think that they had the very same problems with employment as we do today. The journey starts in Buxton ( Solomon's Temple is well signposted ) and we usually park in the Poole's cavern car park which is below the hill that we need to slowly climb to see the temple. The hill is called Grin Low and it sits in a wooded area which is known as Grin Low woods. If you are walking at an average pace then allow about 45 minutes for the walk up to the temple from the car park. You do have to negotiate some steps and styles into the woods and this may be too difficult for some. If you think about it then take time to look down at the tree roots, some of them are wonderful, the gnarled and muscly roots cling to the ground like claws. To call the construction a temple seems odd, when I think of a temple I imagine a large, grand and somewhat elaborate building but Solomon's Temple is neither grand or elaborate and it only stands about twenty feet high. The beauty of the Temple lays in it's position, as you ascend the hill the temple remains hidden and only when you reach the brow of Grin hill does the temple reveal itself. Solomon's temple stands 439 metres above sea level where the air is crisp and clear and the views are spectacular. The temple sits in an area of rugged pasture land and you will see that the land is peppered with large chunks of limestone. The rugged pasture land land is attractive and the undulations flow like surfing waves, at that point you are out of the woodland and you will only encounter the odd tree here and there. You will always have to be mindful of the paths, when the temple was erected I am sure that the Health and safety rules were not as stringent ! You enter the tower through a small `doorway` and you climb the two storey building via a rough stone staircase. The ground floor has carved out arches which look like windows, so this does let light into the tower though I have to admit that the tower always makes me feel slightly hemmed in. As you round the stone staircase onto the first floor the carved arches are filled in with stone - unlike the ground floor. But the climb is worth it and as you reach the top of the tower you soon see why. From the top of the tower you will look out over the High Peak and if the weather is on your side you can see for miles. The view out over Buxton is amazing, on the skyline you should be able to pick out Kinder scout and Mam tor at Castleton ( Kinder scout is 636m high!) When you are in the tower make sure that you take a close look at the stonework, it is really intriguing. By the late 1980's Solomon's Temple was starting to look a little bit more weathered than it should and a decision was made to restore it to it's former glory. It may only be a small monument but I am so pleased that it has been preserved for future generations. Take your camera because if the weather is good then you will get some good shots. Maybe it would be good to include the visit to Solomon's Temple if you are going to visit Buxton. Buxton has a lot to offer but you should not miss out on Solomon's Temple. You are going to need to wrap up warmly unless the weather is good and the wind gets very keen on the hill. There is no entry fee to the temple and it is so refreshing to find an attraction that costs nothing. The kids might enjoy the challenge of climbing the hill ( though I doubt Gran would!) and they may even enjoy hearing the stroy behind the temple. "When you are entered about eight yards the hollow suffers you to rise, and view the beauty of the arched roof above, which shines as if 'twas beset with stars." anonymous writer around 1710
Solomons Temple is a strange looking monument that overlooks the Derbyshire spa town of Buxton. It has proved to be a popular destination to walk to for both locals and visitors to the area and the views from here are breathtaking. The walk to Solomons Temple is quite an easy one, even though the climb up through the woods is quite steep. The footpath is of good quality, well walked and it is therefore quite easy going underfoot. The walk begins at the edge of the town, although there are several possible approaches. There are many signs pointing towards "Solomons Temple" and eventually all of the different footpaths lead to the same place. One of the most popular starting points for this walk is from the car park of Poole's Cavern. Poole's Cavern is another popular tourist attraction in the town and is well sign-posted. The Car park at Poole's Cavern is a pay & display car park but it is possible to park for free on the residential streets nearby. The walk begins within a steep climb up some wooden steps into the woods. This is actually the steepest part of the journey and if you can mange these first fifty or so steps then you should have no problem with the rest of the route. The footpath winds across the wooded hillside through an area of mature woodland known as Grin Low. This woodland was planted during the seventeenth century by the Duke to Devonshire to hide the scars of limestone quarrying, which were rather unsightly and spoiled the view from his country estate at Chatsworth House. There are still many remnants of the lime quarrying that took place on this hillside and this is particularly evident in a number of hollows that can be found dug into the hillside. These hollows were originally lime kilns and next to these there were crude wooden houses. By the early 1800's it is believed that there were over 200 different lime kiln families living in these woods. The distance from the car park to Solomons Temple on the summit is 2km (1.5 miles) and the journey takes you to a height of over 1,440 feet. Grin Low, from where these woods derive their name is a humpback ridge. The word "Low" is of Saxon origin and often refers to a hilltop that was the site of a burial ground. Solomons Temple is not actually visible whilst you are climbing up through the woods so as the trees suddenly open up onto an area of open green pasture land the site of this round structure is quite a surprise. Solomons Temple stands on the site of an old Bronze Age settlement. It was built in 1890 and takes its name from a man called Solomon Mycock who owned this land when this monument was built. The true purpose of what Solomons Temple actually is, is unclear. It may have been some kind of look out tower but the main theory is that it was mainly built to provide employment for the men that worked on the Duke of Devonshire's estate. Solomons Temple is a stone built structure that is round in shape. It is two storeys high but stands only twenty feet high. There is a small entrance to climb inside this structure and from here you can climb the round, spiral stone staircase to the viewing platform at the top. It is completely free to enter and it is unmanned but the views from the top are magnificent. The slopes of Mam Tor, one of the largest mountains in the Pennines is clearly visible from here, whilst there are good views of the town of Buxton below. Looking in the direction away from Buxton the busy A53 trunk Toad winds through the soft, rolling green hills known as The Roaches. This route follows the course of an old Roman road and if you look carefully you can actually see the remains of an old Roman fort on the hillside. This is close to the town of Leek in Staffordshire. There is something very tranquil about Solomons Temple. Despite its popularity and relatively close proximity to the town of Buxton the air always seems to smell so fresh up here. The walk from the car park at Poole's Cavern to Solomons Temple should only take about twenty minutes, making it an ideal stroll. I am not sure why Solomons Temple is called a Temple, but it is also sometimes referred to Grin Low Tower. If you ever find yourself in this part of the Peak District National Park then I would definitely recommend that you set an hour or so aside to make this worthwhile journey.