Some 360 million years ago the Peak District was a coral reef lying under a shallow sea. The hills, valleys limestone gorges and gritstone edges you see today are made up of millions of sea creatures, plants and shells from that time. 

Subsequent  geological processes raised this rock well above sea level. Thereafter the action of water streams eroding and dissolving the limestone created dramatic steep sided valleys above ground and cave systems below.

People first lived here between 10,000 and 8,000 BC, around 10,000 years ago  and have since added other characteristic features to the peak district, lime kilns, dry stone walls , farmsteads and livestock.

Today, River Lodge, lies in the lower Manifold  valley , approximately one mile above Ilam.   The first stone was laid on 6th May 1840 by Jemima, Countess of Monteglas.   Jemima (1816-1881) was one of eight children born at Ilam to Jesse Watts-Russell and his wife Mary.   She married Count Maximillian Graf Von Montgelas of Munich, Germany with whom she had four children but always retained a strong link with Ilam.   The Lodge has been in our family for over 70 years and we too have a strong relationship to the local area.

Within the grounds of Throwley is the Grade 2 listed ruin of Old Throwley Hall, first lived in by Oliver de Meverell in 1203.  Throwley, then a hamlet, was once a busy settlement which still boasts its own Barracks which are now Cowsheds at Throwley Hall Farm.

Julie’s mother, the late Muriel White, came from a family who have farmed at nearby Castern for over two hundred years.   The beautiful Casterne Hall, with its present house dating back to 1735,  looks across the valley to us.