Heritage Cafe

Social get togethers for the over 50s with a focus on local history. Meetings usually take place at Brackenfield Church Hall, from 10:30am to 12:30pm, with a guest speaker. Admission is £3.00 per person on the door and includes refreshments. Open to residents of Brackenfield, Wessington and the surrounding areas. Please get in touch if you would like to come along, so we know how much cake we need!

Contact details:

07940 510531


Supported by Brackenfield Village Association, Derbyshire County Council and Tesco “Bags of Help”:

Brackenfield Village Association: www.brackenfield.org


Over the few years, members of the Brackenfield community have been piecing together some fascinating local history as part of the emerging Neighbourhood Plan. This led to the idea of starting a regular group where people could come together to share local knowledge, exchange stories and invite experts to entertain and inform on topics of interest. The group started in October 2018 aided by generous funding from DCC and Tesco and there has been a lot of enthusiasm so far. It is hoped that as the group develops there will be opportunities for local project work to explore and sustain some of this area's rich heritage assets. As well as meetings in the Church Hall, there are occasional visits and activities exploring the area.

Programme for 2019/20

Tuesday 8 October at Brackenfield Church Hall 10:30am to 12:30pm - Derbyshire Cavemen with Stephen Cliffe


Tuesday 12 November at Brackenfield Church Hall 10:30am to 12:30pm - Stonemason Builders of Hardwick Hall with Sonia Preece

Tuesday 10 December at Cromford Mill 10:30am to 12:30pm - Lumsdale Valley with Julian Burgess

Tuesday 7 January at Brackenfield Church Hall 10:30am to 12:30 - The Butterley Company - with Tim Castledine

Tuesday 25 February at Brackenfield Church Hall 10:30am to 12:30 - The Butterley Company part 2 - with Tim Castledine

The following events have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation. It is hoped that the Heritage Cafe will resume later in the year, subject to Government guidance, in which case new dates will be published.

Tuesday 24 March at Brackenfield Church Hall 10:30am to 12:30 - Sutton Scarsdale with John Taylor

Tuesday 28 April at Brackenfield Church Hall 10:30am to 12:30 - The Cromford Canal with Mike Kelley

Tuesday 2 June - Visit to the Cascades Garden at Bonsall 10:30pm onwards. Booking is required for this event. Contact secretary@brackenfield.org or 07940 510531

Sunday 12 July at Brackenfield Church Hall from 1pm - Heritage Trail Launch exhibition and walks; refreshments; followed by a Community Picnic on the Green at 4:30pm  with Live Music - Miss Marina Mae


Programme for 2019

Tuesday 8 January at Brackenfield Church Hall 10:30am to 12:30pm

Ashover Light Railway

Richard Booth, Chairman of the Ashover Light Railway Society, will give a presentation about the history of this former narrow gauge freight and passenger line, part of which ran through the Amber Valley, from around 1925 to 1950. There are remnants of the track bed submerged under Ogston Reservoir.

Thursday 28 February at Derby Museum and Art Gallery, The Strand, Derby, DE1 1BS 11:00am to 12:00pm

The Joseph Wright Collection

Lucy Bamford, Curator of the Joseph Wright Collection, will give a guided talk.

Joseph Wright (3 September 1734 – 29 August 1797), styled Joseph Wright of Derby, was an English landscape and portrait painter. He has been acclaimed as "the first professional painter to express the spirit of the Industrial Revolution". Wright is notable for his use of chiaroscuro effect, which emphasises the contrast of light and dark, and for his paintings of candle-lit subjects. His paintings of the birth of science out of alchemy, often based on the meetings of the Lunar Society, a group of scientists and industrialists living in the English Midlands, are a significant record of the struggle of science against religious values in the period known as the Age of Enlightenment.

Booking is essential as numbers are strictly limited.

Tuesday 26 March at Brackenfield Church Hall 10:30am to 12:30pm

The Civil War in Derbyshire – Brian Stone

Brian Stone is an experienced and well-known writer and lecturer specialising in military and naval history and author of “Derbyshire in the Civil War” (Scarthin Books) He has taught numerous courses for the WEA and Nottingham University and appeared as guest speaker at many local history societies. He will focus on the impact of the Civil War in our surrounding area, including the destruction of Eastwood Hall in Ashover.

Tuesday 30 April at Brackenfield Church Hall 10:30am to 12:30pm

Wingfield Manor – Palace and Prison

Julia Hickey, writer and historian, will give a presentation about Wingfield Manor's colourful history, including the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots.

Tuesday 4 June at Brackenfield Church Hall 10:30am to 12:30pm

To be arranged - Contact for further details.

Sunday 14 July on Brackenfield Village Green

Cestrefeld (Early Medieval living history group) at the 2019 “Picnic on the Green”

Cestrefeld is an Early Medieval living history group covering the whole of Derbyshire. They are a member group of the national society Regia Anglorum and take part in a huge variety of national and local shows throughout the year. As well as battle recreations, they demonstrate various crafts, some of which the public can try for themselves, such as bread making and making an Anglo-Saxon coin. They specialise in recreating the period 850 to 1066 (from around the birth of King Alfred to the Norman Invasion), the later part of what is traditionally called the Dark Ages or the Viking Age, and have members portraying roles from all walks of life. They pride themselves on attention to authenticity and focus on educating people about the period as well, of course, as offering fantastic entertainment. For one day only, glimpse life as it would have been lived in Anglo-Saxon times.