The Abandoned House, Shining Cliff Woods

Past a small market town in north Derbyshire lies Shining Cliff Woods. It was a cold January day when Ben and I explored this creepy and supposedly haunted patch of forest. The remnants of Derbyshire’s industrial past are scattered throughout this region, giving it a rich history. I’m talking ruined manor houses, converted mills and abandoned warehouses. The trees are bare and leaves carpet the floor. If you walk here on a sunny weekend, you’ll be in the company of dog walkers. Walk here on a moody weekday, and you’ll find the only company is the bird who flitters in the tree canopy above your head.

Shining Cliff Woods is home to a large area of abandoned warehouses, once belonging to a cabling business that is now defunct. The warehouses are covered in graffiti and moss, their ceilings caved in and windows boarded up. Last summer a teenage boy climbed onto a roof here and died when he fell. You can see the small hole he fell through, and the flowers that lie in his memory have turned brown and yellow in the winter months.

Just past these warehouses sits Oakhurst House, an impressive manor house that wouldn’t look out of place in a horror movie. Built in the 1800s, it has been used as a retreat for monks and has been converted into flats. Now it lies in ruins, slowly being returned to the forest that surrounds it.

Probably the coolest secret in these woods is the Berry Kenney tree. Back in the 1700s, a family of coal burners lived nomadic in the woods, brining up 8 wild children. One of their favourite spots to set up camp was a 1,000 year old yew tree, where Betty used to rock her children to sleep in a large bough of the tree. Apparently, this is where the lullaby Rock-a-bye baby comes from! After a devastating fire in the 1930s, the tree is now dead. It still stands proud at the highest point of the woods, in it’s own little clearing in the pines.

If the warehouses, the Oakhurst ruins and the Betty Kenney tree weren’t enough to creep us out, we got lost on our way back to the path. We had to cut through the forest, completely off track. Just under the leaves, I spotted a jacket half buried in the mud. Ben began digging in case there was something sinister attached to the jacket, but there was nothing. Did I mention a man was murdered here years ago, and his remains scattered throughout the woods? Eeesh. We hot stepped it out of there pretty quickly after that!

I filmed the whole trip, which you can watch here or at the top of this post if you want. If you’re into things that are a little spooky and off the beaten path, I think you’ll enjoy.

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  • Oooo this does have a bit of an eeery feeling to it, but it also has quite an interesting beautiful. Your photography definitely has brought this area back to life. The story about the Berry Kenney tree is quite interesting and to think that this is where Rock-a-bye baby may have come from. But ohh goodness to think you got lost at the end – thank goodness you managed to find your way back. But I don’t know how well I would have done, especially knowing there was a murder there too! ahhhh!!

  • Jp Licudan

    Beautiful pictures! You have an Impressive photography skills! I love visiting abandoned places. It tells you countless stories from the past and somehow it brings you there like a time machine.

  • Aditi Malhotra

    This place seems right out of a horror film, though I dont fancy such things and they aren’t my idea of amusement, a place like this in reality can surely add a lot of adventure to the trip provided its not haunted. The woods and the mansion do lure and have a sense of unsaid inviting vibe about them and I think given a chance i would surely visit it

  • heidi medina

    Abandoned places are always a mixture of fun and creepiness. But also a haven for street art! It hubby and I love seeking out places like this for the history and the potential possibilities. This place looks like loads of fun.

  • judy morris

    Oh boy this place looks so creepy.. But it is really beautiful and has some kind of attraction that pulls you. The woods and mansion are the same beautiful yet spooky looking. Finally you got lost… ha ha.. that must be like a thrilling experience as well.

  • Dann Castillo

    I might sound like a weirdo… But I loved this! The shots are absolutely gorgeous and eerie at the same time almost from a CD cover or a fashion photoshoot. This place is creepy, but, at the same time, gives a really awesome setting to explore and photograph! I can understand how it is full of murder stories and such. Sounds like an amazing way to spend a day out of the ordinary!

    • Thank you so much! Haha not weird at all! I’m so glad you also appreciate the beauty of places like this. It had so much atmosphere, it was definitely eerie but also so beautiful to explore 🙂

  • Dada KS

    This is creepy…but I love it! I would love to have a thrilling walk in the Shining cliff wood! I can imagine the beauty of the Oakhurts manor when it was still intact but even now it’s beautiful and the same goes with the Berry Kenney tree! What an intriguing story and quite sad that this majestic tree got caught in a fire! I am glad to hear that you guys didnt find anything more sinister than a half burried jacket!!

    • Isn’t it just! Even as a ruin you can tell how beautiful it must have been. Haha me too! I didn’t stop around long to find out though.

  • Lisa Rivera

    I got a chill after reading this post! Imagine going there during Halloween, it must be pretty scary! Very cool about the tree and the historic story behind it, can’t imagine what the wild children looked like!

    • Eek I know, pretty terrifying. Yeah I love the tree legend, I would have loved to have seen the family. I think there’s a painting of them somewhere on the internet though!

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↠ a travelogue of adventures ↠ travelling the world with my love and working as we go. these are our stories.

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