Bakewell, home of the famous Tart, or is it a pudding?

Tart or pudding

Last weekend I was in  the Peak District with my local rambling club when we visited Bakewell, home of the famous Tart, or is it a pudding? More of that later.

I joined the ‘B’ party and we started our walk from the beautiful village of Ashford-in-the-water.

203 Ashford-in-the-water

We headed westwards along the valley following the River Wye.

204 River Wye

We climbed up through some woodland before dropping down to Monsal Dale.


We then had another stretch of riverside walking until the railway viaduct came into view.

214 Monsal Dale

Monsal Dale was eroded by glacial meltwater during the last ice age, forming a gorge through layers of limestone that were deposited 350 million years ago.

217 Monsal Dale

221 The weir


228 Monsal Dale

The Headstone Viaduct at Monsal Head was built in 1863 on the Derby to Manchester section of the Midland Railway. It is 300 feet long and has five 50 foot span arches making it one of the most impressive viaducts in Britain.

It the time of its construction the viaduct and the railway came in for a lot of criticism, notably from John Ruskin, a leading poet of the time.

He said “The valley is gone – and now any fool in Buxton can be in Bakewell in half an hour and every fool on Bakewell in Buxton”

However the viaduct became one of the railways best selling points and appeared on many of its posters.

Eventually when the railway was closed there was talk of dismantling the viaduct but there was lots of opposition to this and in 1970 a preservation order was placed on the structure.

Just before we reached the viaduct we took a path to the left and climbed up to the viaduct and walked across it.

229 Monsal Head

There were pleasant views looking down on Monsal Dale and the path along which we had just walked.

We were now on the Monsal Trail which follows the route of the dismantled railway track. The line ran for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill in Chee dale and Coombs Viaduct in Bakewell. The majority of the route was opened in 1981 but four of the tunnels had to remain closed for ‘Health and safety’ reasons. However in May 2011 these tunnels each 400 yards long were finally opened to the public with lighting installed.

We did not walk through the tunnel but followed the steep path just before the entrance to climb up to Monsal Head where we paused for lunch.

233 Monsal Trail

01 View from Monsal Head

Suitably refreshed we started on our return journey with a short diversion through Little Longstone before re-joining the Monsal Trail.

239 The Monsal Trail

It was easy walking and you felt that you ought to be able to relax, but you had to keep your wits about you. The trail is very popular with cyclists. Some of them have very expensive bikes, lightweight frames and 27 gears minimum. Unfortunately they never have room for a bell!. Perhaps it would be too heavy. Most of them slow down when they are passing you, but not all of them.

Nearer to Bakewell we left the trail and followed an old drovers route entering Bakewell over the old packhorse bridge.


241 Bakewell

We had plenty of time for refreshments and I tried a pint of Bakewell Best Bitter 4.2 %, brewed by Peak Ales. A refreshing amber coloured ale with a dry and bitter taste and flavours of roasted malt and hops.


It is almost impossible to visit Bakewell without sampling the famous cake. But is it a Tart or is it a Pudding?

Tart or pudding

Bakewell Tart and Bakewell Pudding

Bakewell Tart, on the left, consists of a shortcrust pastry base with a layer of jam and a sponge using ground almonds. Using shortcrust pastry, cover with a layer of jam, add a mixture of eggs, sugar,  ground almonds and margarine. Fill the base with your ingredients an sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake in a warm oven.

Bakewell Tart

A Bakewell Pudding although containing the same ingredients, looks and tastes different. It is thought that it was first made by accident. In 1860.Mrs Greaves, the landlady of the White Horse Inn was expecting some important guests and she left instructions for her cook to prepare a jam tart. But the inexperienced cook,  instead of stirring the egg and almond paste mixture into the pastry  spread it on top of the jam. During cooking the jam bubbled up to the top and the texture was different.

Bakewell Pudding

There are loads of shops all proclaiming to use the original recipe. I could not decide which to buy so I bought both, purely for research purposes. I bought the large size just to make sure.

So far I have sampled both cold with afternoon tea. Tonight I will have them warm with custard. There should be enough left to try them with ice cream later in the week.

Which one do I prefer. I can’t decide. They are both delicious.

There is a lot of discussion even in Bakewell as to ‘When is a Bakewell Tart a Tart and when is it a pudding. The easiest way to differentiate is a Bakewell Tart is made with shortcrust pastry and a Bakewell Pudding with Puff pastry.

Happy eating.


About crosbyman66

My aim is to create a photo diary of my walks and my travels. I have two main hobbies, walking and photography and these complement each other. I am a senior citizen, what used to be called an old age pensioner, but I don't feel old. Since retirement I have had more time to pursue my hobbies and the opportunity to travel more. My philosophy now is - Do what you can, while you can. My other interests are fine wines and keeping fit. These may not complement each other but keep me happy.
This entry was posted in Crosby Rambling Club, Food, Peak District, Photography, Walks. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Bakewell, home of the famous Tart, or is it a pudding?

  1. Marie says:

    Looks like you had a big group of walkers! Was it the walk or the Bakewell tart that was the big attractions? Thanks for the recipe, I’ll give it a go.

  2. They both look delicious !

  3. crosbyman66 says:

    Something for you to look forward to when you come to the UK.

  4. crosbyman66 says:

    I think it must have been the tart. Enjoy

  5. Tracey says:

    Pudding please

  6. crosbyman66 says:

    Yes that’s my favourite but with cream.

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