Built in 1791 as stabling for the 5th Dukes shire horses, and it also housed cart horses and drays which provided transport for the farm and estate.

Later it was used for cattle with a milking parlour and slaughterhouse.
At the rear of the barn was a shed that housed a traction engine which took ice from the ice house on the Chatsworth Estate to Cromford canal and retuned with coal. (When the railway came to Rowsley in 1839, coal was also brought from there.) The engine was also used to take damsons to Drabbles, Dye Works at Tansley, from this period the buildings have been used for farming use and storage up until the development by The Royal School for the Deaf.

In May 1987 the 11th Duke of Devonshire opened the centre at Dukes Barn
The Very Reverend Ron Beddoes, priest in charge of Beeley and Endsor, was the inspiration behind this development.

The 11th Duke generously gave the building and large playing field to the Royal School for the Deaf, Derby on a free tenure for many years. The school raised £200,000 to restore and fit out the buildings as a countryside centre for deaf and other young people with disabilities to develop an understanding of the countryside.

In 2001 The Royal School for the Deaf ceased to run the centre at this time a new independent charity was set up to run and fund the centre. We have continued to build and improve on the earlier developments, to give us what we have today, a very comfortable well appointed centre.