Matlock: Tourist Attractions and Places to Visit in the Peak District - Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire

A directory of tourist and visitor attractions near Matlock in the Peak District area of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. Historic houses, churches, dams and reservoirs, theme parks, museums, railways and castles

Visitor Attractions around Matlock

historic interest

 Arkwright's Mill, Cromford

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Cromford Mill was Sir Richard Arkwright's first and most important cotton mill, at which he pioneered the development of his water frame spinning machine and revolutionised the manufacture of cloth, thereby laying one of the cornerstones of the Industrial Revolution.

Arkwright began his career in the Nottingham area, but in 1771 he and his partners moved to Derbyshire to take advantage of the potential water-power available from the streams and rivers there. Cromford was chosen and the water from Bonsall Brook and Cromford Sough (a lead-mine drain) were utilised. A disadvantage of Cromford was poor communications and it was not until the opening of the Cromford Canal in 1793 that Arkwright had a cheap and easy way of transporting both raw materials and finished goods to and from the site.

The first mill here was built in 1771 and a further one added in 1776. Arkwright developed further patents and the mills were extended until 1791, when they reached their greatest extent. By 1840 the mill was out of date and had been overtaken by the steam-powered mills in Lancashire and the Masson Mill upstream. The second mill was burnt down in 1890 and only the original mill survives, along with some secondary buildings such as the Counting House.

The building was derelict when the Arkwright Society acquired it in 1979 and approximately 3 million has been spent restoring it, a process which is still ongoing. The mill is now part of the Derwent Valley World Heritage site - the valley has an unrivalled collection of early cotton mills.

For more information about Richard Arkwright see www.cottontimes.co.uk/arkwrighto.htm
 
Arkwright's Mill, Cromford Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge
Richard Arkwright
0 - Richard Arkwright

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK299570


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How to get there

By Road:
The mill lies just off the A6 Derby-Matlock road at Cromford. Coming from Derby, turn right at the traffic lights towards Cromford Station. There is a small free car park opposite the mill.

By Bus: the 141 bus from Matlock passes the gate of the mill. The Trans-Peak Derby-Manchester buses pass along the A6 within 200m of the mill, stopping on the main road.

By Train: regular trains running between Derby and Matlock stop at Cromford Station - a walk of about 500m from the mill.
When is it open?

The mill is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.
What does it cost?

Visiting the mill site itself is free. Tours are charged separately as follows:

Mill Tour - Adults £3.50/ Children and Concessions £2.50

Village Tour - Adults £3.00/ Children and Concessions £2.50

Combined Tour - Adults £5.00/ Concessions £4.00

Pre-booked Group and School Tour Charges - £2.50 per person plus a Guide fee of

Mill Tour £10.00, Village Tour £15.00, Combined Tour £20.00

Entrance to the mill yard is free and this houses a range of small shops and a cafe. Contact 01629 823256 for times and groups.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening

Website: http://www.arkwrightsociety.org.uk/

good for exercisegood scenery

 Black Rocks Country Park

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An outcrop of gritstone sculpted by the wind and rain, Black Rocks hang high above the village of Cromford with Cromford Moor behind and the High Peak Trail (the former Cromford and High Peak Railway) passing just below. It's a spectacular situation which affords a splendid view of the Derwent valley around Matlock and because of its popularity the area has been designated a country park.

This is a popular place for recreation, with rock-climbing available on the rocks themselves and plenty of scope for walking in the park, which stretches right down to High Peak Junction where the former railway met the Cromford canal. There is also a fixed orienteering course and forest trails in the surrounding woods. The country park has a car park and small information centre with public toilets.
 
Black Rocks Country Park Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Black Rocks, Cromford
0 - Black Rocks, Cromford
Black Rocks climbers
1 - Black Rocks climbers

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK293558


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How to get there

By Road:
the B5035 from Cromford to Carsington and Ashbourne goes past Black Rocks. Cromford lies on the A6 Derby-Matlock road. Car parking is available.

By Bus: the R61 and 213 buses from Matlock to Derby and Wirksworth respectively stop nearby.

By Train: Cromford station (on the Matlock - Derby line) lies apprximately 2km distant.
When is it open?

Open all year, all day.
What does it cost?

No charge.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

historic interestgood for children

 Ecclesbourne Valley Railway


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The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway has re-opened the line between Duffield and the Wirksworth in the Derbyshire Dales. Its headquarters are at Wirksworth Station where the railway's volunteers are busy working to bring the line back to life after many years of disuse. The line passes through the lovely Ecclesbourne Valley and the group are restoring the railway in stages and have now reached Duffield.

There are visitor facilities at Wirksworth Station (on Coldwell Street) including a Visitor Centre describing the project and a small shop and cafe. These are open every day from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, so do call the station (Tel: 01629 823076). On site is the sole remaining Derby Lightweight railcar unit. Built in 1954, "Iris" went into use as a departmental coach for some years and she has now been beautifully restored to her original condition. Visitors come from all over the country to see her with her being the last remaining rail vehicle of her kind!

Trains run between Wirksworth and Duffield on Saturdays on Sundays from mid-March to the end of October and also on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer months.

Admission to the station area is free and special events are held from time to time. Further information can be found on their website
 

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK290540


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How to get there

By Road:
the former Wirksworth station lies just off the B5035 near the centre of Wirksworth. Coming from Matlock direction, turn off the A6 at Cromford and take the B5036 to Wirksworth, up the steep hill. From the south, the B5036 leads to Wirksworth from the A6 at Duffield.

By Bus: the R61 and 213 buses from Matlock to Derby and Wirksworth respectively stop nearby.
When is it open?

Wirksworth Station is open 10.00am to 4.00pm every day.

Trains runs Saturday 3rd, Saturday 10th March and then...

Saturdays and Sundays from Saturday 17th March 2012 to Sunday 28th October 2012.

Tuesdays from Tuesday 5th June to Tuesday 25th September 2012.

And...Thursday 7th June, Tuesday 30th October and Thursday 1st November for school half terms.
What does it cost?

Admission to the station is free and the train fares are available via the displayed link below.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening

Website: http://www.e-v-r.com

good for children

 Gulliver's Kingdom


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Gulliver's Kingdom is a theme park for young families, in a situation overlooking Matlock Bath.

Attractions include a chair-lift, log flume, mine train, lazy river ride, dodgems, animated Gullivers Travels ride and several family shows. There is a restaurant and shop facilities.


 

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK293578


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How to get there

By Road:
the theme park lies close to the A6 Derby-Matlock road in Matlock Bath. Car parking (pay and display) is available close by.

By Bus: the Trans-Peak Derby-Manchester bus passes the door, as do several local buses.

By Train: the Derby-Matlock line has a regular service and Matlock Bath station is about 400m from Gulliver's Kingdom.
When is it open?

Open Easter to end of October, 10.30am to 5.00pm. Weekends only in April, May and October, except for school holidays. Open Christmas.
What does it cost?

Adults £13.95/ Children £13.95/ Babies Under 90cm FREE/ O.A.Ps £12.95

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening

Website: http://www.gulliversfun.co.uk/gullivers.php?parkname=Matlock_Bath

historic interestgood for childrengood for exercisegood scenery

 Heights of Abraham

Slideshow

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The Heights of Abraham are a tourist centre strategically placed at the top of a spur on one of the bends in the River Derwent, high above Matlock Bath and opposite High Tor. The position is a fine one and the hillside is covered in beech woods which give some attractive short walks. The hilltop is crowned by the Victoria Tower which offers excellent views of the River Derwent below and the countryside around. There is a cable car up to the Heights, starting from just upstream of Matlock Bath railway station.

The main feature of the Heights are two caverns which are open as show caves. Both of these, Rutland Cavern and Great Masson Cavern, are part natural and part lead mines. The Rutland cavern was known as the Nestus mine and is probably the oldest in the area, so old it may have been one of those worked by the Romans. It has several large chambers, a spring of clear water known as Jacob's Wishing Well, fine examples of fluorspar and other crystals and graffiti from the 16th century miners. The pick marks on the walls indicate that it was worked entirely by hand and some of the marks are almost certainly mediaeval.

Great Masson Cavern lies further up the hill near its summit and is another of the oldest mines in the Peak, following the line of the Great Rake - a seam of lead which cuts across the Derwent valley and continues across the countryside for many miles. The cavern follows the vein and is initially quite narrow, before emerging into several larger chambers and exiting higher up the hillside.


 
Heights of Abraham Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
The cable railway to Heights of Abraham
0 - The cable railway to Heights of Abraham
Matlock Bath
1 - Matlock Bath

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK292585


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How to get there

By Road:
the cable car is 200m from Matlock Bath railway station, on the A6 Derby-Matlock road just south of Matlock. It is simplest to park at the station car park and walk to the cable car station.

By Bus: the Trans-Peak Derby-Manchester bus passes the cable car station and connects to Buxton and Bakewell. From Chesterfield, the 17 bus takes you to Matlock - then either take the train or pick up the Trans-Peak bus.

By Train: regular trains run from Derby to Matlock, stopping at Matlock Bath.
When is it open?

Open from 24th March to 4th November, 10.00am to 4.30pm, (and normally weekends only outside these dates).


What does it cost?

Price includes both Cable Car ride and Cavern entry

Adult £13.00/ Child (5-16) £9.00, under 5s free/ Concessions £9.50/ Family of 4 £39.00 / Senior Family (2 seniors + 2 children) £34.50 - additional children £8.00

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening

Website: http://www.heightsofabraham.com

historic interestgood for exercise

 High Peak Junction and Cromford Canal

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This is the original workshops of the Cromford and High Peak Railway - a unique railway which ran between Whaley Bridge and Cromford, via Buxton, mainly serving the local quarries. This unique railway was built in 1830 to link the High Peak Canal at Whaley Bridge with the Cromford Canal, and used static engines on a number steep inclines which were necessary to overcome the hilly countryside (the track achieved an altitude of 1250 feet near Buxton), plus normal railway engines on the stretches imbetween. The railway finally closed in 1963, though the Whaley Bridge - Buxton section closed much earlier. The workshops are located at the bottom of an incline where the Cromford and High Peak Railway descended from Black Rocks to the Derwent Valley to join the Midland Railway below. The workshops contain early relics of the railway, plus a model and a video show. Nearby is Leawood Pump House, built to pump water for the Cromford Canal, which runs alongside the Midland Railway and the River Derwent. This was constructed in 1794 and linked Cromford with Langley Mill, where it joined the Erewash Canal. The canal was built to carry local limestone to the iron foundry at Butterley and goods to and from Richard Arkwright's Cromford Mills.
 
High Peak Junction and Cromford Canal Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Cromford - High Peak Junction
0 - Cromford - High Peak Junction
Cromford Canal and Wharf
1 - Cromford Canal and Wharf

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK315555


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How to get there

By Road:
the junction lies just off the A6 road about 3km south-east of Cromford. It can be reached from the A6, but access is easier by turning off the A6 at Cromford to take the road to the station. Continue past Cromford station along side the River Derwent for 3km until the road turns away from the river, where you see a parking place and a bridge across the river.

By Bus: The Trans-Peak bus (Nottingham to Buxton via Derby) goes along the A6, with an hourly service.

By Train: Cromford Station lies approximately 3km away. From there head back into Cromford a short distance to the end of the Cromford Canal - the towpath offers a pleasant walk to High Peak Junction.
When is it open?

Open Easter - October daily from 10.30am to 5.30pm and winter weekends from 10.40am to 4.30pm.
What does it cost?

Adult £0.50, child £0.25. Phone: 01629 822831

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

Website: http://www.derbyshire-peakdistrict.co.uk/highpeakjunction.htm

good for childrengood for exercisegood scenery

 High Peak Trail

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The High Peak Trail takes the line of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway between Parsley Hey and Cromford. This railway is worth a brief description because of its unique nature.

The line originally connected the canals at Whaley Bridge and Cromford, running up the Goyt Valley to Buxton and across the limestone plateau to Middleton by Wirksworth, then down to Black Rocks and down again to the Cromford canal in the Derwent Valley below. Built in 1830, it was one of the earliest railways in the country, and because of the hilly terrain it traversed it originally had 9 inclines where the trucks were hauled up or down the incline by stationery engines.

The inclines are still visible but only one of the winding engines has survived - at Middleton Top, near Wirksworth. The best places to see the old inclines are at Middleton, at Sheep Pastures above the A6 at Cromford, and in the Goyt Valley - where the road above Errwood Reservoir now goes down one of them.

The Goyt Valley section of the line closed as early as 1892, but the rest of the line continued in service as a unique part of the British Railways system until 1967, when it was a victim of the Beeching cuts.

The line was purchased in 1971 by Derbyshire County Council and the Peak District National Park Authority and converted into a cycle track, and the trail makes a fine day out - probably more interesting than the more popular Tissington Trail.

From Parsley Hay the line passes beneath the A515 and winds its way past the brick works at Friden and on to the south of Pikehall. Some of the high embankments are especially noteworthy and unusual - the engineering is more reminiscent of a canal than a railway. It then passes Minninglow and various industrial relics including the only old-style lime kiln still intact in Derbyshire.

Further on it passes Harboro Rocks - the site of numerous archaeological finds from its caves - and various lime quarries and continues to the Hopton Incline. This was originally one of those with a fixed engine, but this was later removed and trains were hauled up this 1 in 14 incline by normal locomotives, making it the steepest such climb on the British Rail system.

Beyond Hopton incline lies Middleton Top, where there is a visitor centre belonging to Derbyshire County Council and the Engine House belongs to Derbyshire Archaeological Society. The incline here is 1 in 8, so it's a steep descent to Middleton. The trail then continues past Black Rocks before descending the equally steep Sheep Pastures incline to the A6 and the Cromford canal by the Derwent.

Cycle hire is available at Parsley Hay (tel: 01298 84493) and Middleton Top (tel: 01629 823204).
 
High Peak Trail Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Cromford - High Peak Junction
0 - Cromford - High Peak Junction
Black Rocks, Cromford
1 - Black Rocks, Cromford
Middleton Top Winding Station
2 - Middleton Top Winding Station
High Peak Trail - Hopton Incline
3 - High Peak Trail - Hopton Incline
High Peak Trail - old limekiln at the side of the trail
4 - High Peak Trail - old limekiln at the side of the trail
High Peak Trail near Minninglow
5 - High Peak Trail near Minninglow
High Peak Trail - on the trail  near Gotham
6 - High Peak Trail - on the trail near Gotham

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK276551


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How to get there

By Road:
If you want to walk or cycle along the trail then the best places to approach it are at Black Rocks, Middleton Top, Pikehall Station or Parsley Hey. Between these places suitable parking spots are few and far between. The B5035 from Cromford to Carsington and Ashbourne goes past Black Rocks. Cromford lies on the A6 Derby-Matlock road. Car parking is available. Parsley Hey lies just off the A515 road between Buxton and Ashbourne. Pikehall Station is just off the A5012 Cromford-Newhaven road.
When is it open?

Open all hours, no restrictions.
What does it cost?

No charge for the Middleton Top visitor centre. Some of the car parks are pay and display.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

good for exercisegood scenery

 High Tor, Matlock

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High Tor is a lofty limestone crag which towers over Matlock Bath which used to be privately owned but now belongs to the local authority. This means that entrance is free, whereas at one time a fee had to be paid by visitors, including the climbers who scaled the sheer face of the crag to get there!

The view from the summit area of the tor is very impressive, all the more so because the cliff edge is totally unfenced and even those with a head for heights are likely to find the drop unnerving. There is an excellent view of Matlock Bath and the Heights of Abraham on the opposite hill. For those with strong nerves a narrow walkway called 'Giddy Ledge' winds around a section of the cliff and even though this is not the highest buttress of the tor, the situation is impressive.

Behind the tor summit are Fern and Roman caves, deep clefts in the rock which are not natural caves but lead veins which have been worked to a depth of up to 10 metres and a width of between one and two metres. These workings are undateable but are probably among the oldest in the area and may even be Roman in origin. Both 'caves' are accessible. Roman cave is well over 100 metres long and it is possible to walk along the bottom of it quite easily.

At the south (railway station) end of the tor grounds there is the terminus for the cable car to the Heights of Abraham, the lazy way to ascend the hill on the opposite bank. This operates in summer months only.

The park can be approached on foot from the railway station, or from the road to Starkholmes, but the best approach is to start from the Artists' Corner carpark on the A6, cross the bridge which is 100 metres upstream and enjoy the spectacular walk up the edge of the cliff above the River Derwent to the tor.
 
High Tor, Matlock Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
High Tor
0 - High Tor
High Tor and Riber Castle from across the valley
1 - High Tor and Riber Castle from across the valley
Matlock Bath and High Tor
2 - Matlock Bath and High Tor
On Giddy Ledge, High Tor
3 - On Giddy Ledge, High Tor
Matlock from High Tor
4 - Matlock from High Tor
Matlock Bath from High Tor
5 - Matlock Bath from High Tor
The cable railway to Heights of Abraham
6 - The cable railway to Heights of Abraham

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK296582


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How to get there

By Road:
the Heights of Abraham cable car station is 200m from Matlock Bath railway station, on the A6 Derby-Matlock road just south of Matlock. It is simplest to park at the station car park and walk from there.

By Bus: the Trans-Peak Derby-Manchester bus passes the cable car station and connects to Buxton and Bakewell. From Chesterfield, the 17 bus takes you to Matlock - then either take the train or pick up the Trans-Peak bus.

By Train: there is a regular train service from Derby to Matlock, stopping at Matlock Bath.
When is it open?

Open in daylight hours.
What does it cost?

No charge.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

historic interestgood for children

 Lead Mining Museum, Matlock Bath

Slideshow

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The Mining Museum at Matlock Bath is owned by the Peak District Mines Historical Society, who also own and operate the Temple Mine opposite and Magpie Mine at Sheldon. All three are devoted to the history of lead-mining in the Peak. The museum is housed in the Pavilion building alongside the River Derwent - it's the former pump room of Matlock Bath from its days as a spa.

The museum has a fine collection of old mining equipment and artefacts from the former lead mines of the area including several very impressive pumps of various types - the Derbyshire mines were plagued by water problems, so pumping was very important and a major contributor to the cost of extracting the ore. There are also some small mock-ups of sections of a lead mine complete with sound effects, and lots of illustrative panels explaining the history of lead-mining, how the industry developed and what the work of a miner was like. The geological section is very informative and has some fine specimens, and finally there's a cafe. It's well worth a visit.

Temple Mine is just up the road opposite. It's actually a small former fluorspar mine rather than a lead mine, and was opened as recently as 1922 - quite a contrast with Rutland Cavern up the hill (at the Heights of Abraham). The display attempts to recreate the atmosphere within a small lead/fluorspar mine of this century, so it's interesting but don't expect anything very historical. There is a small railway for carrying out the ore, a chute and hopper system for taking the ore down to the lower level and a view of the mineral vein the miners were extracting. The kids can pan for lead or gold if they wish.
 
Lead Mining Museum, Matlock Bath Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge
The Pavilion at Matlock Bath
0 - The Pavilion at Matlock Bath

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK293581


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How to get there

By Road:
the museum lies alongside the A6 Derby-Matlock road in Matlock Bath. Car parking (pay and display) is adjacent.

By Bus: the Trans-Peak Derby-Manchester bus passes the door, as do several local buses.

By Train: the Derby-Matlock line has a regular service and Matlock Bath station is about 400m from the Museum.
When is it open?

The Lead Mining Museum is open all year, 7 days per week. Summer opening is 10.00am to 5.00pm, winter from 11.00am to 4.00pm. Temple Mine is open everyday in summer, 11.00am to 4.00pm, and weekends only 12.00pm to 3.00pm in winter.
What does it cost?

Entry to the Museum OR the Mine is £3.50 for an adult, £3.00 concessions, £2.50 for children and £10.00 for a family ticket.

Entry to both the Museum AND the Mine together on the same ticket is £6.00 for an adult, £5.00 concessions, £4.00 for a child child and £15.00 for a family ticket.



Admission is £2 for adults, £1.50 for children and OAPs and £4.00 for a family ticket. Combined tickets for the museum and the mine are £4.00 for an adult, £3.00 for children/OAPs and £7.00 for a family ticket.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening

Website: http://www.peakmines.co.uk

historic interest

 Masson Mills

Slideshow

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The Masson Mills, sited on the River Derwent at Matlock Bath are Sir Richard Arkwright's masterpiece, a magnificent example of an early cotton mill - the main part was constructed in 1783.

The mill closed as recently as 1991 and has been converted into a shopping village, with exhibition and conference centre, but it also has a working textile museum.

If you are at all interested in the history of the local cotton industry then the museum is extensive and extremely interesting, with a wide range of machinery of all shapes and sizes. Much of it was from the Masson Mill and is still in working order, with working demonstrations taking place.
 
Masson Mills Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Masson Mills
0 - Masson Mills
Cotton Doubling machine at Masson Mills
1 - Cotton Doubling machine at Masson Mills

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK295576


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How to get there

By Road:
the Masson Mills lie on the A6 between Matlock Bath and Cromford.

By Bus: The Trans-Peak bus (Nottingham to Buxton via Derby) goes past the mill, with an hourly service.

By Train: The Mills are a walk of about 1km from Matlock Bath station, which has a regular service from Derby.
When is it open?

Open daily, Mon-Fri 10.00 - 16.00, Sat 11.00 - 17.00, Sun 11.00 -16.00. Closed Christmas Day and Easter Day
What does it cost?

Adult £3.00, Child (5-16) £2.00, Family £6.50, Concessions £2.50.

School Groups £2.50 per child with accompanying adults free.

Adult Groups (10+ minimum) £2.50 per person. Booking required for groups and guided tours.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening

Website: http://www.massonmills.co.uk

historic interestgood for exercise

 Middleton Top

Slideshow

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Middleton Top is the last surviving winding engine from the now defunct Cromford and High Peak Railway. The railway has now been converted into a cycleway - the High Peak Trail.

The stationery engine was used to wind trucks up and down the Middleton Incline, which has a gradient of 1 in 8, and is a beam engine built by the Butterley Company in 1829 - these are the original engines for the railway began operation in 1830. Each engine cost 2000, a very large sum in those days, and the incline was in use until 1963.

Outside the engine house you can see a pulley wheel under a grille in the centre of the track. There was a similar pulleys at the bottom of the incline and a loop of steel cable was attached around them. The wagons were then attached to this by chains and usually the engine would have one set of wagons descending the incline and another on the other track ascending - in order to counterbalance the load. A maximum speed of 8 miles per hour was permitted because it was very difficult to control a set of runaway wagons loaded with limestone.

Also outside the engine house you can see a sample wagon from the old railway, and a short section of the original track, with a distinctive type of rail. Originally these were attached to blocks of stone rather than the usual sleepers.
 
Middleton Top Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Middleton Top Winding Station
0 - Middleton Top Winding Station
High Peak Trail - Hopton Incline
1 - High Peak Trail - Hopton Incline

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK275552


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How to get there

By Road:
from Wirksworth drive up towards Middleton by Wirksworth. As you arrive at the village, Middleton Top is signposted left, along the road which leads to Carsington and Ashbourne.

By Bus: the R61 bus from Matlock to Derby goes close to Middleton Top.
When is it open?

The engine is now operated for visitors by its owners, the Derbyshire Archaeological Society, every first weekend between April and October, plus Bank Holiday weekends in summer - but compressed air is used rather than the original steam propulsion.
What does it cost?

No charge

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

Website: http://www.derbyshireas.org.uk

good for children

 National Stone Centre, Middleton by Wirksworth


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The National Stone Centre occupies an area of disused quarries overlooking Wirksworth and crossed by the High Peak Trail - the former Cromford and High Peak Railway. The centre offers the 'Story of Stone' exhibition - a display focused on the geology of the area and how rocks are created. It also has a range of daily activities on offer - such as fossil rubbing and gem panning. Courses are available on topics such as dry stone walling and rock sculpting.

The main feature of the centre is its permanent display of rocks and minerals and the story of their formation, which is housed in the 'Discovery Centre' at the site. Outside there is a trail around the quarries of the site, which includes one of the best fossil reefs in the country plus an old lime kiln and the shafts of several former lead mines.
 

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK285553


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How to get there

By Road:
the B5035 from Cromford to Carsington and Ashbourne goes past the door. Cromford, lies on the A6 Derby-Matlock road. Car parking is available at the centre.

By Bus: the R61 and 213 buses from Matlock to Derby and Wirksworth respectively stop at the centre.

By Train: Cromford station (on the Matlock - Derby line) lies apprximately 3km distant.
When is it open?

The centre is open all year, seven days per week. Summer hours are 10.00am to 5.00pm and winter hours are 10.00am to 4.00pm.
What does it cost?

Discovery Centre Entry Costs - £1.80 Adult/ 90p Children/ £1.20 Concessions/ £3.60 Family.

Phone 01629 824833 for group bookings

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening

Website: http://www.nationalstonecentre.org.uk

 Peak Rail

Slideshow

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Peak Rail have re-opened a section of the former Midland Railway, running services between their base at Rowsley South Station and Matlock Riverside a distance of approximately 6km. The Midland Railway operated between Manchester Central and London St Pancras and was started in 1849, though the section through the Peak was not constructed until the 1860s. The section between Matlock and Buxton was closed in 1968 and much of it now forms the Monsal Trail. Peak Rail is operated and maintained by volunteers, who have rebuilt the section of the line between Matlock and Rowsley, which is now open to the public throughout the year.

Matlock Riverside station is a short walk from the main Matlock station where regular services from Derby terminate. From there the line passes through Darley Dale (where there is a restored station with tea room and shop) to Rowsley, mostly alongside the River Derwent. At Rowsley Station there are numerous projects in progress - such as the LMS Carriage association, the Derbyshire Dales Narrow Gauge Railway and the Heritage Shunters Trust. There is a tea room and a shop.

Peak Rail also run courses to gain footplate experience, on which you can learn to drive a steam engine.
 
Peak Rail Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Peak Rail engine
0 - Peak Rail engine
Restaurant car at Peak Rail
1 - Restaurant car at Peak Rail

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK263642


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How to get there

By Road:
Rowsley South station lies just off the A6 road, about 2km south of Rowsley, between Bakewell and Matlock. Darley Dale station lies just off the A6 between Rowsley and Matlock, and Matlock Riverside station lies through Matlock Station near the centre of Matlock, just off the A6.

By Bus: The Trans-Peak bus (Nottingham to Buxton via Derby) goes along the A6, with an hourly service, stopping near Rowsley South station, at Darley Dale and at Matlock

By Train: there are regular trains from Derby to Matlock, from whence Matlock Riverside station is a short walk.
When is it open?

Trains run at weekends and holiday weeks all year, and every day except Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays during the summer holidays.
What does it cost?

Check the Peak Rail web site for the wide range of service available including simple train rides, steam cab rides, steam and diesel driving courses and onboard dining.

STEAM & DIESEL All day Rover Tickets -

Adult £7.50/ Senior Citizens £6.00/ Children under 3 years (maximum of two per paying adult) Free/ Children 3 - 5 years £2.00/ Children 6 - 15 years £4.00/ Family Ticket (2 Adults and up to 3 Children) £23.00

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening

Website: http://www.peakrail.co.uk

historic interestgood for children

 Steeple Grange Light Railway

Slideshow

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Steeple Grange Light Railway is a narrow gauge railway constructed by enthusiasts to run along the course of two lines which were constructed to serve local quarries near to Middleton by Wirksworth.

The original lines were constructed as normal gauge lines which ran into the 'Killer' quarry and the 'Steeple' quarry from the Cromford and High Peak Railway. These were taken up when the Cromford and High Peak line closed in 1965, but have since been re-laid in narrow gauge.

The railway mainly uses rolling stock from nearby quarries and has diesel, battery electric and petrol locomotives, including the former British Railways 'Horwich' diesel - named after the works where it was once based.

The railway offers short rides along the two tracks it has restored, and is easily accessed from the High Peak Trail - which runs along the track of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway.
 
Steeple Grange Light Railway Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Steeple Grange Light Railway
0 - Steeple Grange Light Railway
Steeple Grange Light Railway engines
1 - Steeple Grange Light Railway engines
Steeple Grange Light Railway train
2 - Steeple Grange Light Railway train

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK285553


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How to get there

By Road:
the B5035 from Cromford to Carsington and Ashbourne goes past the door. Cromford, lies on the A6 Derby-Matlock road. Postcode: DE4 4LS.

By Bus: the R61 and 213 buses from Matlock to Derby and Wirksworth respectively stop nearby

By Train: The nearest rail station is Cromford - 3 km distant
When is it open?

Sundays and Bank Holidays from Easter to October, 12:00 - 17:00, and Saturdays in July, August and September.
What does it cost?

A ride costs £2 for an adult,

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

Website: http://www.steeplegrange.co.uk

historic interest

 Wirksworth Church

Slideshow

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Wirksworth church is a fine 13th century building which stands in a pleasantly open churchyard just off the centre of the town. The church was built on the site of earlier Norman and Saxon churches and has a long history - it may well have been founded by Betti, a Saxon missionary who came to what was then the kingdom of Mercia with Elchfrida of Northumbria, when she married the Mercian king in 653.

The structure of the present building is pleasing but rather unexciting. The main part of it is Early English, but the roof of the Nave was raised in the 14th century and this was renewed in the early 20th. The line of the old 13th century roof can clearly be seen. The tower is also largely Early English but was added to in the Decorated style, and the west window was added in the Perpendicular period. The church was restored in the early 20th century by Gilbert Scott.

The most notable features of the church are inside. Set into the walls are fragments of the old Saxon church including fine carvings unlike anything else in the area except the font at Ilam. They include a miner as well as people of importance, like kings. The church also has a magnificent Saxon stone coffin lid, carved with scenes from the life of Christ, which was discovered under the floor of the chancel in 1820. It is one of the finest examples of Saxon carving to be found anywhere, and if Betti did found this church then perhaps this was his coffin lid. It dates from at least the 8th century and could be a century earlier.

Other items worth a look are the massive lead-lined Norman font and the Gell tombs in the North Aisle. The largest is that of Sir Anthony Gell (d. 1583), who has his statue lying on the tomb, hands in prayer. Alongside is the simpler tomb of his father, Sir Ralph Gell. In the chancel is the tomb of Anthony Lowe, a Gentleman of the Bedchamber who served Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I and died in 1555 apparently contented with his service to these monarches.
 
Wirksworth Church Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Wirksworth church - exterior view
0 - Wirksworth church - exterior view
Wirksworth Church - Saxon tombstone
1 - Wirksworth Church - Saxon tombstone
Wirksworth Church - Saxon stone fragments
2 - Wirksworth Church - Saxon stone fragments
Saxon miner in Wirksworth Church
3 - Saxon miner in Wirksworth Church
Wirksworth Church - Gell tombstone
4 - Wirksworth Church - Gell tombstone
Wirksworth Church - Gell tombstone
5 - Wirksworth Church - Gell tombstone
Wirksworth Church - tomb of Sir Anthony Lowe
6 - Wirksworth Church - tomb of Sir Anthony Lowe

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK287539


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How to get there

By Road:
the B5023 Wirksworth road from the A6 at Duffield is a straightforward approach from Derby and the south. The B5035 road from Ashbourne to Cromford bisects cromford and Wirksworth and can be used as an approach from the north (A6 at Cromford) or the west.

By Bus: the R61 Derby - Bakewell bus goes through Wirksworth and can be used to get there from either north or south. From the west, use the 411 Ashbourne to Wirksworth bus.
When is it open?

Normally open in day time.
What does it cost?

No charge.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

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