Matlock Bath, Derbyshire Sunday 31st May 2015

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: approx. 10.5 miles

The coach will drop us off near Cromford Wharf – from there we will walk along the Cromford Canal to High Peak Junction. We then walk a stretch of the former High Peak Railway, now a leisure trail. Included are two moderately steep inclines where carriages/wagons were lowered by cable during the railway’s operation. Eventually leaving the trail, we head north along a quiet road past a disused quarry to Middleton Wood. Emerging from the wood, after another steady climb, we head north-west over farmland until we reach the Limestone Trail. Shortly after, we arrive at the villages of Upper Town and Bonsall. From Bonsall Church another steady climb along a farm track brings us to the woods above Matlock Bath. The path descending into the village is fairly steep in places and sticks are recommended. Once in Matlock Bath the task is to find a café not taken over by motor-cyclists!

Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance : 6.5miles

This may seem a short walk but it is very much a moderate walk as what we lose in length we gain in height and panoramas. We will start the walk from the carpark and head up and out of Matlock Bath to Riber passing the castle. We then make our way to Tansley, where we head to Dethick for lunch. We then head down into the Derwent valley and to Cromford and along the river back to Matlock Bath for tea or whatever. This walk has a lot of something and a bit of everything else!

Leisurely Leader:   no leisurely walk
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance:4.5 miles

This walk will leave the coach in Matlock before it gets to Matlock Bath. There will be a half mile riverside walk to reach toilets and a café at Hall Leys Park. From here we follow the east side of the river southwards and shortly climb 350 feet up to High Tor Country Park – parts of the path are quite steep. But then it is downhill to Matlock Bath (2.5 miles). We then extend this with a walk through the woods and gardens, not so many hills this time, across the river from the town. So we have a hillier but shorter walk than usual as Matlock bath is surrounded by steep hills and urban development.

Notes On The Area

Matlock itself is a bustling tourist town today. Originally it was a centre for lead and fluorspar mining. It has a castle, Riber Castle, whose grounds are a home for rare breeds including Lynx.

Matlock Bath is just to the south of Matlock. It was originally built at the ‘dead end’ of the road running along the Derwent Valley.

In 1698 springs were discovered and since 1832, when the then Princess Victoria visited, it began to develop as a prosperous society venue attracting people such as John Ruskin, Lord Byron and Josiah Wedgwood. It became a residential and spa town and thrived on tourism. A great amount of development was restricted due to the steepness of the valley, and what development there is took place on only one side of the valley with just footbridges crossing the river. Eventually the road was upgraded and now it forms part of the A6.

The railway came in 1849 bringing in lots of trippers but was closed after Beeching, although trains still run today along the Derwent Valley Line.

Today it is a conservation area and still thrives on tourism. It has stunning scenery and has attractions such as the Heights of Abraham Park complete with cable car, Gulliver’s Kingdom theme park, the Peak District Mining Museum, a museum of photography and an aquarium.

The famous Jubilee Bridge was built in 1897.