Back in April 2019, I visited Matlock and Matlock Bath in the Peak District, Derbyshire for the first time. Two years later, I fancied a return trip, so on Friday 23rd April 2021, I did just that. I wasn’t originally going to do a blog post about this trip, but after editing the photos, I decided that they were too good to keep to myself.
It was a sunny day in Burton on Trent as I caught the train up to Derby, from where I changed trains for Matlock. There was only a few minutes between my trains, so I headed under the subway from platform 1 to platform 5, where my train was already waiting for me.
The East Midlands Railway service passed through the stations of the Derwent Valley Line before it terminated at Matlock. Last time I was there, I got off at Matlock Bath station and walked to Matlock; this time I was going to do it the other way around.
Matlock railway station was opened in 1849 on the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway. Until 1968, there was a direct route from Matlock to Manchester, but this was cut in the Beeching Axe. Much of that old route has been preserved as Peak Rail, a heritage railway which is based at the station.
Upon leaving the station, I headed into the town centre. I didn’t have a fixed plan of where I was going to go, I just wanted to explore the town for a couple of hours to see if I could find anything interesting. I walked up a very steep street called Dimple Road. I know it’s the “Peak District”, but I wasn’t really prepared for the hilliness of the streets. The view from the top was breath taking, though. Riber Castle can be seen in the far distance.
I walked down another road called Woolley Road, where there was a small park area at the foot of the road, with a bench. I sat down to get my breath back before I headed back to the town centre. The shops were quite busy; the restrictions on non-essential shops opening having been lifted in England the previous week.
I walked up Bank Road, another steep hill which has no shortage of beautiful buildings, including the offices of Derbyshire County Council. I walked across another street and stumbled upon a real hidden gem in the form of Sparrow Park, a small but well-kept park.
In Sparrow Park, there is a small collection of plaques commemorating local children who were born in the year 2000, as well as those local residents who turned 100 that year. It’s hard to believe that these Millennium babies will be 21 years old this year.
From the park, I walked down another road and back into the town centre again. One of the shops had an amusing sign outside which said: “Footstool Shortage! Panic Buy Footstools!” I was tempted, but I don’t think I could have carried it around with me all day. I had a stroll around the shopping streets before I ventured into Hall Leys Park.
The park was opened in 1898 and significantly refurbished in the mid-2000s. It has a Victorian bandstand which is used for brass band performances, amongst other events. There is also a stone marker of flood levels in past years where the River Derwent, which flows next to the park, has flooded. The park itself also forms part of the town’s flood defences, much like the Washlands in Burton on Trent.
The park also boasts its own railway, albeit a small narrow-gauge one. It wasn’t in operation while I was there, though. Tucked away in a corner at the south end of the park is the memorial stone pictured above, to a police constable, Arthur Wright, who drowned while attempting to save someone’s life in 1911.
It was such a long journey that I have to split this post into two parts. In the next one, I have a walk up to Pic Tor War Memorial and then walk down the road to Matlock Bath. It will be available later in the week, so please look out for it. If you want to follow the blog on social media, then all the links you need are at linktr.ee/martynsblog. Thanks very much for reading.