2021 Travels – Return to Matlock and Matlock Bath (Part 2)

Previously on Martyn’s Blog…

I was in Matlock on Friday 23rd April. After a lovely morning wandering up and down the streets of the town, and the glorious Hall Leys Park, it was time to head down the A6 to Matlock Bath.

At the end of Hall Leys Park, the pathway up to the Pic Tor War Memorial begins. The path runs by the river, with an imposing cliff face on the other side.

The climb up to the Pic Tor War Memorial is quite a winding path with some big steps up, and is quite tiring. The view from the top, when I caught my breath back, was quite amazing. I had been up there before, the last time I was in Matlock, and it was just as good as the first time.

I spent a good ten minutes in the area, taking in the view and reading the names on the memorial. Some other people were arriving up the hill, so I left them to it and made my way carefully back down the pathway. There are no safety barriers or anything on the path, so it’s quite risky. I got all the way to the bottom without slipping, and just as I was thinking to myself that I hadn’t slipped at all, I promptly slipped.

The pathway runs under the railway line and on to a small footbridge over the River Derwent which leads out onto Dale Road, the main A6 road between Matlock and Matlock Bath. On one side of the road is a row of very nice-looking houses; the river runs parallel to the other side of the road, including the River Derwent Slalom Course.

After about twenty minutes of walking, I arrived in Matlock Bath. The town has been described as a seaside resort without the sea. The main road, North Parade, runs next to the river and is packed with cafes, restaurants and fish & chip shops, which were being well patronised on that day. On that day, places serving food could open with outdoor seating areas, and the weather brought hundreds of people to the area. Lord Byron was a frequent visitor in the early 19th century, along with other high society figures, including the then-Princess Victoria of Kent, who later became Queen Victoria.

There are several places to visit in the area, when it is fully open, of course. The Peak District Mining Museum, Gulliver’s Kingdom theme park and the Heights of Abraham park are all located nearby. I crossed the Jubilee Bridge footbridge to the other side of the river, and followed the riverside path. I did consider taking a pathway which would take me up to the top of the valley, but it seemed too much of a difficult climb for me, so I decided against it this time.

I crossed back over the river and into Derwent Gardens, which is a public open space by the river. I had a stroll around in the sunshine, before heading back on the main road and over to the railway station. Although there was so much more to see in the area, I was getting tired after all the walking, and I decided to head home.

Matlock Bath railway station opened on the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midland Junction Railway in June 1849. Its distinctive chalet-style buildings were inspired by the notion that the area was England’s “Little Switzerland”. The station closed in the Beeching cuts in 1967, but it reopened in 1972, thankfully having escaped demolition. The buildings are now mostly owned by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. There is a small wildlife garden usually open to the public at one end of the platform, but it was closed when I was there.

In all, it was a great day out. I highly recommend a visit to the area, there is so much to do. If you want to stay overnight, there are dozens of places to stay around Matlock and Matlock Bath, as well as the surrounding villages. Thanks very much for reading.

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