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Beautiful scenery, an abundance of wildlife, and world renowned heritage make this walk a very special one. The Derwent Valley having been awarded World Heritage Status in 2001.

From Cromford Wharf, where there are a number of interesting canal buildings, follow the towpath for one and a quarter miles. Large numbers of butterflies and dragonflies can be seen in summer with numerous species of birdlife overhead. On reaching High Peak Junction, there is a collection of interesting old railway buildings to inspect. At the foot of High Peak Trail is a catch pit, where runaway wagons once came to rest.

North Street in Cromford contains some of the finest examples of Industrial Archaeology in England. The mid – nineteenth century water wheel in Water Lane still operates and the Mill Pond can be admired as you walk down Scarthin to the Market Place. Here stands the historic Greyhound Hotel, built by Sir Richard Arkwright, together with a collection of interesting shops.

A visit to the Arkwright complex to discover how Cromford became known as the ‘Cradle of the industrial revolution’ should not be missed.



Length: 3.5 miles.

Start/finish:  Cromford Wharf Car Park, take signs for Arkwright Mill.

Location:  On A6 two miles south of Matlock.

Terrain:  Mostly flat with one incline and descent. Muddy in places.



1.    The walk starts at Cromford Wharf Car Park, going to the left along the towpath of Cromford Canal.

2.    In one and a quarter miles High Peak Junction is reached where you cross the canal walking between the old railway buildings to ascend the High Peak Trail.

3.    After one third of a mile turn to the left where you see a footpath signed for ‘Alderwasley’ and after a few yards left again through the tunnel which takes you back under the trail you just walked over.

4.    Continue down the lane towards Cromford and shortly after reaching a row of houses on your right, just before Castle View Drive, take the footpath sign on the left.

5.    Follow the stiled path keeping close to the fence, passing to the left of a derelict barn to reach a farm lane. Go up the lane to join Barnwell Lane on the right.

6.    Take the first turn right down Bedehouse Lane, and follow it round to the main road to turn right and then first right again into North Street.

7.    At the end of the street, opposite the school, the path leads off to the left and within 20 yards go through a gap in the wall past a very large circular sluice to reach the main road again.

8.    Cross the road and go up Water Lane (A619) turning right just past the waterwheel following the road round as it bends to the right down Scarthin, soon to re-join the main road.

9.    Turn left and walk down to the traffic lights to cross the A6 and go down Mill Lane opposite, walking under the cast iron aqueduct once used by the mill (accidentally demolished by a lorry and may be beyond repair).

10.   Go left to visit the Arkwright Mill Centre leaving through the Mill Car Park, crossing the road and turning to the left back to the start of the walk.


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Crich Tramway Village (Tel. 01773 852565) boasts a large array of vintage trams from all over the world. Unlimited rides through a period street to stunning views over the Derwent Valley. For further information

Lea Gardens: (Tel. 01629 534380) rare collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, alpines and conifers in a lovely woodland setting. Attractive teashop where you can sit inside or outside. Plants can be purchased. Telephone for further infomation.

Masson Mill (Tel. 01629 760208) working textile museum and shopping village situated in an internationally famous mill built by Sir Richard Arkwright. Open daily.


The Greyhound Hotel: (Tel. 01629 822551) historic hotel built by Sir Richard Arkwright restored to a high standard in 1999. Open every day for meals.

The Scarthin Bookshop: (Tel. 01629 823272) delightful tea room situated in ‘The Music Room’ of this busy bookshop. Organic food served. Open seven days a week. 


The construction of the Cromford Canal was completed in late 1794, to improve the movement of heavy goods in and out of Cromford.  Although it was opened after the death of Sir Richard Arkwright, he was a prime mover in the decision to construct the canal. It linked up with the Erewash Canal at Langley Mill, which ran into the River Trent. This provided a connection with Derby and Nottingham and beyond that with Liverpool and Manchester by the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Built in two gauges, the canal ran from Langley Mill to the eastern end of the Butterley Tunnel in broad gauge, with fourteen locks. From this point for the section to Cromford, the narrow gauge system took over and there were no locks. The situation was further complicated by the fact that the Butterley Tunnel, 3,000 yards in length, did not have a towpath.

Cromford Canal



Provides a wide range of features  with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.


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The importance of Cromford and the Derwent Valley was recognised in 2001, when it was awarded World Heritage Status.

Its creator, Richard Arkwright, the semi-literate son of a Lancashire tailor, rose from obscurity to become the first commoner ever to be knighted for his contribution to the industry.  

As a result of his achievements, Britain was transformed, from an almost self-sufficient country with an economy based on agriculture and cottage industries, into the workshop of the world.

Cromford Feature



Cromford Canal

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