Wednesday 30 March 2011

Black Rocks - up the Derwent Valley

More views from the top of Black Rocks.

In the second photo, we are looking down into the Derwent Valley. Below us is Cromford, Matlock is in the distance and before it, the winding gorge of the spa town of Matlock Bath. Up on the left is Clifford's Tower, part of the Heights of Abraham attraction. If you look very carefully, you can just make out a line of three cable cars. There is a clearer view in the bottom photo; top left corner.

The limestone cliffs along this gorge are popular with climbers and Matlock Bath holds annual 'illuminations' along the line of the Derwent.

Moving closer in, the two buildings of note are Masson Mill and Willersley Castle.

Masson Mill (chimney to the left), was Sir Richard Arkwright's third and biggest mill. Built in 1783, it used the power of the river Derwent to drive the machinery to spin cotton.

Towards the right is the distinctive structure of Willersley Castle, a grade 2 listed building comissioned by Sir Richard and constructed on the slopes of Wild Cat Tor. Unfortunately, he died before its completion and the house was occupied by his son, Richard Arkwright junior. Arkwrights continued to live here until 1922 after which it was bought by the Methodist Christian Guild as a holiday centre. As a youngster of around 16ish, I stayed here with my local church youth club.


  1. OOO! Lovely...the English countryside is starting to turn green! The villages look like little toy houses...a magical wonderland of cliffs and castles! It's all so very beautiful!

  2. What continues to amaze me, from your posts, is how much natural area there is on an island that is so heavily populated. We have hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness here, but most of it is inaccessible. I really enjoy your posts.

  3. The town looks so small in these pictures.

  4. What gorgeous views! Thank you for sharing your pictures of the countryside with us! (My uncle grew up near Chesterfield, not too far from this.)

  5. Very fine photos of familiar territory. Nice to be able to visit from so far away. Thanks H!

  6. What a beautiful place !!
    Since I watch "Escape to the country" I learn more and more about the UK,So far I only know the South (Hastings, Eastbourne, Brighton) and the little villages around and of course London.
    I don't want to buy a house, but they show so much of the landscapes which is so interesting.