A delightful 6 mile or 8 mile walk through some of the key places within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Woodland and canalside paths, plus a historic railway.
Start and Parking At Cromford Wharf. Turn right off the A6 at the crossroads in Cromford (traffic lights), signposted to Lea and Cromford Mill. The car park is on the right hand side just after the wharf buildings.
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From the car park, cross over the road and pay a visit to Arkwright’s first mill at Cromford. The buildings are being restored, and it is not hard to imagine the harsh working conditions of the mill workers, including children.
Then walk up the road to the A6 and cross the busy road into the village of Cromford, built by Arkwright for his workers. Walk up the main road through the village, with the market square on your right, noting the particularly attractive cottages in North Street. Turn left up Bedehouse Lane which turns into a narrow tarmac alley after rounding some almshouses. At the top of the lane by a street of 1970s housing, follow the signpost to Black Rocks to meet a lane. Turn left along the winding lane which soon divides. Take the right fork, on reaching a house with woods behind turn right through a gate, and follow the top field edge. After climbing some steps, ascend left through the woods of Dimons Dale and up to the Black Rocks car park and picnic site. Detour up to Black Rocks for a good view of the town, Riber Castle and the Derwent Valley
Returning to the car park, turn right onto the High Peak Trail, the former railway track of the Cromford and High Peak Railway, and follow this down to High Peak Junction, where it meets the canal.
There is a small information centre here and the workshops which date from the earliest days of the railway, are virtually unchanged since then.
At High Peak Junction you have the choice of adding on an extra loop to the walk to create a slightly longer walk. The longer one involves a pleasant walk along the Cromford Canal and past the former home of Florence Nightingale.
Turn right along the canal towpath and follow it until you come to a ruined cottage on the left. Then follow the sign to Lea Bridge.
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