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Matlock, the county town of Derbyshire, is situated on the southeastern boundary of the magnificent Peak District. Whilst an ideal base for adventures in the national park, walks around Matlock also explore delightful local sights of great scenic and historical interest.
Owing its heritage to the River Derwent, the town is famed for its former spa treatments and for Arkwright’s Mill, the water-powered cotton mill that helped usher in the Industrial Revolution. Much of the beautiful landscape here also owes thanks to the river and it carves a sumptuous valley from the limestone foundations. There are many great viewpoints to discover and intrepid paths to follow around and above the town.Hikes around Matlock can also take you into tranquil woodland and moorland rich in mystery and Neolithic intrigue. And, of course, there’s the experiences of the wider Peak District on your doorstep, its famously dramatic landscapes awaiting your hiking boots.
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Dominating the town are the limestone crags of High Tor and the gentler slopes of Masson Hill. Both are well worth a ramble and reward you with lovely views back over the neighbouring village of Matlock Bath. Steep zigzags lead you up Masson Hill to the park that adorns its summit. A popular objective, there’s even a cable car that goes up from the town.
Some of the more serene walks around Matlock explore local woodland, such as Upper Lumsdale, Lea Wood and Oxhay Wood. Picture springtime strolls with the sound of the River Derwent in your ears and a carpet of bluebells and wild daffodils under your boots. Waterfalls, stone ruins, water wheels and tranquil brooks are just some of the sights waiting to be discovered, whilst woodpeckers and spotted flycatchers will delight bird-lovers.
The region is famed for its involvement in the birth of the Industrial Revolution. One of its origins, Arkwright’s Mill, can be found in the village of Cromford, with its attractive market square, canal and picturesque cottages. An amble along the canalside paths enables you imbibe the rich history of the landscape.
Nearby moorland makes for some splendid hikes around Matlock. For a sense of ancient history, explore the richly atmospheric landscape of Stanton Moor. High, remote and with excellent views of the Derwent Valley and the hills beyond, the moor is home to various Neolithic stone circles and megaliths. Experience the magic of summer rambling amongst acres of royal purple orchids, whilst natural, wind-eroded pillars of sandstone mysteriously rise from the moorland.
Many of the best hiking trails around Matlock are just a stone’s throw away in the exquisite countryside of the Peak District. Follow the Derwent north to the famously sculpted grounds of Chatsworth House or even further for the magnificent gritstone edges of the Dark Peak.
For quintessential Peak District landscapes, the verdant gorges and dramatic limestone crags of the Wye Valley are well worth exploring. Secluded dales, lush woodland and tumbling brooks create an almost Tolkienesque landscape. Some of the finest scenery in Britain is there for the taking.
Explore more of Derbyshire Dales: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.