[Etching opposite page 42 - note the fisherman with his rod]
magnificent rampart, which is seen obliquely, and brings the promontory
into the view.
Cliff House, the residence of Richard Leacroft,
Esq. is situated on the summit of the hill opposite to the High
Tor, but is a very unpicturesque object. This immense ridge of
diversified cliffs, declines towards the boat house, where a third
ridge commences, which suddenly turns to the eastward : at the
end of it is the village of Matlock. The church is in a most romantic
situation upon the rock ; from this circumstance these are called
the Church Rocks. They are richly fringed
with foliage, and exhibit a curious curvilinear stratification.
From this turn the view is very picturesque : the river accompanies
the rocks half way towards the village, and then suddenly leaves
them ; a part of the village also comes in weIl. Looking in a
southern direction we have another very rich scene, well adapted
for the pencil.
Here ends this charming dale, where they who are
feelingly alive to the sweet influence of lovely scenery will most
assuredly be gratified, by following the rout here pointed out.
The roads being excellent, a great part of its beauties may be
enjoyed by a ride, either on the horse, or in the carriage.
I now returned to the Bath
by a rout that will prove too arduous an undertaking for ladies.
Crossing the river here by the boat, I mounted the heights, keeping
along the edge of the
precipice, from which large trees shoot out in a very picturesque
manner. A chink of great depth runs across a field from the face
of the rock, but narrows so much that one may stride over it. As
we approach nearer to the great rock, its appearance becomes wonderfully
impressive : the river at a great depth is seen tumbling in silvery
waves along its rocky channel, followed by the road. Masson, with
its wild rocks, boldly rises on the right, and its massive shade
balances the light of the High Tor, which occupies the left and
fore-ground; whilst the eminences about the Bath and the Cromford
Hills fill in the middle space with considerable interest, forming
altogether a very singular, yet fine view.
Proceeding towards the
highest point our progress is interrupted by a tremendous chasm
; however a little lower down the hill, a part of it is filled
up with rubbish, where it may be crossed. The rock is rifted in
several other places; hut they are narrow chinks that may be walked
over. The miners have also burrowed into the rock in many places,
where they obtain lead ore and calamine. I now approached the brink
to peep over the precipice, when the words of Shakespear recurred
to my mind,
----- How fearful
And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eye so low!
----- I'll look no more,
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.
The descent is now very steep, leading through tangled bushes.
Coming to a miners' track, for the sake of novelty I followed
its course, and was led along the base of the perpendicular part
of these gigantic rocks, which is about half way between the summit
and the river. Those scars and fissures that are seen from the
road softened by distance, here become huge and terrific features.
This path I traced to a mine just beyond the great face of the
Tor, where lead ore and calamine are obtained. From hence I returned,
and descended to the river, where I again followed another miner's
track, by the brink of the river, and soon came to the miners'
coes or huts, that are seen from the road : beyond these the path
is very rough and stony ; however I pursued it a considerable
way up the river to another mine. The only interest that arises
from this track is in the variety of mineral substances that are
to be met with upon it. The mines yield lead ore and calamine;
and the path is strewed with carbonate of lime, fluate of lime,
stalactite, several varieties of toadstone, limestone, &c.
so that the minerologist might be amused with such a ramble; but
here is nothing for the pencil. I had next to ascend the heights
opposite to the Baths, and descend by the lovers' walks, which
terminated this ramble.
Mr. Lipscomb, in his Description of Matlock Bath, says, " Matlock
must be allowed to possess
advantages superior to the generality of watering places. It has gaiety
without dissipation, activity without noise, and facility of communication with other parts of the
country, undisturbed by the bustle of a public road. It is tranquil
without dullness, elegant without pomp, and splendid without extravagance.
In it the man of fashion may at all times find amusement, the man
of rank may meet with society by which he will not be disgraced, and
the philosopher a source of infinite gratification ; while they who
travel in search of health, will here find a silver clue that leads
to her. abode." And we may also add, the artist may likewise
here cull fine studies from nature's richest treasures.
Lunar rainbows may be reckoned among the curiosities of Matlock,
as they have frequently been observed in the neighbourhood. Their
colours are sometimes very distinctly seen, but they have a much
lower tone than those which are produced by the solar rays.
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