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The Panorama of Matlock, 1827*
Eighteenth and nineteenth century tour guides about Matlock Bath and Matlock

Rides and Excursions round Matlock,
not exceeding the distance of one post.

Section of the frontispiece from the 3rd edition, 1828
Panorama of Matlock
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The village of Matlock,

WE shall now proceed to enumerate the



Presented to the cultured eye of taste,
No rock is barren, and no field is waste.

THE village of Matlock, as already stated, is distant about two miles; it contains the parish church, which is generally attended by visitants resident at the Bath. For the convenience of those who choose to go on foot, the road is shortened by crossing the river at the boat-house; and a path continues from the village over the High Tor, by a hamlet called Starkholm, to Cromford. The scenery is very romantic, and the walk is rendered more inviting and salubrious by a fresh breeze, which is always found to blow on this elevated spot.

IT is only a short mile from Matlock Bath to Cromford, where the road divides, one branch leading to Derby, another to Wirksworth, a third (called the Via Gellia*) to Grange Mill, Pike Hall, and Buxton; or to Brassington, Hopton Hall, and Ashbourn. The other road leads to the wharf; also to a branch canal at the village of Lea, Crich, Alfreton, and Wingfield; and to the beautiful grounds and mansion of Mr. Arkwright.

THIS gentleman liberally permits his gardens and grounds to be shewn to visitors two days in the week, and also allows the company at Matlock the daily privilege of frequenting the walks on the opposite side of the river, which are his own private property. These walks are delightfully shaded by full-grown trees: you are conducted to them by the boatman, Mr. W. Walker, who ferries you across, and who, for a trivial remuneration, will row you up and down the stream. Mr. Walker is the proprietor of a good lodging house near the New Bath.

[footnote on page 21]
* A Ravine of considerable extent, equally interesting to the geologist and botanist.


To Chatsworth from Matlock is a delightful ride of only nine miles. This magnificent chateau has been so frequently the theme of topographers and tourists, whose elaborate descriptions are freshly remembered, that any detail of that nature would in this place appear superfluous, if not impertinent. I may be allowed, however, to remark, that the enlargements recently undertaken are on a very grand scale, and that the noble proprietor has enriched the interior with some of the finest works of Canova, and other celebrated sculptors. The grounds, and especially the beautiful water-works, are justly the admiration of strangers.

THE house is shewn to visitors, and the company is most respectfully attended to by Mrs Gregory, the housekeeper.


FROM Matlock Bath, through Cromford*, to the market town of Wirksworth, the distance is three miles, up a tremendous mountain ; but the traveller finds his toil repaid, by the mining scenery which continues all the way after he has reached the summit.

WlRKSWORTH is a town of considerable population and trade: here is the bank of Messrs. Arkwright, who correspond with Messrs. Smith, Payne, and Smiths, of London.

BAKEWELL, is situated at the distance of ten miles from Matlock Bath, on the way to Buxton. After crossing the Derwent at Matlock Bridge, the road passes close to the Moat Hall mine, and through the delightful valley called Darley Dale, to Rowsley, leaving the ro-

[footnote on page 23]
*The popuIous village of Cromford, one short mile from Matlock Bath, has a good market on Saturdays, numerous shops, and a good Inn, below which are the cotton mills and wharf. It has also a church, where duty is performed by the Rev. Mr. Ward.

mantic village of Toad Hole on the right; at a short distance from which a road branches to Chatsworth. After crossing the Derwent at Rowsley, you soon arrive at the lovely streamlet, the Wye, which washes the base of the venerable baronial structure called HADDON HALL, which well deserves the attention of the antiquary, as the reader of romance: it is shewn to visitors.

THE Wye, meandering through Bakewell meadow, animates and gladdens the prospect, which is bounded in front by the town or Bakewell, and on each side by the mountains.

To the Geologist, a ride from the foot of Matlock Bridge, up Salter's Lane, and through the village of Bonsall, will prove extremely interesting, as the toadstone alternates with the limestone, which appears in great variety, especially at tile Seven Rake mine. The excursion may be varied by taking another direction through SNITTERTON, WENSLEY, ALLPORT, and YOULGRAVE, villages which forty or fifty years ago were thickly inhabited by miners. At that period Wirksworth, and this part of the Peak, were considered the greatest mining districts for lead ore in Europe.


THOSE who are interested in contemplating wild and Alpine scenery, I would strongly advise to visit ASHOVER, distinguished as the seat of my friend the late Sir Joseph Banks, P.R.S. Near a century ago, this place could boast a mine which produced more lead in ten years, than any other in the country. The lofty mountains, deep ravines, and beautiful plains, in its vicinity, render Ashover extremely picturesque This village is five miles from Matlock.


CHESTERFlELD is one stage (ten miles) distant from Matlock, and the road is certainly one of the most mountainous in the kingdom, lofty hills and deep valleys alternating throughout its whole extent.


IN the intervals that occur between excursions to these and other places in the vicinity, it is the fashion at Matlock to occupy some time in collecting minerals; and, as every little shop sells curiosities, I successively looked into all, and picked up a variety of specimens, some of which were tolerably good.

BUT, as Mineralogy is so much cultivated, I apprehended that I might be censurable either for want of taste for, or indifference to, that important science, if I forbore to profit by the occasion for improvement now presented to me. All who have devoted any attention to the pursuit, will allow that there is a secret pleasure in collecting for one's self, because it improves the power of discrimination, while it strengthens the judgment: and I am bound again to acknowledge my obligations to the Museum for the instruction and information I found there, and which induced me to prolong my stay at Matlock, for the purpose of augmenting my store of mineralogical knowledge.


FROM Matlock to the enchanting scenery of Dove Dale, you have to travel over about thirteen miles of wild, country, and, if you please, through tile village of Tissington, near the seat of the worthy Sir Henry Fitzherbert. At this village are several small springs of excellent water.

THE ancient custom of dressing tile wells with emblems made of flowers, on Holy Thursday in each year, is still annually practised, and the ceremony is accompanied with prayers, after divine service, by the minister of the established church; though the usage is said to be of Romish origin. It may not on that account be tinctured with superstition, since an acknowledgment of the Divine goodness for the blessing of pure water is surely as rational an act of worship as thanksgiving after harvest. Numerous visitors attend to witness this interesting rite, and to enjoy the rustic festivities or wakes which are held on the occasion.

AFTER proceeding about two miles, you enter the valley of the Dove at the southern end, and walk through it, near Ilam Hall, the beautiful residence of Watts Russell, Esq. four miles from Ashbourn.
THE river Dove* is a beautiful and rapid stream, bounded by romantic rocks; which in the autumnal season are clothed with richly varied foliage. The rocks

[footnote on page 28]
*The following description of this river, given in the second part of the "Complete AngIer," and written by Charles Cotton, the friend and associate of Walton, will be remembered with delight by all amateurs of that "contemplative recreation."
" The river Dove, which divides the two counties of Derby and Stafford for many miles together, is so called from the swiftness of its current; and that swiftness is occasioned by the declivity of its course, and by being so straitened in that course between the rocks, by which, and those very high ones, it is hereabout for four or five miles confined into a very narrow stream; a river that, from a contemptible fountain, which I can cover with my hat, by the confluence of other rivulets, brooks, and rills, is swelled, before it falls into the Trent a little below Eggington, where it loses its name, to such a breadth and depth, as to be inmost places navigable, were not the passage frequently interrupted with fords and wears, and has as fertile banks as any river in England, none accepted. And this river, from its head, for a mile or two, is a black water as all the rest of the Derbyshire rivers of note originally are, for they all
[ continues on bottom of page 29]

called Dove Dale Church, Reynard's Cave, and Thorp's Cloud, are particularly worthy of notice.

FOR a detailed description of Dove Dale, the reader is referred to Rhodes's Peak Scenery, and to the views in the quarto edition of that work, which are from the pencil of the celebrated Chantrey, a native of this county, who, in his successful cultivation of sculpture, has not neglected the sister art, See Edwards's poem, " The Tour of the Dove."


KEDLESTON HALL, distant from Matlock thirteen miles, the mansion of the Earl of Scarsdale, an elegant modern built structure, is at all times shewn to visitors. The grounds, the house, and its interior decorations, rank among the finest in the kingdom.

[footnote on page 29 - continued from page 28]
spring from the mosses; but is in a few miles of travel so clarified by the addition of several clear and very great springs, bigger than itself, which gush out of the limestone rocks, that before it has run seven miles of its course, you will find it one of the purest crystalline streams you have seen."

WITHlN the park is a mineral spring of the sulphurous kind, whose waters resemble those of Harrogate, and are much esteemed for their antiscorbutic qualities. For the convenience of those strangers who might wish to use the contIguous bath, a handsome inn was erected by the late Lord Scarsdale, which is four miles from Derby.

THE entrance to the park is by an avenue of venerable oaks, from whence the road passes over an elegant stone bridge, of three arches, to the mansion, celebrated for the classic elegance of its architecture, particularly that of the hall and saloon.

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*Transcribed by Ann Andrews in March 2004 from:
"The Panorama of Matlock and Its Environs; With the Tour of the Peak", by H. Barker, Esq. (1827), published by Longman & Co., London. From the copy held at Derby Local Studies Library (ref DLSL 143) and published here with the librarian's very kind permission.
Also very grateful thanks to Jane Steer for generously providing copies and all her help and interest
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