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Matlock Bath: Lover's Walk, Riverside Path
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Lovers' Walks, looking downstream
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Lovers' Walks,
brief history

Lovers' Walk (Edwardian)

Aviaries & Monkey Houses

Matlock Bath Today (6)

Ward Lock Guide

More from the 1932 Guide

View from the Heights of Abraham, 1892

(scroll down for the b&w image)

"The Lovers' Walks, a labyrinth of tree-shaded paths, reached by the bridge from the Promenade, winds in a series of zigzags up the side of the verdant hill on the opposite side of the river from Matlock Bath. Holiday-makers, especially the more romantic, have always highly esteemed these walks, for the corners are secluded and the prospects poetic. Plants and flowers grace this delightful region in profusion, and a recent addition is a small aviary. There are two sets of paths whereby the top of the hill may be reached, visitors usually ascending by the one and descending by the other". This description was published in 1932[1].

The "bridge from the Promenade" - the Jubilee Bridge - is no longer the only means of accessing the Lovers' Walks, of course, as in 1969 a new bridge was constructed across the River Derwent; it is approximately where the line of the river disappears into the horizon in the top photograph and connects Lover's Walk with the Derwent Gardens. These days the footpath between the two bridges is lit.

All the pictures here show the pathway beside the river rather than those that ascend the hill.

  First published by Frith in 1886,
the year before the Jubilee Bridge was constructed.

Roll over the image to see the black and white version that was included in Ward Lock guides of both 1911/12 and 1932/33, and possibly in other issues.

It is quite difficult to tell the exact location, apart from knowing it was looking northwards from a position downstream from the former ferry crossing. There are no helpful buildings or clues on the riverbank to tell us more.

The final picture of the riverside walk, below, was also taken downstream from the ferry crossing.

In 1921 Matlock Bath's Council announced that although they were keeping the annual general rate low, the charge for admission to the Lover's Walk was to be raised to 3d. per person. So unless the young woman in the picture was a local, she would have to pay the fee[2]. The land was still leased from the Arkwright family at this time, hence the need for the Council to get some income to pay the leasing fees.

Postcard of riverbank path,1920/21.

Both the card's subject and the message on the back were in the romantic spirit of Lover's Walk.

"This walk would suit you and Will. I went on Saturday night up here with George and we thought how nice it would have been for you two".

When the Venetian Fete took place in the September of that year "A popular feature was a display of aquatic fireworks, which was exceptionally pretty, and when these flares were illuminated among the leafy recesses of the Lover's Walks the effect was one of delicate splendour"[3]. Not that the lights would have reached as far down as the seat where the young woman was, but she was definitely amongst the leafy recesses.

1. Black and white photograph, of unknown date, by Valentine (top image). From Ward Lock's Guide (1932/33)[1].
2. Sepia postcard, "Matlock, Lover's Walk". First published in 1886 by F. Frith & Co. Ltd., Reigate, No.18608 as a black and white image. British Copyright. Unused.
2a (seen when you roll over image 2). Black and white photograph by Frith from Ward Lock's Guide (1912/13 and 1932/33).
3. "Lover's Walk, Matlock Bath". Published by C & A Lewis Limited, Nottingham, No.827. Posted in Matlock on 6 Aug 1921.
Images in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] From Ward Lock & Co's "Matlock, Dovedale, Bakewell and South Derbyshire", Illustrated Guide Books of England and Wales (1932-3). Of the quotation provided, all but the last one and a half sentences was also included in the guide of 1903.

[2] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 19 March 1920. Patrons of Lovers' Walks to pay more.

[3] "Nottingham Journal", 6 September 1920. An English Venice. Pretty River Fete at Matlock Bath.