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Matlock Bath: Steps and Woodland Walk on Lovers' Walks
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For a photo of the steps today (in the snow)
More about Lovers' Walks

Lovers' Walks, brief history

Lovers' Walks (Edwardian)


Aviaries & Monkey Houses


Lovely autumnal photograph, taken at least eighty years ago, of the steps that go up the hill from close to what is today the children's play area by the [former] arched tufa shelter* on the eastern side of the River Derwent. They are often referred to as Birdcage Walk. There are several similar paths that climb up the steeply wooded slopes. The five hectares of Lovers' Walks are Grade II listed these days[1].

William Bray, writing in 1783, described the steps in his "Sketch of a Tour Into Derbyshire and Yorkshire":

"Returning towards the landing place is an ascent to the top of the rock by about 220 steps, besides several gradual slopes ; this is so well managed by different turnings, that tho' the rock is here almost perpendicular, little difficulty is found in gaining the summit ; and the wood grows so close to the edge of the path, that there is no room for the least apprehension of danger. About half way up is a seat overlooking the river and country. At the top is a fine pasture ground, sloping from the very edge of the rock down to a little valley, where a small bend in the river is seen, tho' from the situation of the ground, ground, it appears to be a different one from that which you left below"[2].

*Disappointingly, about four years ago (so circa 2018/19) a tree fell over the arched structure and demolished it. It was then deemed to be in a dangerous state and the Council has demolished it, removed all the stone and there is no sign that it ever existed. This is particularly sad as the shelter had been on the Lovers' Walks for 300+ years. Whilst the stone is said to be in safe keeping there is currently (2023) no indication about when it will be rebuilt.

"Matlock Bath : Lovers' Walk". Celesque Series, Photochrom Co Ltd, London and Tunbridge Wells, No. 49111. All British Production. Not posted.
In the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] English Heritage maintain a Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England (Matlock Bath Conservation Area Appraisal, July 2006).

[2] Bray, William (1783) "Sketch of a Tour Into Derbyshire and Yorkshire" (Second Edition) London, Printed for B. White at Horace's Head, in Fleet-Street. The first edition was published in 1778.