Images Index> Matlock Dale> This page
Matlock Bath: High Tor, the Rock Face (2)
Matlock Dale: Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
High Tor, The Giddy Edge
Matlock Dale
Next Image
Previous Image
More Matlock Bath Pictures
18th & 19thC
"Just Images"
Matlock Dale
General Info
About Matlock Bath
Find a Name

The Rock Face (1)

High Tor, the Rock Face & the View Beyond

Switzerland View

Sneath's photograph of "The Giddy Edge" shows a close up of the footpath cut into the rock below the lion face on High Tor, with a handrail fixed to the bend where it becomes rocky and uneven underfoot and a seat where tourists could rest and enjoy the view. Both handrail and seat are still in situ today.

It is difficult to know how many years the footpath had been in use at the time this picture was taken, but the 1861 advertisement below suggests that the footpath was created when Thomas Carding created his carriage road and walks[1]. Whether he widened an existing lead miner's path is not clear. Several local guides published between 1861 and 1869 refer to the paths and the carriage road with the first use of the word "giddy" seemingly to have been by Croston in 1868, although he only talks of the giddy height above Matlock Bath[2].

MR. THOMAS CARDING, Proprietor of the Mines on the High Tor, begs announce to the Visitors of Matlock and the Public in general, that he has made a carriage-road, as well as walks and rides, to the top of the far famed High Tor, so that all parties, however delicate or timid, may now visit the wonders and sweet scenery round and about the Tor, and obtain views of the surrounding countryside which such an elevation commands, with little of no fatigue and with perfect safety. Charge to the walks and rides very moderate.


The word "giddy" dates from 1602 but there are no specific references to "The Giddy Edge" in the old books and other guides about the Matlocks, nor are there any references in newspapers. Whether, when Sneath gave his postcard the caption "The Giddy Edge", he was just copying a name the footpath was known by locally or whether he made it up because he thought walking up there would make you giddy can only be speculated. However, it is the last place you would want to walk if heights make you giddy! Too dangerous, unless you have proper hiking footwear.

"The Giddy Edge, High Tor, Matlock". No. 3291, published by R. Sneath, Paradise St., Sheffield Copyright - Real Photograph. Unposted.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written and researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] "Derbyshire Courier", 11 May 1861 and other dates that year.

[2] The Guides that mention the paths are Holmes "Hand Book" of 1866 (scroll down to High Tor), Croston's "On Foot Through the Peak" in 1868 (see below the image of High Tor) and Bemroses' "Guide to Matlock" of 1869. The paths are not mentioned in earlier trade directories.