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Matlock Bath: The Southern Entrance to the Dale, 1900-1910
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Scarthin Rock, the Tor at the Southern entrance to Matlock Bath
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Staffordshire Row &
Chapel Hill, 1905

Scarthin Nick
From Allen's Hill, 1892

Willersley, early 1900s
shows the seat

When William Bray toured the country in the late eighteenth century the road to Matlock Bath crossed "a little stream that comes from Bonsal in its way to the Derwent, which it falls into just below, after turning a mill for spinning cotton, invented by one Mr. Arkwright, who has a patent for it"[1]. However, whilst the road into the Dale existed in Bray's time, it wasn't blasted through like this until 1815.

Reverend Ward described the view of Scarthin Rock in 1827. The lamp and the seat were not there is Rev. Ward's time, of course.

"The situation of Matlock Bath is in the bosom of a deep valley by the side of the Derwent[2].
At its south end it is separated from the village of Cromford by an immense limestone rock called Scarthin rock, through one end of which the turnpike road has been formed by blasting the stone with gunpowder. It has often been mentioned with regret that, in doing this, the rock was not merely perforated, and a rude arch left over the passage ; since such a vestibule to the romantic dale would have been extremely appropriate, and have produced a very happy effect.
Upon entering the valley here, the eye is presented with a very striking view. The river Derwent, which flows through it with a southern course, here winds towards the east. Beyond it is seen a lawn; on the further side and on a very elevated part of which stands Willersley Castle"[2].

We can see the Willersley boundary - the stone wall on the far side of the gap in the rocks - and Willersley Castle's lawn can be seen over it. Road widening and improvements to the A6 in the early 1960's altered the landscape even more[4].

There are several references to Scarthin Nick in early guide books:

Rosemary Lockie has a postcard of the other side of the Tor, showing both the rock and Scarthin Lodge, on her GENUKI site.
See "The Tors, entering Cromford."

Postcard of "The Tors, Matlock Bath" published by H Y Wood, Birmingham.
In the collection of and provided by and © Ken Smith.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to other information elsewhere on this website):

[1] 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.

[2] Ward, Reverend Richard (Seventh Edn., 1827) "The Matlock, Buxton and Castleton Guide, containing concise accounts of these and other remarkable places ... in the ... County of Derby", Derby.

[3] William Adam describes the Scarthin Nick as a "rocky barrier" - see Gem of the Peak (extract), 1840

[4] See both Road Widening at Matlock Bath, 1967 and Michael Fay's article "The End of a Long and Winding Road". Scroll down to the section called "Difficult civil engineering work" as there are several photographs of the junction at the beginning of the 1960s.