Let's Go To Cromford, Derbyshire

Cromford, Matlock DE4, UK

Cromford is a lovely little village nestled in the heart of Derbyshire, just outside Matlock. Here are some things to see and do for those of you who are visiting.

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Scarthin Books

Scarthin Books is a wonderful little independent bookshop based in the village. Well-loved and locally famous, it's a perfect place for book lovers to visit. Situated just off Cromford Market Place, there's free parking nearby and with a good public transport network in the area too, it's easy to get to.

The shop has an impressive collection of new and second-hand books. You can find books of all descriptions among the old, sturdy bookcases. From top to bottom every single nook and cranny is filled with books. 

Some subjects have their own specialised room such as the children's books and the art books. The art room is filled with art, crafts, fashion, poetry, TV & film and adult colouring books. There are two armchairs by the window which make it a cosy room to sit down in and flick through some novels. The door even has a lovely 3D map of the local area pinned to it!

There's also a lovely little vegetarian cafe on the second floor of the bookshop, which is a perfect pitstop for bookworms who wish to spend hours in Scarthin Books.

You can read more and see a lot more photos of the shop in our post all about this cracking little local indie bookshop from 2016. You can also visit the Scarthin Books website here.


Cromford Canal

What was once a busy industrial hub is now a beautiful place to go for walk through the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. 

A six-mile section of the canal path, between Cromford and Ambergate, is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest and also a Local Nature Reserve, because of the rich diversity of local wildlife. (Expect to see water voles, many different types of duck, and even dragonflies.) 

It's open for all, and those who have mobility issues can hire a special all-terrain mobility scooter (called a Tramper) from Derbyshire County Council. (More details can be found here.)

You can also ride on the newly-restored historic Birdswood canal boat on certain days. Some of the journeys are even horse drawn. You can also expect your journey onboard to start with a vociferous announcement courtesy of the Friends of Cromford Canal President, Brian Blessed.

You can find more about walking along the towpath on the Derbyshire County Council website.


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Cromford Mills

The historic Cromford Mill was built in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright. It was the world's first successful water powered cotton spinning mill, which transformed the production of cotton into a major industry in England. The ground-breaking factory system created here later spread worldwide, and the Arkwright and Strutt mills (down the road in Belper and Milford) played an important part in the Industrial Revolution.

The buildings at Cromford Mills are Grade I listed and are part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

Today, the Mills are a visitor centre with interactive displays, games, and puzzles. You can even 'meet' a CGI version of Sir Richard Arkwright at The Arkwright Experience. You can venture on guided tours and audio tours of the site too.

There are also lots of fantastic events held there, like regular artisan markets, antique fairs, and the annual Shine A Light festival (where the site is lit up and animated beautifully along to live musical performances).

You can find out more about visiting Cromford Mills on their website here.

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