Cromford - The Black Rocks
w/e 06 April 2003

On The High Peak Trail

Derbyshire and the Peak District can lay claim to many beauty spots. This is just one of them. Not far from the start (or end) of the High Peak Trail between Matlock and Wirksworth stands a landmark known as the Black Rocks. This is the view of the Millstone Grit formation from a picnic area on the trail that in a former life was a busy railway line.
Forestry Commission Sign

There are several information boards and signs hereabouts including this one erected by the Forestry Commission. Well worn footpaths abound but all lead gently upwards towards the vertical face that dominates the surroundings.
Dene Quarry

As we near the rock face, a look back to Dene Quarry on the hillside opposite reveals that industry in the area thrives side by side with the tourist traffic that visits the Peak District throughout the year.
Black Rocks

But this is our objective - the Black Rocks. Perhaps they do not look very impressive here as there is little to gauge the scale of them but imagine 13 or 14 men standing on each other's shoulders and that will give you an idea of the height. At 25m or 80 feet, they are very popular with rock climbers. There is an easier way up however by following the gentle incline to the right.

Approaching the top and inching carefully towards the edge, a bird's eye view of the village of Cromford appears. Cromford is the place where the later to be knighted, Richard Arkwright and his partners established in 1771 the first cotton-spinning mill thus heralding the start of the industrial revolution. Cromford is in fact, often referred to as the "Cradle of the Industrial Revolution".
Derwent Valley

And this is our reward at the very top - a wonderful view over Cromford and the Derwent Valley where many sites of interest can be made out:- From the left, the cable car pylons (1) at the Heights of Abraham in Matlock Bath; the chimney at Masson Mill (2) at Cromford, one of two owned by Arkwright; another beauty spot at High Tor (3), Matlock Bath with Matlock Town (4) beyond; Willersley Castle (5) built of local stone as Arkwright's mansion which he never occupied as he died before it was completed and (6) the outline of Riber Castle on the ridge above Matlock.

With so many places of interest nearby plus the Peak District scenery, it is no surprise that Derbyshire people, wherever they may be, agree that there's no place like home.

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