Cromford - Village Centre
w/e 29 May 2016
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

We took a ride out towards Matlock one afternoon and pulled up in the village of Cromford. Previous visits have seen us climb Scarthin Rock from the Arkwright Mill complex, walk along the Cromford Canal to High Park Junction and Leawood Pumphouse and also looked down on the village from Black Rocks. On this latest visit we stopped in the village centre and did the "touristy" bit by taking a short walk around the Mill Pond.

Mill Pond

It was in 1771 that Sir Richard Arkwright started a cotton spinning mill in Cromford which necessitated the construction of a number of ponds to feed water to power the mills. Mill Pond in the village centre was the last one from where the water passed through tunnels in order to reach the mill on the other side of what is now the main road through the Derwent Valley.
Across The Pond

We walked along Water Lane by the side of the pond looking across to the lane called Scarthin where the famous Scarthin bookshop stands to the left of the former chapel that was built in 1912 as the Mount Tabor Chapel, replacing an older building.

At the end of the pond is a waterwheel which dates from the middle of the nineteenth century. Although it no longer drives any machinery the overshot waterwheel is still in working order and can still be turned occasionally.
Water Lane

We continued along Water Lane which eventually leads to and becomes Via Gellia Road, a route used not only by local residents and tourist traffic but also by heavy vehicles transporting Derbyshire stone from the nearby quarries. The road sign on the left indicates "No right turn" for vehicles into a narrow lane but as we were on foot that is precisely where we went.

That narrow lane is actually Scarthin which rises up to run above Cromford Mill Pond. A much steeper path leads off Scarthin up the valley side and gives access to rows of small cottages and the countryside above - but not today! Many of the cottages have been demolished but there was a thriving community on the hillside when Cromford was an important lead mining settlement.
The Promenade

As Scarthin begins to descend again a wide area above Mill Pond where the War Memorial stands is called The Promenade. The memorial is to the twelve men from the village who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars and it is situated opposite the former chapel and bookshop on the left of this picture.
The Boat Inn

After The Promenade, Scarthin continues past The Boat Inn where the date of 1772 is inscribed in the lintel above the door.
The Greyhound Hotel

A right turn at the end of Scarthin took us in front of the Greyhound Hotel. This was built by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1788 to accommodate his many visitors and businessmen and it included a bank which would have facilitated the conducting of their business transactions. The bank was incorporated into the left hand side of the building and although now gone, a feature of the building that has survived the passage of time is the original clock high on the building's frontage.
North Street

From The Greyhound we ascended The Hill, the main road to Wirksworth, for a little way as far as North Street. This was to view the gritstone cottages again built by Arkwright in the eighteenth century around 1776/7 to house his workers. Originally the attic rooms in the three storied cottages were framework knitting rooms where the residents could make stockings.
The Hill

Turning back down The Hill, we made our way to the car to continue our drive through Matlock Bath and Matlock but not before noticing more heavy vehicles turning into Water Lane and Via Gellia. At the foot of the hill is the tree covered Scarthin Rock and more of the unspoiled Derbyshire countryside beyond. This short walk around the village however has only scraped the surface of the historic and industrial heritage of the area and even in the village itself there is much more for the interested still to be discovered.

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