Cromford is a small village that is tucked away on the Southern edge of the Peak District. We live in Derbyshire and consider ourselves very fortunate to have easy access to some of the most stunning countryside in the British Isles.
Cromford is only a 20 minute drive from the M1 and a stones throw from Matlock and Wirksworth.
As the Spring commences and the countryside comes alive there is every reason to go out and explore what we have surrounding us.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Many years ago the principal employers in Cromford were mill owners and much of the village comprised of stone cottages that were built to accommodate the mill workers. Cromford itself has a beautiful setting, the village sits in a lush green valley. The River Derwent borders the East of the village and the massive Dene quarry lays to the West of Cromford. Cromford was the birthplace of Alison Uttley, the children’s author.
Because Richard Arkwright played such an important part in the history of Cromford we cannot ignore him. During the late 1700`s the villagers relied on lead smelting, agriculture and mining to make a basic living to support their families. Little did they know that only a few miles away in Nottingham Richard Arkwright had developed a mechanical spinning machine that was set to bring about great changes for the inhabitants of Cromford.
Arkwright initially used horse power to propel his machinery but he soon realised that water power would be far more effective. He soon discovered that Cromford was the ideal location for his new venture and in no time at all the first water powered mill was up and ready to run.
The newly installed machinery was only the start of the venture, Arkwright needed labour. He advertised for wood turners, Smiths, clock makers and weavers. Many of the weavers he employed were either women or children and the village of Cromford began to thrive. To ensure that goods could be transported in a more efficient manner the Cromford canal was constructed and in time this was superseded by a railway.
The Industrial revolution was an important part of our history and Cromford is said to have some of the best examples of industrial housing in Britain. These buildings are all protected by conservation orders. Cromford Railway Station will please any visitor who is searching for architectural beauty.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So lets stop talking about the past and see what Cromford has to offer to any visitors today. For those who may only want to dip their toe into the historical side and then move on there are a few smaller shops, which include Scarthin Books ( new, second-hand and antiquarian ), The Shop In The Yard, which sells books and souvenirs, Beautiful Days, selling a selection of Fairtrade clothing, cushions and bags, Arkwright’s Stores, an Off License and General Store, Carlines Family Butchers, The Print Works, for Local Arts and Crafts, Country Colours, for cards and gifts, Mystical Crystals, selling oils, minerals and crystals,The Posh Shop, a fashion and textile gallery, Antiques and Hardware Store, Arkwright’s Attic, a local charity shop, Home Products, who sell wonderful home made basketwork,
Leonards Ivy, a florists, Malcolm Smith, a furniture craftsman, Nicholas Hobbs, a furniture maker, Quintessential, a shop that specialises in the art of patchwork.
Seymour Interiors, offer bespoke paint finishes for your home.
Also a Post Office, a Newsagents and of course that great garden centre.
Masson Mill is within easy walking distance of the centre of Cromford and there you will find four floors that house a wide range of goods. Masson Mill has a Textile Museum on site and a family restaurant.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Walkers and hikers just love this area, it is unique and offers hours of leisurely entertainment. Along the way there is so much to see, cobbled yards, stone pig sties and troughs, the old village cells, the village school which has stood since 1832, stone barns, almshouses, Dene Quarry ( still working ) Willersley Castle ( now a Christian Centre ), The mount Tabor chapel ( now used as an engineering works ), The Scarthin War Memorial, Cromford Dam, the Methodist Church ( still used as a place of worship ), the Memorial garden, the Parish Church Of St Mary, the Railway Station and the Stationmaster’s house and the Rose End Meadows Nature Reserve.
When you are standing in Cromford Market place you will see The Greyhound Hotel, a wonderful Georgian building, standing behind the hotel is the large mill pond complete with the old water wheel.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
There are a number of self catering cottages available for rent and there is also Bed and Breakfast accommodation. Willersley Castle is now owned by the Christian Guild Holiday Group and they run special interest breaks and have conference facilities. The hotel can accommodate up to 90 people.
Alison House is available for group holidays. The 16 bedroomed holiday centre can be used for anything from an activity holiday to a wedding venue.
Wharf Shed Residential Centre provides accommodation for 28 people and is owned by Derbyshire county Council. Cromford Venture Centre is owned by an educational charity called the Arkwright Society. It provides self catering accommodation for up to 24 young people (aged 8 and upwards ) and allows for four adult leaders to stay.
The closest caravan site, which is within walking distance of Cromford is on the Wirksworth Road, Whatstandwell. Birchwood Farm caters for caravans and tents and does have a few static caravans of its own.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As you may have noticed for a village that has a population of less than 2,000 Cromford seems to have a lot to offer. Granted it may not be for everyone but Cromford is a superb stopping place for walkers and day trippers.
Last time we visited the garden centre we called in at Cromford Mill to have a look at the shops. At that time there was an art exhibition running, a collection of textile work that had been carried out by a local artist. The Patchwork shop was in full swing, they had a group of ladies in all beavering away on their projects.
We popped into the small café for a light lunch, the menu was extensive and healthy and many of the dishes were home made.
I always enjoy any time spent at Cromford and always look forward to another visit. If you are visiting Derbyshire this year then maybe you should add Cromford to your list of places to visit,