Matlock

Derwent Valley, Derbyshire, under creative commons by Duncan Harris. Click pic for link.

Derwent Valley, Derbyshire, under creative commons by Duncan Harris. Click pic for link.

Although just outside the bounds of the Peak District national park, you won’t run short of scenery in and around Matlock. The River Derwent, which winds down from the middle of the park, through Bakewell, Matlock, Belper and Derby before meeting the Trent, has carved out an impressive path through the Derbyshire Dales, and the Matlock area is where you find some of the most dramatic parts. Maybe the best way to approach the town centre is from the South, from Belper direction – you’ll follow the Cromford Canal and the Derwent through a UNESCO World Heritage Site of mills and industrial history (I’m pretty much in love with all that at the moment, you’ll have to forgive me) and then pass into the really dramatic gorge around Matlock Bath – stop here for the Heights of Abraham with its cable car – and into Matlock town centre. If you fancy, you can walk all the way, or you can come from the opposite direction on the Peak Rail.

Matlock and its environs were a collection of unimportant villages until the discovery of thermal springs there at the close of the 17th century. With the industrial revolution just a few years after, and Victorian hydro-tourism, Matlock became the bustling county town of Derbyshire, and remains a busy rural town today. What that essentially means for our intentions is that there’s a pile of charity shops, plenty to look at, and something to eat.

If you arrive in Matlock from Cromford direction, you’ll find an Oxfam Books shop as your first charity shop on Dale Road. You’d be well advised to embrace the non-charity sector as well – although there’s one or two smartly priced antiques shops, we’ve found some excellent bargains in Second Time Around, just over the road from Oxfam, including books, blankets, maps and all sorts. Cross over the river and stop to admire the view towards Riber Castle along the Derwent and once again thank your lucky stars that you can come to such a beautiful part of the world. Chuck a penny in the oddly-coloured water of the wishing well, if you’re very grateful.

At the Crown Square roundabout you’re faced with three variably fruitful options. Turn left for the road to Bakewell, Youlgreave and into the Peaks. Along here you’ll find a handily located Wetherspoon’s for breakfast, the Railway Inn for other liquid refreshment (sadly, they seem not to do the breakfasts any more that we enjoyed on our first visit, watching England embarrass themselves in the Rugby World Cup over a plate of sausage and egg), and the slightly odd, crammed-full Lighthouse charity shop. There’s plenty of bargains in here including small electricals, if you can negotiate the over-stuffed room and inconveniently-placed staff.

Go straight up the hill from the bridge, on Bank Road, and you’ll find the majority of Matlock’s civic or historic buildings; importantly, you’ll also find Save The Children, British Red Cross and AgeUK, although you may not find much in them. Alternatively, right onto Causeway Lane will take you along the parks by the river and just round the corner to Firs Parade, home to Mind, Sue Ryder and British Heart Foundation. So that’s a fair haul of eight charity shops in a little town which happens to be one of the prettiest I know. As you can see, I’m in a generous mood, but I’ve no doubt we’ll be returning to Matlock any and every time we’re in the area.

Find: Matlock Google Maps
Get there: you’ve many options – walk the Derwent Valley Heritage Trail, catch the Peak Rail steam train, or get the normal train from Derby.
Consume with: I would have said breakfast at the Railway, but there’s plenty of other options, including the ‘spoons.
Visit: plenty round here! Masson MillsHeights of Abraham, Riber Castle
Overall rating: five china face dolls

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7 Comments

Filed under 5/5, Derbyshire

7 responses to “Matlock

  1. I just wanted to thank you for this blog – as an avid charity shopper/bargain hunter, this blog has given me plenty of weekend-trip-ideas! This Saturday I’ll be dragging my Loughton-dwelling boyfriend down the Central line to Epping.

    But as an Oxford-dweller, I’m saddened by the absence of North/Central/East Oxford reviews – the shops in Jericho and down the Cowley Road are well worth a mention. (And on the High Street – I once got a mint-condition, genuine, Brooks Brothers raincoat for a tenner at the Red Cross there…)

  2. ohsimone

    I am completely cursed in every attempt at visiting Oxford. It’s definitely on the agenda – have been to Headington and Summertown already though…

  3. If you’re ever looking for an Oxford-based guest blogger, let me know! I just did the rounds (Summertown to Headington via City Centre and Cowley) on a prop run for a show last week…getting quite a sense of Oxford’s charity shops!

  4. Jo

    Love this site which anyone would find interesting even if hey are not particularly keen on charity shops. The descriptions of the towns are interesting and have inspired me to get out and about more. A good town for charity shops near me is Leighton Buzzard. They have about eight and all but one of them within a small area at one end of the High Street. Don’t miss the other one though at the top of Lake Street.jj

  5. Pingback: Tenbury Wells | Charity Shop Tourism

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  7. As ever, so informative and additionally constructive blog post
    on Matlock | Charity Shop Tourism..
    Appreciate it!

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