Historic Lumsdale valley reopens to visitors after year of nature recovery

One of the Derbyshire Dales’ most fascinating attractions reopens to the public next week, having been closed for a year to protect its landscape and heritage features.

By Ed Dingwall
Thursday, 29th July 2021, 8:57 pm

The Lumsdale valley will be open to visitors from Monday to Friday throughout the summer season, allowing visitors to explore the centuries-old ruins, majestic views across Matlock and waterfalls tumbling through the peaceful woodland.

A spokesman for the Arkwright Society, which manages the woodland, said: “The closure during the past 12 months has allowed the valley to recover to some extent from the erosion and loss of vegetation caused by the number of visitors over several years.

“We thank you for your patience. There are unfortunately still areas where there are serious structural issues affecting the stability of the ruins and we must restrict access for safety reasons. These will have to be fenced off for the time being.”

The Lumsdale Valley includes ruins from the early centuries of Cromford's pioneering role in industrial innovation.

The valley is a very important industrial archaeological site and was scheduled as an ancient monument by Historic England in 2014. It is also an important conservation area with a variety of vulnerable habitats.

The Bentley brook, which flows through the valley, has attracted both industry and tourism for 400 years.

Lead smelters, cotton spinners and bleachers were drawn to the valley to exploit the water power – some predating Arkwright’s revolutionary mills at Cromford – and the remnants of that development can still be seen to day.

It was bequeathed to the society in 1996 by Marjorie Mills, with the instruction to preserve the ruins as they were and open up the area to the public.

Ever since, people have flocked to the area to learn more about its history and soak up the natural beauty and rich atmosphere – especially in the early months of lockdown.

The society will be monitoring visitor numbers to carefully manage their impact on the valley and its neighbours, and rules will be in place to help people navigate the historic and natural hazards.

For more information on visiting the valley, including guided tours, go to www.cromfordmills.org.uk.

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