Cromford castle hotel to relaunch as Peak District adventure sports centre

A well-known Cromford landmark is to become an adventure sports centre in an exciting new chapter for the venue.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 2:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 2:16 pm
Willersley Castle is to be turned into an adventure sports centre.
Willersley Castle is to be turned into an adventure sports centre.

Cromford’s Willersley Castle Hotel closed suddenly in the summer of 2020 during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Grade II-listed building, which stands on more than 60 acres of grounds, has now been bought by residential outdoor education company Manor Adventure.

The company has plans to turn it into an ‘outdoor pursuits’ centre.

Manor Adventure’s website says: “Willersley Castle provides a safe and secure environment for schools to enjoy outdoor pursuits.

"The centre operates within a very compact central area with the majority of the activities taken place within 10 acres.”

The base will offer outdoor pursuits including climbing, abseiling, canoeing and kayaking.

When it opens, which Manor Adventure hopes will be around Easter 2022, the centre will also offer archery, obstacle courses, fencing and high rope courses.

It is hoped the site will provide accommodation for up to 200 students on residential visits to the Peak District.

Three accommodation choices will be offered, with options to stay in the castle itself, the Mews or a tented village.

The hotel’s former owners, Methodist Guild Holidays Ltd, announced in July 2020 they had ‘taken the difficult decision’ not to reopen the venue following lockdown.

When it was a hotel, the building boasted a swimming pool and a total of 43 bedrooms and 33 members of staff.

It went on the market for the first time in 100 years in late 2020 and property experts expected it to fetch up to £4m.

Dewitt’s commercial property advisers said said when it marketed the property: “Thanks to this rich industrial heritage, the impressive architecture and interior of Willersley Castle still overflows with character and charm.”

It is believed Manor Adventure bought the building last month for an undisclosed sum.

The castle was built for the great industrialist, Sir Richard Arkwright, at the end of the 18th Century.

It overlooks the River Derwent and Matlock Bath on the edge of the Peak District National Park.

The historic structure also forms part of the UNESCO Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.