Lumsdale is a remarkable site, and one which is well worth visiting as I did on Saturday morning, having decide against going to a pantomime in Chesterfield with several of my family of various ages. It was only a short walk from the pub we were staying at in Matlock Green.

It had been an industrial site certainly since Roman times, when they are thought to have had a lead assay and casting depot smelter there, from which a number of large lead ‘pigs’ have been found, though I don’t think there are any Roman remains now as over the years it has hosted various other industries. It is a narrow valley with a small stream, the Bentley Brook, cascading down and at one time providing power for a number of mills, with several mill ponds to provide a constant water flow for the machinery.

The main area is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, cared for by the Arkwright Society, and “is one of the best water-powered industrial archaeological sites in Great Britain: it is unusual to see so extensive a use of water power in such a relatively small area.” There are the ruins of around six mills in their area of the site. This was where the industrial revolution began, before the larger mills of the Derwent Valley now in the World Heritage site.

Parts of the site were quite crowded, with only narrow places on which to stand and a camera club outing on much of them. At least I did feel that if I slipped on some of the narrower muddy paths and fell down some distance I would be noticed.

Winter is a good time to go, as there would be rather a lot of leaves to get in the way in summer. I walked up the valley, and it was a pleasant walk and not too far, but you can get a bus which passes the top of the valley, where there is also quite a lot of parking. And when I found I would have to wait 20 minutes for a bus back to Matlock I decided instead to walk back a slightly different way, which was also a good decision, as I found a few more things to make pictures of, including a larger mill converted to residential property.

More pictures from Lumsdale in Matlock & Lumsdale


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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

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