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Known as “Derbyshire’s Hidden Gem”, Wirksworth lies in its own peaceful valley surrounded by hills rising to 1000 feet. Reputedly the Roman town of Lutudarem, it was once a centre for lead mining – the ancient Barmote Court still meets annually to settle disputes (though these are few as mining ceased a couple of hundred years ago!). Later, it became famous as a producer of the red tape that kept the empire organised. Unspoilt, it is rich in history with many elegant and interesting buildings dating from the 18th century and earlier. Called “Quirksworth” by Prince Charles, it has areas of tightly packed miners cottages connected by winding alleyway and narrow streets.
Though a small town, it is very lively with a lovely range of individual shops, a boutique Cinema, a leisure centre with climbing wall, a skate park, heritage centre, library, and a good range of Cafes and Inns. Music and Art is a key feature of the town, with many musicians and artists resident and active. Close by is the preserved Ecclesbourne Valley Railway – the setting for several recent TV thrillers. These are all within 10 minutes easy walking distance of Number 37.
There is always much to see and do in the town, but special events are the Well Dressing and Carnival at the end of May, and the Wirksworth Festival during much of September. The Festival is a 3 week feast of art, music, theatre, workshops and a host of other happenings which draws people from a wide area. Its Art and Architecture Trail is a very special weekend when local people open their houses to artists and crafts people to exhibit their work – you get the chance to see and buy a wide range of work and the insides of many very interesting houses. Number 37 is on this trail…
Less touristy than most of the other Peak District towns, Wirksworth is close to all of its attractions. Cromford, where the Industrial Revolution started and the site of several mills, is 10 minutes away, as are the Spa towns of Matlock Bath and Matlock. Bakewell (of pudding fame), Ashbourne, Buxton, Hathersage and Castleton are all within an easy 30 minute drive. Attractions such as Gullivers Kingdom, Chatsworth, Haddon hall, Alton Towers, Carsington Water, Dovedale and many more are all within easy reach.
The area has connections with authors such as George Elliot, D H Lawrence, the Bronte’s, Byron and Alison Uttley. Florence Nightingale lived nearby…… there is so much to explore.
There is good walking and cycling from the door, and a fantastic range of hill, moorland and dale walking in the area. The Peak District attracts walkers and cyclists from all over the country.
All photos on this site are by Lawrence de Gruchy Photography
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