Black Rocks — From Wirksworth to…Wirksworth

We climbed up up up the hill, past this sign that made me happy

Wirksworth Walk

Through the vertical village of Bolehill, catching glimpses of hills through the buildings

Wirksworth Walk

Finally up to the sun and the common, open spaces that I so long for when in London and Bristol”

Wirksworth Walk

A look back across the valley through which we had just come:

Wirksworth Walk

The panorama of light and shadow, sunshine and dark cloud that I love

Wirksworth Walk

Into the glorious woods

Wirksworth Walk

And finally to the Black Rocks trig point. It was quite a climb, I confess:

Wirksworth Walk

A look out across the world towards Riber Castle (a ‘new’ gothik castle built by mill owner John Smedley in 1862 — we walked beneath it coming back into Matlock, and visited his mill, but more on that later)

Wirksworth Walk

We came down the other side to meet the High Peaks Trail.

Once a lead mine stood here, the Cromford Moor Mine, shafts up to 128 metres deep where 100 men and women worked. They estimate the mine produced lead from before 1615 to about 1850. It opened again in the 1920s to mine white calcite — we remain so dependent on the mineral wealth we pull from the ground.

We followed it down passing old evidences of industry:

Wirksworth Walk

Wonderful rocks

Wirksworth Walk

The remains of the Cromford and High Peak Railway — power originating from the engine house pulled steel cables to haul wagons out of the pit and up the steep inclines. A giant wheel pulled the cables

Wirksworth Walk

Wirksworth Walk

It is a beautiful walk, this archway wonderful from this approach

Wirksworth Walk

My gaze quickly filled with awe as I walked through it, pictures cannot do it justice

Wirksworth Walk

Unlike some of the other places we visited, I feel I failed utterly here to capture how beautiful and mysterious and eerie it was.

Up we continued and up, a gentler climb but still climbing to the engine house:

Wirksworth Walk

The memories of the railway

Wirksworth Walk

Wirksworth Walk

Unexpected wildlife

Wirksworth Walk

And then down into the quarries. Here is Middleton Mine, the only limestone mine in Europe, and also this funny story: An the organ grinder would come to play his organ at the midday break and send his monkey down a deep hole to where the miners sat to collect money — one day the monkey escaped however, and was never seen again.

Perhaps its ghost still roams, like the pickpocketing chimpanzee in Glasgow’s Panopticon.

The quarries contain a wonderful succession of warning signs involving stick figures in peril, including ballet dancers:

Wirksworth Walk

Wirksworth Walk

Wirksworth Walk

Also, some naughty boys throwing rocks. Which made me laugh. Had I grown up here, I know my three brotehrs would undoubtedly have been stood in the exact same place throwing rocks into the water.

Wirksworth Walk

Then back down into Wirksworth’s lovely winding streets and alleys

Wirksworth Walk

Wirksworth Walk

Wirksworth Walk

Wirksworth Walk

Wirksworth Walk

And our first glance of their truly wonderful bookstore

Wirksworth Walk

and the beautiful church in its grounds

Wirksworth Walk

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One thought on “Black Rocks — From Wirksworth to…Wirksworth”

  1. I’m pleased you enjoyed my area. I live in Middleton, close to your pictures. I found your entry while researching Eleanor Marx who stayed briefly in our village. We do have some other lovely walks and interesting archaeology. I hope you’ll come back.

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