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Things to do in Cromford, Derbyshire

Masson Mills Cromford © Tony Bacon

Cromford is Richard Arkwright's town. He was the great pioneer of the modern factory system, using water power to drive production machinery for the first time and revolutionising the textile industry.

Arkwright opened a mill in Cromford around 1774 and built his showpiece Masson Mills around 1785.

The steady expansion of his Derwent Valley businesses made him rich, and he built himself the grand mansion Willersley Castle which we can see across the river from the Derwent Valley Heritage Trail.

Cromford is a small place centred on its tiny market square in front of the Greyhound Inn, an imposing stone building also provided by Arkwright.

Behind this is the Post Office and another pub, overlooking the dam and its water wheel.

Cromford also possesses a remarkable bookshop with a vegetarian cafe over it that serves lunches.

Since vegetarian cafes are hardly thick on the ground in Derbyshire, this is quite a find.

Arkwright's original mill survives and so does the red-brick Masson Mills, the latter now converted into retail units.

A little downstream of Masson Mills a stone gateway opens on to a riverside walk, part of the Derwent Valley Heritage Trail, that leads to Cromford's church and to Cromford Wharf, the terminus of the Cromford Canal.

Students of Britain's industrial past will find Cromford rewarding, and walkers will enjoy following the canal to High Peak Junction, the starting point for the High Peak Trail.

Description by Jeffrey Darlington

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Images of Cromford

Bridge No1 Cromford Canal © Tony Bacon
Cromford Church © Jeffrey Darlington
Cromford Dam & Scarthin © Jeffrey Darlington
Cromford Waterwheel © Jeffrey Darlington

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