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About Matlock

Matlock is the county town of Derbyshire, which runs alongside the River Derwent, on a sharp bend in fact, before it turns south and flows fast and free en route to Derby. The Victorian era saw the real development of the town as a popular spa, situated in the most picturesque countryside. Close by is Matlock Bath with the famous tourist attractions set amidst the most dramatic gorge and limestone cliffs, a place which welcomes hoards of visitors each year.

Compared to Buxton and Bakewell, Matlock is a relatively new town and the modern day Matlock is divided into two very neat parts, Matlock Bath to the south and Matlock itself to the north. The town has a full range of shops and supermarkets and proves very popular with the local community, making a thriving little place for visitors too. The hotels reside in the Bath but there are lots of little bed and breakfasts for tourists.

Matlock started off life as a collection of small villages, which was centred around the church. In 1698, thermal springs were discovered but this didn't lead to the development of Matlock straightaway, because the route down the River Derwent was blocked by crags at Cromford, called Willersley Crags. The road to Matlock from the south was steep and winding and came through the hills until a road was cut through a place called Scarthin Nick near Cromford in 1818. By then, Matlock had begun to gain a reputation as a select spa, and the town of Matlock Bath became a very fashionable resort.

John Smedley's woollen mill was founded at Lea Mills , set upon the hilly site straddling the brook just outside of Matlock and the huge Hydro to the north of the river, crossed the centre of the town. This enormous hotel became a huge mecca for spa lovers until the 1950's and is now home to the headquarters of Derbyshire County Council.

Matlock was transformed in the 1870's with the arrival of the railway which transported visitors from the Derby and Nottingham areas to enjoy day trips to the area, bringing money and tourism to the town. Matlock then flowered even more with opening up show caverns, cable car rides, pleasure gardens and a recent theme park.

The gigantic folly overlooking Matlock, Riber Castle, was home to a wildlife sanctuary for many years before recently closing, but the building is a landmark still seen for miles around. The main town is solid and Victorian looking, with neat stone houses going up in rows up the hillside and Matlock Bath has a more frivolous air, using the town's emphasis as more of a seaside looking resort.

The two towns complement each other perfectly and visitors to Matlock, can't fail to be impressed with the range of amenities, holiday accommodation and attractions in the area which will, no doubt encourage tourists for many more years to come.