Heights of Abraham
The Heights of Abraham, based in Matlock Bath, offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape as well as providing a wonderful location for a family day out. The park first opened its gates in 1780 and boasts having the country’s first ‘Alpine Style’ cable car system, which was installed in 1984.
The observation cars treat visitors to a journey from the valley floor, across the steep incline of the Masson Hills to the top of the heights. The views from the cars across the Derwent Valley and surrounding landscape are truly stunning and the journey is a far cry from the days when visitors had to travel up the Heights of Abraham slope on foot. At 569 meters long and climbing some 169 meters, visitors can be truely thankful that they have a safe and comfortable alternative today.
The Heights of Abraham was named after the area of Quebec where Major General James P. Wolfe met his end during the Seven Years War, the British victory of which paved the way for the further expansion of the British Empire in Canada.
Originally designed as a Regency style ‘Savage Garden’ the park reflects the thoughts of the day from such as Shelley and Wordsworth, who extolled the virtues of promoting the wonderment of nature and the beauty of the environment. Even 200 years after opening the gates for the first time, many of the routes around the gardens remain as originally intended.
For children at the Heights of Abraham there is a wonderful woodland adventure area. This is filled with towers, rope bridges and swings to keep children amused for hours. There is also the ever popular long woodland slide which has proved a hit with younger visitors for years.
A little way down from the woodland play area at the Heights of Abraham can be found the oldest building on the site ‘The Summer House’ said to date back to 1801 and acts as a gateway to Rutland Cavern.
Heights of Abraham Caves
Heights of Abraham provides, as part of the admission, guided tours of Rutland Cavern and Great Masson Cavern. Lead mining was a major industry in the area and visitors can explore the mines upon which the park was built. These were both a combination of natural cavern and manmade mine, where some of the oldest sections date back to Roman times. It is rather awe inspiring to see the pick marks on the wall indicating that mining was once carried out by hand, sweat and hard labour. Jacobs well is well worth a visit where there is a fine display of fluorspar and other crystals.
The Great Masson Cavern at the Heights of Abraham, a little further up the Hill claims to have its very own collection of what is locally termed as “Troll Snot”. In reality this glistening wet deposit is the initial stages of stalagmite creation, a ‘flat stalagmite’, which has thousand years or so to grow before becoming an additional attraction to the cavern. There is also a Heights of Abraham Rock Shop on site so that visitors can purchase a reminder of the day or start their own crystal collection.
Heights of Abraham woodland
With relief older visitors to the Heights of Abraham will find that there are some 30 acres of woodland to stroll through and enjoy. During Victorian times additional walks were added culminating in the prospect tower which allows another chance to take in the views across the valley. Once suitably exhausted, visitors can relax with a little light refreshment ‘al-fresco’, at the Tree Tops Visitors Centre’s Coffee Shop. For those with larger appetites there’s also the Vista Bar and Restaurant above the café which is open on busier days and provides a range of mouth watering hot or cold meals all served at tables which offer the best view in the house. Visitors are always advised to call before hand to check on opening times.
The Fossil Factory at the Heights of Abraham, Who Why What Exhibition, Heath & Heaven and Explorers Challenge attractions not only add to a great day out but provide a venue for many school trips which can be booked throughout the year. The displays tell the history of the site and bring things right up to date with the geology of our planet.
The Heights of Abraham - Cable Cars, Caverns & Hilltop Park, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire DE4 3PD
24hr Info-line 01629 582365
Opening Times for 2013
09 February - 24 February Daily
02 March - 10 March Weekends Only
16 March - 3 November Daily
Times Open 10am to 4.30pm (later at peak times)
For details it is always best to check on the day.
For more information and prices please see our website
Heights of Abraham Slideshow
Heights of Abraham Video