Lathkill Dale is a National Nature Reserve packed with beautiful scenery and containing a rich variety of wild flowers. There are riverside paths as well as footpaths over hilltops, through fields of pasture or along quiet country lanes.
Monyash stands at the head of Lathkill Dale, whilst the pretty little hilltop villages of Over Haddon and Youlgreave overlook it. The River Lathkill emerges from Lathkill Head cave about a mile down the dale from Monyash. However, the true source of the river is said to be in the Knotlow area between Monyash and Flagg.
Being in the heart of White Peak countryside these has been no shortage of building materials for properties around Lathkill Dale, with most of the character cottages and fine houses being built of local limestone.
The fertile pastureland around Lathkill Dale has been farmed since Neolithic times. In the Middle Ages several Granges were established in the locality where monks farmed huge flocks of sheep, mainly for their valuable wool.
Lathkill Dale is famed for having a stretch of ‘disappearing river’ which dries up during summer months or in times of drought. The river actually runs underground and bubbles back to the surface through a series of swallet holes before flowing over a succession of eleven weirs en route to the medieval bridge at Conksbury.
In 1854 the bank to the side of the river in Lathkill Dale took on a ‘Klondike’ appearance. It was claimed that gold had been found in a bed of volcanic toadstone, resulting in the £1 shares in the mine to escalate practically overnight to £30 each. After much publicity and excitement the bulk of the find was analysed as iron pyrites or ‘fools gold’ and within a short while the mine was closed, thus ending the Over Haddon Gold Rush!