As you head east out of Matlock on the A615, you will very shortly reach the small village of Tansley. You may be aiming for one of the large garden centres located here - either Scotland Nurseries or the Matlock Garden Waterlife and Pet Centre - both of which are well worth a visit for a browse or a cup of coffee, or maybe you are planning to stay in the village and explore the surrounding area.
There are plenty of options to choose from if you are looking for accommodation. Turning off the main road you will find the main part of Tansley, and the area known as Tansley Knoll. Here, amongst the thriving community, you will find holiday cottages or B&B’s, and on the outskirts, a number of farms offering various combinations including caravan and camping facilities. The “Tavern at Tansley” and the Gate Inn also offer bed and breakfast, should you prefer the convenience of an inn.
If you are just passing through, then refreshment is available at The Royal Oak as well as the aforementioned establishments, therefore making Tansley well equipped in the hospitality stakes for such a small village. Indeed, Tansley had most things you would want of a village; a primary school, village green with a play area, a Methodist church and the Holy Trinity church; for indoor activities there is an impressive Village Hall - once the school building - and the smaller Community Hall. Sadly, the only thing lacking is a shop - there is a brand new building all ready to go, but no-one at present to run it.
The surrounding countryside has much to offer in the way of walks. The historic Lumsdale is just to the west and circular walks taking in this fascinating area are easily accessible from Tansley. The wooded gorge, once industrial but now given back to nature, has six water wheels which used to harness the energy of Bentley Brook, still flowing down the valley.
Looking south west, you can’t fail to notice the spooky ruin of Riber Castle overlooking the town of Matlock. It was built in the 1860’s by John Smedley - the architect of Matlock’s largest hydro - and has had various uses over the years, such as a boys’ school, a food store in the Second World War and latterly a zoo. Unfortunately, the zoo closed in 2000 amid some controversy; activists released some lynx and rumours persist that large cats are living wild in the area; mysterious sightings being reported at fairly regular intervals. At the moment, there are plans afoot to develop it into flats, but nevertheless, a walk to Riber is well worth the effort, if only for the panorama and a close-up look at the ghostly carcass of Victorian quirkiness.
Footpaths criss-cross the fields around Tansley, so there are many other options for the rambler and further afield, short drives away, are the attractions of Matlock, Matlock Bath and other local villages. All in all, Tansley is an excellent place to base yourself if you want to explore the wider delights of the Peak District.
Another good site for the village is Tansley Village