Darley Moor

(Not to be confused with Darley Moor, the ex-RAF base, now a race track, South of Ashbourne) Darley Moor is not really a village, but an area situated above Darley Dale, near Matlock.

The major feature on the map is forest and Darley Moor abounds in wild green vegetation of many types, making it a real attraction to walkers, naturalists or those seeking a peaceful get-away.

Nestling in amongst the trees is the Pine Lodge holiday centre of Darwin Forest, named by Hoeseasons as the best forest park of 2009.

The name of Darwin is derived from Sir Francis Scheverell Darwin, MD, second son of Dr Erasmus Darwin, (Charles Darwin’s grandfather) who purchased the estate of Sydnope in the early 1820’s. At the beginning of the 1850s, Darwin commissioned the architect J. Barron Wright to extend and alter the Hall, in the Tudor style. At the same time he began the laying out of the grounds which, by 1874 were ‘full of natural beauties and attractions’.   Darwin was also responsible for the building of the folly known as Sydnope Stand, which can be found set back from Farley Lane.  Today, Sydnope Hall is divided into a set of exclusive apartments, set in spectacular, wooded grounds, but there are public footpaths through much of the area.

Below Darley Moor is the small village of Two Dales, which, as its name suggests, is between two small dales, or rather three, as the two tributaries join with much larger Darley Dale at this point; Hall Dale is wonderfully peaceful – its woods are owned by The Woodlands Trust, while Sydnope Brook trickles through the other, (Sydnope Dale) in a series of old mill ponds, brimming with wildlife.

For anyone into fly fishing, there is Sydnope fisheries, where trout can be caught for sport of for your plate.

Two Dales may be small, but it boasts a Post Office; a butcher; a small supermarket; bank (Royal Bank of Scotland); garden nursery; garage; doctors’ surgery; a chemist and also The Plough Inn, serving good food, fine ales and cider on tap.  Below, in Darley Dale itself, runs the Peak Railway – a must for any enthusiast of steam locomotion.

The name “Two Dales” is interesting in that it actually derives from “Toad Holes”, meaning “fox earths”, but in the local accent, it somehow got mangled into “two dales”, a name which is, nevertheless, highly appropriate.

If open moorland is your thing, then there are some fine walks up on Beeley and Harewood moors just to the North, while the many attractions of the towns of Matlock and Matlock Bath await you to the South.