Cromford Mill & Village
This circular walk visits the village of Cromford and its historic mills. You'll then head along the canal to visit the Leawood Pump House and the noteworthy High Peak Junction.
The walk starts in the village centre next to the picturesque mill pond which supplied the water to power the mill complex. From here it is a short walk north east past the village square to the mills. The site is a significant part of the wider Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site. It includes the world's first successful water powered cotton spinning mill which was built in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright. It had a major impact on the growth of the cotton industry in the 18th century. You can learn all about the history of the site on well organised, informative tours.
After exploring the mills the route then follows the canal for just over a mile to visit the Leawood Pump House. The structure was built in 1849 to supply water to the Cromford Canal, built some 50 years previously. It is a Grade II* listed building.
You then retrace your steps to High Peak Junction where you leave the canal to pick up the High Peak Trail. The junction now has a visitor centre with information about this historic area. The site includes various buildings from the former Cromford and High Peak Railway which was one of the first long distance railways which was built on canal principles. You can also find details of wildlife in the area which includes little grebes and water voles.
After exploring the area around the junction you follow the waymarked High Peak Trail trail west. It will take you up towards Cromford Moor before heading back towards Cromford village.
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Cromford Mill Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Cromford Mill Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Cromford Mill OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Cromford Mill Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
The mill complex includes the Arkwright’s Café in the mill yard, Wheatcroft’s Wharf Café and the Counting House Coffee Stop at the canal wharf. There's indoor and outdoor seating with nice views of the canal.
You could also stop off at the High Peak Junction Visitor Centre where there are a range of refreshments available.
The canal paths and woodland areas make for a pleasant walk with your dog. Around the mill complex dogs on leads are welcome in the Visitor Centre and Cromford Mills Story, but are not permitted to go into the Arkwright Experience.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Part of this route uses the long distance Derwent Valley Heritage Way. You can extend your walking by following this river path through the area.
Head into nearby Wirksworth and you will find the headquarters of the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. The heritage railway is a lovely way of viewing the valley on a fine old steam locomotive. The Ecclesbourne Way walking trail follows the route of the railway from Duffield to Wirksworth. The route passes several of the stations on the route and offers fine views of the surrounding countryside as well. It's a great one to do for railway enthusiasts or anyone looking for a scenic heritage trail in the area. The route also passes close to Alport Heights just to the south of Wirksworth. There's a car park, a circular trail and an excellent viewpoint to be found at this beauty spot.
Head a few miles south west and you could pick up the circular Brassington Walk and visit Middleton Top and the expansive Carsington Water.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Matlock Walks, Derbyshire Walks and Peak District Walks pages.