High Peak Junction, at the meeting of the Cromford Canal and the High Peak Trail, was once the hub of transport activity but is now a haven of heritage and wildlife. A mile southeast of Cromford, it forms part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. There are buildings and workshops from the former Cromford and High Peak Railway – one of the first railways, built on canal principles. The High Peak Junction Visitor Centre offers information and a warm welcome, in addition to refreshments, gifts and a variety of maps, walk leaflets and books. Just a few minutes’ walk away is the canal aqueduct over the River Derwent and the magnificent Leawood Pump House, a steam powered beam engine which operates on some summer weekends and Bank Holidays. Claimed to be among the world’s oldest surviving railway workshops, the High Peak Junction Workshops were built around 1830 and are now faithfully restored to how they would have looked in the 1880s. Standing literally at the junction of the Cromford Canal and the High Peak Trail, a mile south east of Cromford village and in the beautiful Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, it is now a haven for wildlife and an ideal location for a stroll or a heritage or nature walk. An audio guide takes visitors back to the days of steam on the former Cromford and High Peak Railway.
Facilities – at a glance
Suitable for all child ages
Assist dogs allowed
- Suitable for children of all ages
- Parking onsite
- Parking nearby
- Accessible toilets
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open Easter-Oct 10-5; Nov-Easter 10.15-4.15
Also in the area
About the area
The natural features of this central English county range from the modest heights of the Peak District National Park, where Kinder Scout stands at 2,088 ft (636 m), to the depths of its remarkable underground caverns, floodlit to reveal exquisite Blue John stone. Walkers and cyclists will enjoy the High Peak Trail which extends from the Derwent Valley to the limestone plateau near Buxton, and for many, the spectacular scenery is what draws them to the area.
The county is well endowed with stately homes – most notably Chatsworth, the palatial home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, with its outstanding collections of paintings, statuary and art. Other gems include the well preserved medieval Haddon Hall, the Elizabethan Hardwick Hall, and Kedleston Hall, whose entrance front has been described as the grandest Palladian façade in Britain.
The spa town of Matlock is the county’s administrative centre and other major towns of interest include Derby and the old coal mining town of Chesterfield, with its crooked spire. Around the villages of Derbyshire, look out for the ancient tradition of well dressing, the decorating of springs and wells – the precious sources of life-sustaining water – with pictures formed from flowers.
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