Local Area

The Hamlet of Robin Hood

The beautiful hamlet of Robin Hood is located perfectly on the borders of the Peak District and the Derbyshire Dales. There are many stories about the origin of the name of this hamlet and why it is so called. One story is that in the days of Robin Hood, this particular part of Derbyshire sits on what may have been part of Sherwood Forest and at an ancient crossroads of four packhorse trails. Or perhaps Robin Hood once stayed at Oakford Cottage? Who knows? Whichever the case may be, this mystical hamlet with its mythical name is certainly worth a visit to simply explore the many beaten tracks and footpaths that open up into forests, alongside the canal or down to the River Derwent. Click on “The History of our Area” link to find out more.

The Derbyshire Dales

The limestone dales found in Derbyshire and the Peak District are usually cut by crystal clear rivers and often flanked by precipitous cliffs or pinnacles. Some like Dovedale and Lathkill are extremely popular and busy, especially on fine weekends.

Crich Tramway Village

The Cromford Canal

The Cromford Canal is at the bottom of the gardens of Oakford Cottage.This stretch and the footpath runs from Cromford to Ambergate and is a haven for wildlife.




All part of the Derwent Valley Heritage Site and a designated area of Special Scientific Interest.


         “………..you know, that little village in Derbyshire……….with the funny name………….where the yachtswoman comes from.” And how proud we all are to be in the home-town of the oustanding and courageous Dame Ellen MacArthur, and yet so far from the sea! ( To hear about the twist in the tale in the above quote, see the end of the History of our Area section! )                                                                     Take a look at the video near the top of this page. This video was produced by Peak District Online. Better than a virtual tour, this video starts with images of the sights and sounds of this Peak District village brought to life with the sounds of birdsong in your ears! With gorgeous scenes from the start, this 3 minute video takes us on a journey down the Cromford Canal, a busy starting point with watery enjoyment for anyone in a recreational mood. We tear ourselves away from the fun and frolics and follow the canal as it meanders through the willows, expecting to see Ratty and Mole any minute, we can feel the sunshine on our faces and smell the heat of the glorious Summer’s day. We see the stunning views from the windows of scrumptious accommodation, the music gently accompanying the viewer on a journey you won’t want to come home from. The atmospheric video highlights the wonderful flora and fauna of the surrounding area – the glorious River Derwent winding through the lush green vegetation of overhanging ancient trees, Summer laden foliage dip into clear waters. A wonderful walking route – under or over packhorse bridges, accompanying the rushes and reeds at the water’s edge. A chocolate box village with stunning scenery and breathtaking views of the Dales from every angle, the valley this village nestles in is truly a gem to behold.        With its surrounding woodland, tea shop, bed and breakfasts, and a pub that overlooks the scene, a welcome place to rest and watch the world go by. Follow in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale, the lady with the lamp who took many a walk this way, with or without her lamp – who knows? The now disused section of the canal invites us to walk beside the calm water and after a hard day’s walking, enjoy a tea at Oakford Cottage on the terraces looking across the lawns to a view you’ll never forget. A gorgeous little village that you’ll want to see for yourself. Put your feet up and dream of the Summer – a Summer spent in and around Whatstandwell.         Derbyshire is, however, so perennial so you don’t need to limit your visits to the glorious summer. Bleak but beautiful in the winter and surprising in the spring! Bluebells are surrounded by a sea of green wild garlic leaves that are a delight to see, a sensation to smell and a culinary adventure to taste in Jackys wild garlic soup known as Ramson. And as autumn commands its changes see the difference in colours around Whatstandwell and throughout the Derwent Valley. 


The large and sprawling village of Crich sits high in the rolling Derbyshire hills five miles south-east of Matlock, where the White Peak extends a thin finger of carboniferous limestone into the gritstone country east of the wooded Derwent Valley. This ancient settlement has long been a `gateway to the Peak District’, and sits strategically placed on the route of an old ridgeway which runs north from the Trent Basin and on up into Yorkshire.The familiar landmark of Crich Stand rises from the highest point of the limestone outcrop known as Crich Cliff, whose massive white face looks westward and can be seen by travellers as far away as the A6 between Cromford and Ambergate. The lighthouse-like monument is itself visible from five counties, and on a clear day Lincoln Cathedral can be seen from it’s base.Modern roads converge on the village from every direction, providing evidence of it’s importance as a regional centre of industry and commerce, which it has been at varying times thoughout it’s two thousand year history. This reached a peak during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when Crich was caught up in the Industrial Revolution and railways and knitting machines were added to the lead-mining, quarrying, smelting, lime burning and farming which had previously occupied the increasingly growing population.



Matlock Bath


Nestling in a bowl of hills at the northern end of the beautiful Ecclesbourne Valley about six miles south of Matlock and bisected by the Cromford to Ashbourne road, Wirksworth is one of the oldest settlements in the county, having been almost continuously occupied for at least two thousand years. It has a long and fluctuating history, recorded from early Saxon times. The Romans mined lead here, but when they arrived around 55 – 60 AD, the Iron Age Celts already had an established local economy, with two ancient trading routes, later used by the Anglo-Saxon’s as `Portwegs’ or Portways, intersecting at a place occupied today by Wirksworth’s enchanting, crazily- tilted Market Place.

Nowadays a revitalised Wirksworth is fast becoming an important tourist centre, and rewards it’s visitors with much of interest and fascination, from the enchanting narrow streets and alleyways, with views of surrounding roof-scapes and distant green hills, to the rich architectural heritage of it’s restored Georgian splendour.The magnificent cruciform parish church of St. Mary, founded in 653 AD by an Anglo-Saxon monk named Betti, stands sedately in the centre of a charming cathedral-type circular close, and is itself encircled by the paved and cobbled Church Walk, with entrances leading from it through a variety of alleyways into the surrounding town streets.The Barmote Court, the oldest industrial court in the world with much of its terminology and regulations dating from Saxon times, still meets twice annually at the Moot Hall in Chapel Lane as it is known to have done since 1266, and probably for much longer. A standard bronze measuring dish holding 14 pints of ore and presented by Henry V111 in 1512 hangs on the wall. By tradition the twelve jurymen are provided with bread, cheese and beer, and afterwards long clay pipes are smoked, and have become greatly prized collector’s items.The ancient custom of well dressing takes place here with nine wells being dressed annually on late spring bank holiday Saturday, which is also the time of the town’s annual carnival, and modern Wirksworth also boasts an annual Arts Festival in September. Another valuable resource is the National Stone Centre situated alongside the High Peak Trail, just off Porter Lane, which has a permanent indoor exhibition, `The Story of Stone’, and mineral specimens from around the world can be purchased at The Rock Shop. Outside there are trails over ancient fossil reefs, including one of the finest examples in England of a coral reef from the carboniferous period.