An afternoon stroll through the Lumsdale Valley, one of the lesser known attractions in the Derbyshire Peak District near to Matlock. It’s a beautiful wooded gorge with ruins of several historic mill buildings, and a series of lovely waterfalls.

While looking for places to visit close to our new Derbyshire home, we stumbled upon the Lumsdale Valley. There’s a brilliant website we’ve been using lately for many of our country walks with the dogs – GPS Cycle and Walking Routes – which gives some detailed maps and guide notes. I hope they don’t mind me sharing this small image of their suggested route…

Lumsdale Falls map from gps-routes.co.uk
Lumsdale Falls map from gps-routes.co.uk

Having managed to find somewhere safe to park on the main road close to Matlock centre, we set off on a short walk of maybe a mile following Bentley Brook up through the valley to the falls and the ruins.

Bentley Brook near Lumsdale Falls
Bentley Brook near Lumsdale Falls

The mills were largely the work of Richard Arkwright, the prominent industrialist of the 1700s who developed many other water-powered mills along the Derwent Valley, which were the precursors of modern factory processes.

Mill ruins at Lumsdale Falls
Mill ruins at Lumsdale Falls

There are some information panels around the ruins, detailing the history and function of the various mills – paint, bleaching, bone and timber mills, all powered by the water cascading down the valley.

Lumsdale Falls
Lumsdale Falls

The walk is quite steep at times, but with the shade of the trees and the cooling effect of the nearby water it proved easily manageable even on the scorching hot summer day of our visit.

Mill ruins at Lumsdale Falls
Mill ruins at Lumsdale Falls

There’s also a micro-brewery and cafe as a halfway stop on the journey for anyone in need of refreshment! Quite a relaxing and different afternoon out, which we can happily recommend if you happen to be passing through the Matlock area for any of its other delightful attractions.

Mill ruins at Lumsdale Falls
Mill ruins at Lumsdale Falls