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Monument record MDR22810 - High Tor pleasure ground, east of the A6, Matlock

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

High Tor was recorded as a sublime feature inspiring awe and dread by a series of 18th and 19th century travellers and writers and was the subject of innumerable drawings and paintings by artists including Thomas Smith of Derby, J M W Turner, Alexander and John Cozens, and Joseph Wright. The often-used vantage point still bears the name Artists' Corner. The Tor was visited in the 18th and early 19th century when there were no formal walks, though there would have been some paths worn by lead miners. The 1742 edition of Defoe's Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain describes a hermit's cell near the top. By the 1840s the recognised route to the summit was from the east, from Side Lane, now (late 20th century) Starkholmes Road. Peter Arkwright of Willersley Castle [SMR 9910] enclosed the grounds c. 1860 and constructed pedestrian paths from a new entrance on the south side approached from the bridge to Matlock Bath railway station. The entrance from Starkholmes Road was retained and could be used by carriages. A pathway was formed through Fern Cave [SMR 10046] and another on a narrow ledge along part of the cliff face. In 1879 the grounds were leased to the Matlock and High Tor Recreation Grounds Company Ltd and Milner of London was retained to supervise landscaping. Arkwright's Grand Walk, also used by carriages, was created, leading south to the summit from a gateway in Pig Tree Lane, now (late 20th century) Pic Tor Lane. A refreshment room was erected near the summit, tennis and quoit or skittle grounds were constructed close to a modified southern entrance and additional paths put in with a broad flight of steps. A worked-out lead mine rake was opened to the public as the Roman Cave. In 1903 an additional pedestrian entrance was made across a new suspension bridge constructed over the River Derwent just south of Artists' Corner. See NHLE description for more details. (1)

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> *Internet Web Site: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. NHLE no: 1001417.



Grid reference Centred SK 2970 5915 (301m by 1045m)

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Record last edited

Nov 7 2017 4:12PM

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