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Derbyshire Life - - Village -

at­lock is un­doubt­edly a jewel in the crown of the county’s su­perb of­fer­ing, wel­com­ing thou­sands of vis­i­tors from across Der­byshire and fur­ther afield all year round.

The rea­sons for Mat­lock’s rep­u­ta­tion and pop­u­lar­ity are many and var­ied. While the town’s his­tory can be traced right back – it is recorded in the 1086 Dooms­day Book as Mes­lach and po­ten­tially orig­i­nates from the mean­ing ‘moot-oak’ (an oak tree where meet­ings are held) - it’s the more re­cent his­tory that is re­spon­si­ble for its cur­rent stand­ing.

Fol­low­ing an ex­plo­sion in the pop­u­lar­ity and per­ceived ben­e­fits of hy­drother­apy in the 1800s, Mat­lock – largely un­der the ste­ward­ship of the famed in­dus­tri­al­ist John Smed­ley – ex­ploded as a best-in-class spa town in the Vic­to­rian age, the rem­nants of which can still been seen dot­ted around the town today; in­deed the build­ing which now houses Der­byshire County Coun­cil, County Hall, was for­merly Smed­ley’s Hy­dro un­til the 1950s.

Such was Mat­lock’s stand­ing at the time, the town’s pop­u­la­tion grew sig­nif­i­cantly, as did its at­trac­tion to vis­i­tors, to the ex­tent that even when the hy­drother­apy era be­gan to sub­side, Mat­lock’s sta­tus as a go-to town was se­cured.

An­other as­pect of Mat­lock’s pop­u­lar­ity is its beauty and quin­tes­sen­tial charm. Nes­tled in the val­ley on the edge of the famed Peak Dis­trict with dra­matic hills and im­pos­ing cliffs sur­round­ing it – not to men­tion the Gothic-style Riber Cas­tle which looks down im­pos­ingly on the town from al­most ev­ery an­gle – Mat­lock paints a pretty pic­ture.

Its lo­ca­tion is also a plus – a short dis­tance from the likes of Mat­lock Bath, Chatsworth, Bakewell, Crom­ford and Wirksworth, there is plenty of scope to branch out, while reg­u­lar pub­lic trans­port means larger lo­ca­tions such as Ch­ester­field, Derby and Sh­effield are less than an hour away.

Fi­nally, Mat­lock of­fers an abun­dance of at­trac­tions in keep­ing with the town’s rich char­ac­ter – from the ex­pan­sive and pretty Hall Leys Park, orig­i­nal and quirky in­de­pen­dent craft shops, cafes, fam­ily-run busi­nesses and even the lo­cal foot­ball club; Mat­lock Town.

Whether lo­cal or liv­ing fur­ther afield, few leave Mat­lock after a day out feel­ing un­ful­filled.

Dale Road, just off the town centre and the fa­mous Crown Square, leads out of town to­wards Mat­lock Bath, how­ever there are plenty of es­tab­lish­ments here which may tempt you to de­lay your de­par­ture out of Mat­lock.

Here you’ll find a mul­ti­tude of restau­rants, from the high-end Stones nes­tled against the river to the pop­u­lar Viva, Thai­land No. 1 and HERD.

There are also tra­di­tional pubs such as the Re­mark­able Hare

(the Old English back in the day),

cer­tainly pack a punch”

Mocha, with its ar­ray of real ale, and Twenty10 for those want­ing a game of pool and live mu­sic.

There are also trendy bars such as Monk and a va­ri­ety of take­aways along the stretch, all of­fer­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent and cater­ing for var­i­ous pref­er­ences.

With Hall Leys Park a stone’s throw away there is plenty of op­por­tu­nity to walk off your meal and with Dale Road famed for its unique an­tique stores and in­de­pen­dent shops, you can eas­ily spend hours here.

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