Easter is here…
I don’t know about you but I am ready for a few days off work to gather my thoughts and wind down a bit. I don’t usually buy ‘Easter paraphernalia’ but couldn’t resist this little pottery hen – only £1.50 from our recent visit to Tadcaster.
Last weekend we had my lovely mum come down to stay for a long weekend and it coincided with the gorgeous warm sunny weather. On the Saturday we took a trip out down to Cromford Mills in Derbyshire and after a little light lunching we decided to have a walk up to the village of Cromford. I hope I have managed to capture on camera a feel for this delightful little mill village built around quite a steep hillside and all centred around the mill-pond.
The village with its historic workers houses is now protected by a Conservation Order and is a good example of housing built during the Industrial Revolution to encourage people to come and work in the mills from the surrounding countryside.
I liked this higgledy – piggledy vegetable plot and garden just beside the road leading to the village – it reminds me of the ones we saw in France crammed into any nook and cranny – I must remember to go back in the summer for another look when I am sure it will be full of vegetables.
Here is mum – she is 91 now (and she won’t thank me for mentioning that!) – still as active as ever and loves going out – we have a job to keep her in. Unfortunately, the little tea shop in the picture was closed for the afternoon.
As you enter the village just off the main road you come to the market place – it was a bit noisy for us – the sunny weather had brought all the tourists out and bikers – so we headed off to a quieter corner and started climbing the hill just to the rear of the Fish and Chip shop. This little lane runs around the back of the Mill Pond.
It starts with The Boat Inn the local pub – one of many in this village – must have been for the thirsty mill workers. Look at the quaint little opening window on the upper left – this type of window is typical of this village as you will see as we go on.
Halfway up the hill we came across the Post Office always good to see one that has survived – that bright red box a symbol of English village life, continuing despite the modern ways we are adopting to kill them off!
A short distance away is the famous bookshop – Scarthin Books. Click the link and have a browse on their website. This out-of-the-way little shop expands like the Tardis – with books, old, new, antiquarian and children’s – they have events, publications, gifts and a vegetarian cafe! Sadly we did not have time to make the most of our discovery but definitely will have another visit soon.
Turn around at the bookshop and you have this delightful view across the Mill Pond below complete with very photographic swan.
At the crest of the hill now – it is interesting that there is layer upon layer of houses squeezed into the hillside – I expect the delivery men must have fun delivering large items here. This little round bay is again typical of this area – rather a French feel don’t you think?
I had to have a snap of this window box – the restricted colour range make it work so well against the black painted window box.
We are now about to descend the hill as the lane winds down and narrows at this point by these cottages. Is this Canary Creeper – I wasn’t sure – does anyone recognise it – it certainly brightened up this shady corner.
I don’t usually go peeping into people’s windows but as we passed this one something caught my eye – the window was extremely dirty and on further inspection I was amazed to see a disused room spilling over with tiny baskets. I quite like the resulting atmospheric picture.
At the bottom of the hill again now and back onto the busier road.
Turning to the left we followed the road around the front of the Mill Pond it was here we realised that the empty cottage with the room full of baskets was part of this Basketware company! Note the large black pipe suspended above the gate opening. Follow it further along the wall to the right…
and it continues to the old waterwheel.
Beyond this we came to the Mill Pond and saw the earlier swan’s mate – nesting under the Willow tree.
Just having a change of position.
This is the view now looking back across the pond to where we had just come from – I must say that the hill we walked up does not look very steep at all from this view-point.
You can just make out the bookshop from here and the male swan still paddling away enjoying the weather!
We arrived back at the market place again and decided to go and seek out the original mill workers houses on the other side of the main road and up yet another hill. Cromford was only a tiny hamlet when Arkwright arrived in 1771 and to attract workers to his mill, like many other famous places such as Saltaire in Yorkshire, he built housing and facilities to form the village we see today even including setting up the market.
All the way up the hill the 3 storey terraced houses (where the originals have been preserved) have one of these little opening windows within the larger main Georgian styled window.
I was quite intrigued by them and presume the reason is because they needed to have some form of ventilation within the large fixed windows. As you can see they are not sliding sash like the modernised house next door in this photo.
This is the street of original mill workers cottages – such low doorways and I expect very low ceilings but oh so cute.
In and amongst a cluster of cottages on our way back into the centre of the village we came across this – a stone lined pit sunk into Cromford Slough named the Bear Pit by the locals. It is a great piece of hydraulic engineering constructed in 1785 by Sir Richard Arkwright to regulate the amount of water feeding the mills.
In one of the nearby gardens was a majestic Magnolia tree in full bloom.
We walked back to the mill and finished our tour with a homemade ice-cream.
We drove on to Wirksworth a small nearby Market town to find a cafe for some refreshments.
We found a few notable things to mention – one being the Blacks Head, a pub in the corner of the Market place – now having a new sign – the previous showing a rather controversial picture of a grinning black man with turban. Delving into the history of the pub it is probable however, that the name is just a shortened version of a name once used in the past – the Blackamoor’s Head.
Following a lane leading back down into the bottom of the town I took a photo (sorry for the poor light quality) of this well clipped tree which is unusual as I think it is Beech.
That was the end of our afternoon – we had left home intending to visit Lea Gardens but as you can see we got a bit diverted and never made it!!
Have a lovely Easter x