A Taste of the
Visitor guide to Darley Dale, Peak District, Derbyshire town alongside the River Derwent, B&B, self catering holiday cottage accommodation, hotels …
Though enjoying village status, Darley Dale is far removed
from any conventional concept of a typical village settlement. It is, in
fact, made up of several smaller settlements – Churchtown, Darley Bridge
or South Darley, Darley Hillside, Northwood and Two Dales and feels more like
Darley Dale remains forever associated with the pioneering engineer Sir Joseph Whitworth, famous inventor of the true plane and the Whitworth thread for nuts and bolts. Born in Stockport in 1803, Joseph Whitworth served his apprenticeship in his uncle’s cotton mill before setting up his engineering business in Manchester. He introduced the first standard gauges, taps, dies and planing machines and became an extremely wealthy industrialist.
Whitworth was responsible for much of the development here including the gothic Victorian edifice of the Whitworth Institute and the well equipped public park complete with its lake, bowling green, tennis courts, war memorial, obelisk and ornamental trees. He died in 1887 aged 84 and was buried at Darley Dale. His widow also founded the Whitworth Hospital.
The church was founded around 900 AD and almost entirely rebuilt after the Norman Conquest. Parts of the 12th century fabric remain, along with some earlier Celtic and Saxon stonework, excellent Norman masonry, and a selection of ancient stone coffins in and around the porch.
Directly opposite the main porch entrance stands the famous Darley Yew, a tree reputed to be two thousand years old – and with an enormous girth of 33 feet around its ancient trunk! A plaque on the tree tells of the Saxon settlers who built their huts just yards to the west of the church whilst around the base are memorials to some famous battles.
The only fifteenth century structure in the locality is the five arched
Darley Bridge which spans the Derwent. The bridge is crossed by the road
to Wensley and Winster which runs southward across the Flatts flood plain
from the A6 crossroads. The same road also runs north-eastward from the crossroads
through Two Dales and up the steep hair-pin bends of Sydnope Hill towards
Stanedge and Chesterfield.
Darley Dale is also the home of the well known D.F.S. furniture store and close by stands the Red House Carriage Museum which houses a unique collection of horse-drawn conveyances.
Immediately adjacent to Whitworth Park is Darley Dale Station where steam train buffs can buy a ticket and climb aboard at weekends throughout the year courtesy of Peak Rail, a group of dedicated enthusiasts who have earned Heritage Railway status. A four mile section of the former Midland Railway line has been reconstructed between the old rail-head at Rowsley and Matlock Station, and Peak Rail have ambitious plans for the future to re-open the line all the way to Buxton.
Information condensed from Tom Bates Insider's Guides to Derbyshire Peak District towns anad villages.