Image: Darley Dale Church, Peak District, Derbyshire.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 a town.

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.

Image: Saxon Carvings at Darley Dale Church, Derbyshire Peak District.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.

Accommodation in and near to Darley Dale - Click Here

Information condensed from Tom Bates Insider's Guides to Derbyshire Peak District towns anad villages.

The village is recorded in the Domesday Book

Darley Dale is closely associated with the engineer James Whitworth, he of the Whitworth screw thread fame.

Modern Darley Dale owes its size and status almost entirely to the road and rail links developed early in the nineteenth century, with the A6 trunk road being driven through in 1824, and the railway 25 years later in 1849. Road, rail and river follow the broad Derwent valley floor, running virtually parallel all the way from Rowsley to Matlock, a distance of about six miles. Thus most of the ribbon development along the valley floor, a mixture of industrial and domestic buildings, is of 19th and 20th century construction, whilst the older and more interesting structures are to be found along the steep hillside which forms the eastern wall of the dale. The one exception to this is the Parish church of St. Helen at Churchtown, the oldest and certainly the most interesting building in the entire parish, with its square 14th century battlemented west tower rising amongst the churchyard trees.

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