A Taste of the
Rowsley, Peak District, Derbyshire village, B&B, self catering holiday cottage accommodation, hotels, tourist attractions, walking, climbing, mountain biking history, towns, villages, geology, mining, local information, Derbyshire businesses and much more …
The village of Rowsley sits astride the A6 between Bakewell and Matlock and a mile from the grand medieval manor of Haddon Hall owned by the Duke of Rutland, who until relatively recently owned most of the village too - and about three and a half miles south west of Chatsworth House, home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.
Rowsley is situated at the junction of the two valleys of the Rivers Derwent and Wye, and bisected by both the Derwent and the main A6 trunk road giving the impression of two separate settlements. Indeed, Great Rowsley on the west bank of the Derwent and Little Rowsley on the east, existed side by side until the two were amalgamated in a local government reshuffle of April 1987 when the County Council decided that two into one would go and Great & Little became known officially, collectively and simply as ‘Rowsley’.
There was an Anglo-Saxon settlement here before the Norman Conquest, and in the Domesday Survey ‘Rowesley’ is mentioned as an outlier of the Royal Manor of Bakewell, occupying the ‘tongue of fertile land between the Derwent and the Wye’. Nearby, on Stanton Moor and also on Beeley Moor, there is evidence for even earlier settlement, going back at least to the Bronze Age stone circles and burial mounds. More information below >>
Accommodation in or close to Rowsley
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Tourist Information for the Rowsley area
Nearest Tourist Information Centres (please verify opening times independently, we think they are right but would hate you to turn up and find the places closed!):
Tel: 01332 255802
Fax: 01332 256137
Open seven days a week:
Monday to Friday 9.30am - 5.30pm
Saturday 9.30am - 5pm
Sunday and Bank Holidays 10.30am - 2.30pm
Tourist Information Centre
Tel: 01246 345777/8
Fax: 01246 345770
Mon 2 Apr 2007 - Sat 27 Oct 2007 Mon - Sat 09:00 to 17:30
Mon 29 Oct 2007 - Sat 15 Mar 2008 Mon - Sat 09:00 to 17:00
Sells a range of tickets - from theatre seats to coaches and trains.
Matlock Tourist Information Centre
Tel: 01629 583388
Fax: 01629 584131
Information about Rowsley
The oldest surviving structure in the village is the bridge
over the River
Derwent which was originally a fifteenth century packhorse
bridge, widened to carry
increasingly motorised traffic in 1925.
However, there are some architectural gems from the ‘Great Rebuilding’ period of the 17th and early 18th centuries. The most splendidly prominent of these is undoubtedly the magnificent Peacock Hotel whose visitors’ book includes the names of many famous guests, including royalty, who have enjoyed a brief sojourn in the luxuriant surroundings since it became a hostelry in 1828. The house was built in 1652 by John Stevenson of Elton, agent to the Derbyshire Manners Family and served as a Dower House and later as a farmhouse before it became an inn. The stables at the rear were built towards the end of the seventeenth century, whilst Ivy House, standing directly opposite The Peacock was built a year earlier in 1651. Other notable dwellings include The Beeches and Holly House, built in 1710 as one dwelling. This was thought to have been the Manor House and was the home of Sir Francis Darwin until the property was divided at the end of the nineteenth century.
The railway arrived in 1849 with the opening of the impressive Italianate station designed by Sir Joseph Paxton. But further construction of the line which was intended to run via Buxton to Manchester was held up when the Duke of Devonshire refused permission to extend the track up the Derwent Valley through Chatsworth Park, and then the Duke of Rutland objected to a secondary plan to route the track up the Wye Valley. Eventually the Duke of Rutland agreed to the Midland Railway’s plans on condition that the track passed unseen behind Haddon Hall in a covered cutting and thus the line was routed up the Wye Valley – leaving the newly built gem of Paxton’s station marooned in the wrong valley!
Largely hidden behind a cluster of buildings which include Mill House and Bank House stands the famous Caudwell’s Mill and Craft Centre. John Caudwell founded this water-powered flour mill on the Wye in 1874 and today it claims the unique distinction of being the only complete water-turbine powered flour mill in the country, still producing wholemeal flour for sale to the public.
Another attraction of Rowsley is the Peak Village retail park on land which was once occupied by the old railway station. Paxton’s Italianate gem of a station now stands proudly at the centre of the retail park and perhaps symbolises a new era of regenerated hope for Rowsley.
Condensed from Tom Bates Insider's Guides to Peak District Villages. Available from Derbyshire Libraries and local outlets.