A Day Out in Derbyshire – part 3: Chatsworth, Darley Dale and Matlock Bath

Chatsworth

As we were leaving North Lees Hall, a man in the car next to us suggested popping to the church for another interesting historical building to view, and there’s the grave of Robin Hood’s buddy Little John to view as well. By the time we actually reached Hathersage, we couldn’t be bothered trying to navigate those narrow streets in order to find the church, and as we both felt like a pit stop would be a good idea, we decided to skip it and press on.

The satnav got instructions to take us to South Wingfield via Matlock Bath, and on the way, we spotted a sign for the Chatsworth Farm Shop. As a sister-in-law had mentioned some kind of speciality tea she had only been able to find there, and we said we’d be going to Chatsworth for a visit at some point and would we mind awfully having a look for it and buy some for her. We didn’t mind at all, and as we saw the sign, stopped by for said pit stop.

Hills as far as the eye can see.

My stop was done quickly, so I went outside to look at the view, waiting for the Squeeze as I was obviously the first one to come out. I took some pictures, because it was a very nice view, and he still wasn’t done. What’s taking him so long? Had the near flip-over of the car taken its toll? I looked at the pictures I had taken, then took some more of the view, looked toward the restaurant bit to see if he was there, but no, started to get worried – and then he came round the side of the farm shop building! “I didn’t know how long you’d be,” he said, and headed to the car with the things he had bought, but suggested I go and see if there was anything I liked, so I found a pack of Derbyshire oat cakes (they look like pancakes but have no milk in them, and are a bit like crumpets apparently – trying some for lunch today!) and headed back to the car … and he wasn’t there, even though he said that’s where he was going to wait. Nope, he’d decided to go after me to the farm shop again, but must’ve come in as I was coming out, because he figured I was heading back to the car when he couldn’t find me. Tut tut tut.

There’s even a church spire in the distance.
After all, it was a Sunday.

The road took us through the Chatsworth House lands, with free-roaming sheep (there were those around North Lees as well), and could spot the House itself amongst the hills, but as we were around 50 minutes from last admissions, we decided not to stop, but in fact make a day of it another time instead.

Darley Dale

Between Bakewell and Matlock is a place called Darley Dale (or “Northwood (Darley Dale)” on the satnav), which I only point out because it’s one of the filming locations for the next adaptation of Jane Eyre. I don’t know exactly where they filmed, because it just seems like a one road town, kind of thing. There’s a carriage museum there, which has provided a number of period dramas with carriages, but that’s about it. We didn’t stop to have a look, but as we came closer to Matlock, rather were semi-stuck in a long queue of traffic that didn’t seem to have any sort of explanation to why it was there.

Matlock is also listed as a filming location for Cary Fukanaga’s Jane Eyre. So will be interesting to see the final result and see if any of the places look familiar!

Instead, we went through Matlock (a “picturesque spa town” according to the sign, twinned with “Eaubonne” in France – what are the odds?) and on to the little town that thinks it’s a seaside resort. In the middle of a Derbyshire valley with a river running through it.

Matlock Bath

For some reason which is yet to be explained to me, Matlock Bath is really popular with bikers. And I mean really popular, they were everywhere and loads of motorbikes on the side of the road. A Sunday in September had less visitors than a Saturday in July, so we did find parking within a reasonable amount of time.

Where all the bikers go.

We’ve been to Matlock Bath a few times and I always look forward to it, even though it is just a one-road little town nestled at the bottom of some very steep tree-covered hills. The shops aren’t even that interesting (although you can get salty licorice in the candy shop, hooray!) and the restaurants are mostly of the fish and chip type. With fish and chip shops, ice cream stands, arcades and an aquarium, it really does a good job pretending to be a seaside resort! Last time we were in town, we had gone to one of the fish and chip restaurants (not just fast food outlets) but we didn’t want to go there again, as we weren’t all that impressed last time. The food was okay but the staff were ancient and it took us about half an hour to get served. Considering we only put an hour on the parking meter and the town was crowded, not worth it. On another previous visit, we had gone to the pub at the other end of the town from the car park, called The Fishpond. We had been happily surprised at the quality of food there, so wanted to have lunch there. Being away from the main throng of town, it wasn’t as busy. They seemed to have got rid of the menu, however, and the only things available were a few snack type dishes – so we went away disappointed and opted for chips and curry sauce from a chippy and an ice cream that was nothing to write home about.

If I like Matlock Bath …
and bikers like Matlock Bath …
does that mean I have to become a biker? :/

Can’t say why I like Matlock Bath, but the old Georgian buildings and the hills just feels like a really romantic setting for some reason. Considering my modern Jane Eyre attempt features a motorbike, I couldn’t help but start to think about having the characters pop there for a visit. Just because. Ah, we shall see. My modern Jane would definitely have hated trying to get down the wrong road outside Hathersage, that’s for sure!

Thus nourished, we decided to get back on the road. There was one more stop left before we could go home. The filming location for Thornfield in ruins, Wingfield Manor in South Wingfield.

The story continues (and concludes) in Part 4: South Wingfield / Filming locations: Wingfield Manor

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