This is a lovely short walk through the Lumsdale Valley, near Matlock. The length of the walk varies depending upon whether you walk from Matlock, following the signs to Lumsdale, or, if (like me) you take the shorter version which is a walk of only around two miles, starting and ending in Tansley.
There is no designated public car park in Tansley, but there is some available road side parking, for example opposite the Tansley Tavern pub, postcode. DE4 5FR. This walk starts in Church Street.
1.Walk along Church Street, for approximately 5 minutes. You will then see a road on your left, this is Knoll Road. Proceed along Knoll Road until you see a sign for a footpath on your left signposted to Lumsdale and Matlock. Take the footpath and enjoy walking along with woods and the river to your left and fields to your right. You will walk past a fishpond, which has some benches - a good place for a picnic. Continue to follow the path straight on. After approximately 10 minutes walking you will come to a road. Cross the road and turn right, walking quite steeply uphill.
2. Soon, on the right hand side, where Bentley Brook cuts dramatically down through the steep gorge that is the Lumsdale Valley, you will start to see the Lumsdale Falls. The rocks either side of the waterfall are as dramatic as the waterfall itself. It is totally impossible to see all the waterfall at once as it comes down from such a height, twisting and turning, around rocky corners and then down, steeply down, and down again.
3. This walk is not just interesting because of the stunning scenery as it is also of historical significance. The Lumsdale Valley is the site of several mills, built by Sir Richard Arkwright, which harnessed the power of the waterfall to power the mills. Some of the ruins can be seen and explored as you walk further up the hill following the waterfall. However, for now, my drawings and paintings have focused on the waterfall itself. Here is a view of the middle section. This one is a charcoal study for a painting I am still in the process of finishing.
'Charcoal Study, Rocks and Water', (framed) 29 cm x 39 cm £150
4. It was a lovely sunny day in late May when I visited. The light was sharp and I wanted to catch the tones and colours of what I think of as the main section of the waterfall, a little higher up the hill than the section shown above. Below is the charcoal and ink tonal sketch of this, and, below that, my painting of a sunlit Lumsdale Falls.
'Charcoal and Ink Study - Lumsdale Falls, Sunlight', (framed) 38 cm x 58 cm £220
'Lumsdale Falls, Sunlight', oil on canvas (framed) 61 cm x 92 cm, £700
5. Heading further up the hill you will see yet another view, this time of the top of the waterfall, shown below. As you progress up the valley you will see more of the mill buildings. At one point you can look down into the housing for a huge mill wheel which would have harnessed the power of the waterfall for Arkwright's industry.
'Charcoal and Pastel Study - Near the Top of Lumsdale', (framed) 37 cm x 27 cm £150
6. Near the top of these falls there is an information board, which tells the visitor much more about the mills and the Lumsdale Valley. There is also a beautiful serene pond, a little hump-backed bridge over the pond, and some benches to sit and contemplate the beauty of this spectacular location. When I visited I was fascinated by the blue of the water by the little bridge. This painting attempts to catch something of this:-
'Blue Water By The Bridge', mixed media, oil and paper on canvas (framed) £600
7.After the pond follow a small road that bears right,walk past a solitary house called Oakedge Farm, through some trees and eventually back down towards Tansley.
I hope you will have enjoyed this short walk. I have only been there in summer, but I am told that it is just as beautiful a walk at other times - in autumn when the many trees around this valley are changing hue, or in winter when it is a favourite haunt for photographers taking shots of the spectacular frozen falls against the backdrop of the mills - part of our industrial heritage.