Beyond the Mill Walls and Cromford Village

Step beyond the main car park for Cromford Mills and you will discover a whole different area of nature.

The area we call, ‘Beyond the Mill Walls’ used to be known as known as Smelting Mill Green before Sir Richard Arkwright came and built the cotton mills and St Mary’s Church.

Lead smelting mills were sited here from around 1575 and these were converted into “Callimy Works” (producing calamine for brass making) in about 1761.  When Sir Richard Arkwright began to build Willersley Castle on the other side of the River Derwent, the cottages and smelting mills were cleared as part of the landscaping.  Visit our ‘Beyond the Mill Walls’ page to discover more about this area.

The footpath along Church Walk starts at St Mary’s Church and follows the bank of the River Derwent towards the A6.  Get up close to nature walking through the meadows full of wildflowers and spot visiting birds including dippers, grey wagtails and even kingfishers.  Take a diversion from Church Walk to climb the steps up Scarthin Rock and discover some of the best views of Cromford Mills and Willersley Castle.

From the end of Church Walk, cross the A6 at the pedestrian crossing and arrive in Cromford Village.  Arkwright developed the village in the 1770s and built the earliest industrial housing in Derbyshire along North Street to house his growing workforce.  There are several shops and places to eat and drink in the village; stop for a tipple at the Greyhound Hotel, built by Arkwright, or loose hours browsing the shelves of Scarthin Books opposite the Greyhound Pond.

Guided audio tours for the route from Cromford Mills to the village and along Church Walk are available to hire from the Mill Shop in the mill yard, so you can discover more about the historical viewpoints along the way.