Commanding superb views over Monsal Dale, a valley in an area of Derbyshire’s Peak
District known as the White Peak, the Monsal Head Hotel offers guests real food,
with well priced seasonal menus, real ales from local micro breweries, a large outdoor
seating area, and 7 en-suite bedrooms. The Hotel and Coaching Inn are in one of
the most popular beauty spots in Derbyshire, with views over the valley and its famous
viaduct, and a short distance from Chatsworth Estate, Ashford in the Water, Bakewell,
Buxton and Matlock.
Enjoy a relaxed Christmas or New Year break with us.
Derbyshire’s White Peak was formed by an uplift of limestone in an area of sandstone
and shale, and millions of years ago lay under a shallow sea. If you look closely
you will observe marine artefacts such as crinoids and brachiopods from the geologic
period known as the Lower Carboniferous. The Dale is actually a site of Special
Scientific Interest and conservation, and part of a Europe-wide network called Natura
The Peak District National Park, the first of its kind in Britain, is extremely popular
with tourists from all over the world, who come to take in the scenery, the history,
the culture, and participate in the many outdoor pursuits and sports the area offers,
such as walking and hiking, cycling, mountain biking, fishing, country pursuits,
climbing, potholing, gliding, etc.
The Monsal Head Hotel is a perfect base from which to explore the White Peak region;
on foot, bicycle, or by motorised transport. The Spa Town of Buxton is just a few
miles away, Bakewell and Matlock are within easy reach, and there is the Chatsworth
Estate and the many sites of historic interest; stately homes, etc. run by English
Heritage and The National Trust.
For those who like a walk, the Monsal Trail is just less than 9 miles in length,
and can be accessed from the Hotel, which is also a good starting point for a variety
of other walks.
The trail runs from just south of Bakewell, to Blackwell Mill junction, 3 miles or
so from Buxton, and runs along the course of the old Midland Railway. The Dukes
of Devonshire and Rutland actually didn’t want the line to be built, as it was to
pass close to their estates, and Devonshire actually refused to let it be routed
through Chatsworth Park, while Rutland refused a line up the Wye Valley through Haddon
Hall lands. Rutland eventually compromised, and the line was screened from Haddon
using a tunnel. The line was completed in 1863, and closed a century later in 1968
as part of the notorious ‘Beeching reforms’ - The Peak Park authority bought the
line, and opened it as the Monsal Trail in 1980.
For those interested in industrial archaeology, to the east and west of Millers Dale
station are many limekilns, which were used to produce quicklime, and down from the
station is Litton Mill, notorious for the mistreatment of orphans who were used as
cheap labour - The graves of many of these children, from London and many parts of
the country, can be found in nearby churchyards, while the mill itself by stark contrast
has been converted into luxury apartments! Further downstream is Cressbrook Mill,
opened in 1783, and used by Richard Arkwright, a famous local industrialist, to supplement
his Cromford Mills - It remained in use until the mid 1960s. The imposing building
seen on the site today was built in the early 19th century to house the workforce,
and like Litton has now been converted.