Great British Motorbike Rides – Matlock Bath – Biking

A popular bikers destination

Matlock Bath

On the very edge of the Peak district, deep in the Derwent

Valley running through the Derbyshire Dales, half an hour or so from

the M1 and very well signposted from every direction is a small town

that can easily be described as a seaside resort without the sea –

Matlock Bath. Unless you are a Victorian poet called Byron that is,

who called it Little Switzerland. I’ve seen Heidi (and Skippy) in my

younger days and yes I can agree somewhat with said poet because

of a few scattered chalets, however a seaside resort without the sea

describes it better. Matlock town itself is a couple miles along the

road (Skippy has nothing to do with it)

Whichever route you take, the roads would be glorious for

bikes if it weren’t for those infuriating other vehicles which will

hinder your journey. Along with a few ‘Safety cameras’, low speed

limits, traffic lights, not helped by white lines – double ones at that…

Little more than country lanes in places, the road twists, turns,

rises and fall through amazing countryside coupled with forgotten

icons of the industrial revolution. Travelling from the south, along

the A6 from Derby, check out one of the worlds very first factory’s

which is a cotton mill in Belper, a marvel of engineering powered by

water from the river Derwent. You don’t need to go in pay and tour

the place (unless you want to of course), just pull into the car park

(it’s free) and see how the water is directed under the whole building

and you’ll get the idea of the ingenuity involved in this magnificent

feat of engineering.

A few miles off the A6 is the village of Crich, the home of

The National Tram museum. (Moving on quickly) On the top of the

hill behind the museum is ‘The Stand’ – a war memorial which is a

viewing tower. One of the most awesome views you’ll get anywhere.

On a good day you can see Lincoln cathedral and over five counties –

a long way! It’s free though donations are gratefully accepted.

motorbikes at Matlock Bath

A popular destination for bikers

On the approach to Matlock Bath from the south, is another

old mill which is now a department store. Interesting to have a walk

round, they’ve converted the old loom works building into a multi

story car park.

Just before you hit the promenade, hidden away on the left

is ‘Gullivers Kingdom’, a theme park aimed at the under 12’s. It’s well

worth a visit for the incredible views over the valley. It’s built on the

site of the old Victorian gardens and park which were cut into the

steep hillside, much of the original walled garden remain as pieces of

history. The rollercoaster, which isn’t quite up there with the Swarm

and the Smiler, (but will beat the pants off ‘em for location) is named

The Switchback after the worlds’ longest switchback rollercoaster

that stood on the edge of the town below Gullivers almost 100 years

ago. The ski lift is a must… If you go after 3pm admission is half price

be careful riding up through the cark park – hairpin bends and steep

inclines.

If you’ve never been to Matlock Bath you’re in for a treat.

The area has been declared a national treasure or something similar

so that it doesn’t get overloaded with things which would spoil its

authenticity.

The tree tunnel road leads directly onto the promenade. Do

a ride by first and take it in…. a long row of bikes, as far as you can

see – with the occasional car squeezed amongst them all lined up on

one side of the road next to the shops, cafes, bars, pubs, arcades,

curiosities, museums, gift shops, ice cream parlours and fish and chip

shops. Slap in the middle is an aquarium which houses the baths. It’s

rather cheesy but a must see attraction. The opposite side, across

the promenade where the sand & sea should be, is green with trees

and a small river.

Welcome to Matlock Bath.

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