Sunday, 2 January 2011

Riber Castle - Derbyshire and Scarnthin Book Shop

Our walk this afternoon took us to Riber Castle. First a drive through the Derbyshire coutryside, past Matlock Bath and onto Riber.

Riber Castle Riber dominates the country side around Matlock. It is perched on a hill 260 metres (850 feet) above sea level, which is about 200 metres (600 feet) above Matlock. It looks forbidding. Indeed, it would not look out of place in a horror movie.

It was designed and built by John Smedley in 1862 as his residence. The Griststone for the building came from a local quarry and was carted up hill by a series of pullies. Smedley employed skilled craftsmen. Plasterers, for example, came from Italy to work on the Castle. There was electricity and gas, plus a deep well for water. The Castle's salon was vast.

It has been the former site of a boys' school, a food store during World War Two, and later a nature reserve.

The castle remained derelict for many years until, in the 1960s, a group of zoologists set up a Nature Reserve for British and European Fauna.

This Nature Reserve is no longer open to the public as it closed in September 2000 amid much criticism.

It is well worth a visit, especially for the views of the surrounding area.

The future of Riber Castle has continued to be the subject of much debate.

We left Riber driving down the narrow lanes to Cromford and the little bookshop that takes over your life. You really could spend all day browing the shelves and taking coffee in the little cafe.


Pondside said...

You live in a part of England that fascinates me. A friend sent me a book about Derbyshire for Christmas and I have looked at it again and again - planning a 'someday' visit to hills and castles and market towns.

Anonymous said...


Did you know that Riber castle was a key location in the film Dead mans Shoes??

It's just been on TV and prompted me to look the castle up on Google!!