Bolehill is an attractive village rising up the hillside just half a mile north of Wirksworth. Sheltered below Barrel Edge, there are some magnificent panoramic views from Bolehill. The village looks to its larger neighbour Wirksworth for it’s facilities.
A short walk away are the gritstone outcrops of Black Rocks, popular with climbers, it has a good picnic site and yet more panoramic views. The High Peak Trail is at the north of the village, where the Steeple Grange Light Railway is run by enthusiasts and operates trains on summer weekends. Also nearby is the National Stone Centre.
With its imposing stone buildings and intricate network of narrow lanes, yards and alleys, Wirksworth is a magnet for lovers of history and heritage. Its fortunes were built on lead mining, quarrying and textiles – introduced by industrial pioneer Sir Richard Arkwright at Haarlem Mill, considered by some to be the mill in George Eliot’s novel The Mill on the Floss. Eliot is also thought to have based the fictional town of Snowfield in another novel, Adam Bede, on Wirksworth, and even DH Lawrence lived and wrote here.
The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway operates services from Wirksworth to Duffield running through one of Derbyshire’s most lovely and unspoilt valleys. The spectacular StarDisc – a 21st century stone circle star chart – sits high above the town and illuminates the constellations at night. The National Stone Centre and Mount Cook Adventure Centre lie on the edge of Wirksworth, and in the town itself St. Mary’s Church – one of the finest in the county – is well worth a visit.
A new award-winning Heritage Centre opened its doors in early 2019 after a £1.6m redevelopment – the centre, open 7 days a week, tells the fascinating stories of Wirksworth and its people, and regular guided walks around the town also leave from here. Like many of the Peak District and Derbyshire’s market towns, Wirksworth is perhaps best explored on foot.
Local traditions include Well Dressing, the ancient ceremony of ‘Church Clypping’, the annual carnival and well-known Wirksworth Arts Festival each September. This is the time to experience the buzz of street theatre, music, family events and the famous Art & Architectural Trail when more than 150 artists throw open their doors for visitors to browse and buy original and affordable art – also a chance to take a look inside some of the most historical and quirky homes and buildings in Derbyshire!