Cromford Mill home to the world’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill, was built in the Derwent Valley in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright, who also created a whole village for his workers to live in.
The Arkwright Society purchased the near-derelict site near Matlock in 1979 and made remarkable efforts to restore the site and surrounding area over the last 53 years.
It is now part of a World Heritage Site, celebrating the area’s special status as a place that saw the beginning of the modern factory system that transformed the global textile industry using water power.
Visitors can take a guided tour with a private tour guide, running at 11am, 12.15pm, 1.45pm and 3pm daily. Each time slot is per household bubble for any number up to a maximum of six people including children and online booking ahead is recommended to secure a slot.
There is also a self-guided audio tour of the mills and the village that takes about 90 minutes to complete.
On Sunday, May 30 there will be pop-up live art in the mill yard. Watch James Reader of Front Row Films create aerial footage with a drone, find Sophie Sparham in a cabin and encounter her poetry and interact with textile artist Tan Draig as he cocoons himself in wool and invites visitors to write wishes for the future.
The mill yard and shops are now open again. The cafes are open 10am to 5pm, with limited indoor seating and lots of outdoor seating in the mill yard and on the canal wharf.
You can also explore the area outside the mill walls and take a canalside walk, stroll next to the River Derwent and enjoy a picnic, explore a wooden sculpture trail and venture up Scarthin Rock.
Cromford Mills is marked ‘Good to Go’ which means that all Covid-safe measures have been put into place.
Plan your visit at cromfordmills.org.uk for details about tours, walks and cafes. There is on-site parking and free entry every day.