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24 September 2014

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Walk Through Time
You are in: Derby > Features > Walking > Walk Through Time > Stage 10
Riber Castle
Station to Station. Matlock Bath to Matlock.

This walk takes you through lush and lively woodland, over fresh open countryside and has stunning views from one of Derbyshire's most impressive crags.

Enjoy the views from High Tor's lofty heights. In Victorian times the summit housed a privately owned pleasure garden.

We took a walk through time on Otober 16th. Take a look at the pictures.

The owners used to charge the public to visit the gardens and the view points, even if you took the alternative route and actually climbed the rock face. It's possible the area is still beautiful and preserved because it wasn't used as a general thoroughfare.

Giddy Ledge
At the base of High Tor, head towards matlock now.

Artist's corner and Lover's Leap each offer beautiful views.

High Tor was once known as Eagle Crag, this is because Fish Eagles used to nest here.

To the right there are glorious views of Riber Castle. The castle dominates the country side around Matlock.

It is perched on a hill 260 metres (850 feet) above sea level. Gothic and forbidding this grand old building which currently stands empty would not look out of place in a horror movie.

Designed and built by John Smedley it's made from local gritstone.

More Plants to spot
Solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum)
Wood Fescue (Festuca altissima)
Ladies Bed Straw (Galium verum).

The castle remained derelict for many years until, in the 1960s, a group of zoologists set up a nature reserve. The centre closed in 2000 and more recent developments could lead to Riber Castle being revamped as luxury apartments.

During its time as a Zoo Riber played home to birds, otters, lynx, goats and reptiles as well as wallabies and peccaries - musk hogs similar to wild boar generally found in deserts.

A playful rumour suggests that a mischievous group of wallabies escaped the confines of the zoo and sought refuge in the woods around Matlock and Matlock Bath so keep your eyes peeled for some cute marsupials on your walk.

Discover more...
Local Geology expert Robin Jeffcoats tells us more about High Tor.

Listen as Robin talks the talk as we walk the walk

Follow the grassy path now down towards Matlock's Victorian parks. You'll pass through a gate (see picture above), turn left here and head down into the valley under stone bridges.

This is a perfect spot to see the limestone from a different angle. As you walk along the bottom of the cliffs you can peer up at the impressive rocks.

Eventually you'll come to a well kept grassy area, make your way towards the stone pillar, then up the stone steps and over the small bridge. Turn left and walk towards the parks.

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