Matlock stands on the A6 roughly equidistant from Derby and Buxton. From here roads lead also to Alfreton and Chesterfield and ultimately to the M1 Motorway. This busy town is a centre for exploring the beautiful countryside around, for it is situated at the southern edge of the Peak National Park. A branch line from Derby provides a link with the main railway network. Peak Rail, based at Matlock Station, aims to open a steam service to Buxton.
Matlock was once noted for its many imposing 'Hydros', but today these 'temples of healing by the use of water' are all past history. The buildings, however, remain, being used for a variety of purposes: the largest, 'Smedley's', is now the County Offices; the most ornate, 'Rockside', is now part of the College of Education. Brooding over Matlock is the gloomy haunted-looking building known as Riber Castie which was built, in the mid 19th century, for his residence, by John Smedley (a textile manufacturer at Lea and the founder of Smedley's Hydro) entirely to his own design, with stone obtained from a local quarry. It is seen to best advantage from the Hall Levs Garden in Matlock, with its gaunt embattled facade frowning on the town from a height of 800 feet. Unoccupied for many years, the Castle, with the surrounding land, was acquired by a group of zoologists who developed the site as a Nature Reserve for British and European Fauna. Riber Hill can be climbed by one or other of the several attractive footpaths.
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