As with all National Parks, there are plenty of Peak District Heritage centres dotted around the place. Some are fairly small and deal with only the immediate area however, there are some bigger ones, such as the one at Edale.
Most of the Peak District Heritage centres are staffed by volunteers although they are funded by the National Park authority, the county council or sometimes the town council.
The first of the Peak District Heritage Centres we will mention is the one at New Mills. This falls into the small local heritage centre category.
New Mills as a settlement has been in existence for well over 1000 years and had a corn mill in the 13th century, around which the nucleus of the town grew. In the 18th century, loads of new textile factories were developed in the Torrs and housing was developed. If you want to know more, why not visit the New Mills Heritage centre for yourself, there is a amazing model of the town as it was in the 19th century.
New Mills Heritage and Information Centre
New Mills, High Peak, Derbyshire, SK22 3BN,
Tel: 01663 746904
The second of our featured Peak District Heritage Centres is at Wirksworth.
Tucked away at the top of the Crown Yard in a former silk mill in Wirksworth, the Heritage centre tells the story of Wirksworth in detail. You can see the living conditions of the quarryman and hear his story. You can also enter the dream cave and experience the conditions of a lead mine and even meet the long-extinct woolly Rhinocerous.
Visit the galleries and see exhibitions of the works of the local artists. There is even an exhibition dedicated to local lass Ellen MacArthur, famed for her solo yachting records. The view from the top floor of the centre, over the rooftops of Wirksworth, is superb.
Because the Wirksworth Heritage Centre is manned by volunteers, the opening times are not always reliable. It is never open on a Monday, 1.30 pm to 4 pm on Sundays, 11.00 am to 4.00 pm on Tuesday to Saturday, although it opens at 10.00 am and closes at 5.00 pm during July, August and September.
The Heritage Centre admission fees to all of the exhibits are very reasonable (2006 prices are £3.00 adult, £2.00 senior citizen, £1.00 child.
Pre-booked parties of 20 or more receive a 10% discount and groups may visit out of hours by prior arrangement.
Wirksworth Heritage Centre, Crown Yard, Market Place, Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Tel: 01629 825225 www.storyofwirksworth.co.uk