Hurst Farm Heritage Trail Information

Hurst Farm Heritage Project

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Heritage that is Understood, Respected, Safeguarded and Treasured for Hurst Farm.

Information on this page provides an overview of the Hurst Farm Heritage Project that Derbyshire Dales District Council, the Hurst Farm community and partners are working on together.  For an overview of the project please scroll down below.

Our work is being funded entirely by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF).

Thank you for your feedback - Consultation is now complete

A big thank you to all those residents who took part in the two online surveys held in November 2020 to January 2021 (Survey 1) and May to June 2021 (Survey 2).  Our consultation process for the Development Phase of the Hurst Farm Heritage project is now complete.

We had a great response to the project from local residents, based on Hurst Farm, Asker Lane, Lumsdale and Tansley, as well as some from wider Matlock.

80% of responses came form the immediate surrounding areas. A huge positive for the project is that 81% would use the proposed Heritage Trail.

The information collected in the 2nd survey specifically informed the design of the trail, the management plans for the woodland and enabled us to detail up the educational programme of activities we want to offer to all the local communities.
We have listened to your ideas and concerns, so we would like to tell you more about how the project and its design have been shaped by your feedback. 

Heritage Trail Detail Design Update November 2022

The feedback from the survey confirmed that the majority are in favour of the creation of an accessible path between the Social Club car park and the Wishing Stone. We have continued the design work and added a viewing point feature made of dry stone wall.

The Wishing Stone was identified as needing attention and for the historical view to be re-opened.  We want to invest and turn this neglected landmark into a heritage feature that is of the same quality as Baileys Tump and the John Bowne Memorial.

We propose to clear the overgrown vegetation around the stone and to repair the existing stone retaining wall.  We will add a new hard access path to the top of the stone.  New stone steps will enable visitors to once again walk around the stone and make their wishes. 

A new interpretation panel will tell the story of this local land mark.  A few carefully selected trees will be removed to open up the historic view.  The existing tarmac path in front of the stone will be resurfaced.

A small minority asked us not to touch the Lumsdale Valley footpaths, or impact on the natural and wild character of this part of the woodland.   In response we have adjusted the route of the trail avoiding the path leading to the lower Lumsdale Valley ensuring this area stays wild and untouched. 

Instead we are now focusing on the path closer to the Hurst Farm Houses.  This is an area of urban fringe that is visually dominated by garden boundary fences, is very overgrown by weeds, has no heritage features and little natural wildlife character. 

We want to improve this area by clearing the weeds and scrub, planting new hazel coppice and trees and installing new drystone walling between the boundary fences and the proposed new surfaced path.   

These improvements will help visually link back to the wilder areas and heritage features located within the woodland and help improve this part of the  woodland and its wildlife habitats. We feel that these proposed measures will help elevate this area to be closer in character to the rest of the woodland, creating a stronger 'sense of place'.  Overall adding value to the most neglected and least attractive area within the woodland.

We have decided not to continue with our plans to develop a natural play area by the Bentley Brook near 'Turners Art Sale' due to concerns about parking.

Following the feedback we have firmly set the focus of this project and the Activity Plan to be on local residents from Hurst Farm, Asker Lane, Lumsdale and Tansley.  Improving access to and their connection to the local heritage and woodland on their doorstep. 

External visitors will not be encouraged actively and were possible directed towards the parking and facilities available at the Social Club (aka Farmer's View and Milkchurn Cafe).  Thereby,  spreading visitors to the valley over a larger area easing the pressure on the Lumsdale Valley and Industrial Heritage Site. Instead we hope that the new facilities at the Social Club will offer all local communities a pleasant and convenient new destination to walk to. 

The refurbishment of the Social Club building is underway and we hope will be completed and opened in May 2022.   £450k funding has been secured to transform the whole building into a modern community hub offering many facilities to the local communities:
  • new toilets (including disabled and baby changing facilities),
  • a bar with a big balcony overlooking Ribber Castle and a beer garden,
  • a small natural play area,
  • a sit down cafe with terrace, also serving take away refreshments,
  • large resurfaced car park,
  • access to social farm shop 'Farmer's Larder Community Pantry',
  • large multifunctional venue for family celebrations and community events,
  • offering a range of sports and community activities.
During these unusual C19 times we are using this webpage to keep you updated with new project developments. You can leave feedback on these plans and sign up for project updates and e-newsletters here.

Heritage Trail Detail Design Update November 2021

Hurst Farm Heritage Trail Layout Final plan

Download the Hurst Farm Heritage Trail Plan [PDF 3.14MB]

Accessibility and Existing Footpaths

You said “Cyclists and walkers sharing the Heritage Trail will be an issue”.
You said “The paths are inaccessible because they are muddy in winter and overgrown in summer”
You said ”The existing paths are steep in sections and uneven”.
You said “No new tarmac footpaths please”.
You said “An accessible path from the Social Club to the Wishing Stone will be welcomed.”

The Heritage Trail will be 1.2-1.5 metres wide and for walkers only.    A shared use route (walkers and cyclists) would need to be at least 3 metres wide to be safe. On several sections of the Trail, there is just not enough room to build such a wide path. Visually it would also significantly detract from the landscape character of the Lumsdale Conservation Area, which the Trail runs through.

A section of the Trail from the Hurst Farm Social Club to the Wishing Stone will be wheelchair, mobility scooter and pram friendly. This section has no major steep sections and any minor humps and bumps can be ironed out. This section will enable less able-bodied users to enjoy the magnificent views across to Riber Castle and the rural landscape and wooded valleys.

There will be new steps and sections of boardwalk, where the Trail is steep vertically or steep horizontally across the slope.

The Heritage Trail surface will not be tarmac!

All existing un-made sections (earth) of the Trail will have a new surface to improve access and address the problems of thick mud in winter and overgrowing vegetation in summer. We have looked at many surfacing options, but we have several important environmental constraints to consider making that choice. These are:

• Protection of the woodland tree roots – severing roots by digging, compaction of the surrounding soil and cutting off the trees water supply will kill a tree;
• Using a sustainable recycled material to reduce the projects carbon footprint and;
• Making sure the new footpath surface does not increase surface run-off to the neighbouring areas.

To address these issues we have chosen a porous and flexible paving system made from recycled rubber wearing course. A natural stone aggregate is mixed in to make it visually look more natural and give the surface more grip. The surface does not puddle and is quick drying. The porous rubber pavement is resilient enough to provide a low slip, comfortable and safe surface, yet firm enough to be suitable for more high impact use from strollers, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Looking After Nature

You said “Accessibility is important, but so is nature”.
You said “Please keep the natural character of the woodland”.
You said “Improved wildlife habitats are important to us”.

We recognise the importance of striking the right balance between increasing the level of use and the possible detrimental effect on the existing levels of high tranquillity, woodland character and nature. The existing path network throughout the woodland is categorised as either the Main Route or a Secondary Route, which links to the Main Route. Only the Main Route will be surfaced and furnished with interpretation boards and sections of new drystone walling. The secondary routes will be left in their current natural wild remote state and will remain more physically challenging to navigate.

We are creating a 10 year woodland management plan to ensure that the woodland is managed well in the future and that the existing wildlife is supported and extended. External contractors and a traditional horse logging team will be employed to support the physical management were needed.
A woodland ranger will build a strong volunteer network that will be able to support some of the management activities and offer experience and training to local people. We hope to engage more local young people through a range of educational activities.

Feeling Safe

You said “Not Everyone feels safe in the woodland”.

Part of the Woodland Management Plan will include thinning out of very dense stands of trees and managing the overgrown bramble next to the paths. This will improve the sight lines and reduce the perceived feeling of isolation. The project will also employ a woodland ranger who will be present on site.

Historical Highlights

You said “You would like the view from the Wishing Stone opened up”.

The section of woodland, which blocks the view from the Wishing Stone to Lumsdale Valley, falls within the boundary of the Local Wildlife Site and the Conservation Area. Both designations have a presumption against large scale tree felling. They recognise the key contribution the woodland makes to the local biodiversity and landscape character of the area. The aspiration to re-establish the view has to be balanced against these designations. A very small-scale tree removal would however be acceptable and supported.

For nostalgic reasons, there is strong public support to restablish the presence of the Wishing Stone as a landmark within the landscape. Several of local residents have verbally recalled playing on the Wishing Stone during their childhood, when it was much less overgrown and open. We are proposing to remove the areas of scrub growing around the stone and to stabilise the adjacent banking next to the stone with a new stone steps and dry stone wall. We want to repair the old stone wall where it has fallen into disrepair.

Telling Stories

You said “You would like to know more about nature, landscapes and local history stories”.

All along the Main Route will be located various types of interpretation (digital and information boards) that will tell you all about the things you wanted to know.

Through the development process we have discovered some interesting stories about the history of the land and its people that we want to share and we are working on ways to represent these in meaningful ways.


Heritage Trail Online Survey 1 Dec 2020 - Results summary

We want to thank all the residents from Hurst Farm, Asker Lane, Lumsdale and Tansley that have responded to our first digital survey in Dec 2020.   

In normal times we would have held public events to collect your views and ideas in person.  However, with Covid-19 this has not been possible. Instead we have collected feedback via a digital survey and over 200 people responded to our first survey.  Of these, over 80% were residents living on Hurst Farm, Asker Lane, Lumsdale and Tansley.  A smaller number of residents from the wider Matlock area also responded.    

Overwhelmingly, 95% of the responses were supportive of the Heritage Trail proposals. Those that raised concerns included increased visitor numbers and associated issues, as well as the long term maintenance of the paths.

Most respondents currently visit the woods and 81% would use the proposed heritage trail, with a third of people finding the current paths inaccessible. 67% welcome the accessible path between the Social Club and the Wishing Stone.

67% want to see the views from the Wishing Stone opened up and 65% want to find out more about the heritage.

If you are interested to find out more about the survey results, please have a look at the PDF summary of the key outcomes.

We have now developed a follow up survey and would be grateful for your continued support in completing this.

Once this survey is completed, we will use the findings to refine our proposals further and will publish the findings on the District Council website.


What is the Hurst Farm Heritage Project?

This heritage project is linked to an estate regeneration project started in September 2017 (financed by the MHCLG funding) culminating in a vision for Hurst Farm being launched in November 2020. For more information visit the Hurst Farm Regeneration website

Round 1 Development Funding has been awarded from the NLHF to DDDC to detail up the heritage walk, consult with local communities and enable the submission of a successful Round 2 Capital and Revenue’s grant representing over a £1 million of investment for Matlock at the End of 2021.

The Hurst Farm Heritage project will develop a Heritage Walk through the Hurst Farm Woodland

We will connect the following four heritage sites by improving footpaths:

1. John Bowne Memorial: 

A famous ancestor of Hurst Farm.  Born on Lime Tree Farm in Matlock, Derbyshire. On 9th March 1627, Bowne emigrated to America. By 1661, he had relocated to Flushing, Long Island, where a small group of English-speaking Quakers were attempting to practice their faith in defiance of the Dutch governor of New Netherland (now New York). Bowne was charged and deported to Holland where he argued for religious freedom and won his case. On his return to America, he influenced the inclusion of religious freedom into the American constitution.  

The memorial was commissioned by Matlock Civic Association and opened in 2018.

John Bowne Memorial and Lime Tree July 2019 one year since planting by Matlock Civic Association Project small

2. Victorian Wishing Stone:

The Wishing Stone is a large natural gritstone rock, about 14 feet in diameter, and some believed that to get a wish granted you have to run around the outer ring of the stone nine times. This was a popular walk destination, particularly in the Victorian times, as shown in the old postcard image below.  

Wishing Stone Old postcard

3. Lumsdale Industrial Heritage Site:

A scheduled ancient monument of industrial mill ruins. The Lumsdale Valley is a sensitive site of national archaeological and historic importance. It is a private site owned by the Arkwright Society and is managed by the Lumsdale Arkwright Society volunteers.
The site is currently closed to visitors while the landowner is developing strategies with local residents to protect the site into the future. 

View of ruin at Lumsdale Industrial Heritage Site

4. Bailey’s Tump:

Matlock World War Two defence site with beautiful views restored by Matlock Town Council and Matlock Civic Association in 2006. 

 Baileys Tumb World War Two Embatlement Site

The Hurst Farm Heritage Project aims to:

● Improve the existing footpaths within Hurst Farm Woods,
● Protect and enhance the 4 heritage sites,
● Increase local awareness of the local heritage,
● Improve access to local heritage for local residents,
● Improve and protect the Hurst Farm woodland and create more bio diversity,
● Open up the Wishing Stone historic view,
● Link the communities of Hurst Farm, Asker Lane,  Lumsdale and Tansley,
● Help alleviate long standing issues at Lumsdale Industrial Heritage Site,
● Enable opportunities for education and outdoor activities,
● Support the creation of social enterprises to benefit local communities,
● Create a new community building with pub, café and social farm shop.

Heritage Walk Proposed Route:

Route: Social Club Car Park to Wishing Stone

We propose to develop the upper path starting at the Social Club Car Park to the Wishing Stone. The aim is to create a 1.2m wide accessible path. We aim to use methods of footpath construction that will be as sensitive to the woodland as possible, while enabling access for motorised wheelchairs, or buggies.

This route will also look to enhance views across the countryside and to further enhance the experience of the woodland and bird song.

Route: Wishing Stone to Helicopter Park

As this section of the path is steep in gradient we will not be able to create a fully accessible path. However, we will endeavour to create a safe path that will include steps and handrails where necessary.

All the sections of existing historic stone steps and paths will remain. Some small sections will be sensitively repaired where needed. Where the stone path leads up to the Wishing Stone a handrail will be added to help users negotiate the steepest sections.


We also propose some low key lighting at the entrances to the walk. We are working with a specialist lighting consultant to ensure this will not negatively impact wildlife, especially bats.

Hurst Farm Woodland Management:

Ecological Survey

As part of the development work we have undertaken an ecological survey and a topographical survey to understand the environment better. We are working with a Woodland Planner, who will support us in producing a woodland management plan and an arboriculture survey of the woodland. This is to create a legacy of useful information to support the woodland and its wellbeing into the future.

Historical View

As part of the heritage walk we plan to open up a small part of the historical view from the Wishing Stone. This was an open view in Victorian times across fields, which has become completely overgrown.  We do not plan to return the site to completely open views as in the past, but remove only a minimal amount of trees to create a window among the trees onto the landscape beyond.

We also want to clear the scrubby vegetation directly next to the Wishing stone feature to once again enable visitors to make a wish and walk around the stone nine times as they did in the past!

Sycamore Trees

There are sections of the woodland that have become dominated by self-seeded Sycamore trees. Sycamore in its nature suppresses other plants and with it diversity. We therefore are proposing to carefully remove some Sycamore trees and seedlings to enable us to bring more light into the woodland and encourage a more diverse understorey of flora, which will also increase diversity of wildlife.

Ash die back

Ash die back unfortunately, is present in the woodland and this will require removal of some trees that are deemed unsafe.

Tree Replanting

However, we are committed to plant more new trees with local provenance than we will remove. We are even planning to set up a small tree seedling community project to grow on acorns and seeds from local trees, such as oaks and beech. Which we then want to plant.


We also plan to coppice the old existing hazel trees in the woodland to rejuvenate the trees and allow more natural understory flora to thrive again. In this way a natural changing landscape can be created that will also offer some materials for green woodworking and forest school activities.

Telling and sharing stories

We are working with an interpretation consultant to develop an interpretation strategy to tell the history of the site in a unique and exciting way, including new way markers, entrance features, information signs and maps and features. This may include the creation of leaflets, digital app and forms of digital interpretation experiences along the route.


We want to improve the habitats along the route to support butterflies, birds and bats. We want to build on the wildlife that is already present and identify areas where we can protect animals and plants and diversify.

Educational Activities:

As part of the revenue funding we hope to employ a woodland ranger for 3 years to support the management of the woodland and to help build a range of educational activities and training opportunities, such as:

● Heritage walks,
● Green woodworking skills,
● Dry stone walling,
● Woodland conservation and management skills,
● Wildlife walks.

Hurst Farm Farmers View and Milkchurn Cafe and Social Farm Shop

As part of the Heritage Walk we are busy with plans to develop the old Social Club building into an attractive modern community venue.  It would keep the traditional bar, but would also feature a welcoming farm cafe, social shop and a multi-functional community room.  We hope that this improved venue would offer local residents and visitors to the trail access to toilet facilities and refreshments, as well as classes and activities. 

Visitors would be able to utilise the car park to start their walk on the trail, reducing the demand for parking at other more sensitive locations along the trail. 

In this way the Hurst Farm Heritage Trail aims to support all surrounding communities, especially the Lumsdale Valley Industrial Heritage Site.  Aiming to resolve some of the long standing issues caused by increased visitor numbers offering an alternative option.  Hopefully, thereby reducing pressure from external visitors looking for facilities. 

We also hope that the Farmers View, with its panoramic view of Ribber Castle, and the cafe will become a destination of choice for surrounding communities for drinks and refreshments.  The building will also be open for hire for family gatherings, celebrations and children's parties.

Community Feedback:

We hope that you found the information on the Hurst Farm Heritage Walk useful.

As part of our development work we aim to collect feedback on the plans from local surrounding residents from the Hurst Farm, Asker Lane, Lumsdale and Tansley communities.

We would love to receive feedback from you on our plans outlined above.  We would love to receive your support to enable us to create a resource for all local communities to enjoy and value together in partnership.

If you would like to receive further information and updates as the project evolves, please sign up to our Hurst Farm Heritage Trail enewsletter and updates.

Create your own user feedback survey

Heritage Project Timeline:

May 2017:  MHCLG ‘Estate Regeneration’ funding received
September 2017: Regeneration project starts
September 2019: Round 1 NHLF Development Funding received
November 2019: Regeneration Vision is launched
November 2020 to June 2021: Heritage Project Consultation Phase
February 2022: Submission Round 2 NHLF Capital funding application 
June 2022: NHLF Funding notification
September 2022:  NHLF Round 2 Funding received
September 2022:  Capital works start (Date TBC)
September 2022:  Ranger recruited and educational activities start and run for 3 years
September 2023: Capital works completed (Date TBC)
September 2025:  HF Heritage project completed

Hurst Farm Heritage Project Partners:

The Hurst Farm Regeneration project has build strong relationships with many local organisations.  Working together to grow the vision into its full potential for the local communities, but especially to support the future of the children on Hurst Farm.
Partnership project

Hurst Farm Regeneration Partners:

1. Friends of Hurst Farm

2. Derbyshire Dales Community Voluntary Services (DDCVS)

3. Derbyshire Dales District Council (DDDC)

4. Castle View Primary School

5. Derbyshire Constabulary

6. Derbyshire County Council (DCC)

7. Highfields School

8. Grow to Give DE4

9. Lumsdale Arkwright Society

10. Platform Housing Group

11. Matlock Town Council

12. Matlock Civic Association

13. Cromford Arkwright Society