Hurst Farm Heritage Trail Information

Working Together - Hurst Farm Heritage Project

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

Information here provides an overview of the Hurst Farm Heritage Project that Derbyshire Dales District Council, the Hurst Farm community and partners are working on together.

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

We welcome your feedback!

As the project develops we will be updating the webpage with more detailed information.

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.

Heritage Trail Online Survey - Results

The online survey has now been closed.

We want to thank everyone who has taken the time to complete the survey!

In the winter of 2020/21 we run a survey to receive feedback from local residents.
We had a good uptake rate with 209 responses, of which 80% came from the local communities of Hurst Farm, Asker Lane, Lumsdale and Tansley that surround Hurst Farm Woods. 

The feedback received has been overwhelmingly positive and in favour of the proposed plans.  Concerns raised were in regards to the ongoing considerations over visitor numbers, parking and lack of facilities that have become particularly magnified post-lockdown in the summer of 2020.

Please be assured that we are now working through the feedback and are using this to inform and shape the first draft detail plans.  We hope to share these plans with the public at the beginning of March 2021 to continue the conversation.

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

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 £1million 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:

Heritage Map 241120 MCS small
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.

Natural Play and Picnic Opportunities:

Woodlands are wonderful places to play and explore and we want to enhance the existing natural play opportunities within the woodland.

We want to enable more natural play opportunities within the woodland. We have specifically identified an area of the woodland that lends itself to natural play and picnics. As part of the Round 2 funding we are hoping to run different outdoor play and educational activities for different ages and interests and this would utilise these existing areas.

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 and Lumsdale communities.

An online survey has been complete successfully in January 2021 and an outcome summary is available.  We are grateful for all the comments that have been submitted These will be collated to inform the detail design of the Heritage Tail.   We are hoping to publish the draft detail plans in early March 2021.

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
By end 2021: Submission Round 2 NHLF Capital funding application (Date TBC)
Feb 2022:  NHLF Round 2 Funding received
April 2022:  Capital works start (Date TBC)
April 2022:  Educational Activities to start and run for 3 years
Feb 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