Matlock is situated at the southern edge of the Peak National Park. From here roads lead also to Alfreton and Chesterfield and it is equidistant from Derby and Buxton. This busy town is a center for exploring the beautiful countryside around.
Brooding over Matlock is the gloomy, haunted -looking building known as Riber Castle 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 Leys Garden, with it's gaunt embattled facade frowning on the town from a height of 800 feet. Unoccupied for many years, the Castle, with the sourrounding land, was acquired by a group of zoologists who developed the site as a nature reserve for British and European fauna. There once was a zoo, but it was closed in Sept. of 2000. Riber Hill can be climbed by one or other of the several attractive footpaths leading up to the castle proper.
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