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The picture postcard village of Carsington and its equally attractive neighbour, Hopton, are inseparably linked. They lie in a wooded valley with Carsington Pasture rising steeply to one thousand feet to the west, behind a row of attractive little cottages that line the roadside. Both villages share the same church and school. The houses in each village almost overlap on the shared narrow road, and they are both in the same parish.  


A considerable change to the landscape took place a few years ago with the construction of Carsington Water. The reservoir built at a cost of 107 million pounds and increased Severn Trent’s raw-water capacity by 10% to meet the growing demand for water in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Water is first pumped from the River Derwent at Ambergate Pumping Station. It is piped to Carsington Water when the river level is high and stored in the reservoir.  


Conservationists fought a long hard battle against the site chosen for the reservoir. Now a bypass takes much of the traffic away from the narrow winding pavement - less village road. Carsington Water has exceeded all expectations as a tourist centre. Thankfully all this has been achieved without life in Carsington and Hopton seeming to have changed all that much. 

Recent excavations made as part of the reservoir construction reveal that Romans were once present in the area. Many archaeologists think that Carsington was Lutadarum, the centre of the Roman lead industry. In times that are more recent the village was an important lead mining centre and Carsington pasture is still littered with disused lead mines. Mining was still in existence in the 20th century with barytes extracted at the Golconda Mine until 1953. Miners’ Lane, situated on the corner of the road as it bends away from Carsington, was the route the miners used to get to work. 

Carsington Water officially opened by HM the Queen in 1992, instantly became one of Derbyshire’s most important tourist attractions. The original estimate of three hundred thousand visitors per year was soon revised to over one million. Further evidence of the popularity of the reservoir came when the East Midlands Tourist Board awarded it the ‘Visitors Attraction of the Year’ in 1993. 

Only a short easy walk from the Visitor Centre Car Park is the wildlife centre where you can watch Carsington’s birdlife in warmth and comfort. The weight of the turf-covered roof holds the building together without need of screws or nails. Along the bank side towards Carsington Village are  further bird-hides where a fascinating hour or more may be spent seeing how many different species of birds you can spot. 

Severn Trent has planted half a million trees and shrubs in woodlands, copses and hedgerows; the result has been not only to enhance a beautiful landscape, but also to create many new habitats for wildlife. This was recognised in 1995, by the receipt of the Forestry Centre of Excellence award for using ‘The Highest Standards of Woodland Management’ at Carsington.  

The small Church of St Margaret’s fits into the scenery perfectly – pretty but not dominating. There is evidence that a church existed as far back as the 12th century and it is interesting to note that in 1971, a gravedigger dug up the skeletons of a man, woman and child, probably of Anglo-Saxon origin, giving rise to further speculation of the date of the first church. An unusual item in the church register records the life of Sarah Tissington who was born in the village in 1664 without arms, but despite this severe handicap learned to knit with her feet. A flower festival takes place in second half of May every year, which is very popular with visitors.

The Gell family who lived at Hopton Hall for nearly 500 years were the dominating influence in the area, before it was sold in 1989. The Hall hides behind a red brick crinkle-crankle wall on the eastern side of Hopton. The wall traps the rays of the sun to assist fruit growing. The Gells built the school and had a considerable influence on the development of the church. Sir Philip Gell organised the building of the Almshouses in Hopton, above which a stone tablet declares that the buildings were for ‘2 poor men and 2 poor women of Hopton and Carson’, the latter being the old name for Carsington. 

Across the road close to the corner of the crinkle-crankle wall is an icehouse that has been listed for protection. This is where food was kept in pre-refrigerator days. Further along the road in Carsington is the popular Miners Arms and behind it a small village green on which stands part of a medieval cross.


1. Miners Lane.
2. St Margaret's Church.
3. Cross.
4. School.
5. Miners Arms
6. Hopton Hall.
7. Crinkle-crankle wall.
8. Icehouse.
9. Townend House.
10. Gell Almshouses.
11. Carsington Water.
12. Bird hide and conservation area.

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Carsington Water Visitor Centre, (Tel. 01629 540696) a great place just to relax by the water’s edge, but do leave time to look round the Visitor centre with its attractive shops and display areas. The more adventurous can hire a sailing dinghy, or a mountain bike. Alternatively, if you have plenty of energy left, why not walk the seven miles or so round the reservoir? Open daily all year.

Wirksworth Heritage Centre, (Tel. 01629 875225) where the ‘Wirksworth Story’ is told, taking you on a fascinating journey through time on three floors of the centre. The special displays are excellent and for something different you can always try a computer game. For further information see the special feature

North End Mills, (Tel. 01629 824731) one of the largest factory shops in the country which sells clothes. Visitors to the Mills can still see hosiery being made, have a coffee and admire the display of old photographs of Wirksworth. Open 7 days a week.  


Miners Arms (Tel. 01629 540207) a popular pub for lead miners in the 1700s. This cosy little pub serves good homemade food daily throughout the summer and at lunchtime and in the evenings during the winter (except Sunday and Monday evenings). Outside there is a beer garden and mini-adventure playground.


Carsington Water Tea Rooms (Tel. 01629 540363) there is a restaurant and tea rooms on the first floor of the visitor centre and an outdoor food facility in the Courtyard. Open daily all year.




Provides a wide range of features  with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.



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A special new sub-section has been added to this website, based on the Discover Derby Supplement, published by the Derby Evening Telegraph during March 2005. The most recent additions are:

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Discover Derby


Breathtaking views are to be found on this splendid walk which visits the ancient villages of Carsington and Brassington, once the homes of very active lead mining communities.

On the moorland route between the two villages there is plenty of evidence of the efforts of miners to extract lead from underneath the earth. At Nickalum Mine in particular, spoil heaps long since grassed over, are to be seen in plentiful supply.

Carsington and Hopton Walk


Hopton Hall Snowdrops

Carsington Church and Flower Festival


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