Matlock Bath hope for walk’s quick reopening

'Shadows' hang over this year's Matlock bath Illuminations, won by 'Last One Home' in 2014.
'Shadows' hang over this year's Matlock bath Illuminations, won by 'Last One Home' in 2014.

Darlings of Matlock Bath’s favourite beauty spot are saddened to see the closure of the riverside walk and hope investigations won’t hinder the coming Illuminations festival.

A council-commissioned survey of the cliff face 60-metres above the main path along the Derwent River showed rocks were becoming unstable and may pose a serious risk to people below.

Lovers Walks' viewed from New Bridge.

Lovers Walks' viewed from New Bridge.

The news, announced on Monday, June 10 by Derbyshire Dales District Council has also hit members of the community who were looking forward to this year’s Matlock bath Illuminations over September and October, which may be affected by the loss of a main exit route.

Anna Nemeth said: “That was my favourite part of Matlock Bath!”

Ffion Perfect said: “I’m gutted. This was going to be my first year at the illuminations.

“Matlock Bath is close to my heart for many reasons. I was looking forward to the illuminations when my chemotherapy had finished. Please make it happen...”

The council said the cliff survey was now “casting a shadow” over the popular festival in the region, but assured fans of the event that it was doing everything it could to ensure Illuminations would go ahead as planned.

A spokesperson responded to concerns online, stating: “There’s no suggestion that the Lovers’ Walks will be closed for good. The council just felt it was the right thing to do until we find out more about the potential rockfall issue.”

They told the Mercury: “More news will follow in about a month after more investigation into the cliffs, and consultation with event management specialists to look at any emergency evacuation options that will enable the Illuminations to go ahead without that section of Lovers’ Walks as an exit route.”

And climbers have also been affected by the result, as sections of cliff face over Matlock Bath have also been made out-of-bounds.

Kevin Corocoran of Derby Mountain Rescue said: “We’ve had problems in the that area in the past where the rocks are quite crumbly and come away as people are climbing. Certainly climbers have had accidents in the past which we’ve been called to, but I’ve never known of rocks falling on people.

“We’d rather see the rocks made safe so that passers-by aren’t injured. And from a climbers point of view I wouldn’t want to climb a rock which was known to be coming away.”

More news on the illuminations to follow.