Crich Heritage Partnership


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The Crich Trail
by Bill Crowther

Southern Loop (3/4 mile, 30 minutes)

On reaching the village centre turn right up Sandy Lane and in a short distance you will see Crich Reading Room on the left. This building was erected by public subscription in 1889. It was most recently used as a dining room for our school children.

Just past this building and on your left is a public footpath leading into Sun Lane down which you now proceed. This footpath winds down hill for a short distance where you will find on the right hand side the Primitive Methodist Chapel which was built in 1853 and not closed until 1967.

Joining Sun Lane you keep right and after a short climb, peeping over the wall on your left (opposite a house called Bethany) you will see the rear of the Royal Oak set of buildings. This property was at one time a small local centre for the frame-work knitting industry. Later in the walk you will see the front of this building exhibiting the typical third storey row of windows to illuminate the workshops. Whilst here, glance over to the left and in the distance the face of Hilt's quarry can just be seen.

A little further on, at the top of the rise, is a track leading off right which if followed for only 20 yards reveals a view of the tunnel entrance leading under Sandy Lane. Continuing on this track for some 50 yards will bring you to Sandy Lane with the Fire Station facing you. On either side of this track can be seen stone wall circles containing trees which were erected, one in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee and the other in 1897 to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee. Locally this area is known simply as "The Jubilee" and in 1786, at the time of the enclosure of common land, only this area was left for common grazing.

picture of golden jubilee stone

Golden Jubilee Circle

Now return to Sun Lane and walk on keeping right to enter Bennett's Lane where you have another good view looking towards South Wingfield and Wingfield Manor. Shortly you will pass Laburnum Cottage on your right and adjacent to this house is another typical example of the long windows used by the frame-work knitters.

picture of wesleyan chapel

Wesleyan Chapel

Watch out now for the Crich Wesley Methodist Church on your left as you turn downhill into Chapel Lane. This is a very interesting old chapel which was founded in 1765 and is still open for public worship. It is one of the oldest Wesleyan meeting houses in the county and is, in fact, the oldest one still being used for its original purpose. John Wesley came to Crich in 1766 and recorded his visit in his diary. During his visit he stayed at Dial Farm which is situated a little further down on The Common. He made a return visit in 1770. Needless to say, this delightful little chapel is a listed building of some considerable importance.

A row of cottages near here, known as Workhouse Row, indicates where Crich Poorhouse was built on the edge of The Common in 1734.

Now proceed down the hill and turn left when you reach the main road named The Common. If you are lucky, across the road, you will get a glimpse of Mr. Love's traction engine and trailer - if at home.

You are now walking back towards the village centre and you will shortly come to The King's Arms public house on your left. Opposite this public house arc premises which used to be the local "Co-op" and are now used as a motor engineers. This was the grocery shop with a butchery department next door. The latter has now been demolished; both shops would have been a boon to the community when opened in 1903.

Continue your walk towards the village centre and on your left you will probably be able to recognise, by its unusual construction, a house which before its conversion served the village as a cinema.

It is now No. 24 The Common, but in 1923 was one of the earliest cinemas in the area. Electricity did not reach the village till the following year and older villagers remember that there was a fatal accident by electrocution to an employee working at the cinema.

picture of the former crich cinema

The former Crich Cinema

picture of the royal oak buildings

Royal Oak Buildings

A little further on you arrive at the front of the Royal Oak Buildings which were mentioned earlier, with its top storey range of windows associated with frame work knitters and a memorial stone set in the pavement. Cross over the road for a minute to see the windows more clearly. As its name implies, this property was at one time yet another public house: quarry workers and lead miners must have had a tremendous and well-earned thirst!



Watch out for a cast iron mile post, on the other side of the road. We are now on the old Cromford to Langley Mill turnpike on which all the milestones were of cast iron.


As you approach the centre of the village, you will see on your left some very old mullion windows one of which has been "bricked up", but they indicate that this part of the building dates well back into history.

Walk past the bakery, where during the war Italian prisoners were housed. On the other side of the road is Crich Pottery which you may like to visit after finishing the trail. Passing the chemist shop you will find yourself in front of the Crich Baptist Chapel. In 1877 this building replaced Ebenezer Chapel which you saw earlier on Roe's Lane. It is also believed that behind this site, long long ago, stood Sir Roger Beler's manor house, part of which dated back as far as the 14th. century.
So at this very ancient part of the village we will wish you "Farewell". We hope you have enjoyed your visit to Crich and will come back to visit us again before very long.