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High Peak Junction Visitor Centre

Nestled in the Derwent Valley, High Peak Junction was the hub of transport activity and is now a true haven of heritage and wildlife. It's literally the junction of the Cromford Canal and the High Peak Trail.

High Peak Junction

Barbecues are not permitted at any of our sites.

It lies a mile to the southeast of Cromford village and is in the beautiful Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. It is a haven for wildlife and is the ideal location for a stroll or a heritage or nature walk.

There are a variety of buildings from the former Cromford and High Peak Railway - one of the first long-distance railways which were built on canal principles.

The Cromford Canal can be explored between Cromford Wharf and Ambergate, a distance of just over 5 miles. The High Peak Trail starts here at High Peak Junction and continues for 17.5 miles to Dowlow near Buxton.

For information and a warm welcome call in at the High Peak Junction Visitor Centre where there are refreshments, gifts and a variety of maps, walk leaflets and books.

Here you can step back in time with the fascinating audio tour for a small fee of £2, where you will discover the history of Cromford Canal and the Cromford and High Peak Railway. You can also visit the old Railway Workshops for free.

A canal aqueduct over the River Derwent and the magnificent Leawood Pump House are just a few minutes walk away. Leawood Pump is a steam-powered beam engine which operates on some summer weekends and bank holidays. A number of waymarked walks start from High Peak Junction.

Visitor centre summer opening hours

Easter to October from 10am to 5pm.

Visitor centre winter opening hours

Weekends only, November to Easter from 10.30am to 4pm.

Railway workshop forge days

Have-a-go at being a blacksmith on the historic forge and make a poker or toasting fork to take home and keep.

Participants must be 11+ years old. From 11am to 4pm.

Cost: £15 per poker or toasting fork. Booking is essential, tel: 01629 533298.

You can also do the audio tour of the area while here.

  • Saturday 24 February 2024
  • Saturday 30 March 2024
  • Wednesday 10 April 2024
  • Saturday 4 May 2024
  • Wednesday 29 May 2024
  • Sunday 16 June 2024
  • Wednesday 31 July 2024
  • Wednesday 7 August 2024
  • Wednesday 14 August 2024
  • Wednesday 21 August 2024
  • Wednesday 28 August 2024
  • Saturday 14 September 2024
  • Wednesday 30 October 2024
  • Saturday 28 December 2024
  • Saturday 22 February 2025

Introduction to blacksmithing

Introduction to blacksmithing at High Peak Junction workshop on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm and later from 1.30pm to 4pm on the following dates:

  • 11 May 2024
  • 25 May 2024
  • 1 June 2024
  • 6 July 2024
  • 3 August 2024
  • 24 August 2024

To book and further information tel: 01629 533298.

You can view or download the countryside events brochure.

Cost: £50 half-day session. Booking is essential.

Meet at: High Peak Junction Visitor Centre, DE4 5AA (signposted from the A6 at Cromford).

Parking charges apply. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear. Join us for a unique opportunity to learn basic blacksmithing techniques in the oldest railway workshop in the world!

Our enthusiast blacksmiths will walk you through the creation of a simple metalworking object: such as a BBQ fork, fire poker, or coat hook.

Along the way, you’ll learn about the history of blacksmithing, lighting and managing the fire, and all the techniques you need – using the workshop’s original forge and hand-pumped bellows dating from the 1830s.

At the end of the half-day session, you’ll end up with a wonderful hand-made object that you can take away with you!

Audio tours

Hire one of our audio handsets and let Tapper Jack take you on a self-guided tour of High Peak Junction and the Cromford Canal, educational and fun. Only £1.50.

Boat trips

Birdswood is the trip boat belonging to the Friends of the Cromford Canal (FCC). There are scheduled boat trips throughout the year.


The canal is a haven for wildlife (it's a Site of Special Scientific Interest). Little grebes and water voles can be seen throughout the year, in summer look out for dragonflies, damselflies and hoverflies.


The car park machines on this site take cash only.

School visits

We have a number of opportunities for school visits along the Cromford Canal. Visit the Derwent Valley Mills website to find out more about our ‘Fantastic Transport’ or ‘Wonders of STEAM’.

Self-led visits for primary schools include free to download activity guides with resources available to pick up on site: engineering kits, historical photo packs and other activities.

Explore the workshops, canal, railways, rivers, aqueducts and bridges and even book for pupils to have a go at blacksmithing on the forge and make a poker to keep.

Audio guides are available for secondary groups. We’re happy to discuss your requirements. You can also visit Leawood Pumphouse with your school group.

There are ‘in steam’ days open to the public throughout the year or you can book this for your group.

Activity guides are free to download for you to self-lead a visit exploring science, art, history and engineering or you can book a volunteer to help you explore this amazing building.

Why not combine a visit with a stop off at High Peak Junction, Aqueduct Cottage or a trip on the Birdswood canal boat?


We're looking for volunteers to work in our railway workshops. Find out more about the role and other opportunities to become a countryside volunteer.

Facilities available

  • Cycle path

  • Easy access for all

  • Footpath

  • Light refreshments

  • Museum

  • Nature trail

  • On-site information

  • Parking

  • Picnic area

  • Toilets

  • Wildlife area


High Peak Junction and Cromford Wharf car parks are signed from the A6 at Cromford. There are regular bus services. Railway stations at Cromford, Whatstandwell and Ambergate are only a few minutes walk away from the canal.

High Peak Junction Visitor Centre is signposted from the A6 at Cromford.