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Middleton Top Countryside Centre

The Middleton Top Countryside Centre is situated on the High Peak Trail, Middleton by Wirksworth.

Middleton Top Engine House

Barbecues are not permitted at any of our sites.

Middleton Top, as you might expect, is at the top of a hill and offers delightful views of the surrounding countryside.

This site has a visitor centre, gift shop and cycle hire centre, car park, toilets and picnic area. Whether on foot, horse or bike it is an ideal place to start your visit along the beautiful High Peak Trail.

It houses the restored steam engine house built in 1829 by the Butterley Company to haul wagons up the Middleton incline.

The Middleton Top Engine House is open to the public on certain weekends throughout the year.

The countryside centre sells a range of books, maps, leaflets and gifts, along with hot and cold drinks, ice creams and snacks.

There are plenty of places nearby to enjoy a scenic picnic including Redhill Quarry Nature Reserve located behind Middleton Top. Here you'll find wildflowers growing in abundance in the summer, including several species of orchid.

Visitor centre summer opening hours

Easter to 2 September 2024: 9.30am to 4.45pm.

September to October: weekends only and October half term.

Toilets open 9am to 5pm. The accessible toilet requires a RADAR key which can be borrowed from the visitor centre during opening hours.

Visitor centre winter opening hours

Weekends only, November to Easter from 9.30am to 4.15pm.

Christmas and new year week 26 December 2024 to 3 January 2025, subject to weather.

Toilets open 9am to 4pm. The accessible toilet requires a RADAR key which can be borrowed from the visitor centre during opening hours. .

Middleton Top Engine House operating days

See the world’s oldest beam engine of its type in action. Discover how it got wagons up and down steep hills on one of the world’s first long-distance railways.

Operating days are from midday to 4pm on:

  • Sunday 31 March 2024
  • Monday 1 April 2024
  • Sunday 5 May 2024
  • Monday 6 May 2024
  • Saturday 1 June 2024
  • Sunday 2 June 2024
  • Sunday 7 July 2024
  • Sunday 14 July 2024
  • Sunday 21 July 2024
  • Sunday 28 July 2024
  • Sunday 4 August 2024
  • Sunday 11 August 2024
  • Sunday 18 August 2024
  • Sunday 25 August 2024
  • Monday 26 August 2024
  • Sunday 15 September 2024 Heritage Open Day - free
  • Sunday 6 October 2024
  • Sunday 27 October 2024
  • Halloween Special Thursday 31 October 2024 from 5pm to 7pm


Admission is £4.50, concessions are £3. Parking charges apply.


The car park machines on this site take cash only.

Cycling routes

Middleton Top is a great base to start your bike adventure. Here are a few suggested routes.

Carsington Cracker

The route heads down to Carsington Water and follows the national cycle network to the pretty village of Tissington. Here it joins the Tissington Trail and heads northwards past the old signal box at Hartington.

Just before the visitor centre at Parsley Hay the route re-joins the High Peak Trail and returns to the start at Middleton Top.

Follow the Carsington Cracker route on Komoot.

Minninglow Meander

The route follows the High Peak Trail past the ancient burial site at Minninglow. From there it heads over Carlemere Lane to Biggin and joins the Tissington Trail for a short while.

Then it's down the appropriately named Green Lane towards Middleton by Wirksworth before heading back up to Elton.

You then follow a combination of quiet country lanes before re-joining the High Peak Trail and heading back to the start.

Follow the Mininglow Meander route on Komoot.

Derwent Dipper

The Derwent Dipper starts off along the High Peak trail going past the limestone outcrop called Harboro Rocks.

The route then passes over the roof of the Peak following country lanes to the village of Elton. From here you pass though Birchover and close to the Nine Ladies stone circle at Stanton in Peak.

The route drops steeply down to the valley floor at Rowsley and joins the White Peak Link. If you're lucky you may see one of Peak Rail's steam trains which run close to the trail in the summer months.

At the end of the trail you go through Matlock and on to Starkholmes. At Cromford follow the canal towpath to High Peak junction before heading up the incline back to the start.

Follow the Derwent Dipper route on Komoot.

Hartington Quarter

The route heads up the High Peak Trail towards the Neolithic burial site at Minninglow.

It then heads of down National Cycle Network (NCN) route 548 to the pretty village of Hartington which is famous for its cheese. From here you continue following  the NCN along a gated road though the hamlet of Pilsbury before climbing up and re-joining the High Peak Trail just after Parsley Hay.

The route then heads south following the trail back to the start.

Follow the Hartington Quarter route on Komoot.

Rail Trail

The Rail Trail uses a combination of some of Derbyshire’s disused railways that have been converted into multi-use trails.

From Middleton Top the route follows the High Peak Trail its end at Dowlow.

It then goes along the Pennine Bridleway along a combination of white roads and quiet lanes to Blackwell. From here it drops steeply downhill before joining the Monsal Trail at Millers Dale.

The route meanders through the Wye Valley through a series of tunnels culminating in crossing the river at the Monsal Viaduct.

At the end of the Monsal Trail at Bakewell the route heads up Coombes Dale before joining the White Peak Link at Rowsley.

Once you've reached the finish of the White Peak Link the Rail Trail heads through Matlock and climbs up through Starkholmes before reaching the Cromford Canal.

After following the canal towpath to High Peak Junction the route returns to the start via the High Peak Trail.

Follow the Rail Trail route on Komoot.

Halloween party at Middleton Top Engine House

You are all invited to the most amazing Halloween party ever at Middleton Top Engine House on Thursday, 31 October 2024 from 5pm to 7pm. The Engine will be running all evening with special ghosts and ghouls at large as well as trick or treating taking place for our very special guests. We will be sharing all the horror stories from 200 years of local and railway history, it will be an evening that you’ll remember forever. Treats and prizes for fancy dress (optional).

You are advised to book your place early to avoid disappointment. There will be allocated half hour time slots

Cost: £6 adults / £3 children (must be accompanied by an adult).

It is important that anyone of a nervous disposition bring a child with them to look after them, as there may be scary things happening at any time throughout the evening without any warning.

Parking charges apply. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear.

Location: DE4 4LS (off the B5035, near Wirksworth).

Facilities available

  • Bridleway/Horse riding trail

  • Cycle path

  • Easy access for all

  • Footpath

  • Light refreshments

  • Parking

  • Picnic area

  • Toilets

Contact details