DAY 2: THE HEIGHTS OF ABRAHAM AND HADDON HALL
The Heights of Abraham at Matlock Bath are named after the area of Quebec where Major-General James P. Wolfe met his end during the Seven Years War. It was originally opened in 1780 as a Regency style ‘Savage Garden’ on the site of historic lead mining. We reached the Heights by means of a cable car, from which we had views across the Derwent Valley and surrounding countryside. Once at the top we had time to explore the two lead mining caverns. The first was the Great Masson Cavern, which winds its way deep underground into the hillside. An experienced guide gave us a guided tour. Although not all the group were so adventurous, a few of us then took another guided tour of the Rutland Cavern.
Set on a rocky outcrop above the river Wye, Haddon Hall is the finest example of a medieval manor house in existence. The house dates from the 12th century to the early 17th century. It then lay dormant for over two hundred years before the 9th Duke and Duchess of Rutland restored the house and gardens in the 1920s, once again making the house habitable. Avoiding fire, warfare, family misfortunes and changing fashions, little has changed over the recent centuries and Haddon provides a unique view of early English life and history.