A new Gateway information hub Cromford Mill opened today acting as the opening to a 15 mile stretch of historical mill complexes and industrial landscape that snakes through the stunning Derbyshire countryside to its southern most attractions, the Derby Silk Mill and Joseph Wright Gallery.

Cromford Mills offers interpretive exhibitions, tours, a busy events programme, attractive retail and catering and more. Sarah McLeod, Cromford Mills chief executive, said: “We are working towards the Cromford Mills brand becoming a ‘jewel in the crown’ of tourism in the region and who better to welcome visitors than the man himself – Sir Richard Arkwright.”

The heritage destination has been a success over the past 30 years attracting 100,000 visitors per year. “We are already an established destination but the coming months will begin to see the potential of this amazing site truly be realised.”

Ground-breaking techniques were developed to clean the building of contaminants left over from its previous industrial use, techniques it is hoped might be applied elsewhere to save other historic buildings blighted in a similar way.

The Gateway will allow visitors to find out exactly what there is to see and do at each of the 17 designated sites contained within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and be the start of their journey of discovery. The celebrated site and surrounding area will offer visitors 20 attractions for a complete day out.

Cromford Mills is the site that Sir Richard Arkwright chose to construct his very first water powered cotton spinning mill in 1771 – the birthplace of the factory system and a CGI experience is being unveiled that brings the industrialist to life.

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